Note to readers: Naples resident Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, currently on the path to be the next President of the Florida Senate, met with the Southwest Florida Community Advisory Board this week for an hour to talk about where she stands on key issues in the state. Community Advisory Board member Sandy Parker captured the key takeaways from the discussion. Parker is a champion for keeping voters informed with a focus on government in Southwest Florida and around the state. This has been edited for length and clarity:
What would you say were the highlights of the 2021 legislative session?
In my opinion, this past session was the most challenging yet the most productive of my 11 years in the legislature. We began thinking we’d be $6 billion in the hole due to COVID and by the end, for a number of reasons, we passed a $101 billion budget and were able to put $6 billion into reserves.
We passed the COVID liability bills so that unless a business or health care provider was negligent, they would not be held liable if someone contracted COVID in their facility. We also passed huge reform to the child welfare system, just a game-changer for our at-risk children. And in a special session, we passed the gaming compact, another game-changer.
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