January 2020 – Legislative Update

Personal Message from Rep. Bob Rommel

The 2020 Legislative Session opened last week in Tallahassee.  Because of the hard work completed during the Interim Committee Meetings last year, the Legislators “hit the ground running.”

This Session, I have filed 6 bills, 2 resolutions and 10 appropriation requests.  Some of my constituents will be happy and some will be not so happy.  However, please remember that there is a finite pot of money available and not every wish or dream can be fulfilled.  The Governor has already stated that he is looking to streamline the budget to fund education needs, especially salary increases for our state’s K-12 teachers.

I hope to update you during the Legislative Session on a weekly basis  If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at bob.rommel@myfloridahouse.gov.

Thank you for letting me represent you in Tallahassee!

Bob Rommel
State Representative – District 106

Governor DeSantis Makes
Major Announcement
Regarding Education in Florida

On Friday, January 24th at Baker Park, Governor DeSantis and Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran announced that “common core” – including “crazy math” –  had been eliminated from Florida’s education curriculum.  Although full details are not yet available, the new standards, called BEST for Benchmarks for Excellent Student Thinking – will include a greater emphasis on civics. Governor DeSantis stated, I wanted to make sure we had a renewed emphasis on American civics and understanding the principles that make America great.”  Further, standardized testing will be streamlined.

This is a great day for Florida’s students!

2020 Legislative Session
Weeks 1 & 2

Session Week 1 (January 14-17, 2020)

The 2020 Regular Session of the Florida Legislature kicked off Tuesday, January 14th, with memorable remarks by House Speaker Jose R. Oliva. His focus over these 60 days of session remains on fiscal prudence and health care reform. Speaking about the health care industrial complex, Oliva was clear about his concern and intent to pave a path for positive change.

“They receive state dollars, federal dollars and private payer dollars. We also extend them all manner of local tax breaks, and it is not enough!” Oliva said. “It will never be enough. Until we have the courage to empower the patient and loosen the regulations which have allowed their empire-building, it will never be enough.”

With his comments in mind, House lawmakers heard dozens of bills on a variety of topics over the past week – approving several measures in the areas of health care, education, commerce and more that offer the promise of positive impact on Floridians statewide. The following briefs highlight several of those bills.

House Health Care Appropriations Committee votes to break down health care barriers  (Rep. Rommel is member of this Committee).

Florida House Health Care Appropriations members approved a bill Wednesday that would free advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) to help patients to the full extent of their education and training.

Florida has a shortage of health care providers, which means some patients don’t have quick access to the primary care they need. However, there are 32,877 APRNs actively licensed to practice in Florida but can only do so under the supervision of a physician.

These APRNs have graduate degrees – many doctoral – and are trained to diagnose and treat illness and disease. Yet, they are stifled in their ability to help patients. Many experienced APRNs are “supervised” by physicians who never see the APRN’s patients, never review a chart, and never do a patient consultation.

Treatment by an APRN is just as safe as a treatment by a physician. In fact, states that allow independent practice see increases in health care utilization and quality of care, which can lead to improved health outcomes. HB 607 brings Florida in line with 30 other states that already allow APRNs to practice independently.

House Health Quality Subcommittee votes to prevent fraud and abuse

Most Floridians conduct business electronically — it’s instant, efficient and secure. It’s time now for the health care industry to catch up. HB 1103 does just that by eliminating paper prescriptions and moving to an electronic format, which could help combat fraud, medical errors and the opioid crisis. Florida House Health Quality Subcommittee members approved the bill Wednesday to further this effort.

HB 1103 would require all prescriptions to be electronically transmitted by July 1, 2021, with exceptions for written prescriptions when there is a temporary electrical or technological failure that prevents electronic prescribing. Written prescriptions exacerbate the opioid crisis because they can be altered, and prescription pads may be lost or stolen and used illegally. Written prescriptions can also cause medical errors when handwriting is misread.

Many providers already e-prescribe medications. At least 15 other states require e-prescribing in some manner, and federal law will require it for all controlled substances beginning January 1, 2021.

House Health Quality Subcommittee votes to drive down health care costs

Patients should know upfront when a health care professional refers them to an out-of-network health care provider, and physicians should not financially benefit from the referrals they make. Florida House Health Quality Subcommittee members approved a bill Wednesday to build those patient-protection measures into Florida law.

