The Florida Legislature convened for less than two hours Thursday to unanimously adopt a $93.2 billion fiscal year 2021 budget that “did not ignore reality but also did not overreact” to the coronavirus pandemic. Lawmakers reassembled at noon Thursday after disbanding Sunday, returning to Tallahassee after meeting a state-mandated 72-hour pause between preliminary and final budget votes to cast ballots in a near-empty capitol building.
Twenty-four of 140 House and Senate members were not present to vote on three budget bills – the General Appropriations Act, House Bill 5001; its implementation bill, House Bill 5003; and a collective bargaining agreement, House Bill 5005. They were adopted in the House in 104-0 votes, and in the Senate 20 minutes later in 32-0 tallies.
The Senate vote concluded the 2020 legislative session at 1:50 p.m. without the traditional sine dine rotunda “hanky drop,” but with an unceremonious call to return home to await further developments should the budget need revision after the COVID-19 outbreak slackens and before fiscal 2021 begins July 1.