Senate President Bill Galvano on Tuesday entered his first legislative session at the helm of the Senate like a coach encouraging his team before taking the field.
Deviating from loosely prepared comments, Galvano stressed the importance of time management and didn’t bring up his priorities, which include extending the Suncoast Parkway and Florida Turnpike toll roads and building a new highway between Polk and Collier counties to handle future growth and provide an economic spark for rural areas.
While his counterpart in the House, Speaker Jose Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, outlined positions on issues such as health care and higher-education spending, Galvano implored members of the Senate during his brief remarks to have the “courage” to rethink bills that are “not ready.”
Galvano, a Bradenton Republican who in November took over from former President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, gave each member an hourglass inscribed with a quote attributed to President Abraham Lincoln: “The best thing about the future is it comes one day at a time.”
“While we’re part of the bigger state government, we have a very specific role in how the people of Florida are governed. And take pride in that. I take pride in that,” Galvano said.
Without addressing any specific bills or topics, he asked members to carefully collaborate and vet issues, policies and ideas.
“When an idea is not right, or a bill is not ready, let us have the courage to step back, regroup and rethink,” he said. “And most, importantly, let us have the discipline to know when to let go and walk away.”
“History is not going to judge the success of this session by the number of bills we pass,” he continued. “To the contrary, it will judge the success of this session by the quality of our actions.”
He noted that the only requirement of the Legislature is to pass a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
“So, as we work together, let us do so boldly, proudly and as the Florida Senate,” he concluded. “It’s an honor, again, to serve as your president. But that’s what I want you to realize I am doing, I am serving you as your president. So, let’s make every day count this session.”
After senators met, they moved to the House to hear Gov. Ron DeSantis’ State of the State address. Galvano presided over the joint session and started by saying he was “excited” about working with the House during the 60-day session.