2013 Florida Legislative Session Failed on Many Key Issues

Florida teacher pay raise

Governor Scott has been taking a victory lap around Florida because some of the teachers will receive a raise of $2,500 and state sales tax on new manufacturing equipment has been eliminated. Each school district will determine the requirements to qualify for the raise and many teachers believe they won’t receive any money. They think that many of the superintendents will create too many hoops to jump through to qualify for the raise.


Florida faces many big problems and Governor Scott decided to not take a position on this important issue. When leadership was needed our governor decided not to create any controversy because he wants to increase his job performance numbers. The governor repeated a standard statement, “I’d first have to see the bill.”

Before the session started, Governor Scott surprised everyone by announcing his support for accepting federal dollars to cover another 1.1 million low-income residents through the state’s Medicare program. But in the end there was no arm twisting and Florida stands to lose $51 billion over ten years.

Here was an opportunity for the governor to support a bill that would help the poor and grassroots folks -- and maybe improve his image -- but Governor Scott decided remained mute.

There have been other missed opportunities. One critical one is that many Floridians believe the Stand your Ground law needs to be fixed but the governor refuses to show leadership. The governor keeps saying that he supports the Second Amendment but no one knows what that actually means. Florida also has a chance to collect much needed revenue thru taxes on sales over the internet but Governor Scott is missing in action.

Two years ago the Miami Herald did an investigation on assisted living facilities where there were cases of abuse and death. Governor Scott again stood on the sidelines and refused to ask the lawmakers to create a bill that would regulate and push owners to begin to clean up their facilities.

There is now talk in political circles that the Florida legislature is considering calling a special session to reconsider federal healthcare funding with the state’s Medicare program. It will be interesting to see if the governor takes a position on the federal healthcare funding or will he be quiet and missing in action.

Governor Scott started in office as an outsider and now he is working to be an insider in the Republican Party. By staying away from controversy, it’s easier for the governor to get support from the national leaders in the party. But in Florida there is always a controversy going on in the Republican Party.

For example, Senate President Don Gaetz in 2013 focused on passing an ethics bill in this legislative session and he was successful. But the last week of the session, the hospice company that he founded was charged with committing Medicare fraud for 11 years by the federal government.

Maybe it is just a coincidence that our governor got rich by leading a company accused of Medicare fraud as well as our Senate President who also got rich leading a company accused of Medicare fraud.

Stranger things have happened. 

Riiight ...