Following is Gov. Ron DeSantis’ State of the State tackle, as ready, on the primary day of the 2019 legislative session:
Mr. President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Home and Senate, Cupboard members and Supreme Courtroom Justices:
Aware of the financial alternatives that lie earlier than us, understanding the environmental challenges that require our consideration, and acutely aware of our obligations to schooling and public security, I contemplate myself blessed to face earlier than you, at this specific second in our historical past, as Florida’s 46th governor.
I’m grateful on your willingness to serve, I’m pleased with the accomplishments of our state and its residents, and I’m optimistic that this legislative session supplies us with a singular alternative to advance wanted reforms in quite a lot of totally different areas that may strengthen our state and profit the individuals now and sooner or later.
Having spent three phrases in a unique legislature, a jail generally known as the US Home of Representatives, it’s fairly a privilege to have the ability to work with a legislative physique that has demonstrated the power to get issues executed and to steer. I’ve already seen it firsthand.
Two years in the past, the Florida Legislature unanimously handed a decision acknowledging and apologizing for the “gross injustices” perpetrated, in the midst of the final century, towards 4 African-American males — Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shephard, and Ernest Thomas — referred to as the Groveland 4.
The decision requested that the Governor assessment their instances and challenge pardons for these males.
Upon taking workplace in January, I took motion. Joined by our Cupboard members, I authorised pardons for all 4 males a number of days into my time period. It’s by no means too late to do the fitting factor.
Within the gallery as we speak is Carol Greenlee, the daughter of Charles Greenlee. Her father handed away in 2012 however I hope he — in addition to the remainder of the Groveland 4 — is wanting down with some satisfaction that justice, nevertheless imperfect, ultimately prevailed,
And that we right here at this time are united in insisting that the constitutional protections central to a free society are honored for all of our residents.
Members of the Home and Senate, thanks for main the best way.
I noticed throughout my inaugural tackle that, within the phrases of Alexander Hamilton, power within the government is the main character within the definition of excellent authorities.
I consider it and I’ve labored to exemplify it.
In lower than 60 days, my administration has taken daring motion to deal with points that Floridians care about:
- Reorienting our environmental coverage across the aim of cleansing up our water.
- Saying far-reaching schooling reforms designed to make Florida No. 1 in skills-based schooling by 2030.
- Securing lots of of tens of millions of dollars for storm-ravaged elements of Northwest Florida.
- Bringing accountability to entities starting from the Broward Sheriff’s Workplace to the South Florida Water Administration District.
- And appointing three spectacular justices to our Supreme Courtroom.
And that is just the start.
I’m proud to acknowledge the efforts of my spouse Casey. She has been by my aspect as we’ve toured the state and has additionally blazed her personal path on points like schooling, catastrophe aid and freedom for the individuals of Venezuela. She has labored so arduous and one factor is obvious: we have now an excellent First Woman.
I’m satisfied that this entire Governor factor is only a method for the individuals of Florida to have Casey as their First Woman.
Our youngsters Madison and Mason have taken over the Governor’s mansion however the baby-proofing has been profitable — I can report that no artifacts of Florida historical past have but to be destroyed. However keep tuned — Mason will probably be strolling very quickly.
Simply final week, Casey traveled to Northwest Florida to survey the Hurricane Michael restoration efforts. We’ve each been to the area a number of occasions over the previous few months.
To the individuals of Northwest Florida: we pledged to face with you as you’re employed to rebuild your communities stronger than earlier than – and we’ve got adopted by way of on that pledge.
I’ve already traveled to Washington, D.C. and secured a historic dedication from the Trump administration to offer help to the communities that Michael battered.
My administration has labored to chop via purple tape to expedite aid efforts and, because of the management of your former colleague Jared Moskowitz, we’re making nice progress.
Right here with us in the present day is Mayor Al Cathey and Administrator Tanya Castro from Mexico Seashore, which was floor zero for Hurricane Michael’s wrath. They and lots of others affected by the storm have displayed exceptional resilience within the face of giant obstacles. They deserve our admiration — and our help.
