Suncoast legislators dicuss latest session with chamber members

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MANATEE COUNTY - The 2013 legislative session is over, and Monday morning, our local delegation gave a wrap of the session at a breakfast hosted by the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.

This session lawmakers covered some very important issues, such as education. “In K-12, a $1.1 billion increase. That's a huge increase per student within that system. For Manatee County, that means an additional $22 million for our school district in our next fiscal year,” said Bill Galvano, (R) FL Senate, District 26.

And while lawmakers designated extra funds for education, at Monday’s breakfast, all of them agreed that they were extra careful not to overspend this session. And for the most part, say they're pleased with the way the state's budget worked out and the bills that were passed.

But there are still many issues that remain unresolved. One at the top of their list was Medicaid expansion. “The leadership in the House, Speaker Weatherford, has taken a very fervent approach to what we’re going to do. I've heard rumors that we might have a special session on Medicaid, but I don't know if that's going to occur or not. I don't think either chamber's leaders will call it. The governor may call it, but if there’s not an agreement in place on what we're actually going to do to move that ball forward, then I don't see that happening,” said Greg Steube, (R) FL House, District 67.

Pension reform is also on the list of issues that are unresolved. Representative Jim Boyd, (R) FL House, District 71, says it's something that must be taken up next year. “Pension reform…was a priority in the House this year, and it didn't pass. And there was a lot of dialogue and conversation about that.”