In most cases the legislature gives a newly elected governor a honeymoon period. As the 2019 legislative session concluded Saturday afternoon, one thing was clear – there’s a platonic love affair between the House, Senate and Governor Ron DeSantis. The first year governor had as much success as the Republican gold standard, former Governor Jeb Bush. DeSantis clearly got everything he asked for.
- Increased spending for the environment;
- Banning “sanctuary cities” in Florida;
- Importing pharmaceuticals from other countries to lower prescription costs – despite significant opposition from big PhRMA; and
- School choice expansion.
All four issues were big wins for DeSantis. During a post-session news conference, DeSantis acknowledged he needed the legislature to fulfill most of his campaign promises.
“This session marks the beginning of a new day in Florida,” said Governor DeSantis. “From our environment, to education, to public safety and healthcare, we have put people above politics and made a commitment to our future generations that we will leave our state better than we found it. We did not achieve this alone. I thank the Florida Legislature, especially Senate President Bill Galvano and House Speaker Jose Oliva, for their dedication to these important issues. We may now begin implementing these critical policies for Florida families and our children.”
Add DeSantis’ legislative success to his three appointments to the Florida Supreme Court and it’s clear Republicans are united and Democrats are resigned to having very little input in the direction of the state’s government.
One other thing is very clear – DeSantis’ relationship with the House and Senate is already stronger than what former Governor Rick Scott enjoyed during his 8 years in office. Scott’s demands plus never recognizing the legislative branch was a co-equal strained the relationship from day 1.
Will there be differences between DeSantis and legislative leaders? It’s certain. But in his first session as governor, DeSantis and legislative Republicans are singing from the same hymnal and that’s not something seen in Tallahassee in a long time.