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2017 Florida Legislative Session
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The Florida Legislative Session is over but many things remain uncertain. 2934 bills were introduced but only 249 passed. On May 5th, the Florida Legislature approved a $83 billion state budget. Unlike past years, there was limited debate on the budget. The House approved it by a 98-14 vote while the Senate voted for the budget 34-4. That's enough of a margin to override Governor Scott if he vetoes the budget.

What passed? Commercial solar tax exemption, funding for Everglades Restoration, standards for ride-sharing services, pay raise for state employees, proposed 2018 Constitutional Amendment increasing Homestead exemption. 

What did not pass? Gambling, workers compensation reform, medical marijuana, no fault auto insurance repeal, and health care deregulation. 

We also saw several budget cuts. $521 million in Medicaid payments, $325 million in conservation funding, $8 million in cultural and museum grants. 

There was also confusion and angst caused by confirming bills. These were at the center of major policy fights over economic development and public education. The 300 page education bill, HB 7069, was only released on the Friday before session ended. It was contained roughly 20 different provisions.  

Florida lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on how to implement Amendment 2, the voter-approved constitutional change that greatly expands who can use medical marijuana. This will most likely result in a special session.

Four bills were filed regarding the future of the Florida State Employees Charitable Campaign and none of them were adopted. We anticipate movement on this issue during the 2018 Session. 

We encourage nonprofit leaders to engage with legislators in the interim between sessions and share information about your organizations and to affect strong public policy that will serve your missions and strengthen our communities.