Richard Corcoran Archives - Florida Politics

Judge sides with House in subpoena battle

A federal judge Friday refused to block subpoenas issued by the Florida House of Representatives demanding documents from broadcasting executive Pat Roberts and his production company, MAT Media, related to contracts with the tourism-marketing agency VISIT FLORIDA.

A House committee in October issued subpoenas to Roberts, who is the longtime president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, and the production company. The contracts at issue include $11.6 million for a cooking show featuring celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse. Roberts refused to comply with the subpoenas, and two court cases focused on the contracts and the subpoenas are pending in Leon County circuit court.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran and the Florida House last week again issued subpoenas demanding records about the contracts with the state tourism agency.

The subpoenas gave Roberts until 5 p.m. Tuesday to turn over the records or risk $1,000-per day fines and 90 days in jail for each day he did not produce the documents.

Lawyers for Roberts asked U.S. District Judge Mark Walker to block the subpoenas, saying they violated his constitutional right to due process.

But on Friday, Walker said the issue wasn’t ripe because there wasn’t a “concrete controversy” before the court.

“We’re not even there because there’s not an imminent threat of injury,” Walker said.

Rep. Larry Metz, a Yahala Republican who serves as chairman of the committee that issued the original subpoenas, and several other Republican House members were among the spectators in the courtroom. Also watching was Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, a former president of the American Bar Association and former president of Florida State University.

Tim Jansen, a lawyer representing Roberts, told Walker that his client could be personally sued if he turned over some of the documents, which contain trade secrets. And, Jansen said, the request for income tax returns is a violation of his property rights.

Walker acknowledged that the subpoenas — signed by Corcoran from the rostrum during a floor session and immediately dispatched by a process server, who was waiting in the speaker’s office — equate to “a certain 1,000-pound gorilla.”

“I wouldn’t use the word ‘bullying,’ but some might use the word,” Walker said, saying the House may have been “posturing” by issuing the subpoenas.

While no case law exists for the unprecedented move by the House, the judge said there are rulings that found rare instances when subpoenas issued by Congress can be overturned by the courts. The only time that can happen is when the subpoenas are unrelated to issues within the scope of a committee’s purpose.

But, in the request for the VISIT FLORIDA documents, lawmakers are “rooting out information dealing with the public purse,” Walker said.

“The Legislature does get to say, if we want to continue to spend money on VISIT FLORIDA, let’s figure out how it’s being spent,” he said. “Are we buying a pig in a poke or are we engaging in contracts that make sense for the public purse?”

Adam Tanenbaum, general counsel for the House, assured Walker that Roberts’ arrest wasn’t imminent. Only the full House — which won’t meet until Wednesday — could decide that Roberts is in contempt and decide to impose the sanctions.

But Tanenbaum said that wasn’t likely to happen. Roberts’ lawyers turned over some documents on Tuesday and are negotiating with Tanenbaum about the release of other records and how to keep them from being kept secret from the public.

“We’re optimistic that, at this point, we’ll be able to get those documents from MAT Media and Mr. Roberts,” Tanenbaum said.

Even if the House did approve the contempt charge, Roberts would have an opportunity to defend himself, Tanenbaum promised.

“Nothing has happened yet, and there’s not even the suggestion that something is going to happen,” Tanenbaum argued, saying it was too soon for the court to issue the preliminary injunction sought by Roberts and his company.

Although Walker sided with Corcoran and the House, he had some harsh words for the lawmakers.

The judge questioned why the House would issue the new subpoenas while two court cases were pending on the matter, accusing them of doing “an end run to subvert the state courts.”

“Can the Florida Legislature really subpoena me for whatever they want and whenever they want, and, if I refuse to respond, they can throw me in jail?” Walker asked. “Sounds a little Orwellian to me.”

But Tanenbaum said the House issued the subpoenas because it was “the only thing it has the power to do to get the documents it has been seeking” since April, when the House began probing the contracts.

After delivering his decision from the bench, Walker expounded on his rationale.

“If Mr. Roberts was being hauled off and taken into custody … I suspect I may have a very different view of separation of powers,” he said. “But that’s not what we have here.”

Even if such harm was imminent, Walker said his power to do something was limited, and “the only thing I could say” to the Legislature was “follow the law.”

But Walker found that there was “nothing to show that the Florida Legislature is going to willy-nilly” impose penalties on Roberts.

