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