Florida’s new legislative leaders were formally elected and sworn in on Tuesday, delivering speeches that offered a glimpse of what their priorities may be over the next two years.
Both House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, and Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, talked about healthy debate and the importance of respect across the aisle.
Renner and Passidomo also both discussed the rising cost of living for Floridians, housing and Hurricane Ian, with Renner announcing he’ll form a select committee to focus on hurricane recovery and resiliency. He also said the Legislature needs to focus on long-term infrastructure, even if it comes to fruition years down the line after members have left office.
In his speech, Renner denounced “ideologues” who “seek to politicize everything,” and said they spend ”more time defending drag queen story time” than teaching reading.
“In this election, moms and dads sent a clear message to these ideologues,” Renner said. “Our children are not your social experiment.”
Brandon Wolf, the press secretary for Equality Florida, on Twitter called Renner’s comments “sick” in light of the recent mass shooting at a Colorado LGTBQ club. Wolf is a survivor of the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Renner also denounced ESG, short for environmental, social and governance investing, saying it poses a threat to Florida’s pension fund.
During her speech, Passidomo discussed affordable housing, saying lawmakers need to do more than they did the prior session and calling it a “top priority.”
“I know state government cannot independently fix or outrun the problems caused by inflation,” Passidomo said. “But I believe a focus on safe, attainable workforce housing is one area where we can do our part.”
She also spoke at length about her goal of expanding Florida’s Wildlife Corridor and expanding the trail system.
Before Renner and Passidomo get the chance to steer Florida’s regular legislative session and focus on their bevy of issues, they first have to tackle a special session focused on Hurricane Ian property tax relief. The session will potentially address property insurance as well. DeSantis has not yet called the session but indicated in October he would do so.
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