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Newsletter - Issue No.15 - February 2019
Personal Message from Rep. Bob Rommel

February started off with a bang!  Although Interim Committee Meetings started in January, the really hard work of drafting and filing bills is now in full swing. In addition, this is the time before Session starts in March, for my constituents to visit me in Tallahassee to express their concerns and/or support for bills that we are working on.  More about that later in this newsletter.

On a personal note, I want to thank you for your continuing faith and confidence in me as your State Representative.  I promise not only to work hard for you, but also to listen to you and your concerns.  Let's continue to work together for a successful 2019!

Bob Rommel, District106

The Governor's Budget for 2019
Florida's Constitution requires our legislators to balance the budget every year.  Before budget passage, state economists meet in a Revenue Estimating Conference that projects the next year’s state government revenues. The process has been nonpolitical and tends to produce unbiased estimate. With revenue estimates in hand, the legislature produces a budget that is close to those revenue estimates. If, during the budget year, revenues fall short of their estimates, Florida’s governor and the state cabinet prorate the budget—typically shrinking agency budgets across the board—to conform to the new estimates. Thus, when revenue shortfalls have appeared, Florida’s governors have cut budgets midyear to maintain a balanced budget.  (Holcombe, Randall G. (DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics, Florida State University), - "Florida Fiscal Policy: Responsible Budgeting in a Growing State."  Publ. Feb. 26, 2015 at Mercatus Center of George Mason University.

At the beginning of February, Governor DeSantis announced his proposed $91.3 million 2019-2020 budget, which includes $335 million in tax cuts for Florida. The Governor called it a "Bold Vision for a Brighter Future."

Gov. DeSantis' budget includes:

     -- $100 million to Florida Forever (a state conservation and recreation land acquisition program that helps conserve resources for the state's natural and cultural heritage.)

     -- $54 million to improve state parks

     -- Increase per student spending from $101 to $224. ($21.7 billion in proposed funding for K-12 public schools.)

     --The tax cuts include the 3-day back to school sales tax holiday and the one-week hurricane preparedness tax holiday.

     -- The proposed budget also includes reducing the property tax millage rate by 0.157 in the Florida Education Finance Program for an overall tax cut of $289.7 million.

     -- Gov. DeSantis stated that "saving is as critical as spending" so his administration will set aside "$5.2 billion in reserves including $1.6 billion in the Budget Stabilization Fund."

To read the Governor's entire Bold Vision for a Brighter Future budget, please visit http://boldvisionforabrighterfuture.com .

 
 2019 Legislative Session Updates
General Bills

Each Representative is allowed to file 6 general bills.  We have filed the first 2 of these bills:

1.     HB303 - Luxury Ground Transportation Companies:  Provides requirements for insurance, drivers, agents, fares, receipts, digital network, & reports for luxury ground transportation companies; provides fines for noncompliance; authorizes automobile liability insurance policies to exclude coverage for losses & injuries under certain circumstances; provides that specified automobile insurers have a right of contribution against other insurers.

Effective Date: upon becoming a law.  

On Wednesday, January 23, 2019, this bill was referred to the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee

2.     HB6011:  Alligator Alley Toll Road: Requires specified fees to be used indefinitely to reimburse local governmental entity for direct actual costs of operating specified fire station.

Effective Date:   July 1, 2019

On Wednesday, January 23, 2019, this bill was referred over to the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee.

 
APPROPRIATIONS

HB 2663 - Lighthouse of Collier - Maintaining Independence for the Blind: Provides an appropriation for the Lighthouse of Collier - Maintaining Independence for the Blind.

Effective Date: July 1, 2019

This appropriations request has been placed on the agenda to be heard in the
Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee on February 20, 2019 at 1:00pm.

HB2655 - Naples Senior Center Dementia Respite Support Program:  Provides an appropriation for the Naples Senior Center Dementia Respite Support Program

Effective Date:  July 1, 2019

This appropriation request has been added to the agenda of the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee and will be heard on February 21, 2019.

HB2657 - David Lawrence Center - Wraparound Collier:  Provides an appropriation for the David Lawrence Center - Wraparound Collier.

Effective Date:  July 1, 2019

This appropriations request was added to the agenda of the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee and will be heard on February 21.2019

HB2659 - Collier County Gordon River Water Control Structure: Provides an appropriation for the Collier County Gordon River Water Control Structure

Effective Date: July 1, 2019


This appropriations request was added to the agenda of the Agricultural & Natural Resources Appropriations Committee and will be heard on February 20, 2019.

There are multiple other appropriation requests in process.  We will provide updates as they become available.

 
Out 'n About Naples & Tallahassee
Poinciana Elementary School

One of the highlights of this year was my visit to all 5th Graders at Poinciana Elementary School.  The teacher, Ms. Sherry Ashley, invited me to speak to them about Civics and what it was like to be a State Representative.  These young people were sharp and asked some very astute questions.  After I left that morning, a group of the students proposed to Ms. Ashley that they would like to come up with an idea for a law and then draft the language for it.  I look forward to meeting with these young people when they are really to present the draft to me in my district office.
UF/IFAS SW Florida Research and Education Center in Immokalee

I, along with several other legislators, was invited to meet with growers and farmers in Immokalee to discuss issues they were experiencing due to Red Tide, Algae, Water Quality and Mexican Competition. It was hosted by Dr. Kelly Morgan, the Director of the UF/IFAS.  A panel of scientists from various UF/IFAS Centers in Florida discussed each of these issues using facts and leaving out the politics and emotions.  Probably one of the best presentations on these issues I have heard.
Tallahassee Office

There has been very little time to visit constituents in the Home District, but many of you have come to Tallahassee.  Here are a couple of photos of groups that I have met with in the past couple of weeks in Tallahassee. 

I really enjoy receiving visits from my constituents when I am in Tallahassee!
Student and faculty members from University of South Florida for USF Day.  Go Bulls!
Alzheimer's is a disease that doesn't discriminate by age, gender or ethnicity.  The search for a cure is on-going.  Alzheimer's organization provides guidance for patients and caregivers on how to live with these disease.
"The people of these United States are the rightful masters of both Congresses and Courts.  Not to overthrow the Constitution. But to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."

                                          President Abraham Lincoln
Copyright © 2019 State Representative Bob Rommel, All rights reserved.


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