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Florida Legislative session ends with $112 billion budget for healthcare, education

Florida Legislature
Florida Representatives listen during a legislative session, Tuesday, April 27, 2021, at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Florida lawmakers closed out a contentious legislative session on Monday with a record budget and new laws impacting schools and businesses.

The senate passed the budget 33-0 while three Democrats voted against 105 other House members.

$50 billion will go towards healthcare and $40 will fund education.

House Committee Appropriations Chair Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City) praised the budget saying it will create ‘record reserves to position our state to weather future storms.’

The budget includes a pay increase of 5.38% for all state employees and funding to increase the minimum wage of nursing home employees to $15 per hour.

Educators will see an increase in the minimum teacher salary to $47,000 per year.

Bonuses for first responders are also included in this year’s budget.

The session was not without controversy, the passage of the Parental Rights in Education bill, which outlaws the “instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity” or instruction “in a “manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for [K-3] students” drew protest and national attention.

The Individual Freedom Act, passed by a 24-15 party line vote, bans schools and businesses from including so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’ into class lessons and business training material.

Abortions are no longer permitted in the state after 15 weeks.

Among the larger bills that did not pass, a law that would have created new safety rules for condo buildings in the wake the Surfside tragedy last summer, or a measure to help Florida property owners deal with the spiraling cost of insurance.