The 2014 Session: More Money, Little Drama, Fewer Bills

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A calm collaboration was noticeable during the 2014 Regular Session as the House and Senate worked to enact bills to legalize a form of medical marijuana, extend in-state tuition to unauthorized immigrants, cut motorist registration fees, and craft a $77 billion budget. Some big ticket items, like proposals to approve billion-dollar destination casinos in South Florida and reform the state’s pension system to enroll more public employees in a 401(k)-style plan, rather than the current defined benefit plan, were much discussed but failed to make it across the finish line as the Session came to a close. Despite the passage of a scant 264 bills, most legislators greeted sine die with a sense of accomplishment and relief given the $500 million in cuts to taxes and fees they bestowed upon individuals and businesses all across the state. But, there was certainly no willingness to linger in Tallahassee, as talk of a special session to ratify a new Seminole gambling compact was shut down almost as soon as the idea was floated. The priority was to get out of town and get home to run for re-election in what promises to be the most expensive campaign season ever given the doubling of campaign contribution limits that kicked in November 1, 2013. From start to finish, the Hopping Green & Sams’ team was on the scene advocating for less regulation, lower taxes, and more efficient government whether at the state or local level – priorities for our clients’ continued operation and growth in the Sunshine State. For Session highlights, check out the 2014 Legislative Wrap Up. For additional information contact Diane Carr, French Brown, David Childs, Gary Hunter, Frank Matthews, Eric Olsen, Cheryl Stuart, and Victoria Weber.