These communities won’t be rebuilt in days, weeks or months, however they are going to be rebuilt. They are going to be rebuilt as a result of we as Floridians will reply the decision as we all the time do. God bless the great individuals of Northwest Florida.
Government power and management are essential to satisfy absolutely the challenges which are earlier than us — however they don’t seem to be enough. In a constitutional system with separated powers, we — the political branches — should work collectively so we will construct off the inspiration that has been laid and set the stage for the longer term success of our state.
How can we accomplish this activity? I reply merely: be daring — be daring in championing financial alternative, be daring in defending Florida’s setting, be daring in enhancing schooling, be daring in defending the security of our communities, be daring as a result of whereas perfection is just not attainable, if we goal excessive we will obtain excellence.
Florida is blessed with a number of the nation’s best pure assets. We’re the fishing and boating capital of the USA. Our seashores deliver tens of millions of vacationers to our state each yr. The state’s distinctive pure setting is central to our financial system, our high quality of life, and our id as Floridians.
I’m proud to have taken swift and daring motion to guard our pure assets and enhance Florida’s water high quality.
We’re repositioning our water coverage to satisfy the wants of our residents, by, amongst different issues:
- Expediting key tasks just like the EAA reservoir and elevating the Tamiami Path.
- Establishing a blue-green algae process drive to develop insurance policies to struggle algae blooms, battle purple tide and enhance water high quality.
- And appointing a Chief Science Officer to raised harness scientific knowledge and analysis in service of Florida’s most urgent environmental wants.
I’ve requested $2.5 billion over the subsequent 4 years for water assets tasks and Everglades restoration. This represents a $1 billion improve in comparison with the earlier 4 years and can permit us to deliver main tasks to completion. Given the persistent water issues we have now seen over the previous a number of years, now’s the time to be daring.
We can’t depart for tomorrow that which we will do at the moment.
As a result of the individuals of Florida ought to believe that their pursuits are being mirrored in coverage implementation, I requested and acquired the resignations of all members on the South Florida Water Administration District. We would have liked a recent begin and I’m happy to report that I’ve appointed a variety of good individuals to this board.
We’ve got a daring imaginative and prescient, we have now good people in key positions, and together with your help for these initiatives, we’ll restore and protect the great thing about Florida for generations to return.
It’s typically stated that states function laboratories of democracies and we’re within the midst of a fantastic experiment among the many states relating to taxation and authorities spending.
The end result has been a migration of wealth from states that tax closely, spend profligately, and regulate excessively to states, like Florida, that tax frivolously, spend conservatively, and regulate fairly.
Within the face of those developments, a few of the states which have hemorrhaged companies and taxpayers have determined to double down by elevating present taxes and imposing new taxes. As George Harrison as soon as noticed: For those who get too chilly, they tax the warmth; Should you take a stroll, they tax your ft.
We’re a cellular, highly-connected society and as taxes turn out to be extra onerous and because the enterprise local weather deteriorates in these states, individuals vote with their ft.
Taxpayers and companies depart.
The tax base erodes and the fiscal conditions of those states will get extra ominous, yielding large price range shortfalls.
It’s a vicious cycle.
We gained’t repeat these errors in Florida.
We’ll all the time stay a low-tax state.
And we’ll by no means have an revenue tax!
I’ve proposed greater than $330 million in tax aid for Florida households, together with a property tax minimize.
We should maintain our financial momentum going!
To these doing enterprise in states which have a nasty enterprise and political local weather, my message is that this: come to Florida. We’ll keep a wholesome financial setting, we welcome your success and we gained’t chase jobs away by way of financial ignorance and demagoguery.
We’re additionally dedicated to modernizing our infrastructure, and I do know President Galvano is concentrated on making that occur.Thanks, Mr. President on your efforts.
There are areas the place Florida can do higher. I hope the Legislature passes laws to reform the difficulty of AOB, which has turn into a racket.
