© 2024 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You Count on Us, We Count on You: Donate to WUSF to support free, accessible journalism for yourself and the community.
Get the latest coverage of the 2024 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Here are the top issues of the 2024 Florida legislative session

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives in Tallahassee, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024.
AP Photo
/
Gary McCullough
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gives his State of the State address during a joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives in Tallahassee, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024.

This list is not comprehensive, but serves as a starting point for the issues that have already generated conversation. As lawmakers discuss policy, more concerns may emerge.

Social media use for minors

Proposals have filed that would Require social media platforms to prevent kids from creating new accounts. Social media providers would have to use “reasonable age verification methods to verify ages of account holders, & disclose specified policies & provide specified resources, measures, & disclaimer” and the state would be able to sue the companies for violations under Florida’s Deceptive & Unfair Trade Practices Act. The issue of harming effects of social media on kids has been growing in awareness over the past few years. This year’s legislation is a priority of House Speaker Paul Renner and appears to have bipartisan support, though there are many questions about how enforceable the bills, if passed, will be.

Live Healthy

Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo is making access to healthcare her top priority for the legislative session. She’s outlined plans for bills to expand the state’s healthcare workforce and to encourage innovation in the healthcare field. Passidomo says she expects lawmakers to file at least a dozen other measures that could fit into her Live Healthy initiative.

Education deregulation

For more than two decades, Florida lawmakers have been ratcheting up requirements on the state’s public schools. The original effort, led by former Gov. Jeb Bush, led to the widespread expansion of standardized testing and the introduction of school grades with penalties attached. Now Senate lawmakers are trying to roll back some of those rules. Algebra I EOC, 3rd grade reading parent passing. A similar measure is also in the House but does not appear as expansive as the Senate plan.

Child labor

Florida lawmakers will consider a proposal to loosen the state's child labor laws. Supporters say it will encourage more youth labor participation and teach responsibility, while opponents see it as a pathway to use kids to shore up the state's labor shortages.

Guns

The plan would lower the long gun and rifle purchase age from 21-18. This effectively reverses a major change that lawmakers made shortly after the Parkland School Shooting. There’s also a plan to eliminate the three-day waiting period for those types of guns.

Abortion

Personhood to unborn fetus—allows someone to sue if a pregnant woman seeks an abortion. Complete abortion ban. Abortion amendment now slated for Florida Supreme Court Review on Feb. 7, and now has enough signatures for the ballot. Meanwhile, the state’s 15-week abortion ban is pending before the Florida Supreme Court. If the court upholds it, the 6-week ban passed last session will go into effect.

Elections

Lawmakers could consider a measure that significantly limits vote-by-mail to only certain people in certain conditions. Brought by Blaise Ingoglia, the bill would require some sort of reason for why a voter cannot vote in person. Former Republican Sen. Alan Hays, who is now a local election supervisor, has blasted the proposal. “I’m sick and tired of this crap,” said Hays, Supervisor of Elections for Lake County. “I am embarrassed, as a former state Senator myself, that a current Senator would offer such a nonsensical idea,” Hays added. “The Senate is supposed to be a body of leaders, not destroyers. And I see nothing good that I can say about this bill at all. … Shame on him.”

Gambling money for environmental protection

Now that Florida has secured a new deal to split Gambling revenue with the Seminole Tribe of Florida, lawmakers see an opportunity for how to spend those revenues—environmental conservation and restoration. Both House Speaker Paul Renner and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo have endorsed the plan. The News Service of Florida notes the money comes from the 2021 deal that allowed the Tribe to offer online sports betting statewide among other types of gaming. In exchange, the tribe pledged to pay $2.5 billion to the state over the first five years — and possibly billions of dollars more throughout the three-decade pact.

Copyright 2024 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.