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Newsletter - Issue 13:  August, 2018
Personal Message from Rep. Bob Rommel 

Summer is in full swing with many of you enjoying family reunions and vacations.  Naples residents are enjoying less traffic, even during rush hour, and being able to walk into your favorite restaurants without making reservations. 

But, it won't be long before schools open and morning rush hour will once again include school buses.  Keep your eyes open, watch out for our young people and above all, don't be distracted with your phone while driving!

As part of "back to school," Governor Scott has again declared a "School Sales Tax Holiday."  Details can be found below.

Mid-term elections are just around the corner.  Mail-in ballots have already been sent out.  Most of these elections are primaries and will ultimately be decided in November.  But other races will be decided on August 28th.  Every vote is important so please be sure to vote.

As always, you are very important to me.  If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact my District Office at 239-417-6200.

Happenings in Florida

Election Day – August 28, 2018.

On Election Day, August 28, 2018,
Registered Voters Must Vote at Their

During the Primary Election, electors will vote for State Governor, the state’s Cabinet, as well as state and federal representatives within their party affiliations. If opposed within their own parties, United States senators, representatives in congress, state representatives and state senators will be on the ballot.

Also – if opposed within their party – voters may also see county commissioners on their ballot.

Because Florida is a closed primary state, voters may only vote within their party. The winning candidates of the Primary Election, who see opposition from another party, will then move on to the General Election in November.

Universal Primary:  A Universal Primary is a contest in the Primary Election in which all candidates have the same party affiliation, but will not see opposition during the General Election. During a Universal Primary, all qualified electors may vote regardless of their party affiliation.

Early Voting: August 18-25  
10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Registered Voters Can Vote at
ANY Early Voting Location

Collier County Government Complex – 3311 Tamiami Trl E, Naples

Everglades City Hall – 102 Copeland Avenue N, Everglades City

Golden Gate Community Center – 4701 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples

Immokalee Community Park – 321 N First St, Immokalee

Library Headquarters – 2385 Orange Blossom Drive, Naples

Marco Island Library – 210 S Heathwood Drive, Marco Island

Norris Center – 755 8th Ave S, Naples

North Collier Regional Park – 15000 Livingston Road, Naples

Supervisor of Elections Office – 3750 Enterprise Ave, Naples

US Congressman Francis Rooney's Statement on Funding for Completion of Herbert Hoover Dike Repairs at Lake Okeechobee
On July 5th, the United States Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) announced an expedited timeline for repair of the Herbert Hoover Dike around Lake Okeechobee. 

The Office of Management and Budget plans to fund $514 million for the repairs via a supplemental funding package that the House Appropriations Committee approved following devastating 2017 hurricanes and wildfires. The USACE will use this funding to complete Dike repairs by 2022, at least three years ahead of schedule.

Congressman Rooney stated, “Our work over the last 18 months – the many meetings, arranging tours of our Lake Okeechobee Watershed for key decision makers, and the continued emphasis on fixing our water quality issues, is now paying off. Today’s announcement by the Army Corp of Engineers, the agency charged with repairing the Herbert Hoover Dike, is great news for Southwest Florida waters. Every year saved on these repairs is a year sooner that harmful releases into our ecosystem will stop. 

Thank you to Congressmen Mario Diaz-Balart and Thomas Rooney for their success in moving this project through the appropriations process. Along with the work we have done at the federal level, I applaud Governor Scott for his continued focus on this project specifically, and on Florida’s environment as a whole.”

Setting the Record Straight: Public Access to Florida’s Beaches

BOTTOM LINE: The law creates a framework to resolve disputes where property lines have been drawn on beachfront property. Nothing in the law privatizes public beaches.

Q: What did the Legislature pass?

A: In HB 631, the Legislature passed a structure for courts to ensure private property rights are not infringed while also maintaining the public’s access to our beaches. Decisions that affect both public access to beaches and private property rights should be decided by courts, not political entities. In doing so, we are protecting the rights of all Floridians.

Q: How much beach access is currently impacted?

A: Currently, the controversy surrounding the enforcement of this process affects only 2% of Florida’s coastline, and even in the area where this issue has come up—there are over 50 public beaches in a 26-mile stretch.

Q: People are claiming the Legislature privatized beaches and this will affect tourism. Is this true?

A: No. The legislation did not privatize any coastline, it created a process to ensure local governments are not improperly encroaching on private property through a unilateral ordinance. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of Florida’s beaches have never been subject to a local government’s property ordinance, and the public has enjoyed beach access without issue.

Q: Why did we need HB 631?

