Florida lawmakers begin committee meetings for 2024 session

The House of Representatives started committee meetings Tuesday at the Capitol.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:28 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 19, 2023 at 5:54 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCJB/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - Florida lawmakers are working to set priorities for when they start passing new laws in January.

The House of Representatives started committee meetings Tuesday at the Capitol.

“I look forward to continuing focusing on some of our most vulnerable populations in the state, our elderly, our disabled, our children,” Rep. Traci Koster, (R) Tampa, said.

Koster chairs the House Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee, which got together Tuesday for the first meeting ahead of the 2024 legislative cycle. She and other committee members got an update on the progress of programs the committee helped shape in 2022 regarding responsible fatherhood.

The Tampa Republican said she hopes lawmakers will address mental health in the upcoming year.

“It’s a huge issue, mental health, behavior health, substance abuse,” Koster said. “I hope we’re going to tackle that in a meaningful way, move the needle in the right direction.”

House Minority Leader Rep. Fentrice Driskell said Democrats are ready to work across the aisle on any issue. But she also said she knows Republicans won’t get on board with every proposal.

“Our job is the party of opposition and the party that pushes to hold the majority caucus accountable,” Driskell said. “Sometimes our victories are not in passing bills, but instead taking it to the people and raising awareness in what was happening.”

Driskell agreed mental health and property insurance need to be addressed, but she said she wants to see gun violence across the state addressed in 2024.

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“We will continue to beat this drum. We talk about this every session. It’s not about taking away guns from any lawful gun owner,” Driskell said.

Lawmakers won’t be back in Tallahassee for another month, but Senate and House members will continue committee meetings. The three-month legislative session begins on Jan. 9. That’s when lawmakers will begin passing new laws for Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign.

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