© 2024 All Rights reserved WUSF
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ignoring big legislative issues will allow them to 'fester,' warns former senator Jeff Brandes

The state Capitol Building rises above Tallahassee, Fla.
File Photo/Emily Felts
Fresh Take Florida
The state Capitol Building rises above Tallahassee, Fla.

Legislative priorities for lawmakers in Tallahassee this year include increasing the number of health care providers in Florida and clamping down on children's social media use.

Although the state legislative session is almost half over, there’s still more work ahead for lawmakers before they can pass a budget.

On this episode, we get a progress report on some of the biggest proposals from political journalist William March and Jeff Brandes, former state senator and founder of the Florida Policy Project, a non-partisan research institute. 

Brandes and March talk about bills that could erode the rights of local governments to make decisions on the environment, development, and cultural issues like what flags to fly over government buildings. They also discuss the issues that aren’t really being addressed, including housing and homeowners insurance.

"If you asked 100 people, what are the big issues in Florida? I don't think they would say social media and health care," said Brandes.

"We're not focusing on the big issues that are in front of us right now, and these things tend to fester, if you don't deal with them," he said.

"I think we're where California was back in the early '80s. And if we don't put some strategies in place to begin to deal with housing issues, then we're going to find ourselves in a really terrible place in a few years, where, you know, there is essentially that missing middle," said Brandes.

March said he will be keeping an eye on education funding in the second part of the legislative session, along with bills to regulate social media and consolidate power in Tallahassee.

"For the last several years, five years, maybe more, there's been, I would say at least one and usually more than one bill that has gone through the Florida Legislature to take powers away from local government. This year, one of the big ones is a bill that would abolish all police civilian review boards," said March.

I am the host of WUSF’s weekly public affairs show Florida Matters, where I get to indulge my curiosity in people and explore the endlessly fascinating stories that connect this community.
As the executive producer of WUSF's Florida Matters, I aim to create a show and podcast that makes all Floridians feel seen and heard. That's also my assignment as a producer for The Florida Roundup. In any role, my goal is always to amplify the voices often overlooked.