Florida lawmakers return this week to Tallahassee after eight months — but it won’t be until next year that legislators begin to assess the wreckage left by the coronavirus pandemic.
Florida has nearly 900,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 17,000 coronavirus-related deaths, and the damage done by COVID-19 to the state’s economy has blown a hole in the state budget. The financial hit would be worse if not for billions of dollars in federal aid.
Here’s what we know: Legislative leaders have expressed an interest in enacting some sort of liability protections for businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
But what we don’t know yet is whether there will be any substantial review of the actions taken by Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ administration in response to COVID-19. It’s also unknown if the experiences of the past year will prompt legislators to reverse Florida’s public-health infrastructure’s years of attrition.
Incoming Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Republican from Trilby, and incoming House Speaker Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican, will formally take over during Tuesday’s Organization Session.
They may lay out an ambitious agenda for 2021, or they may just outline their aspirational goals for the next two years.