The judge concluded with a mini-lecture for the Legislature.

“I in no way minimize the significance of having an august body like the House say you’re going to turn over documents or we’re going to throw you in jail,” Walker said, adding that there’s “probably a reason why it’s never been done before.”

“I am going to respectfully suggest to the Florida Legislature, just as I am cautious about exercising my authority, my colleagues in the other two branches should likewise comport themselves,” he concluded.

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

AFP-FL says ‘no way’ to Amazon HQ2 incentives

Miami made the cut when Amazon announced its top-20 shortlist for its second headquarters Thursday, but Americans for Prosperity Florida says the retail giant shouldn’t get any state incentives if it chooses to set up shop in South Florida.

“Miami would be a fantastic choice for Amazon’s HQ2, but not if it means having taxpayers fork over hundreds of millions of dollars for the supposed privilege. Instead of focusing on what Florida’s taxpayers have to offer, Amazon should look at what our skilled workforce and pro-growth economic environment can provide,” said AFP-FL Director Chris Hudson.

“Thanks to the leadership of free market champions like Speaker Richard Corcoran, Florida has shown how implementing free-market principles can help our state become more competitive and business-friendly, and we should not stray away from that by enriching private corporations at the expense of taxpayer money. Amazon is a private business that does not deserve taxpayer handouts.”

The AFP-FL statement comes after Corcoran and Gov. Rick Scott gave differing opinions on how the Sunshine State should go about courting the Seattle-based company.

“The way I always look at any incentives we give, we’ve got to get a good return for taxpayers. That’s what I’ve done at the state. I’m going to continue to talk to companies around the world to try to get them to come here,” Scott said Friday.

Corcoran on the other hand, told News Service of Florida the state should focus on other priorities that would improve the state which could also attract companies without the use of incentives money.

“Here’s what we ought to do as a state. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face,” Corcoran said. “There are five things that site selectors look at. The most important being having a great educational system.”

“If you have low crime, low taxes, low regulation, a good infrastructure and you have, more than anything, a great educational system, we will not have a single problem luring all the businesses and all the people in this country here,” Corcoran added.

Amazon HQ2 will be a complete headquarters for Amazon, not a satellite office, according to the company. The company reported it plans to invest over $5 billion and grow this second headquarters to accommodate as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs. In addition, the company projects that construction and ongoing operation of Amazon HQ2 is expected to create tens of thousands of additional jobs and tens of billions of dollars in additional investment in the surrounding community.

Amazon said it expects to pick the city for its HQ 2 later this year.

Incentives for Amazon? Richard Corcoran, Rick Scott see it differently

Gov. Rick Scott was in Ponte Vedra Friday as the PGA Tour unveiled plans for a new global headquarters — and 300 jobs to go with that build out.

Yet one of the topics we broached with the Governor in the gaggle had to do with a potentially bigger future job announcement … if Amazon locates its second global headquarters in Miami.

Miami is the sole Florida city being considered still. Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando were eliminated.

And many areas are offering deluxe incentives for Amazon — a potentially transformative corporate partner for even the biggest cities in the world. It’s been a top priority for Enterprise Florida, a board that accords with Gov. Scott’s vision.

While specifics of those incentives are not public, it was clear from Scott’s remarks Friday that his position hasn’t changed; incentives are part of the tool kit.

Scott called it “exciting” that Amazon was considering Miami, saying there are “lots of reasons why they should do that.”

“Taxes are low in this state, we have less regulation, a great workforce. U.S. News and World Report says our higher education system is the best higher education system in the country,” Scott said.

But the Governor realizes that’s not the whole story. Incentives, which will be offered elsewhere, are part of the sales pitch.

“The way I always look at any incentives we give, we’ve got to get a good return for taxpayers. That’s what I’ve done at the state. I’m going to continue to talk to companies around the world to try to get them to come here,” Scott said.

Scott’s position diverges from that of Speaker Corcoran, who said that companies pass on Florida for reasons that go beyond incentives.

“Here’s what we ought to do as a state. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face,” Corcoran told News Service of Florida. “There are five things that site selectors look at. The most important being having a great educational system.”

“If you have low crime, low taxes, low regulation, a good infrastructure and you have, more than anything, a great educational system, we will not have a single problem luring all the businesses and all the people in this country here,” Corcotan added.

