Tallahassee Update for March 7, 2022

By Peter Schorsch
Sixty Days Newsletter
March 8, 2022


Gov. Ron DeSantis is poised for another successful Legislative Session on the policy front — priority bills to ban critical race theory in schools, establish an election fraud police squad, prohibit companies helping the federal government to transport undocumented immigrants to Florida from doing business with the state, roll back high-stakes testing requirements in pre-K-12 schools, and hike pay for state law enforcement officials are on track to clear the Legislature before lawmakers adjourn Friday. But the budget is another story. Lawmakers have thus far ignored his top requests, including a gas tax cut and funding for the Job Growth Grant Fund. His preferred congressional district map also faces an uncertain future. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Unfinished business. It’s the last week of Session, and there’s plenty left to do — here’s Florida Politics’ rundown of the Top-40 unresolved issues of the 2022 Legislative Session.

Money talks. Disney has faced heat for its silence on the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, but CEO Bob Chapek said the company will be “reassessing” its political contribution strategies.

‘Proud to Say Gay.’ Florida students staged a rally on the Capitol steps as a last-ditch effort to kill the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill (HB 1557).

Musical chairs. A bill (SB 7044) requiring colleges and universities to switch up accreditation bodies cleared the Senate with a mostly party-line vote.

Net metering. A bill (HB 741) that would ratchet down payments from utilities to customers who pump excess solar energy back into the grid is headed to the Governor.

A few edits. The House OK’d an amendment to a major Medicaid bill (SB 1950) passed by the Senate last week.

Mystery drug. A bill (HB 873) that would shield the people, businesses and drug formulations involved in state executions is heading to the Governor’s desk.

Non-factor. A bill (HB 1203) that would allow school districts to keep teacher evaluations out of collective bargaining talks passed the House.

HODL. The House unanimously voted on a bill (HB 273) to clarify state law and financial regulations regarding cryptocurrency, which lawmakers call a long-term investment.

Five-fingers, five years. A bill (SB 1534) that would make organized retail crime a third-degree felony is teed up for a vote in the House.

Seaworthy. A bill (SB 606) that would update rules for boat charters is ready for sailing through the Legislature and is setting a course for DeSantis’ desk.

Privacy, please. The House approved legislation (HB 699) keeping homeless individuals’ information out of the public record if they seek help at a homeless shelter.

READY. A bill (SB 806) that requires DOH to educate health care practitioners on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related disorders has cleared the Legislature.

It’s official. DeSantis signed a bill designating strawberry shortcake (SB 1006) as the official state dessert during a ceremony at the Strawberry Festival Expo Hall.

Fine, you win. The Senate removed a $150,000 appropriation for the Miami Military Museum and Memorial from the budget after the House repeatedly refused the funding.

Ruh-Roh. Federal prosecutors indicted former JEA CEO Aaron Zahn and finance chief Ryan Wannemacher on charges related to the failed attempt to privatize JEA.