2021 Post Legislative Update – Representative Bob Rommel

This week, in order to be prepared for the Special Session, all House Members are attending mandatory online “Legislative University” classes. There have been 2 one-hour sessions daily on topics including the History of Gaming in Florida, the Current Gaming Landscape, 2021 Gaming Compact with the Seminole Tribe, Live Racing and Games Decoupling, Gaming Enforcement & Commissions in the United States & Florida, and Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) and Tribal Compacts.

I will provide you with an update of the Special Session when it is completed.

In the meantime, this newsletter includes a summary of the 2021-2022 Budget as well as summaries of the 275 bills that passed the House and the Senate.

As always, thank you for giving me the privilege of representing you in Tallahassee.

Representative Bob Rommel
District 106
Florida’s 2021-2022 Budget

The overall budget for Fiscal Year 2021-22 totals $101.5 billion, an increase of 10.1% over the current year. Most of this increase is related to $6.9 billion of additional federal funds the state has received for the federal share of spending for the highest Medicaid caseload in Florida’s history and to help public schools continue to stay open to serve Florida’s children and provide educational services and resources that address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our state’s children and youth.
The increase in state funds is $2.3 billion, an increase of 4% over the current year, including an increase of $1.6 billion (4.6%) in General Revenue.

The budget leaves an historic $6 billion in reserves to ensure that Florida is prepared today for a better tomorrow.


The budget provides $6.7 billion in the back of the bill, contingent on receipt of the state’s portion of the federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds. These funds will be invested in large-scale environmental and infrastructure programs and will help rebuild state reserves to the highest level in history as Florida continues its economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The contingent appropriations include:
 $3.1 billion for state infrastructure, including the State Highway System; seaports; deferred maintenance for state facilities; education construction projects; a new state Emergency Operations Center; IT systems for reemployment and workforce development; and new armories.
 $1.8 billion for environmental programs, including Resilient Florida Grants, septic-to-sewer grants, Piney Point, beaches, coastal mapping, water quality initiatives, and Everglades restoration.
 $1 billion to fund a new Emergency Preparedness & Response Fund, in addition to the reserve.
 $438 million for education and economic support programs, including the New Worlds Reading Initiative, bonuses for pandemic first responders, job growth grants, African-American Cultural and Historic Grants, and funding for Visit Florida tourism marketing.
 $350 million to increase the Budget Stabilization Fund.
 Remaining funds are directed to the General Revenue Fund as unallocated reserves.
Agriculture & Natural Resources
 $2.1 billion for Everglades restoration and protection of Florida’s water resources including projects for Everglades restoration, springs, storm water and wastewater grants, and the Resilient Florida Grant Program. $1.1 billion is contingent upon receipt of federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds.
 $402 million for Florida Forever for acquisition of conservation lands. $300 million is contingent upon receipt of federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds.
 $150 million for Beach Restoration Projects. $50 million is contingent upon receipt of federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds. This is the highest level of funding for these projects in history.
 $100 million for Piney Point cleanup, contingent upon receipt of federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds.
 $50.7 million for State Park Improvements. This is the highest level of funding for these projects in history.

Health Care
 $4.3 billion ($1.2 billion General Revenue) to fund the Medicaid Price Level and Workload. The funds will serve an anticipated 4.8 million beneficiaries with no reductions to eligibility groups or services. This is the highest caseload in Florida’s history — over 20% of Florida’s population is enrolled in Medicaid.
 $239.8 million ($89.2 million General Revenue) to extend postpartum Medicaid-eligibility of pregnant women from 60 days following birth to 12 months following birth. This will help 97,600 mothers maintain their coverage and ensure a healthy start for their babies.
 $9 million for Minority Health Equity Planning to reduce minority morbidity and mortality in the priority areas of HIV/AIDS, chronic diseases, and infant mortality to combat health disparities.
PreK-12 Education
 $22.8 billion total funds for the Florida Education Finance Program ($12.9 billion state funds and $9.9 billion local funds). This provides an increase in total FEFP funds of $315.2 million (1.4% increase) over current year, including $464.3 million appropriated in a new Student Reserve Allocation.
 $53.42 increase in the base student allocation for total funds of $4,372.91 per student.
 $50 million increase in the Teacher Salary Increase Allocation to support all school districts as they seek to attain a minimum base salary of $47,500 for all full-time classroom teachers.
 $1.8 billion of federal stimulus funds for public schools to continue to stay open, enroll students, and remediate learning loss for students.
 $166.2 million of federal stimulus funds to provide bonuses to early learning instructors.
Higher Education
 $200 million for the New Worlds Reading Initiative administrator to provide books to struggling readers. $125 million is contingent upon receipt of federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds.
 $25 million for Incentives for Programs of Strategic Emphasis and $35 million for Open Door grants.
 $25 million for College Performance Increases.
 Tuition and fees, as well as funding for need-based financial aid, are held constant at current levels to ensure higher education is affordable for Floridians.
 Proviso authorizes DOC to develop a comprehensive plan for the consolidation of a state-operated correctional institution and a plan for the redirection of any identified cost savings to provide correctional officer salary increases to address vacancy, attrition and turnover concerns.
 $18.2 million for DOC for phase two of a four-year transition for correctional officers to move from 12 hour shifts to 8.5 hour shifts in state-operated institutions, and to provide enhanced delivery of basic recruit training for newly hired correctional officer trainees to also aid in recruitment and retention.
Infrastructure & Tourism
 $9.2 billion for the Transportation Work Program plus an additional $2.0 billion, which is contingent on receipt of federal stimulus funds to backfill lost revenue to keep state infrastructure going.
 $149.2 million to modernize the reemployment system and hire additional staff to address claimant volume. $56.4 million is contingent upon receipt of federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds.
 $102 to implement a consumer-first workforce IT system. $100 million is contingent upon receipt of federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds.
State Administration & Technology
 $185.7 million to continue the Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System.
 $63.8 million for repair and maintenance of state buildings including the Capitol Complex.
 $30 million for cybersecurity initiatives to secure the state’s IT infrastructure, systems, and network.
275 Bills Passed by the House and Senate
For those of you who would like additional details on all of the bills passed in the 2021 Legislative Session, please click HERE for a list of all 275 bills passed.

Then, go to www.myfloridahouse.gov and enter the number of the bill you wish to review. All bill details and history will be available.
Governor Ron DeSantis signing various bills into law for the 2021 Legislative Session.

Florida has no income tax and a balanced budget.
Let’s keep it that way!
Copyright © 2021 State Representative Bob Rommel, All rights reserved.
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State Representative Bob Rommel
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