With multiple cities offering upwards of a billion dollars in tax breaks, it’s at least debatable that low crime and low regulations will counteract material incentives.

Yet that seems to be a debate Corcoran and Scott will have as each prepares to leave their current offices.

E-Verify proposal opposed by ag and construction groups heads to full CRC

An immigration measure heading toward the full Constitutional Revision Commission would require all employers in the state to use a federal electronic system to verify the legal work eligibility of every new hire drew criticism on Friday from agriculture and business groups concerned with filling a worker shortage in their industries.

Representatives with the Florida Farm Bureau and the Florida Homeowners Associations said the verification system, called E-Verify, would make it more difficult to find workers to work in the fields and in the home building industry.

“The immigrant community is not opposed to E-Verify, but the visa program is broken,” Adam Blalock, an attorney with the Florida Farm Bureau, said.

Christopher Emmanuel, of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, also opposed the proposal saying that if it goes on the November ballot and voters approve it, the system’s “unintended consequences” will be harder to fix.

“We are putting it in a nearly permanent and nearly unchangeable place,” he said.

Emmanuel is skeptical about the program’s “random auditing program,” which would allow employers and employees to be investigated.

The proposal cleared its last panel with a unanimous vote on Friday, but commissioners Chris Nocco and Jose Felix Diaz, a former state representative most recently hired by the Ballard Firm, still questioned if the proposal should be part of the state constitution.

Nocco and Diaz were both appointed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a big proponent of tougher immigration enforcement in the state.

“I think (E-Verify) is a good idea, but I think it needs to go back to the Legislature,” Commissioner Chris Nocco said. “It is not enforceable and it is a feel-good band aid.”

Nocco had reservations about the fiscal costs the new system would bring to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which is tasked with licensing and regulating more than a million businesses in the state.

“This is a lot of responsibility on them and the fiscal impact needs to be addressed along with the unintended consequences that can go with (the system),” Nocco added.

Attorney Rich Newsome, a commissioner also appointed by Corcoran, is championing the measure and said the issue has failed to garner legislative support in past years because of “wealthy lobbyists” tied to agriculture and construction. The same groups that opposed his proposal on Friday.

But Newsome believes that if the system is implemented statewide it will prevent illegal employment of undocumented immigrants in the future and protect undocumented workers from exploitation.

Newsome cited a Naples Daily News investigation that found businesses and insurers in the state profit from undocumented workers and then dump them after they are injured. He said a system like E-Verify would help put a stop to that.

Nearly 800 undocumented workers in Florida have been charged with workers’ compensation benefit fraud for using illicit Social Security numbers to either get their jobs, file for workers’ compensation benefits, or both.

As Newsome’s proposal heads to its final stop before it can go on the November ballot, he said he is open to “tweaking the language.”

Richard Corcoran says lawmakers will look at rail issues

House Speaker Richard Corcoran said a push by some lawmakers for state oversight of high-speed passenger rail will get consideration during this year’s Legislative Session.

But he offered little detail, as opponents want to put the brakes on a controversial new rail service in South Florida following a second recent death on the tracks.

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, said Thursday in an interview with The News Service of Florida that a rail proposal (HB 525) will “have movement” this year. But he also spoke about the rights of the private All Aboard Florida and its Brightline rail service, which has started running between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.

“It’s important, and we’ll keep following it and looking at it,” Corcoran said.

Corcoran’s comments came as U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson asked U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Thursday to investigate two fatalities in the past week — both in Boynton Beach — involving Brightline trains.

“While these investigations are ongoing, I urge you to examine these incidents and to review the safety of rail crossings, particularly for higher speed trains,” Nelson wrote in a letter.

Also, U.S. Rep. Brian Mast, a Republican whose Treasure Coast district has provided the strongest opposition to the rail service, tweeted the trains should be stopped while “massive safety flaws” are addressed. Brightline is ultimately planned to run from Orlando to Miami and has been fought by residents and local governments on the Treasure Coast.

Brightline said in a news release that the system is “designed to prevent and protect people from incidents like those that occurred in recent days.”

“Those systems functioned as intended,” the release stated. “Our focus is on expanding our efforts to educate the community about rail safety alongside our partners at Operation Lifesaver, Tri-Rail, local law enforcement, city and county officials.”

