Big Issues Facing the Florida Legislature in 2023 Session

As the 2023 Florida legislative session begins on Tuesday, March 5th, there are a variety of big issues that are being closely watched.[0] From gun rights and school vouchers to affordable housing and taxes, lawmakers have their work cut out for them.

Proponents of “constitutional carry.” have prompted Republican legislators to progress with a proposal that would make it lawful to transport concealed firearms without a state permit.[1] Gun-control groups and some gun-rights groups have voiced opposition to the proposal, claiming that the state should permit individuals to carry guns openly.[1]

This spring, Florida lawmakers could potentially make all students in the state eligible for school vouchers that are funded by taxpayers. These vouchers could then be utilized for tuition at private schools and other educational expenses. This could be a significant expansion of the voucher system, which has been gradually growing over the past two decades.[2] The proposal would eliminate income requirements for vouchers and also make vouchers available to students who are homeschooled.[2]

Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, President of the Senate, is devoted to finding solutions to make housing affordable for employees.[3] The Senate could swiftly approve a comprehensive bill that includes giving incentives for investments in low-cost housing and promoting mixed-use developments in financially distressed commercial areas.[2]

Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed a budget of $114.8 billion for the upcoming fiscal year commencing July 1.[1] The proposal includes funding for increased teacher salaries, $1.1 billion for Everglades restoration and water-quality initiatives, a 5 percent pay increase for state employees, and additional funds for specialized positions such as correctional officers.[2]

In the wake of Nikolas Cruz’s sentencing to life in prison for the Parkland school shooting, legislators could eliminate the need for unanimous jury recommendations in order to impose capital punishment.[1] Bills proposed by both the House and the Senate would permit death sentences if endorsed by eight out of twelve jurors and also allow judges to have more power.[1]

Lawmakers are contemplating altering the state’s defamation laws, potentially reducing protections for journalists.[1] Governor DeSantis and House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, have proposed a reexamination of the 1964 U.S. Supreme Court case of New York Times v. Sullivan, which offers protection to journalists from being sued. DeSantis has been vocal in his criticism of the media.[1]

0. “2023 Legislative Priorities | Florida Realtors” | Florida Realtors, 3 Mar. 2023,

1. “10 big issues to watch during Florida’s 2023 legislative session” Creative Loafing Tampa, 1 Mar. 2023,

2. “10 big issues to watch in Florida’s 2023 legislative session” Tampa Bay Times, 28 Feb. 2023,

3. “Florida TaxWatch Unveils 2023 Legislative Priorities” Florida Daily, 2 Mar. 2023,

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