Patients are sometimes shocked to learn that the provider they were referred to is out-of-network and only discover it when it’s too late — when they receive the bill. A growing trend among hospitals is to acquire private health care practice groups, such as a physician practice group or an imaging center. Hospitals may pressure these health care providers to only refer patients to providers affiliated with the hospital.

HB 955 prohibits health care providers from referring patients to any hospital in which they hold an investment interest and requires written notice to the patient of a referral to an out-of-network provider.

House Health Market Reform Subcommittee votes for free-market health care reform  (Rep. Rommel is a member of this Subcommittee).

Floridians deserve options when it comes to meeting their health care needs. Florida House Health Market Reform Subcommittee members approved a bill Wednesday that frees up more choices for patients who need specialty care.

HB 6059 removes provisions prohibiting licensure of hospitals that serve specific populations. Florida bans hospitals that specialize in cardiac, orthopedic, surgical or oncology care. That means hospitals can’t specialize and become the premier facility in any of those areas.

HB 6059 removes outdated regulatory barriers that hinder competition. Repealing the ban should increase competition and ultimately lead to more high-quality, cost-effective options for patients.

House Health Market Reform Subcommittee votes to ensure hospital charitable care  (Rep. Rommel is a member of this Subcommittee).

Hospitals that qualify for local property tax exemptions should have to prove that they provide an equivalent value to their communities. Florida House Health Market Reform Subcommittee members approved a bill Wednesday that requires hospitals to do so.

Current law grants an exemption from local property taxes for property used predominately for charitable purposes. However, the bar for hospitals to qualify for a charitable property tax exemption is low — they only have to demonstrate nonprofit 501(c)(3) status. HB 919 asks this critical question of nonprofit hospitals: Are you doing enough for the community to earn this tax break?

Under the bill, hospitals are required to demonstrate the value of charitable services by providing IRS filings used to report the value of their charitable care, and they would receive a property tax exemption that is proportional to the value of the charity care they provide. Charitable care covered by some form of government payment will not qualify.

HB 919 holds nonprofit hospitals accountable, ensuring they give back enough to their communities to justify their local property tax exemption.

House Health Market Reform Subcommittee votes to create new health care facility (Rep. Rommel is a member of this Committee).

Florida House Health Market Reform Subcommittee members approved a bill on Wednesday that would give patients more options for post-surgery care. HB 827 creates a new licensure category for recovery care centers (RCCs), facilities for post-operative care.

RCCs are a new kind of facility that will give patients access to more options for post-surgery care. These facilities would be able to keep patients up to 72 hours after a procedure at an ambulatory surgical center, hospital, or after an outpatient medical treatment such as chemotherapy.

The bill requires the Agency for Health Care Administration to implement stringent standards for RCCs to ensure patient safety and quality care, just like any other health care facility licensure category. RCCs must have emergency care and transfer protocols with at least one hospital.

HB 827 makes way for a safe, logical, and more personal recovery option for people who need care after a surgery or treatment, but do not want to stay in a hospital.

House Business & Professions Subcommittee votes to end barriers to entry for workers

Burdensome local licensing requirements act as barriers to job entry for skilled workers, prevents mobility, and increases costs for people who are otherwise qualified to work, especially when licensing requirements vary by city or county.

On Wednesday, members of the House Business & Professions Subcommittee voted to give workers greater opportunities to practice their trade and remove barriers created by the patchwork of local licensing requirements. HB 3 addresses the issue so Floridians can work statewide without paying additional fees, passing unnecessary tests or meeting extra experience or education requirements.

HB 3 preempts occupational licensing to the state and allows professionals to work anywhere in Florida without the burdens that local licensing requirements create. Inconsistent licensing requirements across different cities or counties would be eliminated unless specifically authorized by state law. The bill also specifically prohibits local licensure of certain jobs, including painting and flooring installation.

House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee votes to expand charter schools

Public charter schools provide families the opportunity to choose a school that best meets their child’s individual needs. On Wednesday, Florida House Republicans on the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee voted to expand access to charter schools as a public education option for Florida’s students.

Currently, only a school district may authorize charter schools in their district. HB 953, Charter Schools, allows state colleges and universities to act as public charter school authorizers, in addition to school districts, to meet regional workforce and educational needs.

Nearly 7 in 10 voters nationwide support school choice, according to a RealClear Opinion Research Survey. By allowing state colleges and universities to act as authorizers, HB 953 provides students with opportunities for acceleration into new and exciting educational workforce areas, helping meet Florida’s growing demand for school choice.