Treasure Coast lawmakers have filed proposals for this Session that would lead to the state Department of Transportation having oversight of passenger-rail issues not preempted by federal law.

The measures also would require private passenger-rail operations to cover the costs of installing and maintaining safety technology at crossings unless contracts are reached with local governments.

Brightline has questioned the constitutionality of legislation that targets a private company and private property rights and contends the measures are designed to stop the service.

During the 2017 Session, a similar House proposal failed to get through committees, and this year’s version, sponsored by Rep. Erin Grall, a Vero Beach Republican, and Rep. MaryLynn Magar, a Tequesta Republican, has not been scheduled to appear before a committee.

Asked if transit like Brightline will make the state more competitive, Corcoran first said autonomous vehicles would be more economical.

“But that’s a private enterprise,” he continued, pivoting to the passenger rail service. “If private enterprise thinks they can make money having a train that runs from Miami to Orlando, then have at it,” Corcoran said. “That’s their decision. And whether they succeed or fail is up to the marketplace.”

The Senate version (SB 572), filed by Rockledge Republican Debbie Mayfield, has drawn support from one committee and is scheduled to appear Tuesday as a workshop item at the Community Affairs Committee.

Mayfield has urged passage of her bill following the death Wednesday of a man in Boynton Beach who was hit by one of the new trains while bicycling across the tracks. Less than a week earlier, a woman was hit while crossing the tracks ahead of a train as the service was showing its service to reporters and others.

“Two deaths in six days is two too many,” Mayfield tweeted. “These senseless deaths only confirm the need for the legislature to pass #SB572 in order to put protections and safety measures in place to protect Floridians.”

House Speaker rejects state aid for Miami’s Amazon bid

After playing the key role in reducing and revamping Florida’s economic development program last year, House Speaker Richard Corcoran said Thursday he has no interest in developing a state incentive plan to bring Amazon’s new headquarters to Florida.

Florida suddenly became a contender for the giant online retailer’s second headquarters — dubbed HQ2 by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos — after Miami emerged as one of 20 finalists for the project, which could generate some $5 billion in spending and lead to 50,000 jobs.

Miami, which was competing with 238 other cities, was the only finalist in Florida, although the Miami bid also includes sites in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Gov. Rick Scott, who has supported using state funding and incentives to bring major employers to the state, said it was “great news” that Miami is a finalist.

“With our low taxes, unbeatable weather and world-class airports and seaports, there is no doubt Florida should be the number one choice,” Scott tweeted.

In an interview with The News Service of Florida on Thursday, Corcoran said he was doubtful that Florida would end up as the location for the Amazon project, citing remarks by Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Esteban “Steve” Bovo, a Hialeah Republican who formerly served in the state House.

Bovo told The Miami Herald in October that Miami-Dade’s transportation challenges would ultimately eliminate Miami from contention.

“What was the reason?” Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, asked. “There’s not enough money? We didn’t throw enough incentives? No, (it’s) because of their infrastructure and their transit issues.”

Corcoran listed the items he said “site selectors” consider when relocating.

“Here’s what we ought to do as a state. I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face,” Corcoran said. “There are five things that site selectors look at. The most important being having a great educational system.”

Corcoran said the key factor in Florida losing out to Boston in trying to attract the General Electric headquarters was that the Boston area had better schools, from kindergarten through the university level.

He said Florida — the third largest state in the nation — in contrast only recently had one of its schools, the University of Florida, make the U.S. News & World Report top 10 list of public universities.

“That’s a problem,” Corcoran said. “There’s where the investments should have been made and should continue to be made. If you have low crime, low taxes, low regulation, a good infrastructure and you have, more than anything, a great educational system, we will not have a single problem luring all the businesses and all the people in this country here.”

Corcoran’s remarks are in line with his effort last year to overhaul economic incentive programs in Enterprise Florida, the state’s top economic development agency. The final result was an $85 million “job growth” fund that can be used for regional projects but not for incentives aimed at individual companies.

Richard Corcoran pushes constitutional panel to support 6-year lobbying ban

Florida would have the strictest lobbying ban in the nation under a proposed constitutional amendment that House Speaker Richard Corcoran is pushing Constitutional Revision Commission appointees to support.

Corcoran, who prides himself in running a “House of Reformers,” is seeking to close the revolving door between lobbyists and legislators by implementing a six-year lobbying ban for legislators and statewide elected officers.

