Bills honoring Jimmy Buffett advance in Senate

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A road designation and a commemorative license plate moved forward Wednesday.

Jimmy Buffett may have passed away in 2023, but Florida lawmakers are working to ensure his legacy is not forgotten in 2024.

Two pieces of legislation honoring the ultimate Florida troubadour amounted to beautiful music in the Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development. And underscoring the harmony, one was presented by a Democrat and the other by a Republican.

The committee greenlighted SB 84, carried by Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book.

The Plantation Democrat’s bill would designate State Road A1A as “Jimmy Buffett Memorial Highway.” It would allocate $23,400 to the Florida Department of Transportation, with markers being installed by the end of August.

Buffett used the well-known A1A — which runs along the Atlantic Coast — as the title of his fifth studio album and noted the road in one of the songs on the album called “Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season.” The back photo of the A1A album, which is also known for his tour standard “A Pirate Looks at Forty,” includes a picture of the road.

“We could not think of a better way to honor him than by memorializing him along Florida’s coastal highway,” Book remarked.

The panel also advanced Sen. Gayle Harrell’s measure (SB 434), which would direct the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to create a “Margaritaville” license plate honoring the musician, citing his most famous song. Harrell’s plate designation would cost $7,680, and a committee bill analysis notes the money would go to a good cause.

“Proceeds of the sale of the Margaritaville specialty license plate will be distributed to the SFC Charitable Foundation, Inc. (Singing for Change), to provide grants to nonprofit organizations in communities impacted by natural or manmade disasters,” the analysis reads.

“These grants provide for recovery, rebuilding, and future sustainability in those communities, and to promote and inspire local grassroots leadership that will work to improve the quality of life in those communities and the state.”

Harrell told committee members of her enthusiasm for specialty license plates, with this one being “so special” to her.

“I love Jimmy Buffett. I grew up with Jimmy Buffett, listening to his amazing music,” the Stuart Republican said. She expects this tag to be “very popular.”

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Christine Jordan Sexton of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski



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