2019 Florida Legislative Session Wrap-Up
The 2019 Florida Legislative Session is over. Lawmakers approved 197 bills this year, setting a record for the fewest bills passed (at least since 2001, and likely long before that). The amount of bills passed has been steadily declining. This is probably a good thing, but it also reflects the use of “trains,” strike-all amendments, and adding brand new issues to bills at the last minute, things that certainly occurred this year. Still, there was some good legislation that passed and, as always, some missed opportunities and some great ideas that became less so as the process wore on.
The Legislature passed a $91.1 billion budget that is $1.8 billion above current spending and a $121.5 million tax cut package that is relatively modest compared to recent years.
The bills that did pass included many recommended or supported by Florida TaxWatch research. This includes a reduction in the Business Rent Tax, a massive criminal justice reform bill, strengthening financial literacy education, promoting telehealth, saving Visit Florida from repeal, strengthening workforce education, expansion of school choice, and preventing federal tax changes from creating a large corporate income tax hike.
One of the big disappointments of this session was the failure to finally address the remote sales tax collection issue, despite a U.S. Supreme Court decision opening the door to a solution and Florida being only one of four states that have yet to act.
The following Legislative Summary discusses all these bills and more. It shows what passed and what did not—both issues supported by Florida TaxWatch research and other important bills we monitored all session long to keep our members and the public informed on our Legislative Update webpage.