Local Representative Will Robinson (Republican) of District 71 is the Chair of the Professions & Public Health Subcommittee and holds a seat on 4 other committees: Health & Human Services Committee, Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, Regulatory Reform Subcommittee.  Manatee Herald reached out to Representative Robinson for comment on the recent legislative session.  Here is what he had to say.

We just completed the 2021 legislative session.  The session was exceptionally successful.  At the outset of session, the fiscal outlook for Florida’s upcoming fiscal year was uncertain, given the COVID-19 budget restraints.  There was even concern about completing the session on time but with careful protocols and weekly testing, we completed our work on time and presented to the Governor a budget that addresses the needs of our great state in a fiscally responsible manner.  In early June, the Governor signed the budget. 

During this session, I was honored by Speaker Chris Sprowls to chair the Professions and Public Health Subcommittee, which covers many health care policy areas, including medical marijuana, scope of practice for doctors and nurses, telehealth, and abortion.  I am proud of the work that we did on the subcommittee to deliver more free market and affordable health care options to all Floridians.  This session I also served on Health & Human Services Committee, Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, and Regulatory Reform Subcommittee.  In each committee, we accomplished great work.

In the 2021 session, 275 bills passed both Chambers.  I sponsored five bills that dealt with a variety of topics that passed both Chambers.  Six of my member appropriations were part of the approved budget.  Those appropriations included much needed funding for Easterseals of Southwest Florida and to the Manatee School District for a STEM Career pathways pilot that had been so very successful at Palm View Elementary.  I was also pleased to work with Senator Boyd and the Governor to secure $100 million dollars to finally close out Piney Point, which earlier this year sustained a major breach and caused nearby neighbors to evacuate and untold environmental damage.  

We accomplished a lot during the session, but I’d like to highlight three important policy bills that the Governor has already signed from this session.

One of the first bills that passed this session was SB 72, which enhanced liability protections against COVID-19 related claims filed against businesses.  This law is so important to provide certainty due to the threat of unknown and potentially unbounded liability claims that may arise from the lawsuits filed because of the pandemic.  Many businesses struggled to stay open and did their very best to safely protect their employees and customers.  Lawsuits that could bankrupt business owners and force employee layoffs would be unfair and not good for Floridians.

SB 2006 was a comprehensive bill that included many provisions including banning the production of vaccine passports.  It also required cities and counties to limit any emergency orders that limit the rights or liberties of individuals.

Finally, SB 90 improves our current election system in Florida by requiring better monitoring and placement of drop boxes, prohibiting someone from submitting more than one completed ballot not belonging to a direct family member, and requiring that to vote-by-mail it must be renewed each election cycle.

Committee weeks for the 2022 session start in September so please reach out to my office [my district legislative office phone number is 941-708-4968 and my email address is will.robinson@myfloridahouse.gov].  Please feel free to contact me if you ever have any concerns or need any help.

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