TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Florida House Speaker Paul Renner announced Friday the start date for a special session to be called in February, citing work coordinating with the office of Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Senate.
In addition to putting forth legislation to address ongoing discussions over the fate of Walt Disney World’s quasi-governing status via the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Renner’s announcement said other “issues that warrant” lawmakers’ attention would be considered.
Among the topics, Renner listed Emergency Management, Statewide Prosecutors, Illegal Immigration, Intercollegiate Athletics, the fate of the RCID, reauthorizing the Sunshine Water Control District, and reauthorizing the Eastpoint Water and Sewer District.
The session is scheduled to begin Monday Feb. 6 and will span multiple days, though a specific end time has not yet been set.
The Sunshine Water Control District and the Eastpoint Water and Sewer District were among those disbanded during 2022’s Special Session C, which stripped Reedy Creek of its tax status due to all of the districts having formed before Florida’s state constitution was ratified.
According to the notes from Renner’s office, the emergency management legislation will be focused on providing resources to support ongoing recovery for those impacted by Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, as well as additional funding for the Governor’s Emergency Response and Preparedness Fund.
Regarding Statewide Prosecutors, the legislation will “establish a framework for law enforcement to investigate violations of elections laws,” adding to provisions afforded from the 2022 creation of the Office of Elections Crimes and Security. Renner’s announcement said the proposed bill will give the office more prosecutorial power related to petitioning, as well as state and federal elections.
As far as illegal immigration reforms, the legislature will take time to draft legislation to “help mitigate the ongoing impacts of unauthorized aliens coming to the state of Florida, the legislation creates the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program within the Division of Emergency Management to facilitate the voluntary transport of unauthorized migrants who have been processed by the federal government and released into the United States.”
Building on previous legislation, Florida will add to regulation and statutes revolving around how college athletes may be compensated for use of their names, images, and likenesses while competing for Florida colleges and universities. A bill was filed for the March regular session, but the bill will be moved to the special session on Monday “to address this issue in a timely manner” and ensure Florida teams at its institutions “can remain competitive.”