House subcommittee approves Intellectual Diversity in Higher Education bill

State university and college students should feel free to express their viewpoints in a marketplace of diverse ideas. On Wednesday, Florida House lawmakers on the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee voted to support this concept by approving HB 613.

HB 613, Higher Education, requires all state universities and colleges to survey students and faculty, and publish a report on the status of intellectual diversity at their institutions. The legislation also revises provisions related to performance funding, among other changes.

A study by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute found a dramatic leftward shift in the composition of faculty today with progressives at 60% and conservatives at only 13%. Given this dire lack of political diversity, conservative students may have real fears about expressing their opinions. HB 613 reinforces the protections of the First Amendment by helping expose suppression of diverse speech and opinions at Florida’s higher education institutions.

Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee votes to update public notice rules  (Rep. Rommel is the Vice-Chair of this Subcommittee).

Floridians should have simple, easy, and free access to public notices. On Wednesday, the Florida House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee approved a bill that updates how government entities publish public notices so they can better reach Florida residents with key information and reduce the costs associated with doing so.

HB 7 gives government agencies the option to publish legally required advertisements and notices on a public website if certain conditions are met. Currently, Florida law requires state and local government entities to buy newspaper advertisements to share information with the public regarding important deadlines, events, or code changes. Exceptions exist for counties that do not have a newspaper in the county. This bill updates the outdated legal notice publication requirements to better reflect how most Floridians get their information – online.

Today, the vast majority of Floridians have access to an internet connection via a computer, tablet, or cellphone. With so many people online, modernizing the public notice system will result in more residents being informed about meetings that impact their lives – all while saving public dollars.

Legislation to increase fiscal responsibility in government passes House subcommittee (Rep. Rommel is Vice-Chair of this Subcommittee).

On Wednesday, the Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee passed a measure to ensure that community development districts (CDDs) are held to the same high standard as state government.

CDDs are a type of special-purpose local government that should provide basic urban community services in a cost-effective manner. Currently, a CDD board may authorize bonds by a majority vote of the board. HB 851 increases the number of votes required for a CDD board to authorize bonds from a majority vote to two-thirds vote of the board beginning October 1, 2020.

In state government, any proposed new tax or fee, or an increase to a tax or fee, must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the membership of each chamber of the Florida Legislature. Providing the same vote threshold for CDDs is logical and helps ensure consistency.

Florida House subcommittee votes to bring transparency to public records process

In recent years, some agencies have been in the spotlight for unjustified spending of taxpayer money while attempting to hide how much they spent using public record exemptions for trade secrets. Members of the Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee on Thursday approved two bills that hold government agencies accountable by ensuring that public information is not improperly exempted from public disclosure as a trade secret.

HB 799 defines the term “trade secret” and creates a uniform public record exemption that applies to all agencies subject to public records requirements. HB 801 repeals agency-specific public record exemptions for trade secrets, associated processes for designating a trade secret, and most references to trade secrets contained in the definitions for proprietary business information.

The residents of Florida have a right to know where, how, and under what terms their tax dollars are being spent. These bills work together to eliminate the lack of uniformity among government agencies in what information they label “trade secrets” and keep from the public view.

Florida House subcommittee seeks to bring transparency to commercial service airports

Florida is home to 20 commercial service airports, four of which are considered large-hub airports. These airports serve Florida’s visitors and residents, but they also have an annual impact of $144 billion on Florida’s economy. On Wednesday, the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee voted to approve a bill to increase oversight, transparency and accountability of these economic drivers.

HB 915 includes several provisions to enhance transparency and accountability for commercial service airports. Specifically, the bill requires the Auditor General, at least once every five years, to conduct operational and financial audits of the state’s large-hub commercial service airports. It requires the members of the governing bodies of large-hub commercial service airports to submit a more detailed financial disclosure to the Commission on Ethics. Under the bill, each commercial service airport must post certain information about its airport operations online, including meeting notices, agendas, and certain documents it submits to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Among many other accountability measures, HB 915 reiterates the ethics standards for the governing body and employees of commercial service airports and requires annual ethics training. The bill requires each commercial service airport to comply with state procurement laws and public record and open meeting laws, and to annually verify such compliance to the state. Ultimately, the bill holds commercial service airports accountable to all Floridians.

HB 915 protects taxpayers by bringing increased oversight and transparency standards to Florida’s commercial service airports.

Session Week 2 (January 21-24, 2020)

Week 2 of the Regular Session of the Florida Legislature opened Tuesday, January 21st,  after state legislators joined the nation on Monday in observing the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

On Wednesday, the House of Representatives convened and passed several measures. Among these, the body approved a joint resolution to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, currently one of five ways to amend the Florida Constitution.

The once-every-20-year commission last met in 2018. It has been scrutinized for the way members were appointed and for bundling unrelated topics into single ballot items. If the Legislature passes the ban, voters will ultimately have the final say on abolishing the Constitution Revision Commission.

In committees, lawmakers approved conservative policies to help Floridians overcome barriers to health care and cut through red tape that prevents skilled people from working, among other issues. The following briefs highlight several of those measures, and more.

House Select Committee on the Integrity of Research Institutions holds initial meeting

When news broke that the Moffitt Cancer Center’s Research may have been compromised by the Chinese government, Speaker Jose Oliva took swift action by appointing a special committee dedicated to investigating the issue. On Tuesday, the House Select Committee on the Integrity of Research Institutions convened for the first time to discuss goals and review evidence.

Under the leadership of Chairman Chris Sprowls, committee members shared that at least two Florida research institutions have been targeted for their research by Chinese-government backed organizations: Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of Florida. As the committee investigates these cases – and any others that arise – the members will be looking for evidence of diversion and theft of intellectual property; sharing of confidential information; and nondisclosure of ties to substantial organizations, including foreign governments.

While other research institutions have been the target of foreign attacks, Sprowls said, this is the first time a state legislature has taken action and responsibility to do what it can to correct problems and prevent future ones. In the coming weeks, the Select Committee will invite members from the Moffitt Cancer Center and University of Florida to testify – answering key questions about their internal procedures, how they failed, and why they failed.

House Health Quality Subcommittee votes to make medical records more accessible

The Florida House Health Quality Subcommittee approved a bill Tuesday to ensure that Floridians gain access to their medical records in a standardized, timely manner. HB 1147 sets the timeframe that health care providers and facilities must produce or allow inspection of records and empowers patients to control their records in the form most convenient for them.

Requesting medical records should be a straightforward process; however, it is often inconsistent, confusing, and subject to repeated delays. HB 1147 ensures that, regardless of provider type, each practitioner and facility must produce all requested records in their possession within 14 working days and allow inspection of all records in their possession within 10 working days. Furthermore, providers and facilities must produce the records in the form the patient selects.

A patient will receive treatment from many health care providers throughout their life, and each provider will create and maintain a record of that treatment. It is crucial that the patient and each of his or her current and future providers have prior treatment records for the patient to receive the best care.

House Health Market Reform Subcommittee votes to end surprise medical billing (Rep. Rommel is a member of this subcommittee).

This week the Florida House Health Market Reform Subcommittee approved a bill that protects Floridians from surprise medical billing.

Costs associated with health care services and procedures have the potential to result in significant medical debt for patients, and even bankruptcy. Even if medical costs do not result in bankruptcy, they can weigh heavily on patients. Past legislative efforts have helped patients get more information on health care costs prior to care, but more needs to be done to empower patients and protect them from unfair billing practices.

HB 959 empowers and protects patients by requiring health care facilities to provide good-faith estimates of charges for non-emergency medical services to patients and prohibiting facilities from charging any more than the estimate plus 10% — except if in unforeseen circumstances. The bill also increases medical debt collection consumer protections.

Current law requires all hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and urgent care centers to provide each patient an estimate of charges prior to providing any non-emergency medical services – but only upon patient request. HB 959 makes these estimates mandatory and binding unless unforeseen circumstances or additional services result in the need for additional charges. If so, those charges must be explained in writing.

HB 959 increases certainty regarding the costs of recommended treatments and medical procedures, and protects patients from unfair billing practices.

House Health Market Reform Subcommittee votes for open, transparent access to health care information (Rep. Rommel is a member of this subcommittee).

Health care providers have some flexibility in discussing costs with patients, but there may be cases when a provider’s contract with an insurer limits communication related to costs of care. Florida House Health Market Reform Subcommittee members approved a bill Tuesday to ensure open communication.

HB 1205 prohibits a health insurer or Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) from limiting the ability of any provider to discuss pricing information with a patient, ensures that insured patients do not pay more than an uninsured patient for a health care service, and safeguards a patient’s right to open communication with providers regarding costs of care.

