Governor Ron DeSantis today received the following bills from the Florida Legislature. [Read more…] about Governor Ron DeSantis Receives Three Bills from the Florida Legislature
“Donna’s Law” – a bill to eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual assault against minor victims – unanimously passed the House and Senate and will now go to the Governor’s desk for approval. [Read more…] about “Donna’s Law” Passes Florida Legislature
Governor Ron DeSantis today received the following bill from the Florida Legislature. The Governor has until March 5, 2020 to act on this bill.
- CS/HB 1087 – Domestic Violence Services
Governor Ron DeSantis today received the following bills from the Florida Legislature. [Read more…] about Governor Ron DeSantis Receives 10 Bills from the Florida Legislature
Governor Ron DeSantis today received the following bills from the Florida Legislature. [Read more…] about Governor Ron DeSantis Receives Six Bills from the Florida Legislature
Governor Ron DeSantis today praised the Florida Legislature for passing school choice expansion, Gardiner Scholarship funding and Best and Brightest Teacher and Principal Bonuses among other top educational priorities for the administration. [Read more…] about Governor Ron DeSantis Commends Florida Legislature for Passage of School Choice Expansion and Key Education Priorities
Governor Ron DeSantis and Lt. Governor Jeanette Nuñez today joined Florida Senate President Bill Galvano and Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva for Sine Die, commemorating the end of a successful legislative session. [Read more…] about Governor Ron DeSantis Celebrates Sine Die with Florida Legislature
In a victory for the citizens of the Treasure Coast region, and based on work by Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida (CARE FL) and Indian River and Martin Counties, the Florida Legislature has included language in the state budget directing the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) to commission a study to examine existing and planned passenger rail operations, including high-speed passenger rail, in Florida. Currently, Florida has no laws or regulations addressing the safety of high speed trains such as the one proposed by All Aboard Florida (AAF).
The study language was proposed by Senator Debbie Mayfield and the Florida Senate following an unprecedented series of deaths and injuries in six separate incidents in which individuals were struck by AAF/Brightline high speed trains currently running between West Palm Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. The language was included despite efforts and politicking by AAF to kill any measure related to rail safety this session.
The AAF/Brightline project proposes to send 32 new 80-110 mile per hour passenger trains, and more and longer FEC freight trains, along the same tracks between Miami and Orlando. The deaths and injuries, which occurred at rail crossings in South Florida, clearly demonstrated the urgent need for safety measures to protect pedestrians and motorists who cross the tracks multiple times a day every day.
“This study will require the hiring of experts to take a hard look at the impacts of high speed rail in Florida and in areas that never previously contemplated trains travelling at 110 miles per hour through densely populated areas,” said Dylan Reingold, Indian River County Attorney. “The study should confirm that pedestrians, children and vehicles are in danger at many of the at-grade crossings.”
“Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida is deeply grateful to Senator Debbie Mayfield and Representatives Erin Grall and Mary Lynn Magar for their unwavering commitment to protecting the residents of our community and all Floridians,” said Brent Hanlon, CARE FL Chairman. “This study is a necessary step so when our Legislature meets again, they will understand and act to address the deadly consequences of high speed trains in our communities.”
The AAF/Brightline high speed rail project will significantly increase the number and speed of trains passing through nearly 350 at-grade road crossings along the Florida East Coast Rail corridor, 28 of which are located in Martin County and 31 of which are located in Indian River County, posing more dangers and opportunities for accidents between trains and vehicles or people.
“If done responsibly, the rail study should compel state and federal governments’ to finally meet their regulatory obligations to ensure the safety of the public in and around railroads,” said Ruth Holmes, Martin County Senior Assistant County Attorney.
The study will include the following:
- An overview of the Florida Rail System, including existing and planned passenger rail and high-speed passenger rail operations in the state, and identification of existing and planned passenger rail and high-speed passenger rail stations, corridors, and associated railroad-highway crossings.
- An overview of the jurisdiction of federal, state, and local governments to regulate passenger rail and high-speed passenger rail operations.
