It was all smiles and hand shakes Monday night as legislators, lobbyists and other political officials celebrated the kick-off to the start of session.
"It's a tradition, It's a Tallahassee tradition."
Every year, the Associated Industries of Florida hosts a reception to honor Florida's lawmakers and welcome them to the Capital city. The party gives senators and representatives, republicans and democrats, the chance to put their differences aside to socialize and possibly makes some allies before the 60-day battle begins.
"I can at least say hi to them and get in a quick issue with them before we start on our sprint tomorrow," said Senator Chris Smith.
"It's one of those events that's non-partisan, you see your colleagues from across the aisle," said Representative Hazelle Rogers.
A number of issues are on the chopping block this year, but many legislators believe improving Florida's economy should be at the top of the list.
"I think the governor and his push to get jobs in Florida has really transcended throughout the legislature, so a lot of things we're going to be doing is how can we get more jobs in Florida? How can we build Florida's economy, and I think that is going to be the focus this year in the legislature," said Smith.
"We recognize unemployment compensation is going to be one of those major issues and the pension plan for various employees across the state, so we're ready to work," said Rogers.
Session runs for a consecutive 60 days in which time, the members of the legislature are expected to present, preview, discuss and vote on bills that impact the people of the sunshine state.
Will a few hefty topics on the table, we'll just have to wait and see how well they can all work together to accomplish their goals.
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