As health care costs continue to rise, many health insurers are asking consumers to take on a greater share of their costs by increasing premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. Patients should have the information they need to be able to choose less expensive health care services – or even pay for a service themselves, rather than using insurance, if it’s less expensive.

House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee votes to improve government transparency (Rep. Rommel is Vice-Chair of this Subcommittee).

Members of the Florida House Local, Federal & Veterans Subcommittee approved a bill Tuesday to ensure that local governments are responsible and transparent stewards of taxpayer dollars.

HB 1149 helps residents gain access to important information, including voting records related to tax increases and the issuance of tax-supported debt. The bill also enhances access to tax history and property tax information, expands public meetings and notice requirements, and requires local governments to conduct and consider a debt affordability analysis before approving the issuance of new long-term, tax-supported debt.

Under current law, most local governments are required to have an annual financial audit. HB 1149 requires the auditor to report whether the local government is in compliance with the provisions of the new act created by the bill. Local governments not in compliance must provide evidence that corrective action has been initiated within 45 days and completed within 180 days.

HB 1149 ensures that Floridians have open, easy access to the information they need to be more engaged with their local government.

Florida House subcommittee seeks to bring transparency to commercial service airports

Florida is home to 20 commercial service airports, four of which are considered large-hub. These airports serve Florida’s visitors and residents, but they also have an annual impact of $144 billion on Florida’s economy. On Wednesday, the Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee voted to approve a bill to increase oversight, transparency, and accountability of these economic drivers.

HB 915 includes several provisions to enhance transparency and accountability for commercial service airports. Specifically, the bill requires the Auditor General, at least once every five years, to conduct operational and financial audits of the state’s large-hub commercial service airports. It requires the members of the governing bodies of large-hub commercial service airports to submit a more detailed financial disclosure to the Commission on Ethics. Under the bill, each commercial service airport must post certain information about its airport operations online, including meeting notices, agendas, and certain documents it submits to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Among many other accountability measures, HB 915 codifies the ethics standards for the governing body and employees of commercial service airports and requires annual ethics training. The bill requires each commercial service airport to comply with state procurement laws and public record and open meeting laws and to annually verify such compliance to the state. Ultimately, the bill holds commercial service airports accountable to all Floridians.

Florida House subcommittee votes to protect public employees

On Wednesday, the Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee voted on legislation to tighten the regulation and oversight of unions.

HB 1 requires a public employee who desires to join a union sign a membership authorization form that says Florida is a right to work state and union membership is not required as a condition of employment. The authorization form must also provide that membership and payment of dues and assessments is voluntary. Among other protections, HB 1 prohibits unions and employers from asking an employee to provide a reason for leaving the union.

The bill makes clear any dues and uniform assessments may not be deducted from an employee’s salary until the employer receives signed authorization from the bargaining agent and confirms with the employee that he or she, in fact, authorized it. Authorization for dues deductions must be reauthorized annually.

House Committee votes to expand Sunrise Review process for regulated industries

When excessive regulation goes unchecked, working Floridians and small businesses suffer. This week, the House Business & Professions Subcommittee passed HB 1155, which strengthens Florida’s Sunrise Act in order to ensure that proposed regulations of professions are necessary to the protect the public’s health, safety, and welfare.

Florida’s Sunrise Act requires a formal review of proposed regulations of professions that includes a cost-benefit analysis. Currently, it only applies to legislation that proposes regulation of an unregulated profession. HB 1155 expands the scope of the Sunrise Act by requiring a formal review for legislation that expands the scope of a regulated profession to include currently unregulated activities.

This bill helps ensure that Florida residents, businesses, and industries can thrive in a healthy regulatory environment that promotes the free market.

Florida House Committee passes Occupational Freedom and Opportunity Act

Excessive regulations can hinder economic growth and act as barriers to workforce entry for many Floridians who are trying to make a living. This week, the House Business & Professions Subcommittee passed HB 1193 to free workers from redundant licensure and training requirements.

For barbers and cosmetology specialists, HB 1193 reduces the excessive hours of training required to obtain a license to work. For occupations where a license is simply unnecessary, such as commercial interior designers and hair braiders, HB 1193 would eliminate the state licensing requirement. The bill also expands license reciprocity measures for several professions.

Many of the deregulated professions in the bill already have industry standards in place, so continuing to require a license for those professions beyond what preserves the public health, safety, and welfare is unnecessary.