In a letter sent this week to commissioners, Corcoran said they should back ethics proposals filed by Commissioners Don Gaetz, a former Senate president, and Sen. Darryl Rouson, which would be put on the ballot for voter approval if passed by the 37-member CRC panel.

Both proposals were temporarily postponed at hearings in mid-December last year.

“Recent legislative attempt to extend the lobby ban and impose stricter ethical requirements have been thwarted by the self-interested politicians we hope to regulate,” Corcoran wrote.

Currently the state constitution has a two year lobbying ban. According to National Conference of State Legislatures report, at least 34 states have a form of lobbying cooling-off period, but none exceed the two-year ban.

The term-limited Republican has advocated for a longer lobbying ban since the day he was sworn in as speaker and said, “it all ends” with him at the helm

Richard Corcoran to DHS: ‘Immediately’ investigate Andrew Gillum, Rick Kriseman

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a supporter of the Trump administration’s immigration crack down, wants federal prosecutors to “immediately” investigate two Democrat elected officials in Florida for supporting so-called sanctuary cities.

“Unfortunately, my state of Florida has two elected mayors — one in Tallahassee and another in St. Petersburg — who’ve publicly stated and continues to openly advocate for these illegal sanctuary policies,” Corcoran wrote in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday.

The letter came a day after Nielsen testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that her agency is exploring legal avenues to prosecute elected officials that protect immigrants from deportation.

“The Department of Justice is reviewing what avenues may be available,” Nielsen told lawmakers.

Corcoran was quick to jump on that plan and pointed Nielsen to both Gillum and Kriseman.

“I strongly believe that any elected official who picks and chooses which laws to follow and which to ignore, should be removed from office,” Corcoran said.

The Land O’Lakes Republican suggests that advocating for “sanctuary city” policies means it’s likely federal immigration laws may not be followed in their municipalities. Gillum has been a vocal opponent of Corocran’s “sanctuary city” ban bill and has called Adam Putnam, a Republican gubernatorial candidate who campaigns off of his anti-sanctuary stance, a “racist.”

Kriseman recently won a mayoral race in St. Petersburg and has said that his city will protect undocumented immigrants from “harmful immigration laws.”

As the term-limited House Speaker concocts a possible run for governor, he has used his power in the Legislature to push dozens of issues through the Florida House. This would give voters a clear layout of his conservative values when encountering his name on the 2018 ballot.

“No matter how much Richard Corcoran tries, Donald Trump already endorsed Ron DeSantis,” Gillum’s spokesman Geoff Burgan said. “We are proud to stand with Mayor Kriseman on the right side of history.”

Kriseman’s spokesman Benjamin Kirby said there is “plenty of time for Republican primary politics after session” and that Kriseman is focus on “working hard to ensure St. Pete remains a welcoming, inclusive, and lawful city.”

The letter comes hours after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials struck a deal with 17 counties in Florida to hold undocumented immigrants in local jails for 48 hours after they have posted bail or finished their sentences.

The mutual agreement would require civil warrants – not judicial warrants —  to detain undocumented immigrants for a longer period. Federal courts have held ICE using ICE detainer requests is unconstitutional.

House leadership touted the effort, saying the agreement between federal and local law enforcement in the state will “strengthen the legal immigration process.”

Campaign finance reforms advance with bipartisan support

A pair of measures that would reform the state campaign finance system, including barring Gov. Rick Scott and Cabinet members from raising money during Session, cleared a House panel on Wednesday with bipartisan support.

State Rep. Evan Jenne said his proposal, HB 707, is a “common sense rule” and not “an indictment or finger pointing” at the governor, who is widely expected to run for U.S. Senate, Attorney General Pam Bondi, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who is running for a another term, or Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican gubernatorial candidate.

“This is no indication of those four individuals, it is simply a matter of what is good for the goose is good for the gander,” Jenne said.

Both the Florida House and Senate prohibit members from accepting contributions during a regular, extended, or special Legislative Session. The proposal would add the same restrictions to statewide elected officials.

The proposal would make it a misdemeanor to accept a single political contribution and a felony if an individual solicits or accepts two contributions during Session.

In the vein of reforming the campaign finance system, state Rep. Frank White, who is running for Attorney General, championed a proposal that would repeal a 30-year-old state public campaign financing system.

