Gov. Scott pushes tax cuts, tourism, business in State of State address

Posted at 4:23 AM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-07 14:38:42-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Rick Scott has vigorously defended Florida state agencies that recruit businesses and promote tourism, in a State of the State speech that also extensively reflected on the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Scott said in the prepared remarks Tuesday that it would be shortsighted to eliminate Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida and that each has helped the state's economy grow.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants to strip Enterprise Florida of state money and is backing significant cuts to the tourism agency.

Scott also spent much of the speech talking about the Orlando nightclub shooting that killed 49 victims, saying the hardest thing he had to do as governor was find the words to console victims' families. But he said that with every heartbreak and tragedy, Florida comes back stronger.

Florida Legislature Begins 

The Florida Legislature is returning to work for the next 60 days.

The annual session officially started on Tuesday, and lawmakers have a long list of items they will be considering in the weeks ahead.

While approving a state budget is the only thing the Legislature is required to do each year, lawmakers will consider everything from expanding guns rights to implementing a medical marijuana amendment passed by voters.

Legislators are also going to consider a contentious proposal to reduce discharges from Lake Okeechobee blamed for toxic algae blooms. They are also expected to act quickly to fix Florida's death penalty law.

The session is expected to be bumpy. House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Gov. Rick Scott are at odds over House plans to eliminate the state's economic development agency.