[author: Jordyn Ferguson]
The 2021 Legislative Session was marked with controversial and significant legislation (See our Post-Legislative Session Report), and the 2022 Legislative Session is quickly upon us. Interim committee weeks began Monday, September 20th and will run through December 3rd, with the Session officially beginning on January 11, 2022 and ending on March 11th. As legislators continue filing bills, the priorities for the upcoming Session are beginning to reveal themselves. Education, health care, safety, and pro-business agenda items are expected to be priorities in 2022. In addition, redistricting will consume many hours as legislators use recent census data to modify state and federal legislative districts.
As Florida continues to trudge through the “COVID Era,” proposed legislation will likely target public health issues, such as mask and vaccine mandate prohibitions. Bills relating to elections, law enforcement protections, environmental preservation, and telehealth were filed nearly two weeks before the first committee meeting. In addition to these, Floridians can expect the legislature to readdress many priority issues from 2021, including workforce development, charter schools, literacy, and DNA privacy. Aside from expanding on policy areas tackled last year, the Legislature will address redistricting, adding a Congressional seat, and redrawing district lines to account for historic population changes across the state.
The redistricting process began with the 2020 Census, which revealed a 14.6 percent overall increase in Florida’s population. The I-4 Corridor and surrounding areas saw the largest growth rates in the state, with the Villages having the largest percentage growth of an area in the nation. Additionally, Florida’s Hispanic population increased by 1.5 million people to account for just over half of the state’s entire population, the non-Hispanic white population decreased in proportion by 6.4 percent, and the population of Black Floridians declined in proportion by 0.7 percent.
As of the first day of the first Interim Committee Week, 164 bills have been filed. Last year, the Legislature saw more than 3,000 bills filed between the two chambers and approximately 275 were passed with 267 becoming law.
For a complete schedule of committee meetings to be held during the first committee week, please click here.