10 big issues to watch in the 2021 Legislative Session

The 2021 legislative session will start March 2, with Gov. Ron DeSantis giving the annual State of the State address.

Lawmakers will take up a wide range of issues during the 60-day session, along with negotiating a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Here are 10 big issues to watch during the session:

Budget: With the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic reducing expected tax revenues, legislative leaders have warned repeatedly that they likely will make budget cuts. But DeSantis in January released a record $96.6 billion budget proposal for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, which will start July 1. DeSantis’ proposal is a starting point for lawmakers, who have continued to offer a less-rosy view of the state’s finances.

Education: Continuing years of Republican efforts to boost school choice, lawmakers are considering a major school-vouchers bill that includes expanding eligibility for scholarship programs and creating what are known as “education savings accounts.” Meanwhile, public schools will be a key budget issue, in part because lawmakers will have to decide how to address nearly 88,000 students who did not enroll as expected this year during the pandemic.

Elections: Republican leaders are backing controversial proposals that would change

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