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Legislative Roundtable Series: Analysis of Florida’s 2018 Legislative Session

LOOIZ Via Flickr

Florida’s 2018 legislative session ended following a rare Sunday session, during which lawmakers approved an $88.7 billion budget.  Sunday’s budget approval followed Governor Rick Scott signing into law, on Friday, a new gun control and school safety law (SB 7026) crafted in response to February’s mass shooting at a Broward County high school that took the lives of 17 people.

We’ll hear from Florida Gulf Coast University Political Science Professors Peter Bergerson, Ph.D., and Roger Green, Ph.D.  We’ll also talk with Tampa Bay Times Tallahassee Bureau Chief Steve Bousquet, and WLRN reporter Jessica Bakeman joins us.  Bakeman’s coverage for public radio stations throughout Florida has extended from the immediate response to the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County all the way to Tallahassee as survivors and their loved ones lobbied their representatives and senators to take action on making schools safer.

Meanwhile, the state budget for the coming fiscal year includes an increase in per-student spending for public schools, although superintendents say it won’t be enough to cover rising costs.  Environmental advocates are celebrating increased funding for the state’s conservation land-buying program, “Florida Forever,” and the new budget increases spending on Medicaid, Florida KidCare, and increased payments to nursing homes.

Lawmakers also approved a tax package that includes sales tax holidays for both school and hurricane supplies in the coming year.

In the final installment of our legislative roundtable series today, we’re joined by a panel of political scientists and seasoned journalists who’ve been covering the state capitol, for insight and analysis of this year’s session, a look at what bills passed, which ones didn’t and what it all means for you.