“Most of you know that I am running for statewide elected office and if this does go on the ballot it would not affect my campaign whatsoever,” White said.

That measure cleared the House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee. It would eliminate a system that gives statewide candidates taxpayer-funding matching dollars if they agree to limit their expenditures. Under the current system, outside contributions of up to $250 are matched and contributions above that amount are matched to $250.

“Our system dolls our millions of tax dollars to incumbents and other experienced politicians,” White said.

Speaker Richard Corcoran has pushed to abolish the system with the Constitution Revision Commission, which meets once every 20 years to propose changes to the constitution. Corcoran has called the public campaign financing system a “gross waste of taxpayer money” and “welfare for politicians.”

“You really have to be clueless or just plain selfish to accept money from our state coffers that could go to our school children, first responders, or be put back in the pockets of our taxpayers,” Corcoran has said.

Both measures have one more committee stop before they head to a full House vote.

If the measures are passed by the Legislature, they would be put on the 2018 ballot and would need 60 percent voter approval to go into effect.

House select committee on hurricanes approves final report, 78 recommendations

A final report of 78 recommendations, ranging from nursing home safety to evacuation route improvements, and shelter planning to longterm development concerns, won unanimous approval Tuesday from the Florida House’s Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness.

The 21-member committee, appointed last fall by House Speaker Richard Corcoran, now presents the 2018 Legislative Session with a comprehensive blueprint that the committee intended to show what went right, what went wrong, and what fixes need to be considered immediately, generally, or longterm, following the impacts of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria in September.

While Select Committee Chair Jeanette Nuñez, a Miami Republican, called the 110-page report and its list of recommendations a good starting point, she also cautioned that there will be other recommendations and proposals emerging elsewhere, in bills and other committees, or which may emerge from further study and analysis. She also cautioned that some matters raised during the committee’s six previous public hearings this fall may not all be explicitly spelled out, but should all be addressed in one form or another.

For example, the final report’s detailed recommendations make no explicit mention of any desire to encourage power companies to get more of their electric lines buried underground, an omission that raised the curiosity Tuesday of Coconut Creek Democrat Kristin Jacobs. Nor do the recommendations speak specifically to some local concerns, such as one raised by Port St. Lucie Democrat Larry Lee, about the handling of human sewage in hurricane-vulnerable areas around Indian River Lagoon.

However, the recommendations do speak more generally to finding ways to “harden” utilities, and generally to protect environmentally sensitive areas such as the Indian River Lagoon, Nuñez pointed out.

“This is by no means a comprehensive and exhaustive list,” Nuñez said. “It is what I call the best starting point that we can have, to not only see the recommendations through in a Legislative Session, in which we are in week two, but recognizing there are some short-term things that need to occur, as well as some longterm things that need to occur. So we really did our best to compile a comprehensive list that is feasible in terms of action items moving forward in the next fifty-some odd days.”

Among the recommendations:

– Vulnerable populations such as the residents of nursing homes should be better protected, with proposals such as requiring nursing homes provide adequate emergency power necessary to protect residents from unsafe temperatures;

– Florida’s ability to shelter people must be strengthened, especially for those citizens with special needs, with such improvements as providing more state assistance for shelter management training at the local level; and creating a statewide special needs shelter registration;

– Florida’s evacuation programs can be improved with recommendations such as establishing strategically-located gasoline distribution centers along evacuation routes; and by emphasizing the effectiveness of shorter evacuation operations;

– More should be done to harden the state’s electricity grid, partly by directing the Public Service Commission to prepare a study of the efficacy and costs of all technically feasible storm hardening measures of the grid; and by improving communications between utilities and local governments;

– Longterm restoration of communities, particularly with issues such as the loss of affordable housing in the Florida Keys, should be addressed with such efforts as creating a temporary program to provide funding for affordable housing recovery efforts;

– To start considering ways to mitigate future hurricanes’ damage, Florida should consider, among other options, producing a complete and accurate 3-D map of the state for use in numerous emergency management and infrastructure planning applications;

– Florida should invest in plans that cost-effectively mitigate flood risks to developed areas, including protection of greenways and blueways that act as flow ways or provide temporary storage during high-water events;

– And Florida should identify areas where rebuilding after a disaster may be high-risk, and consider options for not rebuilding in those areas.

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