Press Releases

2019 Leg⁠i⁠sla⁠t⁠⁠i⁠ve Wrap-up

By: Logan Padgett / 2019

June 3, 2019
CONTACT: Logan Elizabeth Padgett

The James Madison Institute praises Gov. DeSantis and legislative leaders for passing transformative reforms this session 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – New Governor Ron DeSantis, Senate President Galvano, House Speaker Oliva as well as the rest of the legislative body are to be thanked following a transformative 2019 session. Policymakers enacted initiatives from five of JMI’s six priorities in key areas such as healthcare, school choice, and criminal justice policy. 

“Legislators and a new governor made bold strides cementing Florida as a beacon for conservative principles,” said JMI Vice President of Policy Sal Nuzzo. “Our team at JMI worked overtime in Tallahassee and beyond in ways that will be felt for generations.”

For the second year in a row, legislators enacted education reforms that surpass every other state in the nation. JMI’s J. Stanley Marshall Center for Educational Options provided research and testimony on a number of education proposals that were adopted into law, including: 

  • The Family Empowerment Scholarship
  • Expansion of the Gardiner Scholarship Program 
  • Expansion of Florida’s School of Hope Program 

“JMI has long supported efforts to give Florida families access to choice, so that every student can attend the school that best fits their unique needs and interests.  Accordingly, we commend the Florida Legislature for passing historic school choice legislation.  Thousands of families and students will benefit from their bold, innovative initiatives.” – William Mattox, Director of JMI’s J. Stanley Marshall Center for Educational Options 

One of JMI’s top policy priorities in 2019 was market-based healthcare solutions. Legislators passed a number of patient-centered reforms that will improve access to care, reduce cost, and improve quality of services, including: 

  • Eliminating anticompetitive and harmful certificate of need laws. 
  • Creating a patient-centered framework for telehealth innovation.
  • Expanding Direct Primary Care into Direct Health Agreements. 
  • Extending patient time in ambulatory surgical centers. 

This year, we saw an unparalleled level of commitment to the principles that are central to JMI’s mission. Other significant policy initiatives that came out of the 2019 Legislative Session were: 

  • Right-sizing Florida’s 33-year felony theft threshold to better target law enforcement and correctional efforts toward dangerous criminals. 
  • Cracking down on frivolous lawsuits impacting homeowners and families via Assignment of Benefits reform. 
  • Finally reducing the business rent tax, which exists only in Florida.

While 2019 saw an unmatched commitment to free enterprise and prosperity, with a part-time legislature and a 60-day window, much was left undone. We are encouraged and hopeful for 2020, and we thank our legislators for their commitment to the tried and tested principles of free markets and limited government as we look toward January 14, 2020.

To review The James Madison Institute’s complete 2019 Legislative Summary Report:

For a quick one-pager detailing the 2019 legislative “Wins,” click here: