Gov. DeSantis highlights COVID-19 response, legislative priorities in State of State address

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered his annual State of the State address on Tuesday in Tallahassee.

Speaking before a joint session of Florida’s legislature, the governor said he was looking forward to working with lawmakers in the months to come and building on Florida’s successes.

During his speech, the governor touted his response to the coronavirus pandemic and how keeping the state open avoided many of the problems facing other states.

READ: Florida lawmakers return to Tallahassee: Here’s how to watch the first session

“While so many other states kept locking people down over these many months, Florida lifted people up,” DeSantis said.

He went on to say that people have a right to earn a living and that “every job is essential.”

The governor also spoke of the state’s budget and how because of actions taken last year, the state was in a better position than previously anticipated.

READ: Theme park employees find new career paths following pandemic shutdown

Last year, the governor vetoed $1 billion from the state’s current budget because of anticipated loss of revenue.

Despite the state still facing an almost $3 billion shortfall, the governor vowed to boost education spending and and continue environmental priorities.

He also laid out several legislative priorities, such as the anti-riot bill that would enhance penalties for crimes committed during a violent protest, taking on “big tech” and securing our elections.

DeSantis also took time to recognize the over 30,000 Floridians that have died since the coronavirus pandemic began last year.

VIDEO: How COVID-19 first impacted Central Florida, and the world

“To honor those who have died with COVID and to recognize the toll the virus has taken on family members throughout our state, the state of Florida will be lowering the flags to half staff on Wednesday tomorrow,” he said.

In closing, DeSantis said he was proud of how Florida has handled the pandemic and that the outlook for the state in the coming months was good.

“Floridians have responded in ways that would make our founding fathers proud. Because of these efforts, the sun is rising here in Florida, and the Sunshine State will soon be reaching new horizons,” he said.

You can read a copy of the governor’s full address here.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.

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