Who won, who lost in the 2013 Legislature
Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 at 7:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 3, 2013 at 7:08 p.m.
Following are the institutions, issues and individuals that fared well and not so well in this year's legislative session, according to reporters in Halifax Media Group's Tallahassee bureau:
- Rick Scott: The governor limited his priority list to two items: a $2,500 teacher pay raise and a tax break for manufacturers. He got them both. But he lost on his call for expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law.
- Don Gaetz: The Senate president got his ethics, education reforms and election reforms.
- Will Weatherford: The House speaker got his campaign-finance bill, which Scott once opposed, and education reforms that will increase online education. But he came up short on pension reform. He also won by holding his opposition to Medicaid expansion.
- Teachers: Lawmakers and governor came together on a $480 million pay raise plan for teachers and other school personnel. Lawmakers insisted the pay be based on performance, but the final language will give districts plenty of flexibility in awarding the pay increases.
- State workers: The workers will receive their first general pay raise since October 2006. Newly hired workers won't face a change in their pension plans.
- Election reform: Lawmakers agreed to expand early-voting days and sites and limit the length of ballot issues.
- Public schools: The K-12 system will see another $1 billion boost in funding.
- Universities and colleges: Lawmakers boosted higher-education funding and restored a $300 million cut for universities. They also created a path for pre-eminent state universities.
- Manufacturers: A top priority for Scott, manufacturers will get a sales tax exemption on new equipment purchases beginning in April 2014.
- Texting ban: After a five-year fight, lawmakers finally agreed to ban texting on Florida's roadways.
- Ethics: The state Ethics Commission will have more power to investigate complaints and public officials who refuse to pay their ethics fines could face wage garnishment.
- Campaign finance: Contribution limits have been raised to $3,000 for statewide elections and $1,000 for others. Some political funding-raising committees are banned, while others are still allowed.
- Foreclosures: Homeowners could face a faster foreclosure process, which is supported by real estate interests eager to clear the backlog of foreclosed homes in the state.
- Property insurance: It was a mixed bag. More policyholders could lose their Citizens Property Insurance coverage, but Citizens customers avoided a major rate hike.
- Uninsured Floridians: Lawmakers rejected Medicaid expansion, denying some 1 million uninsured Floridians the chance for health care coverage.
- Pension changes: A move to end the traditional pension plan for public workers, including teachers, state workers and county workers, failed.
- Internet taxes: Lawmakers rejected a sales tax on Internet purchases from out-of-state retailers _ a measure pushed by Florida-based businesses that must pay the tax.
- Internet cafes: Lawmakers banned the cafes following an illegal gambling investigation that led to the resignation of the lieutenant governor.
- Gun control: Lawmakers again ignored pleas for strengthening gun-control laws. They passed an NRA-backed measure that will limit the ability of mentally ill residents from obtaining weapons.
- Motorists: Lawmakers could not agree on a plan to cut vehicle registration fees. Insurance lobbyists fended off a plan to eliminate an industry tax break to pay for the fee reduction.
- University and college students: Higher education students will face a 3 percent tuition increase if it escapes the governor's veto.
- Alimony reform: Scott vetoed a bill that would have ended permanent alimony, limited alimony in short-term marriages and required a 50-50 child custody arrangement.
- Nuisance noise: The Senate killed a bill that would have allowed law enforcement to fine motorists who play their car stereos too loudly.