2021 Legislative Session Previews

January 6, 2021

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McGuireWoods Consulting has prepared analyses of what to expect in the 2021 legislative sessions, in the following states — Florida, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia, plus an overview on how to work effectively with transition teams and an update from our national multistate strategies team for a look ahead to 2021. 

McGuireWoods Consulting’s state government relations practice has a presence in eight states, in addition to our multistate capabilities reaching across all 50 states. 

View a full list of state legislative session dates here.

 florida courthouse

Florida Legislative Session Preview
Presiding over the House for the next two years is Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) and at the helm of the Senate is President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby), both from the Tampa Bay area. Sen. Gary Farmer and Rep. Bobby DuBose, both from Fort Lauderdale, were elected to lead the minority parties in their respective chambers. Issues we expect to make traction in 2021 legislative session include public safety and anti-protesting policies, COVID-19 liability protection, Wayfair/Internet sales tax, governor’s executive powers, workforce reform, child welfare reform, early learning, climate change and Medicaid expansion.

Florida Legislative Update: Wayfair
Online tax consideration expected to make headway in 2021.

Consumer Privacy Legislation Expected in Florida Legislature
Proponents say “Florida can’t trust Big Tech.”

 georgia capitol

Georgia Legislative Session Preview
Members of the Georgia General Assembly will convene on Monday, January 11, 2021 to commence the first year of the two-year biennial session. Members of the legislature will welcome 10 new senators and 27 new representatives to the Capitol during the upcoming session. Although Democrats picked up a few seats in the 2020 elections, Republicans will maintain a comfortable majority in both chambers. Top issues include election reform, state budget, gaming, education, freight, infrastructure and broadband.

 illinois capitol

Illinois Legislative Session Preview
The Illinois legislature hoped to build on its blockbuster 2019 with a comprehensive energy bill, changes to the tax structure for a Chicago casino to ensure the project’s viability, a worker classification bill for the gig economy, and ethics and lobbying reform. Substantive legislative work for the year had just begun when COVID-19 disrupted these plans. Going from a nearly six-month legislative session to a truncated one of just a few days meant the focus this year shifted to dealing with only essential items like the budget, COVID-19-related matters, and the hospital assessment. Many of the legislature’s 2020 agenda items therefore are expected to re-emerge in 2021. 

 nc capitol

North Carolina Legislative Session Preview
The North Carolina General Assembly will convene January 13, 2021 for the start of the long session. Republicans will head into the new session maintaining their majorities in both chambers. Democrats will seek to continue to push their legislative agenda while working with Republican leadership on consensus bills. Without a veto-proof majority in either chamber, both House and Senate Republicans and Democrats will be forced to work together. Legislators will immediately begin to address issues related to the pandemic, economic relief, and healthcare. 

 sc capitol

South Carolina Legislative Session Preview
The 124th session of the South Carolina General Assembly will convene on January 12, 2021, marking the first year of a two-year legislative session. Issues likely to be at the forefront include budget, redistricting, Santee Cooper, abortion and hate crimes legislation.


 texas courthouse

Texas Legislative Session Preview
On January 12, lawmakers from across the state of Texas will convene the 87th Texas Legislative Session. This will be the first time that all 181 legislators will come together since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Top agenda items include budget, redistricting, education and regulation.


va capitol

Virginia Legislative Session Preview
The Virginia 2021 General Assembly session will be unlike any we have seen in the past. Coming off a months-long special session, Republicans in the Senate and House of Delegates intend to keep the session to the 30-day constitutional limit. Despite the short session and bill limits, the General Assembly is set to tackle big issues facing the Commonwealth, including recreational marijuana, COVID-19 liability protections and the biennial budget.

 capitol dome

Transition Teams: How to Work Effectively with Incoming Administrations
As new administrations prepare to govern in 2021, businesses and organizations can make sure their voice is heard and build connections. Five points to keep in mind include: build relationships during the transition, there are many avenues to have your voice heard, don’t assume an elected official has in-depth knowledge of your issue, be brief and focused and articulate a value proposition. 

 us state flags

National Multistate Strategy Update: A Look Ahead to 2021
With significant political change at the state and national level, it is important to think ahead about your strategy in managing this changing landscape. MWC offers a unique practice providing guidance to clients on issues that migrate beyond a state border. We work with groups representing the nation’s governors, attorneys general and state legislative groups, as well as insurance commissioners and banking regulators. These officials play an ever growing role in shaping our nation’s policies in critical areas like healthcare, energy and environmental policy, financial services, transportation and education.