Florida Special Legislative Session Outcome
Gov. Rick Scott was not satisfied with the $82.4 billion budget passed during the year’s legislative session. In hopes of overhauling part of the state’s budget, he called a special three-day session.
The Orlando Sentinel reports, that with both sides bickering on the second day, it looked as if nothing would be accomplished. Accusations of a “back room” deal and a “fake narrative,” threatened success for the special session.
Below is a summary of what passed.
Public Schools-Public schools, PreK-12 received more money. An additional $100 was granted per student, raising funding 1.4 percent. While the increase was a step in the right direction, it is still below the national average.
Higher Education-State colleges and universities were given additional money for construction projects.
Environmental-$50 million will be provided to repair the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee to prevent runoff from the lake, causing toxic algae blooms.
“Toxic algae blooms are what people were describing as “awful smelling”, “blue/green slime,” that kept them from swimming in coastal waters around Martin, St. Lucie, Lee and Palm Beach counties,” reminds Buck with GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s leading independent homeowners insurance agency.
Medical Marijuana-Rules were established to implement Florida’s new medical marijuana program approved by voters in November. Among them, a ban on smoking marijuana and dispensaries must be 500 feet from school property. Also, additional treatment centers will set up around the state.
Economic Incentives-Increased funding for Visit Florida, the official Florida tourism industry marketing corporation. In addition, an $85 million job growth grant that will remain under Gov. Scott’s control.