The Florida legislative session officially begins today and Governor Ron DeSantis will deliver his State of the State address at 11 am. Watch it here on The Florida Channel. Some of the issues the governor may highlight in his speech and the legislature will address this year are: Teacher pay Gov. DeSantis allocates $900 million to recruit and retain classroom teachers in his budget blueprint, including raising the minimum starting salary to $47,500 teachers. He also wants to reform the teacher bonus programs. Mental Health The Marjory Douglas High School Public Safety Commission in October urged the state spend more funding on the mental health system, and also called for an overhaul of the system, saying better coordination was needed among law enforcement, educators and health care providers. Florida ranks near the bottom among states in per capita spending on mental health. The commission said the money only helps with short-term fixes, instead of long-term solutions. Affordable Housing With many of Florida’s metro areas struggling to provide affordable housing, lawmakers are calling for more funding and protections for the trust funds that are supposed to be available for this issue. The issue is particularly acute in the Orlando area, rated among the worst for affordable housing in the country, and exacerbated by a low average wage. Guns The number of bills to expand or rein in gun rights number in the dozens, and most of them fail to pass every year. Florida senators are looking at proposals to expand the red flag law imposed after the 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland. The rule allows family members to request a relative’s guns be removed by law enforcement if a person is considered dangerous. E-Verify Once again, Gov. DeSantis is calling on the state legislature to impose E-Verify, a system that requires employers to check whether a prospective employee is eligible to work in the United States.