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Florida House, Senate Seek Resolution Over Key State Issues at Legislative Session Midpoint

Frank Torres (l) and Dick Batchelor. Photo: Matthew Peddie, WMFE

With the Florida House and Senate in full swing for the current legislative session, state lawmakers are scheduled to discuss a number of pressing issues, including vastly different drafts of the state budget, sanctuary cities and affordable housing.

Republican political analyst Frank Torres and Dick Batchelor, Democratic political analyst and former state lawmaker, join Intersection to discuss the major resolutions facing Florida’s lawmakers during this legislative session.

Torres highlights the state budget as a possible point of contention between the House and Senate. The House has traditionally been more conservative than the Senate in terms of drafting budgets, and this year is expected to be no different, he says.

“The interesting thing to watch here for our listeners is to see how the House and the Senate get along with the budget,” Torres says.

“In past years, sometimes there has been a peaceful approach to resolving the budget difference [and] sometimes there have been not-so-peaceful results in the budget difference. That’s the one thing that the legislature just has to do, and in seeing the chemistry, especially with a new governor and a lot of new legislators and lawmakers, it’s really interesting to see how it works out.”

Batchelor says he believes legislators may have to consider holding a special session, a meeting when the governing body convenes outside of the normal legislative session to resolve unfinished tasks, if the House and Senate cannot come to agreement on core issues during the allotted time.

Batchelor names education as potential source of disagreement for lawmakers.

“The education one is going to be a very big one,” he says. “[The House and the Senate] are about $400 million apart on education.”

Affordable housing may be another cause of conflict. The Senate supported Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to leave $400 million in the Sadowski fund while the House has pledged to take $135 million out of the fund for hurricane relief in the Panhandle.

Among other issues set to come up for discussion are controversial stances on establishing sanctuary cities, medical marijuana and arming teachers.

“It will be interesting to see how they hold out, how long they hold out and what’s the issue, if it’s a budget-related or it's just something totally unrelated dealing with abortion or marijuana," Batchelor says. "We’ll just have to see."