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Reps. Maggard, Plascencia, Hunschofsky Bills Pass Environment, Agriculture and Flooding Subcommittee

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (FNN) – The Environment, Agriculture, and Flooding Subcommittee voted on three bills during its February 16, 2021 meeting.

The committee first voted on House Bill 169 (HB 169) – Purchase of Commodities and Services by the Water Management Districts, presented by Representative Tobin Overdorf for Representative Randall Maggard, (R-38), who was unable to attend the meeting.

Representative Maggard lives in Dade City, Florida, and is the vice president of a corporation. He was elected in June of 2019 and has been reelected since. Representative Maggard serves on the following committees:

  • State Administration and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee – Vice Chair
  • Commerce Committee
  • Professions and Public Health Subcommittee
  • Regulatory Reform Subcommittee
  • Secondary Education and Career Development Subcommittee
  • Ways and Means Committee

HB169 authorizes Water Management Districts to purchase commodities and contractual services from purchasing contracts of specified entities; provides conditions for such purchases. The bill will allow the Water Management Districts to join into contracts with state agencies and other select entities to procure commodities and other services. The bill passed with a 17 yea and one nay vote, and the bill is now in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.

The committee next considered Representative Rene Plasencia (R-50)’s House Bill 223 (HB 223) – Marina Evacuations.

Representative Plasencia lives in Orlando, Florida, and is a teacher. He was elected in 2014 and has been reelected since. Representative Plasencia serves on the following committees:

  • Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee – Chair
  • Post-Secondary Education and Lifelong Learning Subcommittee – Vice Chair
  • Appropriations Committee
  • Commerce Committee
  • Infrastructure and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee

HB 223 prohibits vessels under a specific weight from remaining in certain marinas deemed unsuitable for refuge during a hurricane after the issuance of a hurricane watch. It requires specified persons to remove vessels upon failure of vessel owners or operators to remove them and it provides that such persons may charge reasonable removal fees and are not liable for damages resulting from such removal. The bill also provides that owners or operators of certain vessels may be subject to specified fines. This bill amends section 327.59 and will only affect the ports of Key West, Port Canaveral, and St. Petersburg. The bill passes with 18 yeas and zero nays. It is now in the Pandemics and Public Emergencies Committee.

Lastly, the committee considered Representative Christine Hunschofsky (D-96)’s House Bill 217 (HB 217) – Conservation Area Designations.

Representative Hunschofsky lives in Parkland, Florida, and was elected in 2020. She serves on the following committees:

  • Early Learning and Elementary Education Subcommittee
  • Education and Employment Committee
  • Environment, Agriculture and Flooding Subcommittee
  • Finance and Facilities Subcommittee
  • State Administration and Technology Subcommittee

HB 217 designates Southeast Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area as Kristin Jacobs‘ Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area and directs the Department of Environmental Protection to erect a suitable marker.

Representative Jacobs lost her battle with colon cancer last April. She was a huge supporter of conservation and built her career on climate and resilience policies. Representative Jacobs was the prime co-sponsor of the bill that established the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area in 2018. Her goal was always to make a positive difference.

The bill passed with 18 yeas and zero nays. The bill is now in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.

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