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President Office — Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 3, 2013

CONTACT: Britton Alexander, (850) 487-5229


Senate President Gaetz Comments on Conclusion of 2013 Legislative Session

Tallahassee —

Florida’s lawmakers today wrapped up the 2013 Legislative Session, marking the completion of the joint Work Plan Florida agenda of House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) and Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) and the successful passage of important reforms for Florida. The Session was marked by a focus on raising the standard of public conduct and linking education to the realities of the economy.

“I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this legislative session,” said Senate President Gaetz. “A spirit of cooperation extended through the capitol and past party lines and quickly came to define the legislative session. We saw both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate work past philosophical differences in order to create a better state for all Floridians.

“With both chambers working together, the Legislature advanced key provisions of the Work Plan Florida agenda, putting the interests of Floridians over the specific interests of each chamber. We provided Florida’s students the opportunity to earn diplomas that serve as passports to real jobs in the real economy, provided security to our local government employees and retirees through universal, transparent accounting and reporting provisions for our local pension plans, and provided more flexibility for our local supervisors to improve Florida’s elections system. Most importantly, we took solid steps in restoring public confidence in Florida’s government officials, implementing what has been hailed as the most sweeping ethics reform in more than 30 years.

“I am proud to have had the honor to lead the Florida Senate, such a professional, collegial legislative body, and look forward to our work ahead with our counterparts in the House during the 2014 Legislative Session.”

The Florida Legislature also upheld its constitutional obligation to pass a balanced state budget.  In a unanimous vote, Senators passed the 2013-2014 General Appropriations Act, appropriating $74.5 billion dollars. The budget prioritizes investments in education and economic development while also placing $2.8 billion in reserves without increasing taxes or fees. 

“Reflecting Florida’s improving economy, the budget makes strategic investments in education funding, economic development and our hard-working men and women in public service without increasing taxes,” continued President Gaetz. “Thanks to the hard work of Speaker Weatherford and Budget Chairs Senator Joe Negron and Representative Seth McKeel, Florida will be able to live within its means, meet the critical needs of its citizens and continue to save and invest for the future.”

The 2013-14 General Appropriations Act, which can be viewed at www.flsenate.gov, will now be considered by the Governor.

Work Plan Florida

The joint House and Senate “Work Plan Florida” agenda includes bold steps to tackle ethics and campaign finance reform, fiscally responsible changes to Florida's local public sector pension plans, innovations in Florida's higher education system and a review of Florida election laws. To date, three of the five Work Plan Florida agenda items have been signed in to law by the Governor. For more information, please click http://flsenate.gov/topics/WorkPlanFlorida.  

2013-14 State Budget

The Florida Senate today unanimously passed Senate Bill 1500, the 2013-2014 General Appropriations Act, prioritizing investments in education and economic development while saving $2.8 billion in reserves. The 2013-14 State Budget is based on existing revenues and does not include increases in taxes or fees. For more information, please click http://flsenate.gov/Session/Appropriations.

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