And it’s clear we’d like reform of our occupational licensing regime, which borders on the absurd and primarily serves to frustrate alternatives for Floridians.
You possibly can develop into a sniper within the Marine Corps by finishing coaching for 79 days, which equates to 632 hours; turning into a licensed inside designer in Florida requires 1,760 hours.
You’ll be able to earn bounce wings by finishing Military Leap Faculty in three weeks, or about 168 hours; Florida regulation requires 1,200 hours to turn into licensed as a barber.
Our DBPR secretary and your former colleague Halsey Beshears has recognized quite a few these necessities that have to be streamlined, rolled again or eradicated. This undertaking deserves your help.
Sustaining low taxes and a wholesome financial local weather are necessary, however an important issue relating to Florida’s financial potential is human capital.
If we help our college system, our state schools and first and secondary schooling, in addition to the reforms wanted to enhance instructional alternatives throughout the board, then we will probably be setting the stage for future financial success that would be the envy of the nation.
As we sow so we could reap.
I’m proud that Florida’s college system is ranked No. 1 within the nation — forward of Texas, California and New York. This wasn’t all the time so; the climb atop the rankings has been exceptional.
I’m unsure how many individuals outdoors Florida understand this, so I’m doing my half to unfold the phrase. I used to be in New York final week assembly with enterprise leaders and burdened this reality and pledged that we’ll do much more to construct a world-class expertise pool.
We’re poised for progress in finance, know-how, well being care, aerospace and extra — let’s help the continued ascent of our universities in order that these industries can develop by using our personal graduates in good, high-paying jobs in our low-tax, business-friendly surroundings.
Attending a standard four-year brick-and-ivy establishment is one approach to get the superior information and expertise crucial for attaining financial success, however we should acknowledge that it isn’t the one approach — and for a lot of it isn’t one of the simplest ways.
Expertise-based schooling presents a targeted, and sometimes cheaper means, by which college students can purchase the instruments they must be profitable.
Working together with your former speaker and our Commissioner of Schooling Richard Corcoran, I’ve proposed a plan to take Florida from center of the pack to No. 1 in workforce schooling by 2030.
Earlier this yr, I visited Tampa Bay Technical Excessive Faculty to watch a profitable instance of workforce schooling first-hand. I met Glenn Wester III, who’s with us right here as we speak. Glenn is a junior within the welding program and, regardless that he isn’t fairly sufficiently old, has already acquired job gives — good paying job presents! He’s additionally taking Superior Placement programs and should select between a number of pathways for fulfillment.
Glenn, hold working exhausting, we want you continued success and I applaud the Hillsborough County Faculty District for giving college students like Glenn these alternatives.
Our workforce schooling initiatives embrace grants to put college students in apprenticeships, cash to coach academics in pc science and funds for workforce packages inside our state school system. These reforms will make a distinction and deserve your help.
Florida has made strides in main and secondary schooling since I graduated from public faculty in Dunedin in 1997, however we’ve much more to do. For years, I’ve heard from mother and father and academics concerning the issues with a system of requirements, testing and curriculum modeled after widespread core. Mother and father have been particularly annoyed by not with the ability to assist their youngsters with primary math issues.
So I’ve instructed Commissioner Corcoran to spend the remainder of this yr engaged in session with mother and father, academics, faculty directors, and employers in order that we will substitute widespread core with high-quality curriculum, streamlined testing and a brand new emphasis on American civics. We would like a system that calls for excellence and that additionally engenders public confidence.
We additionally have to do extra to recruit, retain and reward nice academics. To this finish, I’ve proposed changing Greatest and Brightest bonus program with a revised $423 million program that may reward greater than 40,000 academics with bonuses approaching $10,000.
I’m additionally requesting $10 million for a tuition and mortgage forgiveness program for as many as 1,700 academics who decide to educating in Florida faculties for 5 years. Attracting and holding nice academics in our lecture rooms must be a excessive precedence.
