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  • District 3 Rep. Jayer Williamson April 2021 Newsletter

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    April 28, 2021
    | APRIL 2021 |
    With only a few days left until April 30, the end of the 2021 Legislative Session, Representative Williamson has two important pieces of legislation on the Governor’s desk for his signature, HB1601: Farming Operations and HB259: Safety of Religious Institutions.
    HB1601: Farming Operations
    Rep Williamson Farming Operations Bill Floor Closing
    Listen as Rep. Williamson closes on the Farming Operations bill last week before the vote is taken. Video provided courtesy of The Florida Channel with permission to share.
    Running HB1601: Farming Operations, the Representative, picked up the Senate version (SB88) and passed it off the House floor with bipartisan support. 
    This vital piece of legislation amends the Florida Right to Farm Act requiring a plaintiff to prove that their claim arises from conduct that did not comply with state and federal environmental laws, regulations or best management practices in civil actions against a farm involving tort liability. 
    Additionally, it prohibits a nuisance action from being filed against a farm operation unless the real property affected is within one-half mile of the source of the activity or structure. The bill also expands definitions and limits compensatory and punitive damages with the existing law.
    HB259: Safety of Religious Institutions
    Representative Williamson passed HB259: Safety of Religious Institutions off the House floor with bipartisan support at the end of March. The Senate picked up the bill earlier this week and passed it as well. If signed into law, this bill allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry on the property of church, synagogue or any other religious institution when it is located on the same property as a school or pre-K.
    General Appropriations Act (Budget)
    The General Appropriations Act (the budget), which is the only constitutionally mandated bill the Legislature must pass each year, will be voted on later this week before being sent to the Governor. The process began with the House and Senate passing initial budgets, which differed. From there, the Senate kicked off the conferencing process on April 16 to begin negotiations and reconcile each line item of the budget by silo. As the House Chair of the Appropriations Conference Committee on Transportation, Tourism & Economic Development/Infrastructure & Tourism, Representative Williamson was fortunate enough to work with Senator George Gainer, his upper chamber counterpart, and negotiate position differences in a timely fashion for their silo.
    As part of collaborative discussions throughout the various conference committees, the Legislature was also able to develop a fiscally responsible plan to spend the one-time infusion provided to Florida as part of the Federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds. While the Legislature is barred by law from spending this non-recurring revenue on recurring needs, they were able to craft a plan that addresses many long-term issues across the state due to the pandemic. The allocations are contingent upon receipt of the funds from the federal government.
    The Legislature will be headed back to Tallahassee to convene a special session on May 17 to consider a new 30-year sports gaming compact between Governor DeSantis and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. If approved by the House and Senate, the agreement would create a $2.5 billion revenue-sharing guarantee over the next five years. The deal would give the Tribe exclusive authorization to offer sports betting in Florida and end disagreements over what games are allowed at state pari-mutuel sites. 
    Representative Williamson was honored to once again support the state-run Page & Messenger Program for students in the sixth through twelfth grades. The program provides the opportunity for students from around the state to experience the legislative process first-hand. As a result of modifications to the program due to COVID-19, the Representative was allowed to sponsor one student and select an alternate as space allowed. 
    Alec Groeschen, a 7th grader from Sims Middle School, was selected as the 2021 sponsored student for the Page & Messenger Program. Alec attended Week 6 of the Legislative Session.
    Jake Box, a 7th grader from Sims Middle School, was selected as the 2021 sponsored student for the Page & Messenger Program. Jake attended Week 8 of the Legislative Session.
    May Constituent Service Days
    Constituent Service Days are held in South Santa Rosa County on the first Tuesday of each month, in Central Santa Rosa on the second Thursday of the month and in North Okaloosa County on the third Thursday of each month. 
    Appointments are not required for our Constituent Service Days and meetings are held on a first-come-first-served basis. 
    For additional information about any of our Constituent Service Days, please email Ashley.Jeffrey@MyFloridaHouse.gov.
    Jayer Williamson, State Representative
    ashley.jeffrey@myfloridahouse.gov, (850) 995-3698