Legislative Report, Jan. 11-15, 2021
Posted on 01/18/2021

General Information

This report contains pertinent information presented and discussed during the first interim committee week of the 2021 legislative session. Both the House and Senate held meetings to discuss issues that may be addressed by the Legislature during the 2021 Legislative Session.

Senate Chamber

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, the Senate Education Committee held its meeting. Step up for Students and AAA presented overviews of their scholarship programs. 
Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education held its meeting.  Florida DOE Chief of Staff Alex Kelly provided a CARES Act funding and spending update.  A panel of 5 small to medium sized school superintendents testified before committee. The materials can be found here.
Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, the Senate Appropriations Committee held its meeting. Amy Baker, Florida's Chief Economist, presented the 
long-range financial outlook and revenue forecast. In short, there is a 2.75-billion-dollar budget shortfall that will take years to overcome. As supplemental reading, please find a link to the best news article.
In addition, the Senate Select Committee on Pandemic Preparedness and Response Committee also held its meeting on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. The Surgeon General Rivkees presented an 
update on the Florida Impacts of Pandemic. There are no materials from his presentation.

House Chamber

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021, the House Appropriations Committee held a budget workshop. Chair Trumbull provided an overview of the budget process and the members conducted introductions. 
In addition, the House Secondary Education and Career Development Subcommittee held its meeting Wednesday Jan. 13, 2021.  The 
committee's presentation identified in-demand credentials that lead to high-demand, high-wage jobs. 
The House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee also held its meeting Wednesday, Jan.13, 2021, where
 HB 7, Civil Liability for Damages Related to COVID-19 was considered. This bill would provide some tort liability protections for businesses and government entities, including school districts, related to potential COVID-19 claims. It passed the subcommittee with a vote of 11-6 along party lines and will now head to the Pandemics and Public Emergencies Committee. Read the meeting materials.
The bill has a Senate companion bill, 
SB 72It is scheduled to be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee during its meeting Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.
The House Early Learning and Elementary Education Subcommittee held its meeting Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. The subcommittee A presentation was made on the science of reading and literacy-rich home environments. This is the first time the Florida Legislature has a dedicated committee for early learning. The presentation materials can be found here.
The House Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee also held its meeting Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, and the director of the Florida Department of Emergency Management, Jared Moskowitz, informed the committee that a statewide appointment system for COVID-19 vaccinations could be ready within weeks. There are no materials from his presentation.