Public Integrity & Ethics Committee approves ethics reform package

Public servants should be intentional about ethics and careful to avoid any inappropriate personal benefit from their role or status. To that end, the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee on Thursday approved a bill to help strengthen rules for ethical behavior in government.

To this end, HB 1185 would help weed out conflicts of interest by banning some actions and requiring that public servants report new information. Among many reforms included in the bill, statewide elected officials are prohibited from taking a job offered as a result of their official duties or political status. Additionally, state workers cannot seek a job at an organization regulated by their employer agency, and statewide elected officials must report salary increases or new posts if they work for an organization that receives state dollars.

HB 1185 advances the Florida House of Representative’s commitment to eliminating corruption, fraud, and abuse in government.

Public Integrity & Ethics Committee votes to keep government accountable

Floridians deserve governments that are transparent and accountable to them and held to the highest ethical standards. The House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee on Thursday approved a bill to advance this idea.

HB 1111 promotes integrity in government by identifying and eliminating government waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, and misconduct. Among many reforms, the bill creates a “Florida Integrity Office” with the sole purpose of ensuring accountability among state and local governments. The state’s chief financial officer would be responsible for sending suggestions from Florida’s “Get Lean” hotline to the new Integrity office for review. HB 1111 also helps motivate state employees to report cases of misconduct or abuse in government by authorizing financial incentives.

Floridians are better served when their state and local governments are committed to being transparent and accountable to taxpayers.

Out ‘n About Tallahassee

Stop Lawsuit Abuse!

On January 15th, Rep. Rommel along with Senator Doug Broxson, released the results of the Economic Benefits of Tort Reform, a rigorous economic study calculating the costs of Florida’s current civil laws in comparison to benchmarks in other states. Florida has consistently ranked in the bottom 5 of all 50 states for lawsuit climate as ranked by the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform.

The study calculates that tort costs to the Florida economy are significant:
*  $10 billion in annual direct costs
*  $15.5 billion in annual output (gross product)
*  161,735 jobs when dynamic effects are considered
*  $8.11 million in annual State revenues and $679.4 million in annual
local government revenues.

Excess torts result in a “tort tax” of $719.01 per person, or $4,442 per household.

A 2017 survey of corporate attorneys found that 85% of respondents indicated that the litigation environment in a state is likely to impact business decisions and corporate relocations.

Sensible tort reforms could have a very positive impact on Florida’s  economy – possibly as much as $1 billion more for the State’s annual budget.  This would be significant for education, criminal justice and other major public priorities.

Boots on the Hill Day with
Florida’s Cattlemen’s Association

Clint Raulerson of JB Ranch in Sunniland (Immokalee) stopped by for a quick visit with Rep. Rommel.  Clint is a 5th generation cowboy and a true steward of the land. He’s pictured here with Kim Timm, District 106 Legislative Aide.

NCH Drowning Prevention Program

Paula Digrioli, Executive Director of NCH Safe & Healthy Children’s Coalition along with Collier County School Board member Jen Mitchell and Fire Chief Murphy of Marco Island and others came to discuss the Drowning Prevention Program.

November 2019 Newsletter

Newsletter – Issue No. 21 – November 2019

Personal Message from Rep. Bob Rommel

The Interim Committee Meetings started in mid-September and are now half-way finished.  During House committee meetings, members hear briefings and participate in important discussions on items ranging from public integrity and ethics discussions to abortion restrictions and state education improvements.  The end goal of these Interim Committee Meetings is for the members of the various committees to determine the agenda for the upcoming Legislative Session, which opens on January 14, 2020.

On October 30th, Collier County Legislators  including Senator Kathleen Passidomo, Representatives Bob Rommel, Byron Donalds and Ana Maria Rodriguez, hosted its 2019 Legislative Delegation Day at the North Collier Regional Park.  This event provides an opportunity for agencies, organizations as well members of the public to present their issues, needs and concerns to their Legislators.  Almost 50 public and private agencies and 15 members of the public spoke.  It was a full day and provided the Legislators with much upon which to ponder.

Monday, November 11th is Veterans Day.  This annual federal holiday honors military veterans, that is, persons who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Generations of Americans owe a great debt of gratitude for the service and sacrifices of these men and women.

Bob Rommel
State Representative – District 106

November 11th – Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a holiday held every 11 November to honor all military personnel who have served in the U.S. armed forces. Veterans Day was originally called “Armistice Day,” and the date was chosen to commemorate the signing of the armistice with Germany that ended hostilities during World War I.

