House Speaker, Senate President launch the new 2022 legislative session
Senate President Wilton Simpson speaks on first day of 2022 legislative session. Credit: Florida Channel
On the opening day of the 2022 legislative session, Senate President Wilton Simpson said that the Senate will be building off of “investments” made last year by the Legislature.
One big effort would be to “make sure increases are prioritized for bus drivers, maintenance workers, cafeteria workers, and other true public servants in our public schools,” Simpson said Tuesday.
The Florida Education Association has been asking for pay increases for school personnel for months, even years. Gov. Ron DeSantis has focused on increases for starting pay for public school teachers.
In addition, Simpson said he wanted to continue minimum wage increases for state workers. That said, Florida voters approved a 2020 constitutional amendment to gradually increase the minimum wage of $15 by 2026.
In the House, Speaker Chris Sprowls hinted at the House priorities, such as limiting lockdowns for COVID reasons. Earlier in the pandemic, Florida did have restrictions, but DeSantis has said he will never do lockdowns.
“You don’t have to look much further than the conversations around COVID-19,” Sprowls said.
“Here’s an almost perfect example of the need to manage risks — to balance public health concerns against the need for people to maintain their livelihoods and the need to attend to the emotional, educational and social well-being of our children.”
He continued: “And yet, the conversation has, at times, been dominated by extremes — the people who want to lock everyone inside at home and the people who think the virus is a conspiracy to microchip the masses.”
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