During this year's state legislative session, I was honored to represent our City in Tallahassee on two separate occasions.
Broward Days is a time designated for local businesses and elected officials to meet with state officials about priorities in our county. While there, I enjoyed presentations by and met with several people representing different state departments. Kevin Thibault, whom I worked with on numerous bills in the Transportation Committee while serving as a legislative aide, is now the secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation. I was able to congratulate him after he spoke and to say hello to the President and CEO of Visit Florida, former Senator Dana Young.
In addition, I met Florida’s new Attorney General, Ashley Moody, and discussed the horrors of human trafficking and my desire to make Tamarac a sealed city. I hope you'll hear more about this. I also informed her about the correlation between human trafficking and vacation rentals, something no one else mentioned. There are currently two bills that would take away any rights of cites to regulate vacation rentals, eliminating existing ordinances such as our vacation rental registration.
I spoke to many legislators regarding the vacation rental/human trafficking tie, and left copies of a report on vacation rentals and human trafficking from Polaris, an internationally recognized organization which compiles data on human trafficking. This report says that traffickers use vacation rentals because they are less likely to be scrutinized.
Additionally, I supported several of our appropriations items when they were heard in committee, and met with several House members on our projects. This includes the Chair of the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, Representative Holly Raschein, whom I met years ago when we both were aides.
I also met with Senator Thurston, Senator Book and Representative Omphroy on our appropriations, along with Commissioner Bolton and Assistant City Manager Kathleen Gunn. We originally had four projects, but through our discussions with the projects’ sponsors, we understood that not all could be funded due to so much financial need in the panhandle. We still have two projects working their way through the budget process.
Finally, we met with Mark Kruse from the Department of Economic Opportunity to discuss additional information on the Opportunity Zones we have in Tamarac.