Committee Week One: Governor Ron DeSantis Delivers Inaugural Speech at Florida’s Capitol 

Welcome to the start of the 2023 Legislative Season. We hope everyone had a restful holiday season and a Happy New Year! On January 3rd 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis delivered his inaugural address for his second term at the Florida Historic Capitol in Tallahassee. In his address to Floridians, Governor DeSantis highlighted his priorities and the progress the state has made over the past years. The Governor discussed his administration’s dedication to Florida’s economy, the Everglades and water resources, access to recovery resources, and more. 


This week also brought in legislators from across the state for committee meetings. The dates for the interim committee meetings are as follows: 

● Tuesday, January 17 – Friday, January 20, 2023  

● Monday, January 23 – Friday, January 27, 2023  

● Monday, February 6 – Friday, February 10, 2023  

● Monday, February 13 – Friday February 17, 2023  

● Monday, February 20 – Friday, February 24, 2023 

Regular Session will begin on Tuesday, March 7, 2023 and end on Friday, May 5, 2023.  

Reminder! Register for the Florida Broadband Summit  

FAC is hosting the Florida Broadband Summit on January 26 – 27, 2023, at the Sawgrass Marriott in St. Johns County. This summit will serve as a one-stop education for Florida’s communities to understand and connect with federal, state, and private resources to begin or continue the process and ensure reliable connectivity across the state.

Register Here!

NACo Legislative Conference Approaching: Join FAC in February 10-14th at NACo’s 2023 Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.  

The National Association of Counties Legislative Conference is quickly approaching. If you plan on joining us in Washington, D.C. in February, please register today!  

Don’t forget to attend NACo’s County Capitol Hill Day on Tuesday, February 14th. Now is the time to schedule meetings with your local delegation and advocate on behalf of your local community. 

Committee Week Recap

Kevin Guthrie, Director of FDEM, Seeks Improvements to Disaster Response Methods 

The Director of Florida’s Division of Emergency Management, Kevin Guthrie, presented at the Senate’s Select Committee on Resiliency on Wednesday. He reported on the status of Florida post Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, as well as the challenges the Division is facing post-storm recovery. The Division has been working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to streamline reimbursements from recovery. Director Guthrie encouraged the legislature to decrease the amount of time for people to remove damaged boats from waterways and provide a uniform statewide mechanism for waiving and expediting permits. He also called for revisions to the Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund, recommending additional clarity and expansion of individual assistance funds. Director Guthrie also provided legislative recommendations that would protect the Division from incurring interest expense on funds as they verify claims during a State of Emergency and advocated for the creation of a public records exemption for disaster survivors. Finally, he called for certain required elements in debris removal contracts executed by local governments. 


Rep Payne Discusses Future of Infrastructure & Resiliency Policy in House Subcommittee 

On Tuesday the House Agriculture, Conservation, & Resiliency Subcommittee conducted its first meeting. The first Subcommittee meeting began with an overview of the purpose of the Subcommittee, one of three committees under the Infrastructure Strategies Committee. Chairman Bobby Payne of the House Infrastructure and Strategies Committee spoke to the Subcommittee about the vision of infrastructure strategies under Speaker Renner. He emphasized the unprecedented growth within the state over the past few years, noting that with growth comes infrastructure challenges but also opportunities. The Subcommittees is tasked with working on policies to recognize growth, while creating strategies to protect land and water, and address transportation needs including roads, highways, maritime seaports, inland seaports, and rails. Additionally, the committee will tackle the goal of protecting Florida’s water quality and quantity, and natural resources. Chairman Payne noted that while the terms “conservation” and “resiliency” have many definitions, he defines it as strengthening habitats and wildlife corridors, and enhancing sustainability in Florida’s communities, development, and infrastructure. He closed his remarks with the importance of the Subcommittee, citing Florida’s sustainable future in 30-40 years and the generations to come.