The armistice was signed on 11 November 1918, however it did not officially end that war. The official end came on 28 June 1919 with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. On the other hand, since the U.S. never signed the Treaty of Versailles like the other Allies, one could say that, for the U.S. at least, the 11 November armistice really did end the war.

In the immediate years after Armistice Day, the focus of the celebrations was on the veterans of World War I. However, the day was always meant to honor all veterans of foreign wars who risked their lives on the battle field to secure the freedoms of all Americans.

In 1926 Congress finally decided to declare that World War I was over. It was odd for this recognition of an existing reality to come seven years late. But without the U.S. agreeing to the Treaty of Versailles, there had been no official end to the war. Congress also expressed a desire for 11 November to be a legal holiday, following the lead of 27 states to have already done so. Congress called for the holiday to be a day of prayer and thanksgiving and expressed a desire that the U.S. flag be on display during this day and that special ceremonies be held.

Armistice Day finally became a permanent, official public holiday in 1938. Eerily enough, the holiday designed to honor World War I veterans became official only a few years before World War II arrived.

Over time, particularly once World War II was fought (and then the Korean and Vietnam wars), the focus on the 1918 Armistice was lost and the name of the holiday was changed. Additionally, Veterans Day is generally regarded today as honoring all those who ever served in the U.S. Armed Force rather than only those who actually fought in a war.

The next stage in the history of Veterans Day came in 1954, when it received its present name. Congress made the change when pressed to do so by various private veterans organizations.

Thank you to all the men and women who fought and served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Veterans Day Events in Collier County

Veterans Day will be celebrated November 11th at Cambier Park in downtown Naples.  The ceremony will begin at 10am.

Take your seats at least 15 minutes prior to the starting time. Parking is limited.  Plan to arrive early enough to hunt for parking and take your seats no later than 15 minutes prior to the beginning of this event.  This is an outdoor venue.  Please bring your water bottles and an umbrella.

Other Veterans Day Events in Collier County

Collier Lee Honor Flights

The mission of the Collier Lee Honor Flight is to transport local Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. CLHF was established on September 25th, 2013 to bring this program to the Collier and Lee County area. A very successful inaugural flight (Mission 1) took place on November 9th, 2013, just six weeks after forming. To date CLHF has transported nearly 1200 WWII, Korean and Vietnam veterans on this deeply emotional and well deserved trip.

Most recently, another amazing Mission 21 took off at on November 2nd, 2019.  They escorted WWII, Korean and Vietnam War Veterans to visit their memorials in D.C.  They provided also an evening of Honor to local Veterans who are unable to fly.

Our treasured Veterans departed RSW  for a one day trip to our nation’s capital. While in Washington, in addition to witnessing the changing of the guard at Arlington, they visited the WWII Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial.

CLHF is currently preparing for Mission 22, which will be in April 25, 2020.  They truly believe that the service of our WWII vets and their sacrifices saved the world from oppression and this is their very small way of saying, “thank you.”

See www.collierhonorflight.org for additional details.

Rep. Rommel’s Bills Filed Thus Far for 2020 Session

1.     HB 305 Preemption of Conditions of Employment : Preempts to state, right to regulate conditions of employment by an employer; voids certain ordinances, regulations, or policies that are preempted by act.

2.     HR 323 United States Constitution and the Electoral College (Resolution): Reaffirms oath of office made by each member of House of Representatives to support, protect, & defend the U.S. Constitution, including the 12th Amendment, and the preservation of Electoral College.

3.     HJR 477 Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise Local Taxes or Fees: Proposes amendment to constitution to prohibit municipality, county, school board, or special district from imposing, authorizing, or raising local tax or fee except by vote approved by two-thirds of membership of relevant jurisdiction, & requires any such proposed local tax or fee imposition or increase to be contained in separate resolution or ordinance.

Collier County’s 2019 Legislative Delegation Day

On Wednesday, October 30th, Collier County’s legislators, Senator Kathleen Passidomo, Representatives Byron Donalds, Ana Maria Rodriguez and Bob Rommel, hosted the annual Legislative Delegation Day at North Collier Regional Park.  There were almost 50 speakers from various local non-profits and agencies who presented their needs and legislative priorities for the 2020 Legislative Session.  In addition, there were 15 members of the public, who presented their issues and concerns to the Legislators.  It was a very long, but productive day that provided our State Legislators with information needed to make informative and wise decisions in the upcoming session that begins in January.

Thank you to all of this year’s participants.  You make the difference!

