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Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee asks a question during the Senate's Committee on Rules Friday, April 28, 2017 at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. (Photo by Phil Sears)

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Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee plans hurricane talk

The Florida Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will take up hurricane effects and recovery efforts across the business community in Florida at its first meeting of the 2018 session, Chairman Bill Montford announced Wednesday.

That is assuming the committee’s hearing is not postponed because of a hurricane. Very early projections of Tropical Depression 16 forming off the coast of Central America on Wednesday afternoon have it becoming Hurricane Nate and hitting Florida — right near Tallahassee — Sunday.

Montford, a Tallahassee Democrat, set the discussion with Hurricane Irma in mind, taking place roughly a month after that storm hit Florida.

“Hurricane Irma was a catastrophic storm, the likes of which Florida has never seen,” Montford stated in a news release issued by the Senate Democrats’ office. “We continue to face the long and complicated process of recovery statewide, from our businesses and tourist industry, the school systems, to agriculture and infrastructure, there was not an entity left untouched.”

“It is important that we focus on fully understanding the impacts so that the Legislature can stand with local governments, businesses and citizens on the road to recovery,” he continued. “I have invited several representatives from the business community, as well as the governmental entities that focus on commerce and economic development to our first meeting. I also welcome all of my Senate colleagues to attend and participate in the panel discussion if they have questions specific to their districts. Vice Chair [George] Gainer [a Panama City Republican] and I are committed to ensuring that Hurricane Irma will not stunt economic development in Florida.”

The panel Montford assembled for Monday’s hearing will consist of representatives from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida United Businesses Association, CareerSource Florida, Visit Florida, Florida Small Business Development Center Network, and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee will meet at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

 

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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