Bills dying and flying through Florida chambers in session’s final week

This is it — likely the final week of the 2023 legislative session. Some bills are dying, others flying through chambers to meet the Friday deadline when the hankies drop signaling the end of another assembly. The biggest bill yet to get done is the state budget. Lawmakers said Monday they’ve got a tentative deal for the massive spending plan and, if passed, it’ll be another record setter. “It’s going to be a lot,” said Sen. Doug Broxson (R- Pensacola). “It’s going to be plus $116.” That’s about a billion more than the governor wanted— with funding for roads, schools, water quality… and perhaps $4 million for litigation battles over new state laws. “You know, we’re in a litigious society,” said Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples). “We want to make sure there is enough to handle the matters.” Some other big bills that are expected to pass-- expansion of the “Parental Rights in Ed” law which limits instruction on gender and sexual preference through eighth grade. Plus, immigration reform. It would require businesses with 25 or more employees to use E-Verify screening for new hires as well as upgrading penalties for those knowingly transporting or hiring undocumented. The latest Disney bill is expected to get a last vote in the House on Tuesday. If passed, it reaffirms a new state oversight board is in charge of the land around the Orlando parks reversing a deal Disney recently signed with its legacy board. What may not happen-- the governor’s “digital bill of rights.” It puts restrictions on the collection of online data. Lowering the age of long-gun purchases in the state from 21 to 18 is another. That bill passed the House but is unlikely to get through the Senate, where leadership is opposed. Opponents are ecstatic. “The Senate was where bad bills went to die,” said Sen. Shevrin Jones (D-Miami Gardens). “I’m hopeful that is being revived.”