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State of the State: Growth, Prosperity, Freedom

March 2nd, 2021 by Mike Vasilinda

For the 123rd time since statehood, Florida lawmakers opened their annual session Tuesday, in what the Senate President called an opening like no other.

For the Governor, his State of the State address was mostly a victory lap.

Florida lawmakers have kept a hands off approach since the pandemic and for 28 and a half minutes, the Governor told them it worked on everything from keeping schools open to allowing people to work.

“We are one of only a handful of states in which a parent has the right to send their child to school in person,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “And our citizens are employed at higher rates than those in the nation as a whole.”

He also attributed the openness to the creation of an influx of new businesses.

“We are one of the top destinations for business relocation,” said DeSantis.

Looking ahead, the Governor again called for record school funding.

“And I just want to make it very clear. I reject and reductions in funding for K-12 education,” said DeSantis.

He also wants a billion over four years to fight climate change.

“It will help our communities adapt to the threats posed by flooding from intensified storms and sea level rise,” said DeSantis.

Legislative leaders said if there’s any federal stimulus money coming, it will be for one time expenses.

“Our priorities should be to reinvigorate this economy, we can do that with one time investments in our shovel ready road projects,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson.

As a rebuke to local governments who fought against not requiring masks, the Governor is proposing limiting local emergency powers.

Democrats argue the Governor isn’t looking out for average Floridians, only his political career.

“He’s no longer focusing on the state of Florida, but he’s focusing on his popularity as he’s getting ready for a Presidential run,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried.

As the only statewide elected Democrat, Fried is considered a top challenger to the Governor in 2022.

Asked Tuesday, she said she has not announced for Governor, “yet”.

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