TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Floridians were already expecting Disney would be the main attraction of the legislative session but now immigration, voting, college athlete compensation, and hurricane recovery have been added to the issues lawmakers will address.`
The gavel drops Monday for a special legislative session where lawmakers will address several topics that House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) says are priorities.
The announcement comes as Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed lawmakers to move swiftly to bring the Florida versus Walt Disney World saga to a close, with an expectation that the state would take over running the land around the Magic Kingdom.
“These are all time sensitive issues and I think the governor and the speaker said, why do tomorrow what we can do today?” Rep. Randy Fine said.
At the top of the list – dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District: the self-governing district that’s home to the Walt Disney Company’s Florida operation.
“That Disney doesn’t have self governing status anymore,” DeSantis said. “So that’s done.”
Also up for consideration and legislation are mechanisms to provide additional support for Hurricane Ian and Nicole recovery efforts, plus revising the state’s migrant transport program, amid multiple legal challenges and a promise to renew it in the new year’s budget.
“Whether we pass ’em in special session or regular session, we’re, we’re still going to pass them,“ Fine said.
The special session is keeping Florida Democrats on their toes.
“Things are very unprecedented and I suspect that this will move fast primarily because Republicans can do that,” Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando) said.
Some Democrats at the Capitol are frustrated about how the GOP super-majority is steamrolling legislative processes. The conservative party has control of both chambers of the legislature, and enough of a vote bloc to sail through legislation without Democratic Party votes.
“The governor is bullying the legislature into creating a sense of urgency that isn’t really there so he can get what,” Rep. Kelly Skidmore (D-Palm Coast) said.
The bills are likely to end up on the governor’s desk quickly due to those supermajorities.
“I’m not sure how controversial any of these things will be, cuz they’re all good policy,” Fine said.