With less than two full weeks remaining in the 2016 regular legislative session, Florida Farm Bureau’s legislative agenda is in excellent shape. Every bill supported by Farm Bureau in 2016 has been heard by a committee and most bills are nearing the finish line. So far, it’s been a productive year for the Florida Legislature as House and Senate leaders seem to be working together on budget negotiations and to pass good policy before the legislative session comes to a close on Friday, March 11.
Florida Farm Bureau has already seen one of its top legislative priorities pass and be signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott. A long-term, comprehensive water policy plan for Florida, legislation that was nearly three years in the making, passed the Legislature early into the legislative session and was quickly signed into law. The bill, which drew bipartisan support in both chambers, signaled a positive start to the session that we’ve seen continue in the weeks since.
Although things can change quickly in Tallahassee, we do expect the budget to come together and a smooth finish to the 2016 legislative session as state lawmakers prepare to begin campaigning for re-election in November. Following the rulings on redistricting by the Florida Supreme Court, all 160 legislative seats will be on the ballot this year: 120 House seats and 40 State Senate seats. This is in addition to the Presidential race, a U.S. Senate race, Congressional races and many constitutional amendments that will be on the ballot.
We’ve already seen the new State Senate districts playing a role this legislative session, with Senators aware of their new constituencies and voting to reflect their new Senate seats. It’s going to be a fun and interesting ending to the 2016 legislative session and an exciting election season in Florida. Hang on…it could be a bumpy ride!