On Tuesday morning, Florida state lawmakers will gavel-in their annual 60-day legislative session with a plate-full of issues.
Democrats, in the minority, are already expecting an uphill climb.
"I feel like we’re playing a lot of defense on the minority side,” said Miami-Dade State Representative Michael Grieco. “It is a lot of bad bills, it is a lot of what I describe as red meat for the conservative side."
Items getting attention will include COVID recovery and shoring up the state‘s post-COVID economy.
A controversial bill related to public protests and demonstrations would enhance penalties for violent protestors and for people who vandalize or destroy property.
Republican lawmakers want to change election laws, addressing mail-in ballot requests and how those ballots are collected.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking to take on big tech, with the GOP insisting social media is stifling the conservative message.
On Monday, DeSantis spoke of a new proposal to keep the influence of foreign governments, like China and Russia, out of Florida’s universities.
"The Chinese Communist Party has made it a mission of their global expansion of power, to steal intellectual property from our businesses, our government and our academic institutions, all to further fuel their global objectives,” said Desantis.
The Democrats were hoping to gain seats in the legislature, but Democratic incumbent State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez lost his seat in November to Republican newcomer Ileana Garcia, giving the GOP more of an advantage in Tallahassee.
Grieco is certain that South Florida, despite being the state’s most populated region, will not get the attention it deserves.
“You can’t even see Miami from Tallahassee, either directly or figuratively,” he said. “Sometimes we get treated like second-class citizens because we are so far away and not a lot of us are in leadership right now in the Miami-Dade delegation.”