Presentation of the Proposed Committee Bill (“PCB NRPL 17-01 – Vessels”) was positive. The Chair of the committee and its members have been accessible to us and responsive to our positions. Our lobbyists, Capitol Access have been in constant contact with committee members prior to the drafting of the bill and continuing.
So far, the team effort lead by MTOA along with AGLCA, SSCA, DeFever and many others has worked well to help shape the initial draft of the Bill that has been filed in the House as a Committee Bill by the House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee The Bill itself is consistent with the input from our team, which collectively considered all provisions recommended by the FWC (Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission). All positions
of our cruisers groups are reflected in the bill as it is currently drafted. Good job to all and appreciate your thoughtful, timely response.
On Wednesday, the Committee meet to hear the bill publicly and vote on whether the Committee itself would move forward as its official sponsor. Our lobbyists, Capitol Access, attended and represented us including Jerry Paul, our lead lobbyist, who provided comments to the committee stating our general agreement with the provisions and thanking the committee for excluding provisions that would have created no-anchoring set-backs from residential
property; excluding provisions that would carve out specific no-anchoring zones; and including provisions ensuring that anchoring regulations remain in the jurisdiction of the State rather than allowing local jurisdictions to create a confusing patchwork of anti-anchoring ordinances.
Mr. Paul also mentioned our intent to seek a reduction of the 300-foot buffer around mooring fields which is a provision in the current version of the bill. The committee voted unanimously to proceed forward with the bill.
Next, it will receive referrals to multiple committees that will hold hearings and consider amendments that may be filed. Chair of the originating committee has agreed to meet with us and continue working with us. We will be vigilant in all committees to review and represent ourselves as to any amendments that may be adverse to our interests. There may be a need for cruisers to attend such hearings in Tallahassee.
Also, we are anxiously awaiting the filing of a bill on the Senate side. The process there will repeat that of the House as described above. The committee hearing process will continue until a final bill on the House and Senate reach their respective chamber floors for final votes which will occur sometime prior to the end of the official 60-day Legislative Session which begins on March 7.
We will continue to keep you updated. For now, you can be proud of the success you are having as a team that took the time to step up and speak out. However, we have future challenges ahead, and your presence at Florida’s Capitol may be requested for one (1) day. If you can attend you are requested to bring a burgee attached to a wooden rod aprox.3/8” Día X 24” Long. This will give committee members an additional visual demonstration of the boating
community’s support for unnecessary new anchoring regulations.
MTOA Public Advocate