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  • District 3 Rep. Jayer Williamson January 2021 Newsletter

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    January 29, 2021
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    | JANUARY 2021 |
    Committee Week 1: Protecting Consumers & Safety of Religious Institutions Legislation
    The enormity of work before us during the 2021 Legislative Session began with swift actions to protect Floridians during our first committee week held January 11-15. As a member of the Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee, Representative Williamson, along with 15 of his colleagues in the House, voted unanimously in favor of HB9: Protecting Consumers Against Fraud During a Pandemic. 
    This legislation prohibits a person from knowingly and willfully making a false or misleading statement or disseminating false or misleading information regarding the availability of, or access to, a vaccine for COVID-19 or any other pandemic disease in marketing or advertising materials; on a website, social media platform, or other media; or by telephone, text message, mail, or e-mail, to obtain another's personal identification information or money or other valuable consideration. To learn more about the bill or read it in its entirety, CLICK HERE.
    In addition to backing consumer protections in the wake of the pandemic, Representative Williamson also filed HB259: Safety of Religious Institutions as his first bill for the 2021 legislative session. 
    This bill mirrors similar legislation he ran last year, which passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Education Committee and Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support. Unfortunately, it did not have a sponsor in the Senate. Like last session's bill, HB259 authorizes, for specified purposes, concealed weapons or firearms licensee to carry a firearm on certain property of church, synagogue or any other religious institution.
    While Florida law does not generally prohibit carrying a concealed firearm or weapon on the grounds of a religious institution, many places of worship are located on the same property or attached to a school, which currently makes the act a crime punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.
    Revisiting this bill is paramount to protecting our Second Amendment rights by enabling a church, synagogue, or other religious institution located on the same property as a school or preschool, to authorize a licensed person to carry a concealed firearm on their premises. However, the bill does allow for religious institutions or owners of the property to continue prohibiting firearms should they so choose. Click the button below to learn more or read the entire bill.
    Learn More About HB259
    Legislative Tracking
    Setting up a Legislative Tracking account is an easy way to identify and monitor the issues you care about. Your account settings can be updated at any time, allowing you to modify your list, view current statuses and edit the frequency of updates on the items you are tracking.
    Setup Your Account
    2021 Legislative Delegation Meetings Recap
    [Santa Rosa & Okaloosa Counties]
    On Jan. 20, Representatives Williamson and Maney along with Senators Gainer and Broxson held the Okaloosa Legislative Delegation meeting, the first of two events for Northwest Florida. Representative Williamson, along with Representative Andrade and Senator Broxson held the Santa Rosa County Legislative Delegation public hearing on Jan. 21.
    The Santa Rosa Delegation meeting produced two local bills. The first of which has been proposed by Okaloosa Gas District requesting an amendment to their charter. Okaloosa Gas District is an Independent Special District that provides natural gas to four county areas in Northwest Florida. The District was established in 1953 and recently re-established in 2000. This local bill seeks to expand the District’s service territory in the unincorporated areas and where natural gas is presently unavailable in Santa Rosa and Walton Counties. 
    The second local bill proposed at the delegation meeting would convert the Navarre Beach Fire Department into an independent special fire control district governed by a 5-member elected board and operating according to Ch. 191. The bill will provide greater transparency and accountability for district operations, allow district personnel to access the Florida Retirement System, increase access to state resources and grants and put the department on equal footing with the neighboring Holley-Navarre and Midway Fire Districts.
    On November 3, 2020, 70% of the community residents voting in a non-binding referendum supported the district's creation. For the bill to take effect, residents would have to approve the district's creation a second time, this time in a binding referendum to be held before the end of 2022. 
    To view the archived recording of the Santa Rosa meeting, CLICK HERE.
    Santa Rosa County Delegation Meeting
    Okaloosa County Delegation Meeting
    2021 Page & Messenger Program Update
    We are pleased to announce the Page & Messenger Program will continue this year under modified COVID-19 guidelines and a shortened timeline to complete applications!
    The local priority deadline for Rep. Williamson to consider applications is Thurs., Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. In addition to the expedited deadline, the program has also been modified to allow Representatives to sponsor only ONE student (either a Page (grades 6-8) or a Messenger (grades 9-12)) this year.
    Please use the buttons below to learn more about the revised process and access the new state application and download information on our local process that includes a 250-word essay!
    Download District 3 Instructions
    House Webpage & Application Access
    2021 Art Competition Rules & Entry Form
    The “Why I Love Northwest Florida” Art Competition is now open for the 2021 session! Our annual competition is open to elementary students residing in or attending school in House District 3. Entries are due by Wed., Feb. 24 at 5 pm to our District Office located in Pace at 4519 Woodbine Road.
    Use the button below to download the 2021 Session Competition Rules & Entry Form! For additional information, please contact Sabrina McLaughlin at Sabrina.McLaughlin@MyFloridaHouse.gov!
    Download 2021 Rules & Entry Form
    February Constituent Service Days
    Tuesday - February 2
    10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    Tiger Point Community Center
    1370 Tiger Park Ln, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
    Thursday - February 18
    10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    UF IFAS Extension Okaloosa Co.
    3098 Airport Rd, Crestview, FL 32539
    Thursday - February 11
    10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
    SRC Economic Development Office
    6491 Caroline St., #4, Milton, FL 32570
    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.
    Remaining Interim Committee Weeks
    The remaining Interim Committee Weeks for the upcoming 2021 Legislative Session are as follows:
    • February 1-5, 2021
    • February 8-12, 2021
    • February 15-19, 2021
    Jayer Williamson, State Representative
    ashley.jeffrey@myfloridahouse.gov, (850) 995-3698