Weekly Roundup: Halfway Home

It’s midway through the legislative session and all eyes are on the money now.

The House and Senate this week unveiled competing budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year. And at roughly $1 billion apart, money fights are sure to abound, as lawmakers inch toward final budget negotiations.

One of the biggest points of contention so far has to do with funding for the state’s tourism industry, particularly Visit Florida, the tourism-marketing agency whose life is on the line.

Just as they did in 2017 with House Speaker Richard Corcoran at the helm, House leaders are mulling cuts to the agency. In recent years, Visit Florida has drawn fire for some of its contracts, including $1 million for a “Sexy Beaches” Pitbull deal and a $11.6 million contract with celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse.

As of this week, the House has offered $19 million to cover the agency’s expenses through October and the Senate has proposed $50 million for the agency. The proposals are millions of dollars short of the $76 million Gov. Ron DeSantis pitched for the agency earlier this year.

As the familiar fight over Visit Florida funding plays out during budget negotiations, a number of other budget recommendations

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