This year’s legislative session proved to be as busy as expected. The regular session started early this year, and ended on March 9, 2012. With the legislators focused on reapportionment and redistricting, fewer bills passed in 2012. A total of 2052 bills were filed in both chambers, with 240 House bills and 52 Senate bills passing both chambers. Hot topics in Tallahassee included redistricting, resort casinos, prison privatization, and a new state university. Also, the numeric nutrient criteria bill (HB 7051) passed and was signed by the governor and sent to the U.S. EPA.
As to redistricting, on April 27, 2012, the Florida Supreme Court approved the Senate redistricting map, and the House maps were approved on March 9, 2012. The new district lines drew many sitting House members out of districts, or put them in competition with fellow party members. As a result, and along with term limits, there will be 12 of 40 Senate seats open and 20-25 of 120 House seats vacated.
The General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2012-2013 provides for a total budget of $70.04 billion, including $24.77 billion in general revenue and $45.27 billion in trust funds. On the issue of natural resources, House and Senate budget negotiators on Wednesday agreed on a $30 million appropriation for Everglades restoration and $23.5 million for invasive plant control in fiscal year 2012-13.
Recently, I made a presentation to the Lower West Coast Utility Council discussing the 2012 Legislative session in Florida. The focus of the presentation was on water, environmental, and utility bills. For the meeting, I prepared the attached 2012 Florida Legislative Update Powerpoint presentation. Just click the link to download a copy.