By Peter Schorsch
May 3, 2021
They all can’t be winners. Here is the definitive list of who’s up and who took a fall.
The ending of a Session is never a surprise. It’s like harvest season. What you get at the end is the result of months, maybe even years of tilling, planting, watering, tending, and shepherding.
Against the odds and despite many challenges, the 2021 Legislative Session ended on time. The House Speaker and the Senate President were together for the iconic dropping of the hankie. There weren’t any strained smiles or forced compliments. They stood side by side, thanking each other as much as they talked about themselves.
It was not happenstance. It was the yield of the field.
It’s hard to say when the first seeds were planted, but if you asked the Speaker or the President, they might tell you their trip to Tel Aviv marked the beginning of this productive relationship.
Those two men in the Holy Land could not have been more different. The young, telegenic Speaker-designate with a bright mind and prosecutorial mastery. A 54-year-old adopted chicken farmer who is more of a road scholar than a Rhodes scholar.
If not for the voters who sent them to Tallahassee, their paths would likely have never crossed.
Those familiar with the Israel trip noted that an unlikely friendship began during the downtime in between the Governor’s signing of one Memorandum of Understanding after another.
Both men, we are told, spoke about how they wanted to do things differently. It’s the same familiar hope of all presiding officers, but one usually remains hopeful or turns into regret.
To commemorate that goal, both men signed their own Memorandum of Understanding, this one on the back of a napkin with a BIC rather than ceremonial parchment and a fountain pen.
What neither man knew was what they would face. A pandemic. Plummeting revenues. A dump truck of nonrecurring dollars backing up in the middle of Session. A Governor with his sights set on The White House. The violent clashes of “woke” society.
There were many opportunities to derail this Session. There were times when the Senate seemed ahead, and times where the House was in the lead. Detractors and critics did their best to publish midgame scores hoping that one side would kill another’s priority. To their credit, the Speaker and the President managed to stay true to their chambers, working it out instead of blowing it up.
What resulted was a Session where there were enough wins for everyone.
It was a fruitful harvest. To the surprise of many observers, both sides did exactly what they set out to do. With respect. With understanding.
It’s been a long time since we have seen a Session like this one. It didn’t happen by accident. What began in Tel Aviv bore fruit in Tallahassee. Like what they did or not, both sides accomplished what they set out to do. With another Session to go, we will see what the second harvest will be.
Here is Florida Politics’ definitive list of the Winners and Losers emerging from the 2021 Legislative Session.
Mark Anderson — Normally, lobbyists don’t get singled out in Winners & Losers. Before you write us to ask why so-and-so didn’t get a nod, ask yourself this: Did they go “Full Anderson?” And by that, we mean did they perfectly time millisecond of public testimony to advocate for a client during budget talks? That kind of move takes guts. And it produces results. The solo lobbyist snagged $13 million in client appropriations, helped long-sought legislation modernizing HOA rules, and regulating home-based businesses. Quite the Session.