TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott, Senate President Joe Negron and Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran released the below statements on the conclusion of the Legislative Special Session.
Governor Scott said, “Last week, I called a special session to fight for jobs, tourism and education, and I am proud to announce a major win for Florida families today. This special session, we’ve increased the per-pupil spending to an all-time high, we’ve established a flexible, transparent economic development program and we’ve fully funded VISIT FLORIDA so we can continue to break visitation records. We know that the most important things to a family are a good-paying job and a great education for their children, and these major investments will help us continue to create opportunities across our state for generations to come.
“I was glad that House Speaker Richard Corcoran requested that I expand the Legislative session so the Legislature could invest money in the Herbert Hoover Dike. After trying for years to convince the Obama Administration to fix the dike, in April, the Trump Administration committed their support. The important funding the Legislature appropriated today will help start this important project so we can protect surrounding Florida communities from flooding and problems associated with algae.
“Additionally, I’m glad that the Legislature passed a bill regarding medical marijuana, which was approved by 71 percent of Florida voters last year. It is my belief that outlining the framework for medical marijuana in Florida is the duty of the Legislature, and I am happy that they reached an agreement. I will sign this legislation and the Department of Health will follow the letter of the law to put patients first.
“I made a commitment to fight every day for Floridians, and I am proud that the special session resulted in important investments that will help keep us on track to making our state the best place for families and job creators to succeed.”
Senate President Joe Negron said, “I was pleased to join Governor Scott and Speaker Corcoran to mark the conclusion of Special Session and final action on a number of key priorities of the Senate.
“The Special Session resulted in a meaningful increase in per-student funding for K-12 public education in Florida. Heading into the next school year, per student funding is now at an unprecedented level, significantly closer to the amount sought by the Senate during the Regular Session. Additionally, the Senate worked with Governor Scott and our House colleagues to achieve our goal of adding $60 million to fund infrastructure projects at our state universities. We know universities are key economic drivers for our state’s economy and investing in these infrastructure improvements is critical to elevating the national reputation of our universities.
“This week, we also passed legislation to fully and faithfully implement the constitutional amendment passed by 71 percent of voters last November, and increased the state investment in tourism marketing and economic development back to a level of commitment similar to the initial Senate budget. Finally, I commend Governor Scott for continuing to work with President Trump to ensure the federal government is a faithful partner in repairing the Herbert Hoover Dike. Combined with the components of Senate Bill 10, which has already been signed into law by the Governor, I am confident the state investment of $50 million to expedite repairs to the dike will help with our efforts to reduce, and one day eliminate, the harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee.”
House Speaker Richard Corcoran said, “It was an honor to work with the Governor on an unprecedented legislative session that saw transformational reforms and conservatism in action. We produced a budget that cut taxes, brought new accountability in spending, created a broad-based economic and job growth fund, environmental protection, and oversaw transformational education policy. Make no mistake, everyday Floridians are big winners in this budget. I want to thank the Governor for his leadership and his willingness to work with the House on all aspects of the budget. I look forward to working with him again next year.”
More Details from Special Session
Increased Funding for Florida’s K-12 students through the FEFP: Following Governor Scott’s call, the Legislature has allocated an additional $215 million to K-12 education than was previously authorized. This will increase the per-student funding by $100. This is the highest K-12 per pupil funding in Florida history. This funding will allow our schools and teachers to deliver results for our children.
Established Florida Job Growth Grant Fund: Since 2010, Florida has created over 1.35 million private-sector jobs. To build on this success, Governor Scott worked with the Legislature to establish the new Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to promote public infrastructure and individual job training, which will encourage more businesses to choose Florida as a destination for business. The Legislature has allocated $85 million for the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to be administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity.
Fully Funded VISIT FLORIDA: Following Governor Scott’s call, the Legislature allocated $76 million to fully fund VISIT FLORIDA to continue to market Florida as a premier vacation destination worldwide. This proposal builds on added transparency and accountability reforms at the organization.
Herbert Hoover Dike Repairs: Following Governor Scott’s expansion of the call for special session, the Florida Legislature appropriated $50 million to kick-start much needed repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike surrounding Lake Okeechobee. Along with SB 10, a major priority for Senator Negron, repairing the Herbert Hoover Dike will ensure that future generations of Floridians will not be plagued with safety concerns during flooding events and problems with algae. The $50 million for this project will be included in the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund, bringing the total of that fund to $135 million.
Medical Marijuana: Governor Scott expanded the call for special session this week to allow the Legislature to develop the framework for medical marijuana. The Florida Legislature passed SB 8-A and SB 6-A which outlines the implementation of the constitutional amendment approved by 71 percent of voters in 2016. The Governor plans to sign this legislation.