Following their success in last year’s session, President Gaetz and Speaker Weatherford recently announced their joint agenda called the 2014 Work Plan Florida to address some of Florida’s most pressing needs. The five point plan includes: (1) economic opportunity through education; (2) a Florida GI Bill; (3) protection of vulnerable Floridians; (4) a $500 million tax cut; and (5) improving government accountability and efficiency.
For higher education, the plan includes no annual inflation-based tuition increases and a reduction of the maximum discretionary increase each institution is allowed to implement from 15% to 6%. It also revises the Florida Prepaid College Program to make it more affordable. For K-12 programs, the Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program would see its cap raised, and high school students would have access to Career and Professional Education Industry Certifications.
Florida GI Bill
Educational opportunities for veterans would be increased by waiving out-of-state tuition costs for returning vets and funding scholarships for members of Florida’s National Guard. Investment in Florida’s military installations would include renovating armories and buffering facilities.
Protecting Vulnerable Citizens
Additional protections would include increasing sentences and extend monitoring of sexual offenders and make the registration of offenders more extensive. Child welfare reform will be addressed along with funding for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to reduce waiting lists; provide funding to expand the guardian ad litem program; and increase funding for child advocacy centers.
Vehicle Registration Fees
The Governor, President and Speaker have all endorsed the rollback of automobile registration fees. It is estimated that the fee cut will result in a $25 per vehicle saving for Florida drivers.
Government Accountability & Efficiency
Legislative leaders want to strengthen the retirement system for State employees, develop an Information Technology Governance Strategy for the State, improve ethics laws, and clarify legislator residency requirements.