Florida Five: Legislative session kicks off today – tax cuts, health care and optimism

Welcome to Tallahassee for five of today’s top Florida political stories at your fingertips as the 2016 Legislative Session gets underway:

And they’re off! 2016 Florida legislative session kicks off with a party at Associated Industries 

2016 Legislative session kickoff
Florida Governor Rick Scott, center, shares a laugh at the Associated Industries of Florida party in Tallahassee, Monday night, Jan. 1, 2016, that kicked off the 2016 Florida legislative session. SCOTT KEELER | TIMES

Andy Gardiner is optimistic about final session – Senate President Andy Gardiner wraps up a 21-year legislative career with the kick off of the 2016 legislative session. He’s backing two bills to help people with disabilities. Gardiner is a central Florida Republican and he served in leadership positions in the House and Senate with the Republican Party firmly in control of both chambers. Read more

Scott going all-out for tax cuts – Gov. Rick Scott is aggressively using all the political and rhetorical weapons available to his office to make the case that lawmakers should back a $1 billion tax-cutting plan by the time they end their annual session in early March. It will be the focus of Scott’s sixth annual “State of the State” address Tuesday morning that he will deliver before a packed Florida House chamber shortly after 11 a.m. on the session’s opening day. Read more

It’s back to work for GOP-controlled Florida Legislature – When he stands before the Florida Legislature for the sixth time on Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott will repeat the same message he has given every year since he took office: It’s all about jobs. Scott will open the 60-day session with his annual “State of the State” speech where he will call on Republican leaders to embrace his $1 billion tax cut package. He is also expected to make a push to set aside tens of millions to lure new companies to Florida. Read more

Healthcare pricing bills introduced, but Gov. Scott wants them tougher – Have you gotten a medical procedure recently only to be floored by the bill that arrives in the mail after the fact? This is all too common for Floridians, and lawmakers want it to change. Last year, Medicaid expansion and providing coverage for the uninsured derailed Florida’s legislative session. Read more

Florida Realtors lend support to anti-discrimination Florida Competitive Workforce Act – Florida Realtors have become the latest group to join the effort to modernize state law by including anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Read more

Bonus: House speaker: This is Florida’s year of water

For more Florida political news, visit BPR’s FLORIDA NEWS page.


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