Lawmakers Push Through Final Week of Session



With just a week left in the legislative session, lawmakers feel anxious to nail down a host of local priorities. But there’s already plenty to herald and celebrate.

State Rep. James Buchanan, R-Venice, and state Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, have landed $3 million for a planned mechanic school at the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport.

“With funding going towards mechanical training, it will be a major source of qualified candidates for great paying vocational jobs,” says Buchanan.

State Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton, has been involved in major legislation including a lottery bill that will put warning labels on tickets. But he still has to see his bill, like regulating courier services now selling tickets to buyers overseas, with state Senate legislation, which is limited to the labels. While bills passed in both chambers of the Legislature, differences need to be worked out before the measure heads to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk.

Similarly, Gruters celebrated Senate passage this week on his bill banning ‘Sanctuary Cities’ in Florida. But his bill doesn’t have the same punitive measures for jurisdictions in violation that appear in companion legislation in the House.

“We still have a couple hurdles, but it’s a big deal we passed this,” Gruters says.

Then there’s the red tide initiative. A measure carried by Gruters in the Senate would provide long-term funding for Mote Marine Laboratory to study red tide and find solutions. It’s been a priority for Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and it already won passage in that chamber.

The measure has yet to pass in the House, where state Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-Sarasota, is working with veteran Rep. Michael Grant, R-Port Charlotte, to get legislation over the finish line. But Gruters notes funding for the initiative is in the state budget.


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