The 60-day 2020 Regular Session began on Tuesday, January 14th. The Governor and the presiding officers of the House and Senate provided their opening comments on their priorities– which included education reform, health care, criminal justice reform, immigration regulations, abortion regulations, and water quality reforms. While it appears that there may be some disagreements over some of these issues, we expect Session to end on time and another year with a limited number of bills passing out of the full legislature.
The Legislature has held an initial meeting to review Governor DeSantis’ budget recommendations for Fiscal Year 2020/2021. The Governor’s budget recommendation includes $119.7 million for seaports in the following specific line items:
- Line Item 1920 — $15 million for debt reserve payments (FPFC 1996 Bond Refinance).
- Line Item 1921 — $10 million for debt reserve payments (FPFC 1999 Bond Refinance).
- Line Item 1922 — $82,964,253 for the FSTED Program, SIS, GM, SPII and other FDOT allocations in FDOT 5-Year Work Program.
- Line Item 1923 — $10 million for the Seaport Investment Program/Bond debt reserve payments.
- Line Item 1925 — $71,633,516 for the FDOT Intermodal Development/Grants Program. This may or may not include some seaport projects.
The Governor’s budget recommendations also include the following recommended proviso language – “From the funds in Specific Appropriation 1922, $2,000,000 is provided to promote fuel optimization and resiliency during hurricanes and other natural disasters by enhancing the fuel distribution system infrastructure at state seaport fuel storage facilities.”
We will continue to stress the importance of investing in Florida’s seaports during the budget negotiations that will take place during the latter part of the 60-day 2020 Regular Session.
We also are following the economic development efforts of our state agency partners – Enterprise Florida and VISIT Florida. We support the need to fully fund the economic development and marketing efforts by both Enterprise Florida and VISIT Florida. We are supporting legislation that will repeal the termination date for VISIT Florida and authorize the continuance of their marketing activities. We have stressed the need for international marketing efforts by both entities.