Jack Latvala Archives - Page 5 of 47 - Florida Politics

Capitol Reax: Lake Okeechobee water storage reservoir

The Florida Legislature voted to send a trimmed-down version of a bill (SB 10) to build a water storage reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee. A top priority for Senate President Joe Negron, the bill aims to divert toxic algae discharges from coastal communities. The measure prohibits the state from taking private property to build the reservoir.

“Today is a momentous event. The many voices that came to the table this session – anglers, realtors, business and community leaders, and people who want the best for their state – were heard with the final bipartisan passage of SB 10, a positive and science-based step toward the restoration of America’s Everglades.

We thank the Senate and House for working together to create a solution that all parties could unite behind, and we applaud them for backing this good bill and its ultimate passage. Expediting the planning and implementation of the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir will significantly reduce the amount of harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee and provide us with the opportunity to store, clean and send large amounts of water into the Everglades and Florida Bay, where it is needed.

We recognize Senate President Joe Negron, who made this his priority from Day One, realizing the immediate need to pursue a solution to the damaging discharges, and never wavered. It is because of his unremitting advocacy and leadership that we’re seeing this legislation head to the Governor. This is a legacy that will be remembered long after his presidency ends.

Recognition is also due to House Speaker Richard Corcoran for his hard work in the House. Without his diligence and resolve, this momentous day would not have been realized.

We encourage Governor Rick Scott to join the Senate and House in embracing this long-awaited action by signing SB 10 into law.” – Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg

“Today, the Florida House stood up for Florida’s farming communities by approving legislation that does not take farmland out of production. While not perfect, Senate Bill 10 will ensure the planned EAA reservoir is eventually completed on existing state-owned land. Having turned the page on buying additional land south of Lake Okeechobee, the Florida Legislature in a future session can focus on plans that will address the excess water and nutrients originating north of the lake, which science shows can reduce the frequency of discharges by more than 60 percent.” – Ryan Duffy, spokesman for Florida Sugarcane Farmers

“Senate Bill 10 has been greatly improved, takes essentially no privately owned farmland, and even removes the threat of eminent domain.   The House deserves credit for quickly passing legislation that can provide some protection for our water resources while also protecting our farming communities and vital food production.

 U.S. Sugar always supports solutions that are based on science, which, in this case shows the source of the water significantly impacting the coastal estuaries flows from north of Lake Okeechobee, not the south.  Obviously, you’re going to have to build some solutions north of the lake to finally fix the discharge problem.  We look forward to working with legislators in the future to get that done.” – Judy Sanchez, senior director for corporate communications and public affairs for U.S. Sugar.

“We are grateful for House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Rep. Matt Caldwell, Rep. Holly Raschein, Senate President Joe Negron, Sen. Rob Bradley, Sen. Jack Latvala and the entire Florida Legislature for their support of Everglades restoration projects and funding. This much-needed focus on our state’s natural resources will provide for the implementation of comprehensive solutions that will have the greatest and most immediate impact on the Everglades, Florida Bay and our south Florida estuaries.” – Kellie Ralston, Florida Fishery Policy Director of the American Sportfishing Association.

 

TBARTA revamp one step closer to Rick Scott’s desk

Legislation to revamp the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) by reducing its footprint passed Tuesday a second reading on the Florida House floor.

One more vote in the House, and the bill goes to Gov. Rick Scott’s desk.

Sponsored in the House by Plant City Republican Dan RaulersonHB 1243 would downsize TBARTA from seven counties to five (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Manatee and Hernando), and change the TBARTA’s focus to transit (and not simply transportation).

Two weeks ago, an amendment filed by Tampa Bay area Republicans Tom Lee and Jeff Brandes made it much harder for the region to push for light-rail, but Senate sponsor Jack Latvala of Clearwater was able to make changes to that amendment last week, which appeared to have satisfied supporters of the bill.

There was little discussion about the bill Tuesday on the House floor.

St. Petersburg Democrat Wengay Newton asked Raulerson what were the differences between his bill and Latvala’s bill in the Senate? Raulerson said the main difference was that the governor would have four picks to put on the TBARTA board, whereas the House bill limits his power to two choices.

The bill now goes to the full House Wednesday for a third and final reading. The Senate bill passed last week.

Ed Hooper to host major Tarpon Springs fundraiser Wednesday

Ed Hooper, the former Republican State Representative and Clearwater City Commissioner, will be featured at a high-profile fundraiser Wednesday in his bid for Florida Senate.

Hooper is seeking to succeed term-limited Jack Latvala in Senate District 16, which covers much of north Pinellas County.