Pictured below are Collier County’s State Legislators listening to the various presentations.  Also pictures are members of the public who expressed their opposition to SB 64, which would have eliminated religious grounds as an exemption from vaccinations.

Out ‘n About the District

Although most of the Representative’s time has been spent in Tallahassee recently, he was present at the ribbon cutting for the newly built Student and Community Counseling Center at FGCU.  This center will serve the communities with graduates and will be a resource for those struggling with mental health issues.  It’s a huge win, win!!

Personnel Announcement

Representative Rommel and the staff of District 106  are looking forward to having Yevheniya Krasynska as an intern for our office this upcoming legislative session. Yevheniya is a FGCU Eagle 🦅 from our local district & will serve as our Office Government Relations intern in Tallahassee! #FGCU #FlaPol #GoEagles

Episode #21 of the Rommel Report

Episode #21 of the Rommel Report

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Bob welcomes David Lawrence Center CEO, Scott Burgess to the podcast.  Bob and Scott dive deep into a number of topics ranging from mental health awareness to addiction issues and how the David Lawrence Center can help those people in need, along with the community.  A good counselor is so important. With Collier County growing at a rapid pace, the number of mental health cases is poised to rise quickly. Bob and Scott talk about a number of stats and preventive measures you can examine to find out whether someone you love may need attention.

Find out on this informative episode of The Rommel Report!

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Episode #20 of the Rommel Report

Episode #20 of the Rommel Report

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With Budget battles and more on the horizon, how can we ensure that politicians will be responsible when it comes to the taxpayer’s money? Bob welcomes Grover Norquist to the show. He is the president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a taxpayer advocacy group he founded in 1985 at President Reagan’s request. Together, they talk about the President’s tax reforms, the impact of raising the federal minimum wage, student loan debt and health care reform. What are the problems facing the taxpayers and the solutions that can lead us to a more prosperous nation?

Find out on this informative episode of The Rommel Report!

 

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Episode #19 of the Bob Rommel Report

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The government has expanded to the point that it is way past its core function. So how do we get it back to our foundation? Bob welcomes Skylar Zander to the show! He is the Florida State Director of Americans For Prosperity. Together, they talk about some of the major issues in our country today, from Healthcare to the talk of “free college”. They discuss how bad government policies seem to be “fixed” by introducing more bad policies! How can we break this cycle? What would our Founding Fathers think about where we stand today? Where are the people who want to fight debt and deficits in the country?

Find out on this informative episode of The Rommel Report!

The Rommel Report – Episode #18, a look at the Senate with Sen. Kathleen Passidomo

Episode #18 of the Rommel Report

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As Bob visits with constituents in Southwest Florida, he’s often asked about the difference between the House and the Senate in Tallahassee. Kathleen Passidomo is Florida Senate Majority Leader and she joins the podcast! Together, they discuss the differences between the two chambers and some of the work they have accomplished together. She talks about her views on some of the legislation that has passed this year and what is in store for the state as we move forward. Plus, hear her views on Nancy Pelosi, Sanctuary Cities and President Trump.

Find out on this informative episode of The Rommel Report!

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Episode #17 of the Rommel Report

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Will people look back on the 2019 legislative session in Tallahassee and say it was historic? Bob welcomes Ray Rodrigues to the podcast. He is a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 76th District. He believes people recognize this year as a historic one for the state. First, they start with legalizing vouchers in education and empowering parents. This a fight that was a quarter of a century in the making. Next, they discuss the reforms in health care, including getting rid of the Certificate of Need and legalizing the ability to buy prescription drugs from Canada. Can these changes in the state have wide-ranging ramification across the nation? Will these legislative victories leave an indelible mark on the state?

Find out on this informative episode of The Rommel Report!

Episode #9 of the Rommel Report

Episode #9 of the Rommel Report

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What does it mean to be a Frederick Douglass Republican? KCarl Smith joins the podcast. He is a former Army officer and motivational speaker who has become a sought-after Political Activist. His quest is simple: To re-ignite America’s passion for Liberty and to help shape a new Republican Party. Together, they explore the issue of race relations and the GOP. How did the political Left turn the narrative against the Conservatives? Find out how a commitment to the Constitution can lead to the kind of empowerment so many in this country desire. Learn about his unique and powerfully effective strategy to help Conservatives create an atmosphere for political dialogue without being accused of racism.

Find out on this informative episode of The Rommel Report!

 

 

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