Schooling alternative shouldn’t be restricted by parental revenue or Zip code. A method Florida has expanded alternative has been by way of the Tax Credit score Scholarship program for college kids from low-income households. Greater than 100,000 college students — almost 70 % of whom are African-American or Hispanic, with a mean household revenue of roughly $26,000 per yr — are using the scholarship.
The outcomes have been constructive: the City Institute just lately launched a research that discovered tax credit score scholarship college students are 43 % extra more likely to attend a four-year school and as much as 20 % extra more likely to get hold of a bachelor’s diploma. College students who use the scholarship greater than 4 years are as much as 99 % extra more likely to attend school and as much as 45 % extra more likely to earn a bachelor’s diploma.
Extra low-income households would really like the chance to acquire a scholarship for his or her youngsters. There are presently 14,000 college students who qualify for the scholarship however are caught on the ready listing.
Shareka Wright is a single mom of three who helps her household by driving a rubbish truck for the town of Orlando. Whereas certainly one of her sons is doing nicely in an Orange County district faculty, her two youthful boys wanted a special surroundings, as one struggled academically and the opposite was bullied. However as a result of her boys are on the ready record for the tax credit score scholarship program, Shareka won’t be capable of afford to maintain them on this extra favorable surroundings.
Shareka is doing her greatest to offer her boys a greater future. I’m not glad to see hard-working mother and father like Shareka mired on a waitlist, and so I’m proposing to get rid of the waitlist by creating a brand new Equal Alternative Scholarship that’s just like the tax credit score scholarship.
We’re an enormous, numerous state and one measurement doesn’t match all on the subject of schooling. Let’s stand with working mothers like Shareka and empower them to decide on the most effective studying surroundings for his or her youngsters.
We additionally want to face by college students with particular wants and their households. Meaning eliminating the waitlist of 1,900 college students for Gardiner Scholarships.
Donna and Michael Holt are right here with their son Levi, who has Down syndrome. Levi is on the ready listing for a Gardiner scholarship. College students like Levi have distinctive talents that require a custom-made studying surroundings that the Gardiner ESA can present.
The Gardiner scholarship is our means of claiming that everybody counts and that these are lives value dwelling.
And whereas we’re at it, I wholeheartedly reject the callous disregard for human life displayed by the Governors of Virginia and New York. We gained’t permit that to occur in Florida.
We have to enact insurance policies to make medical insurance, prescribed drugs and medical care extra reasonably priced for Floridians.
As you’re conscious, well being care is being hotly debated on the nationwide degree, so let me say:
Any proposal that seeks to remove the personal medical insurance insurance policies of hundreds of thousands of Floridians is unacceptable. Authorities has no proper to remove the insurance policies that Floridians earn by way of their jobs or buy on the person market.
I would like Floridians to have the ability to buy prescribed drugs from Canada at decrease costs. There’s an avenue underneath present federal regulation to perform this; the President is supportive of this effort and has requested me to plow forward, which would require navigating an institutionally hostile paperwork.
This might get monetary savings for people, scale back prices for companies and relieve strain on our state finances.
I’m additionally open to any concepts that the Legislature has to deal with this drawback. One factor is obvious: Floridians want aid from the rising prices of prescribed drugs.
Bringing worth transparency to well being care also can assist scale back prices, and I’ve instructed Secretary Mayhew from AHCA to expedite the worth transparency database that the Legislature required. To make the device efficient, we’d like laws to offer for shared financial savings insurance policies in order that sufferers obtain a monetary profit once they select a cheaper choice.
I’m supportive of Speaker Oliva’s name to foster innovation and competitors in our well being care system. We will’t simply proceed doing the identical factor time and again and anticipating a special end result.
Final yr presently, the state was nonetheless reeling from the bloodbath at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty. Out of that tragedy grew the MSD Fee, which earlier this yr outlined a collection of suggestions to enhance safety at Florida faculties. I help the suggestions and ask that you simply enact them into regulation.