A reception will begin 5 PM at Mugs ‘N Jugs, 40737 U.S. Highway 19 N. in Tarpon Springs.

Hosts of the event, which currently number about 70 influential Tampa Bay-area political leaders, include Brian Aungst Jr., Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, former Pinellas County Commissioner Neil Brickfield and Mari Riba of Safety Harbor, among others.

A former firefighter who served four terms in the House before being term-limited, Hooper lost a combative race in 2014 for the Pinellas County Commission to Democrat Pat Gerard, and has since maintained a public profile in local GOP circles.

Just over a year ago, Hooper filed for the District 16 seat, when redistricting resulted in an opening after Pasco County’s former state Sen. John Legg choosing not to run against Latvala, who is a popular figure in Pinellas County politics.

During his time in Tallahassee, FloridaPolitics.com reported Hooper received several “A” ratings from the Florida Chamber of Commerce Honor Roll, Florida Education Association, and the Florida Home Builders Association.

RSVPs are with ehooper1@aol.com or (727) 458-4751.

 

It’s official: Adam Putnam running for Florida governor

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is no longer just a likely gubernatorial candidate.

The Bartow Republican filed his paperwork Monday for a 2018 run to replace Gov. Rick Scott. He plans to make a formal announcement on the old county courthouse steps in Bartow at 11 a.m. on May 10, according to the Tampa Bay Times, which first reported Putnam’s annoouncement.

“I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world because I get to call Florida home,” he said in a statement. “It’s our responsibility as Floridians to keep our economy at work, to increase access to high quality education, to fiercely protect our personal freedoms, to keep our state safe, and to welcome our veterans home with open arms.”

Putnam was first elected in 2010 after serving five terms in Congress, where he was one of the highest ranking Republican members of the U.S. House. He was first elected to the Legislature when he was 22.

The 42-year-old is a fifth generation Floridian from a family of ranchers and citrus growers. He becomes the first major Republican to enter the race.

His entry into the race has long been expected. His political committee, Florida Grown, has raised $10.5 million since since February 2015. The committee ended March with more than $7.7 million cash on hand.

The committee had some of its best fundraising periods to-date in recent months. The committee raised more than $2.2 million in February and nearly $1.1 million in March.

Both Sen. Jack Latvala and Speaker Richard Corcoran are believed to be considering their options.

Latvala’s political committee, Florida Leadership Committee, has raised $8.2 million since 2013. The committee had one of its best fundraising periods to date in February, raising nearly $1.1 million.

Democrats Andrew Gillum and Chris King have already filed to run, while former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham is widely expected to announce her 2018 bid on Tuesday.

Scott can’t run again because of term limits.

The Associated Press contributed to this report, reprinted with permissions.

Lawmakers consider one more public budget meeting

Florida legislators are considering another public meeting on the state’s budget language before finalizing the agreement Tuesday.

Lobby Tools is reporting Monday that Senate budget chief Jack Latvala and Carlos Trujillo, his House counterpart, said that the joint appropriations committee would not meet again, so it’s not clear who will be involved in the meeting, or when it will take place.

“The full approps committee is not meeting again,” Trujillo told reporters. “So, the issues that bump go to the presiding officers and they’ll decide the remaining issues.”

According to LobbyTools, the House speaker and Senate president do not traditionally hold public meetings.

Greyhound steroid ban dies in Senate

A bipartisan bill banning the use of steroids on greyhound racing dogs is likely dead for the 2017 Legislative Session.

The last committee of reference for the Senate bill (SB 512) had been Appropriations, which did not hear it Monday at its last meeting. The House version (HB 743) passed earlier this month on an 84-32 vote.

“We had the votes to pass it,” said Senate bill sponsor Dana Young, a Tampa Republican. The Senate bill cleared two previous committees on 8-2 and 9-2 margins. “Unfortunately, we were not able to get it on the last agenda.”

Senate Appropriations chair Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican, was not immediately available for comment. He did not mention the bill during a post-meeting interview with reporters Monday.

“It’s very sad,” Young added. “I’ve been working on humane issues like this for seven years.”

The House sponsor, Orlando Democrat Carlos Guillermo Smith, did not immediately respond to a text message.

The measure had been vehemently opposed by racetrack and racing dog associations. There are 19 race-dog tracks remaining in the United States, 12 of them in Florida.

Smith had argued in committee that trainers use steroids on female greyhounds to keep them from going into heat and losing racing days. He called the use of steroids on dogs equivalent to “doping.”

“Anabolic steroids can have harmful long-term side effects, in addition to serving as a performance enhancer on female dogs,” Smith had said in a news release. “As long as greyhound racing continues in Florida, we have a moral obligation to ensure these dogs are treated as fairly and humanely as possible.”

