One of South Florida’s oldest and most prominent economic development organizations is honoring Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera for her business-friendly lawmaking efforts to prepare for the effects of sea-level rise.
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce named Busatta Cabrera as the recipient of its 2022 Chamber Legislative Champion Award, an annual honor recognizing one member of the Florida Legislature who has made a significant, positive impact on Miami’s business community.
The chamber will present the award to Busatta Cabrera on Tuesday, the first of a three-day fly-in scheduled in Tallahassee.
Busatta Cabrera is recognized for her work last year as the House sponsor of SB 1954, an appropriation bill Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law in May after it cleared both chambers with unanimous support.
Titled “Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Resilience,” the bill established a statewide program to address flooding and sea-level rise.
The bill created an up to $100 million yearly set-aside in the state budget, as well as the Resilient Florida Grant Program to provide grants to counties and municipalities for resilience planning.
“Having a comprehensive, statewide plan and annual, dedicated funding was a significant accomplishment that will certainly open the door to creative, innovative solutions and business opportunities,” Greater Miami Chamber President and CEO Alfred Sanchez said in a statement. “It’s a win-win, and Rep. Busatta Cabrera got it across the goal line!”
The bill also set up the Comprehensive Statewide Flood Vulnerability and Sea Level Rise Data Set and Assessment, which much be updated every five years. By July this year, the Department of Environmental Protection must develop statewide data sets, including sea-level rise projection and information necessary to determine flood risks to inland and coastal communities. Within one year after that, DEP must develop a statewide assessment identifying and creating an inventory of vulnerable infrastructure, geographic areas and communities, including a list of critical assets.
Other provisions of the bill include the creation of a rolling three-year Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan consisting of ranked projects addressing flooding and sea-level rise, for which the state would share up to 50% of the cost with localities; and the Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research and Innovation within the University of South Florida, which will establish community-based programs, assist with training and workforce development, and provide yearly reports to the Governor and Legislature based on data, modeling and other research.
“Flood and sea-level rise mitigation have long been priorities of our Chamber,” wrote Spencer Pylant, vice president of government affairs for the Greater Miami Chamber. “As more businesses, their employees and families move to Miami, it’s critical to invest long-term in a more-resilient infrastructure. Due to the passage of legislation and her consistent support of legislative priorities that are pro-businesses, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is proud to honor Rep. Busatta Cabrera as our 2022 Chamber Legislative Champion.”
Busatta Cabrera is the third state lawmaker to receive the award.
Prior honorees include Rep. Vance Aloupis, whom the chamber chose for his focus on education and workforce development, and Rep. Nicholas Duran, who earned recognition for sponsoring the bipartisan “Keep Our Graduates Working Act.”