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Governor Highlights Achievements of 2024 Legislative Session

March 11, 2024

TALLAHASSEEGov. Ron DeSantis was joined by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner on March 8 to mark the end of the 2024 Legislative Session and highlight the record number of historic wins that have been delivered for the people of Florida.

Thanks to the work of Florida’s leaders, our state is the best state in the nation and will be safe, strong, and fiscally sound for generations to come.

“We have delivered unprecedented victories for the people of Florida,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I asked the Legislature to deliver as boldly as they did last session, and they have done so. Florida continues to show the nation how to lead on every issue.”

Crowning this session’s achievements, the Legislature has heeded the Governor’s call to continue to provide tax savings for Florida’s families during this time of continued Bidenflation. This session’s budget includes nearly $1.5 billion in tax relief, with $450 million in toll savings. Over the course of the last two years, Floridians have enjoyed $4.2 billion in tax savings, with nearly $1 billion in toll savings.

Florida maintains fiscal prudence with no state income tax and one of the lowest per capita tax burdens of any state in the nation. And, at the Governor’s initiative, Florida has paid down debt and maintained a healthy budget surplus.

This year’s budget includes $14.6 billion of surplus before further action from the Governor, and this does not include the $200 million collected over the most recent revenue estimates for the month of February. As Florida’s economy continues to grow, these numbers will climb even higher.

Since Governor DeSantis took office, Florida has paid down $5.3 billion in state debt (or 25% of our state’s total debt). This year’s budget secures another $500 million towards accelerating debt pay-down.

Compared to other states of comparable size, Florida spends less and provides better services. Florida’s per capita spending is lower than all other states of similar size (California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and even Texas).

New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois have fewer people but considerably higher spending. Florida spends less and provides better services to its citizens.

Law and Order

Florida is a law-and-order state, and Florida values and honors its law enforcement officers and first responders.

Law and order accomplishments from this session include:

  • Raising the minimum threshold for grand retail theft and ensuring that groups attempting to rob Florida businesses will be held accountable for their crimes.
  • Adding legal penalties for those who incite mobs or looting through social media “flash crime” posts and gatherings—including intersection takeovers.
  • Further protecting our children from exploitation by creating the offense of lewd and lascivious grooming and making it a third-degree felony.
  • Protecting our senior citizens and Floridians with disabilities from schemes to defraud.
  • Addressing homelessness, by prohibiting homeless individuals from camping on city streets, sidewalks, and parks—and instead requiring homeless residency in drug- and alcohol-free shelters inspected by state agencies that have substance abuse and mental health counseling services.
  • Securing $17 million for the continuation of the Law Enforcement Recruitment program (to allow $5,000 bonuses to newly recruited officers for the third year in a row).
  • Passing protections for our law enforcement officers and first responders with increased criminal penalties for those who expose them to deadly substances like fentanyl or threaten or harass them in the act of their duty.

Protecting Floridians from the Impacts of Illegal Immigration

While Washington neglects its responsibility to secure our border, Florida continues to step up. Currently, Florida law enforcement officers, State Troopers, Florida National Guard, and members of the Florida State Guard are deployed at the border, assisting Texas officials in stemming the tide of illegal immigration into our country.

Last year, Florida delivered the strongest anti-illegal immigration bill in the nation: expanding E-Verify to private employers, increasing penalties for human smuggling, and dedicating funding to send more illegal immigrants to more sanctuary jurisdictions.

This year, Florida has built on those efforts to curb and address illegal immigration by:

  • Increasing penalties for driving without a valid driver’s license, including a mandatory jail sentence for repeat offenders.
  • Restricting the documents that can be used to receive a state-issued ID card; and
  • Increasing penalties for illegal immigrant felons who have already been deported and have illegally reentered our country.

Tax Relief & Supporting Floridians’ Finances

Last year, Florida delivered a historic $2.7 billion in tax relief.

This year, the Governor has fought to continue to provide tax savings for Floridians. The Legislature has provided a budget that includes nearly $1.5 billion in tax savings.