A: Recently, a local government passed a blanket ordinance granting the public access to private beaches. The bill created a process that ensures decisions are made fairly with evidence and facts. The bill also ensures any ordinances are made with transparency and requirements for sufficient public notice.

Q: What is the customary use doctrine?

A: Under certain circumstances, the public may access private property under the longstanding legal doctrine of customary use. The doctrine applies where the public use of private property has been ancient, reasonable, without interruption, and free from dispute. If customary use is established, private property is available for public use. Historically, the public has enjoyed access to many dry sand portions of private beach property without issue. When disputes have arisen, courts have determined whether dry sand portions of private property were subject to the customary use doctrine. This law requires a court to review a customary use ordinance and determine whether the doctrine applies, after a full and fair hearing.

Q: Local governments are relying on their own interpretation of customary use in their ordinances. Why is this an issue?

A: A government entity should not be able to unilaterally infringe on private property rights. This is an issue because these governments can make these determinations without considering appropriate evidence or applying legal standards established by courts.

Q: Did the Governor’s Executive Order overturn the law?

A: No. The Governor’s Executive Order is a declaration to protect public access to Florida’s public beaches. Nothing in the legislation infringes on that right.

Florida Ranks No. 1 in Higher Education
History repeats itself.  The "U.S. News & World Report" has again ranked Florida as the best state in the nation for higher education. The 2018 rankings weighed several factors: (1) the time it takes students to complete two and four-year higher education programs, (2) the cost of tuition and fees, and (3) the burden of debt for college graduates.

In a recent press release, Governor Rick Scott stated, "It is great news that Florida as again ranked first in the nation for higher education.  Over the past seven years, we have made major investments in our higher education system and challenged colleges and universities to become more affordable while fully preparing students to be ready for a great job upon graduation."

Governor Scott further stated, " A leading higher education system helps strengthen our state as the best place for families, students and job creators to succeed.  We will continue to work together to hold the line on tuition and support our state colleges and universities so families and students can continue to achieve their dreams in Florida."
2018 School Sales Tax Holiday
The start of the school year begins soon and that means Florida’s Back to School Sales Tax Holiday is right around the corner!

The 3-day sale begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, August 3, 2018 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 5, 2018.

The sales tax holiday is a budget-friendly option for families who are preparing for the upcoming school year.

During the sales tax holiday, no sales tax will be collected on purchases of:
  • Clothing, footwear, and certain accessories selling for $60 or less per item
  • Certain school supplies selling for $15 or less per item
This sales tax holiday does not apply to:
  • Any item of clothing selling for more than $60;
  • Any school supply item selling for more than $15;
  • Books that are not otherwise exempt;
  • Rentals or leases of any eligible items;
  • Repairs or alterations of any eligible items; or
  • Sales of any eligible items in a theme park, entertainment complex, public lodging establishment, or airport.
For Details about Florida's 2018  Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, visit
Happenings in the District
2018 Legislative Update at
Vi Living at Bentley Village
Senator Kathleen Passidomo and Representative Bob Rommel met with residents of Vi Living at Bentley Village and provided them with an update of the 2018 Legislative Session and some insight into the upcoming 2019 Legislative Session.  Although these residents are considered "seniors," they are keen to know what is happening in Tallahassee.
Proposed 1% Sales Tax Increase

On July 23rd, NABOR hosted a forum to discuss the 1% Sales Tax Increase which the Collier County Commissioners voted to place on the  on the November 6, 2018 General Election ballot.  If approved by a majority of voters, the 1% sales tax increase is expected to generate, on average, $70 million a year, or $490 million over seven years. 

Representative Bob Rommel and County Commissioner presented the "cons" of the 1% Sales Tax.  It is their position that "no new taxes" are needed and that more efficient use of existing monies and reduced spending is sufficient to fund any of projects

Michael Dalby, President of the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, and J. Dudley Goodlette, former Florida Representative, presented the "pros" of the 1% Sales Tax Increase.


Many people think about water safety and are concerned about the risks of drowning when their kids are near water. They may childproof their pool, have their kids wear a life-jacket, supervise them around the water, and even get them early swimming lessons.
Still, drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in children at almost all ages and about 3,880 people drown each year in the United States.
That makes it important to be aware of drowning hazards in and around your home, and:
  • put environmental protections in place, such as four-sided pool fencing to separate a backyard swimming pool from the house
  • not drink alcohol while swimming, boating, or supervising kids in the water
  • make sure all boaters and kids who can't swim well always wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device
  • be aware of drowning hazards in and around your home, including nearby pools, ponds, and canals
  • learn CPR
And of course, it is important to teach your kids to swim.
Copyright © 2018 State Representative Bob Rommel, All rights reserved.

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