These reforms are a testomony to the tenacity, braveness and character of the households of the Parkland victims. The onerous work of these like Ryan Petty and Hunter Pollack, who’s with us right here at this time, has already helped save lives and has made our state stronger. They need to be recommended for his or her efforts.
I’ve gotten to know a variety of the households and one factor that has caught with me is one thing I’ve heard various them say: that this was probably the most preventable faculty capturing in historical past.
Once I took workplace, most of the Parkland households felt that there had not been any accountability — on the faculty district or on the sheriff’s workplace — for the string of failures that culminated within the bloodbath. So, I acted by efficiently petitioning for a statewide grand jury investigation into faculty safety failures in Broward County and different jurisdictions.
I additionally suspended Scott Israel because the Sheriff of Broward and changed him with Gregory Tony. That suspension will come earlier than the Senate quickly and the failures of the previous sheriff are well-documented. Why any senator would need to thumb his nostril on the Parkland households and to eject Sheriff Toney, who’s doing an ideal job and has made historical past as the primary African-American sheriff in Broward historical past, is past me.
However I decide not, lest I be judged.
Florida won’t be a sanctuary state — we gained’t permit somebody right here illegally to commit legal misconduct and easily be returned to our communities. And we gained’t tolerate sanctuary cities that actively frustrate regulation enforcement by shielding legal aliens from accountability on the expense of public security.
Right here with us as we speak are two angel mother and father, Bobby and Kiyan Michael from Jacksonville. Their son Brandon was killed by a overseas nationwide who was illegally in our nation and who been deported on two prior events. Brandon was a younger man engaged to be married, however as an alternative of planning a marriage Bobby and Kiyan needed to plan a funeral. Had our legal guidelines merely been enforced, Bobby and Kiyan won’t have needed to bury their son.
Let’s do proper by the Michael household; lets prohibit sanctuary cities in Florida.
Worldwide occasions often have a specific resonance in Florida.
Earlier this yr, I had a gathering within the Oval Workplace alongside Senators Rubio and Scott in addition to Congressman Diaz-Balart concerning the dire state of affairs in Venezuela. To the President’s credit score, he heeded our recommendation and acknowledged Juan Guaidó because the interim president and made clear that the dictator Nicolás Maduro has acquired to go.
The tragedy in Venezuela is a results of a failed socialist experiment — a system that’s hostile to human liberty and opposite to human nature. The tyranny that has resulted is the pure outgrowth of making an attempt to impose this failed ideology on the individuals of Venezuela.
To the Venezuelan exile group right here in Florida, we stand with you and with the individuals of Venezuela who’re in search of freedom and a greater future for Venezuela. The eyes of the free world have descended upon Venezuela, and it’s crucial that freedom prevail.
We additionally know that the despair in Venezuela wouldn’t be potential with out the nefarious affect of the Cuban authorities. I applaud the President for permitting the appliance of Title III of the Libertad Act and help further efforts to carry the Castro regime accountable.
I want to see the Castro regime go the best way of Maduro and to see a free and democratic Cuba take its place.
I supply my because of the Legislature for defending the U.S.-Israel relationship by enacting anti-BDS laws.
I reject makes an attempt to focus on Israel for disfavored remedy and can implement the anti-BDS provisions vigorously. This entire enterprise of concentrating on Israel for financial hurt is such a fraud and merely a canopy for anti-Semitism.
In Florida, relaxation assured that BDS is DOA.
We can be taking a delegation to Israel in Might and I look ahead to furthering the connection between Florida and Israel.
The lesson I discovered from that is that typically it pays to be on the proper place, on the proper time.
I feel we right here on this chamber are the suitable leaders on the proper time. In any case, many are referred to as to serve in elected workplace, however just a few are literally entrusted with authority by the voters. Fewer nonetheless are introduced with the alternatives we see earlier than us at this time.
Let’s struggle the great battle, let’s end the race, let’s hold the religion in order that when Floridians look again on the fruits of this session, they’ll see it as considered one of our best hours.