Hospitality marketing money still in play, lawmakers say

Money to help smaller communities market themselves during the off-season could still be in play as legislative leaders continue to negotiate the 2017-18 budget.

The Senate has proposed language to move a state-funded marketing program run by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation from Visit Florida.

The House did not include the language in its proposal.

The state’s tourism marketing has annually contracted with the FRLA to “develop a coordinated marketing, media, and events program to promote the Florida hospitality industry by residents of the state.” The events are typically smaller ones, and the Great Florida Events Program aims to promote in-state tourism.

The marketing campaign could receive $1 million under the Senate proposal, less than the $2 million it has previously received.

During a budget meeting Sunday, House and Senate negotiators briefly discussed the General Government Operations and Technology budget language. But negotiators did not appear to come to an agreement, with both Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Latvala and House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo saying there were still some differences needed to be worked out.

“We’re very close on the general government,” said Latvala during the meeting. “I think there’s just two issues that we’re going to have to work on.”

Trujillo echoed those sentiments during a post-meeting press conference, telling reporters that “government ops is right there, it’s just small clean-up language.”

According to Rep. Blaise Inoglia, the pot of money for the FRLA was one of the issues Latvala was referencing when he there were sill issues to be resolved.

Issues not resolved during Sunday’s budget meeting were “bumped” to presiding officers hammer out the differences. Those budget conference meetings could take place today.

Constitutional review panel money becomes a ‘bump issue’

The House and Senate is seemingly at odds over whether to pay for the Constitution Revision Commission.

A Sunday spreadsheet that came out of the first 2017-18 state budget conference chairs meeting of the day had a line item for the commission, which meets every 20 years to review and revise the state’s governing document.

That includes going around the state to hold public hearings for ideas on possible amendments.

The item was among more than 40 statewide appropriation bump issues in what’s known as “administered funds.” Bump issues are those that ultimately may have to be worked out between Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

The spreadsheet shows that the Senate offered to fund the commission with $2 million; the House offers nothing.

“I would have to go back and look at it,” House Appropriations chair Carlos Trujillo said after the meeting. “Honestly, I couldn’t tell you anything specific about it.”

Added Senate Appropriations chair Jack Latvala: “I’m not familiar with that.”

Gov. Rick Scott asked for the commission funding out of general revenue in the “executive direction and support services” section of his proposed budget.

“We are continuing to watch this and support what the governor included in his budget,” Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said.

Added Meredith Beatrice, spokeswoman for commission chair Carlos Beruff: “We are working with the CRC’s appointing authorities and monitoring the budget process.”

Proviso language on Tampa airport audit ‘bumped’ to budget chairs

While Senate and House negotiators made progress on many tourism, transportations and economic development budgetary issues Saturday, a slew of line items will be “bumped” up to Appropriations Chairs Jack Latvala and Carlos Trujillo.

Most notable was a bump of proviso language on an audit of Tampa International Airport’s master renovation plan.

State Sen. Tom Lee, a Thonotosassa Republican, earlier this month had called for the audit, alleging “potential public corruption” over the facility’s billion-dollar-plus renovation.

Another bump was whether to require the Department of Economic Opportunity to submit quarterly reports on employee travel and training costs.

Among spending bumps are the “Hotel Ponce de Leon restoration, Molly Wiley Art Building” on the Flagler College campus in St. Augustine, and the city of Bunnell’s Commerce Parkway connector road.

The Senate also reopened a Walton County transportation initiative for County Road 30-A, offering to spend $1.96 million in trust fund dollars.

With individual budget conferences having ended, Latvala and Trujillo are expected to meet in the late afternoon to begin work on bump issues.

 

Tampa International Airport

House considers contentious Tampa International Airport audit

Budget language filed in the Florida House Saturday morning would OK a controversial state audit of Tampa International Airport.

As reported by Matt Dixon of POLITICO Florida, Brandon Republican Sen. Tom Lee unexpectedly filed an amendment last week on the Senate floor, which proposes an audit of TIA’s renovation master plan.

Lee’s amendment raised concern with two other Tampa Bay-area Senate Republicans — appropriations chair Jack Latvala of Clearwater and Dana Young of Tampa.

The Senate rejected the amendment.

Pensacola Republican Rep. Clay Ingram, chair of the House transportation budget, offered the language in the House budget.

St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, Ingram’s counterpart in the Senate transportation committee, should respond sometime Saturday, as part of continuing budget negotiations.

Dixon notes that Brandes did seem to agree with Lee that an audit may be needed.

“We should give great deference to any senator who asks for an audit,” Brandes said earlier.

 

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons