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When One-Party Rules, Special Interests Reign


It seems all but certain that Florida s 2023 legislative session will be remembered by political historians as a jump-the-shark moment, a session in which the blurred line between special interests and elected ""representatives"" became sharply defined. One look at the litany of legislation passed by the House and Senate in this latest go round, and anyone can see that they represent those who pay for their seats at the expense of those who pay their salaries.

Each year, our part-time legislature rushes through a jam-packed 60-day session, ostensibly attempting to address the many legislative needs of a geographically-large state with an endlessly growing population. Under even the most ideal circumstances, this antiquated process would likely prove inadequate. However, given the complexity of modern public administration, as well as the complexity of the serious challenges facing Florida, it is increasingly difficult to advance an adequate number of bills.

One might think that would mean Florida legislators would be less likely to diddle around with meaningless proposals that make no effort to address the most critical issues. At the very least, one might hope that given all of the special interest-driven legislation that their paymasters require of them, it would be obvious that there is simply no time remaining for frivolous red meat meant to do little more than provide them the opportunity to grandstand when addressing their base. But as those serious challenges the property insurance debacle, our long-term water woes, increasingly powerful hurricanes, a woeful lack of workforce housing, etc grow increasingly dire, it seems as if they are instead making even less serious efforts to address big problems.

An alarming amount of time and energy in this year s session was spent by legislators on kissing up to Governor DeSantis, as one after another Republicans rushed to deliver on a laundry list of culture war nonsense that the governor would like to brag to the wingnuts about as he continues in his pipe dream of being the party s 2024 presidential nominee. From punitive legislation like the de facto


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