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Tale of Two States

Florida state government has long been under GOP rule. But this year, the state’s Republican legislative majority, energized by three new conservative state Supreme Court justices, new legislative leaders and a new governor, accomplished a few items that had been on their to-do list for a while.

 

Those achievements include private school vouchers, free-market reforms of the state’s healthcare system, a ban on “sanctuary cities” and authorization for teachers to carry guns.

 

Republicans also succeeded in gutting a voter approved constitutional amendment that would have let felons vote and making it harder to qualify citizen-driven constitutional amendments for the ballot, including two proposed for 2020 that would raise the minimum wage and allow for the expansion of solar energy.

 

The list of legislative achievements was much different in Colorado, where Democrats had control of both the governor’s office and the General Assembly this year. Those successes include full-day kindergarten, a ban on gay conversion therapy and new gun control measures.

 

“This is what we ran on,” said freshman Sen. Julie Gonzales (D). “This is the transformative policy we fought for.”

 

But Republicans and Democrats in both states managed to find some common ground on a few issues, like education, healthcare and even the environment. As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said about his state’s quickly approved $91.1 billion budget, which included record education and environmental spending: “There’s really something in here, I think, for everybody, in one way or another, so that’s a good thing.” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, DENVER POST)