Critical issues in Florida that will arise in the next presidential term

 Critical issues in Florida that will arise in the next presidential term forJoe Biden, Donald Trump:

Joe Biden and Donald Trump

It’s easy to think of presidential elections as moments when one era ends, and another begins – even if the same president remains in power. For Florida citizens, however, the big issues are likely to be the same regardless of who’s sitting in the Oval Office, and they’re issues we’ve been trying to resolve for years. As campaign efforts mount and voters prepare to go the polls, these are some of the critical issues we can expect our legislature to be dealing with during the next term.

COVID-19

With over 10,000 Floridians now having lost their lives to the pandemic, this is an issue that won’t be going away in a hurry. Although there are some promising vaccine candidates in development, there will be issues around distribution and prioritization once they arrive.There is also a high chance that they will need to be given seasonally as new variants of the disease emerge, much like flu vaccines. That is going to require some significant adjustments and will raise questions about finance.There will be arguments about striking the right balance between protecting citizens, reopening the economy, and managing citizen participation in control measures. Issues will include the wearing of masks, and we can also expect disputes over the ethics and practicality of making subsidized vaccinations available to the poorest sectors of society to restrict the spread of the virus.

Gun control

Two and a half years after the Parkland shooting, gun control remains a hot topic in the legislature, with several senators keen to extend the red flag law but facing significant opposition, with at least one representative wanting to overturn it. It remains to be seen what effect the lawsuits being pressed against the NRA will have on that organization’s contributions to electoral funds. Several commentators have agreed that this could have a significant impact on the political landscape and might result in movement toward tighter restrictions. If this happens, the most likely result in the immediate term is that there will be a mandatory mental health check on persons wishing to purchase firearms. There will also be a ban on firearms being held by individuals with domestic abuse convictions, two areas in which there is some cross-party agreement.

Immigration

Concerns about the management of immigration can be found right across the US, but that doesn’t mean that people in other states understand the specific issues we face here. Although the repeal of the wet foot, dry foot law in 2017 has seen the number of Cuban asylum seekers decrease significantly, the experiences of the Cuban community mean that there will always be more support for migrants here than in other states.Measures to limit both legal and illegal immigration remain controversial. The new law mandating the use of E-Verify by employers does not mean that argument around its use is likely to end, and there remains a genuine possibility that it could be withdrawn. Furthermore, politicians in both parties have acknowledged that there is already a significant amount of work kept off the books, which the system will do nothing to restrict.

Climate change

Florida has some major environmental issues to deal with at the moment. There is the pollution of the Indian River Lagoon and the potentially destructive effect of the Suncoast Valley toll road extension.Behind all of this lies the specter of climate change, which is gradually eating away at our wild habitats as well as increasing the risk of urban flooding. As this is an issue that affects everyone, it’s one where the No Labels approach of non-partisan consensus-building has a crucial role to play. Polling has shown that over 86% of the state population takes the issue seriously, including 91% of Democrats and 81% of Republicans. A growing number of Republicans agree with Democrat calls to have climate change issues taught in schools.There is also widespread support within the Florida branch of the party for Governor DeSantis’ break with national policy, suggesting that this is an area where we will continue to forge our own path.

Housing

Another problem that’s unlikely to go away soon is the urgent shortage of affordable housing across many parts of the state, and especially in Orlando. With increasing pressure on the market, more funding is urgently needed so that citizens doing vital jobs but not earning high wages can afford to live within a reasonable distance of work. Several different solutions have been proposed for this, including measures to prevent money from housing funds being redirected into other areas of government, a reduction in property tax for key workers, and community-based rent controls. With extensive disagreement remaining about the best approach, however, it is unclear when any of these will go forward or if they will be enough to havean impact on the problem. Meanwhile, pressure on renters is exacerbating problems with poor quality housing and related damage to health.

With all these issues and more on the radar, don’t expect a lull any time soon. We may or may not get a new President, but Florida politics looks destined to remain as fiery as ever.

 

 

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