Tallahassee — On Tuesday, the 2021 legislative
session opened in Tallahassee and it started with Governor Ron DeSantis’
State of the State address. The pandemic was the focus of some of the
speech and how the state has responded.
“While so many other states kept locking people down
over these many months, Florida lifted people up.” DeSantis says.
During the address, he recapped how the state responded to the pandemic
which included prioritizing seniors during the initial start of the
vaccine rollout and reopening schools and businesses.
He says since January 30th around the time that we started to see the
potential impacts from a vaccine, hospitalizations for seniors declined
by 80% and cases among seniors dropped by 71%.
“Florida was right to prioritize the elderly. Seniors
first works.” DeSantis says.
He says the current economic outlook is much better today than the
forecast was last spring when the pandemic hit. He credits that in part
to reopening the state’s economy sooner than other states. He says the
state has lower unemployment numbers compared to other peer states like
Texas, New York, and California and the state is below the national
average in unemployment.
The governor also laid out what he wants to be prioritized during the
legislative session which includes giving the green light to a proposed
anti-rioting bill, supporting protections from big tech companies, and
cracking down on influence in the state from China. But as the new
legislative session gets started, state Democrats are not on board with
some of the priorities the governor wants. During the Democratic
response House Minority Leader Bobby DuBose laid out some of the
priorities they want to get done. These include expanding Medicade in
the state to help provide more people with healthcare during the
pandemic and fixing the unemployment system to help people struggling
financially during the pandemic.
The legislative session runs through April 30th.