Additionally this year, the Legislature has answered the Governor’s call to stay the course and continue to support Florida’s homeowners as our insurance market shows signs of recovery. That includes reducing taxes on property insurance policies and injecting another $200 million in the My Safe Florida Home Program, bringing total investment to nearly $600 million since 2022.

The program is proving its worth, investing in Florida’s homeowners through funds for home inspections and storm hardening to increase resilience and decrease premiums. Thus far, homeowners have averaged $1,000 in savings.

And at the Governor’s direction, the Legislature has continued historic efforts to provide toll relief to Florida’s commuters by allocating an additional $450 million in funds to support another year of the program, from April 2024 through March 2025. That’s nearly $1 billion in toll relief for Florida drivers in just two years.

Because of Florida’s success, Americans continue to move to the state, and that requires continued investment in Florida’s infrastructure. Last year, Florida secured $4 billion to expedite major interstate and roadway projects. This year, Florida has continued those efforts by providing FDOT the funds needed to complete the Moving Florida Forward project, while investing an additional $14.7 billion in transportation infrastructure to reduce congestion.

Florida has also acted to assist those Floridians in critical workforce positions by further incentivizing the development of workforce housing and securing additional funding for the Hometown Heroes program, which helps law enforcement officers, firefighters, nurses, and others afford a home in the community that they serve.

Fighting Back Against the CCP

Last year, Florida delivered the strongest legislation in the nation to confront the United States’ greatest economic, strategic, and security threat—the Chinese Communist Party—from purchasing land in Florida and having other means of intrusion on American society.

And this year, the Florida Legislature fought off special interest attempts to lessen this great work.

Florida has also reduced its exposure in Chinese companies within Florida’s investments. The State Board of Administration (SBA) ceased funding new investment strategies in Chinese companies. Since that time, Florida’s market exposure in China has decreased by $1.3 billion.

Building on this, HB 7071—passed this year—directs the SBA to divest from investments in any company identified to have a majority ownership by the Chinese government or, by association, the Chinese Communist Party and prohibits any investment in these companies in the future.

And HB 1331 prohibits the state from contracting with companies that produce commodities, in whole or in part, by forced labor, including minors and victims of human trafficking.

Stopping the Woke

Last year, Florida passed record protections against the ESG Agenda wreaking havoc through the financial sector. This year, Florida has taken additional steps to continue efforts to kneecap ESG in Florida.

This includes legislation this session to protect consumers against “de-banking,” including protecting customers from having their bank accounts frozen for not submitting to an ideological agenda. The legislation ensures that there is a consumer-triggered due process procedure for all customers of financial institutions in Florida, regardless of where the bank is based, to issue a complaint and have the state financial regulator investigate and act, if necessary, against the bank.

Florida has also taken steps to ensure Florida’s banking is not monopolized by Wall Street. The legislation passed this session opens up more opportunities for community-controlled financial institutions like credit unions to hold public money. Banking with community funds should not be exclusive to a single entity or Wall Street institutions.

Additionally, this year Florida says “NO” to Davos’ agenda of pushing fake meat into our supermarkets and onto our children. Thanks to SB 1084, Florida will not allow people to pass off lab-grown meat for real beef in the state of Florida.

Lastly, this session, Florida passed the most comprehensive energy policy reforms in over a decade, ensuring Florida’s energy policy focuses on the viability and availability of energy resources in the state, without subjecting the reliability of Florida’s grid to the pressures of the global Green New Deal regime.

Education and Parental Rights

Florida continues to be the education state thanks to the Governor’s continued fight for parents’ rights in education, increased teacher salaries, record per-pupil spending, and expansive school choice—which is now universal.

This year’s HB 1291 will prohibit teacher preparation programs from indoctrinating future educators on topics such as critical race theory, identity politics, and DEI.

Additionally, HB 1285 will crack down on frivolous book challenges from bad actors and refocus efforts on removing truly pornographic materials from Florida’s schools. The bill will also prohibit colleges and universities from forbidding students to work while they are pursuing a degree.

Florida is the parents’ rights state.

HB 3 empowers parents to oversee their minor child’s interactions with social media by giving them the final say on whether their 14- or 15-year-old can have a social media account. At the same time, HB 3 protects the ability of social media users to engage online anonymously.