There will be two “interim committee weeks” in November, the week of November 6th and the week of November 13th. Interim Committee weeks are held in advance of the 60-day regular session beginning on January 9th, 2018. The November Interim Committee weeks will continue the legislative work of hearing bills, adding amendments and if reported favorably, moving the bill to the next committee of reference. There have been over 650 bills filed so far for the 2018 session.
Also, November legislative committee weeks will continue the work of preparing the next fiscal year budget for 2018-19. September began the first step in creating the state budget with the Long Range Financial Outlook. As we reported last month, the Long Range Financial Outlook showed leaner times for the next few years, especially with the money that will be needed to be allocated for the extensive damage by Hurricane Irma. Education and Medicaid are two of the biggest cost drivers in the budget. With more students moving to Florida every-day and the continual increase in those on Medicaid, will put more stress on balancing the budget. Education and Medicaid make up 60% of the budget.
In November, Florida’s state agencies will continue to submit a detailed list of their budget needs to the various Appropriation Committees and Governor Scott has begun to announce some of his budget proposals. As required by law, the Governor must present his complete budget proposal thirty days prior to the start of the Legislative Session on January 9th, 2018.
The debate over purchasing environmental “conservation land” will heat up in November. Close to 1/3 of Florida is already held in conservation. Environmental groups are pushing for the legislature to buy more land for conservation, but, with a tight budget, we question if buying more land is needed now.
With just three committee weeks left before the end of the year, it is critical that we push our bills through each committee stop as soon as possible. If a bill has 3 or committee referrals at the beginning of session, it becomes unlikely to pass. Be sure to check out our “Legislative Ticker” on our web site. We provide up-to-date list of bills, bill sponsors, committee assignments, and explanation of the bill. We also will let you know whether we support or oppose each bill and how to take-action on each one of them.