- A review of data relating to incidents, including resulting injuries and fatalities, involving passenger rail and high-speed passenger rail operations in this state.
- Recommendations to further enhance passenger rail and high-speed passenger rail safety in this state, including a review of current crossing signalization, grade crossings and separations, corridor protection, public education and awareness, and coordination with local law enforcement and emergency management officials.
- Recommendations to further improve passenger rail and high-speed passenger rail in this state.
According to the language, the final report will be submitted to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by November 1, 2018.
However, the language authorizing the study now heads to Governor Rick Scott’s desk for his approval.
“We urge the Governor to approve this much-needed study to ensure the public’s safety,” added Hanlon.
Senator Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach) today announced the winners of the Florida Legislature’s Annual Biggest Loser Weight Loss Competition. The eight week contest is open to members of the legislature and Capitol employees who compete to lose the most weight during the legislative session.
“Session is a stressful time for everyone at the Capitol, and it is easy to put on a few pounds if you’re not careful,” said Senator Bean. “The Annual Biggest Loser Competition serves as a great way to promote weight loss and motivate legislators and staff to make positive, healthy changes in their lives.”
The 2018 Biggest Loser Weight Loss Competition winners are:
1. Rep. Clovis Watson – 27.5 lbs
2. Gary Austin (Sergeant’s Office) – 22 lbs.
3. Kurt Schrader (Bill Drafting) – 16.5 lbs.
1. Mary Cowart (Aide to Rep. Stafford) – 17.5 lbs.
2. Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen – 16 lbs.
3. Heather Bishop (House Policy Chief) – 12 lbs.
Honorable mentions for legislative losers include Representative Larry Ahern, Representative Tracie Davis, Representative Bob Cortes, Senator Aaron Bean, Senator Kevin Rader and Senator Daphne Campbell. Representative Bobby Payne won the “Steady Eddy” award by weighing in and out at the same weight.
Participants weighed in with a registered nurse at the Capitol Clinic during the first week of the 2018 legislative session in early January and weighed out by March 7. 48 participants lost a total of 173 pounds with 27 men losing 82.75 pounds and 21 women losing 90.75 pounds. The proceeds from the contest were awarded as a $1,000 charitable donation to the Florida Guardian ad Litem Foundation.
Senator Bean represents Senate District 4, which includes parts of Nassau and Duval Counties. He can be contacted in Tallahassee at (850) 487-5004 or in his District Office at (904) 757-5039.
Governor Rick Scott today issued the following statement following the Florida Senate unanimously voting in support of HB 359. HB 359 was also passed unanimously in the Florida House of Representatives in January and advances Governor Scott’s proposal to strictly prohibit the State of Florida, including all state agencies, from investing in any company that is doing business with Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s oppressive government. See Governor Scott’s announcement of this proposal HERE.
Governor Scott said, “With the passage of this landmark legislation, Florida continues its commitment to the people of Venezuela who are fighting for freedom and democracy. This legislation will prohibit all state agencies from investing in the Venezuelan government and puts even more financial pressure on the Maduro regime by stopping any future state investment with them. I want to thank Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, as well as sponsors Senator Rene Garcia and Speaker Pro Tempore Jeanette Nunez, for their great work on this important bill. Together, we will continue to shine a light on the unacceptable political tyranny and violence that is inflicted by Maduro and his ruthless thugs. We need to do everything we can to help stop these injustices and Florida stands with the people of Venezuela.”
Senator Rene Garcia said, “It was an honor to sponsor this important piece of legislation. HB 359 shows that Florida continues to stand strong against the brutal Maduro regime and any business that supports their oppressive leadership. We will continue fighting for human rights and democracy for our friends in Venezuela.”
Florida House Speaker Pro Tempore Jeanette Nunez said, “This legislation strengthens Florida’s opposition to Maduro’s brutal and oppressive regime. I want to thank Governor Scott on his leadership and commitment to the Venezuelan people. Together, we will keep fighting to bring democracy to the people of Venezuela.”