“His dedication to the people of Florida, his commitment to the mission of this institution, his drive and determination and his love for his family – those are the qualities that will make Wilton Simpson an exceptional Senate President.” – Majority Leader Kathleen Passidomo
Senator Wilton Simpson Designated President of the Florida Senate for 2021-2022 Legislative Term
On Tuesday, the Senate Republican Caucus met to select our President-designate, Senator Wilton Simpson, for the 2021-22 Legislative Term. President-Designate Simpson was first elected to the Florida Senate in 2012, where he served as the chairman of the Community Affairs Committee until 2016. He was re-elected subsequently and presently serves as Chairman of the Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee and Vice-Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
President-designate Simpson is also a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development, Rules Committee and Joint Legislative Budget Commission. He has previously served as the Senate Majority Leader of the Republican Caucus from 2016-2018. President-designate Simpson currently represents State Senate District 10, which includes Hernando and Citrus County and a portion of Pasco County.
It was my honor to second his nomination and share a few words about his future as a great leader for our State.
During his acceptance speech, President-Designate Simpson discussed some of the ‘root’ issues he intends to work on during his tenure as Senate President including protecting our environment and helping at-risk children in our foster care system.
ICYMI: Naples Named Best Place to Retire
Naples has once again clinched the title of the “best place to retire” in Florida — and the country. The city of Naples received this honor after recently being ranked No. 1 on a list of ‘best cities for early retirement’ in the United States.
To determine the rankings, SmartAsset analyzed state and local tax rates and calculated the number of doctors’ offices, recreation centers and retirement centers for every 1,000 residents.
Naples ranked high in all areas of the study, earning a score of 100 on SmartAsset’s retirement index.Lion of Law Award
Last Thursday, my husband, John, and I were honored to receive the 2019 Donald Van Koughnet Lion of the Law Award for Professionalism from the Collier County Judiciary. This event marked the first time the Lion of the Law award was presented to a couple for their notable achievements in legal and public service. The Lion of the Law award recognizes excellence in legal skills, professionalism, and public service. Criteria for the award include commitment to community service, especially pro bono case work, and a career marked by a reputation for professionalism and character, and possessed of great legal skill in advocacy.
It was truly an honor for me to receive this award and to stand amongst the “Lions” who came before…many of whom were our role models in the early days and whose professionalism, integrity and dedication to the practice of law was the foundation of the outstanding reputation held by the Collier County Bar today.
Being recognized by our peers in Collier County, among judges and colleagues we truly admire, makes this award very special to us.
It was very special to share this event with my parents, Al and Kathleen Cinotti, my daughter, Francesca (a practicing attorney) and my law partner Chuck Kelly, who does the “lion’s share” of the work in our office. Thanks to Chuck’s efforts, I am able to represent you in Tallahassee.
Most of all, it means so much to me to share this honor with the lion of my heart and my partner in life, John Passidomo.
Governor DeSantis Announces Proposal to Increase Minimum Salary for Florida Teachers
Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced a statewide proposal to increase minimum salary for teachers. The Governor’s proposed 2020 budget recommendation includes a pay raise for more than 101,000 teachers in Florida, raising the minimum salary to $47,500.
This proposal would elevate Florida from its current 26th ranking for teacher pay to 2nd in the nation.
The recommendation will be taken into consideration and reviewed by the Legislature during the upcoming legislative session as the Appropriations Committee begins crafting our state’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Visit Florida Brings Tourists to the Sunshine State
On Tuesday, I had an opportunity to meet with a dear friend and former colleague, Dana Young. Dana is the current CEO of Visit Florida, a position to which she was appointed earlier in 2019 by Governor DeSantis.
Dana presented to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Visit Florida’s current marketing campaigns and their implementation. She emphasized tourism’s overall positive impact on the State of Florida.
According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, tourism accounted for 13.4% (more than $3.22 Billion) of total state sales tax collections in Fiscal Year 2017-18.
Ethics and Elections Approves Appointment of Two to FSW Board of Trustees
The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee approved a series of executive appointments this week to a variety of collegiate and statewide boards.
Residents of our own District 28, Jonathan Martin and Danny Gene Jr. were approved to serve on the Board of Trustees at Florida Southwestern College.
Each State University System institution has a 13-member Board of Trustees, of which five citizen members are appointed by the Board of Governors in accordance with the Board’s Trustee Selection and Appointment Process.
Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services Discusses APD Waiver Redesign
The Florida Director of Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD), Barbara Palmer, presented the agency’s report on waiver redesign at the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.
APD focused the redesign to improve budget predictability, optimize required health and safety services, ensure flexibility to select services per an individual’s needs and create effective support services and coordination through service utilization management.
This Legislative Session, APD’s report and recommendations will be under review. The Legislature will act accordingly to strengthen and improve the program’s access to care and determine innovative funding solutions to address the needs of the 21,000 individuals currently on the waiting list for waiver services.
Recently, the Legislature provided a supplemental appropriation of $39 million to transition approximately 1,350 individuals from the waiting list to home and community-based care. This issue is certainly on the forefront to continue and improve the program.
Senate Banking and Insurance Committee has Panel on Property Insurance and Ongoing Hurricane Recovery
The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee held a panel discussion on property insurance market in Florida and touched on the ongoing Hurricane Michael recovery efforts.
The panelists included the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) Commissioner David Altmaier and Tasha Carter, who was recently appointed the State’s Consumer Advocate by Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis. The panel also consisted of insurance company representatives and claim lawyers, many of whom shared their own case studies of individuals impacted by recent hurricanes.
During the meeting, Ms. Carter indicated that she intends to work with CFO Patronis on consumer-protection legislation to avoid some of the horror stories we have heard in the past.
One Year After Hurricane Michael, Florida Senate Remains Committed to Hurricane Recovery
On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael, a Category 5 storm, devastated Florida’s Panhandle. One year later, the Florida Senate remains committed to a full recovery of the impacted families and communities. Several committees met this week to discuss the wide-range of issues surrounding Hurricane Michael recovery efforts.
In the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, the Florida Division of Emergency Management provided a presentation on hurricanes Dorian and Michael recovery efforts and discussed housing in the Panhandle, cleanup efforts, mental health services, and other programs dedicated to hurricane relief.
In the Committee on Community Affairs, Chaired by Senator Anitere Flores, the Florida Building Commission presented its Final Report on the Survey of Buildings Damaged by Hurricane Michael. The Commission found that overall, newer homes performed better than older homes that pre-dated Florida’s modern building codes.
For this reason, it is critical that the Florida Building Code is enforced and continually improved. The Commission also presented its tentatively approved 7th Edition Florida Building Code which includes amendments such as sealing roof decks to mitigate water intrusion and more stringent wind resistance requirements for vinyl siding.
Bill Providing Adoption Benefits to Veterans and Service Members Unanimously Passes Committee
Senate Bill 136: Adoption Benefits, by Senator Aaron Bean, unanimously passed in the Committee on Children, Families, and Elder Affairs.
The legislation allows military veterans and service members who adopt a child through the state child welfare system to receive a one-time benefit of $5,000, or $10,000 for the adoption of a child with special needs.
This legislation aims to increase adoptions in Florida by expanding the State Employee Adoption Incentive Program to include veterans and service members.
Welcome to the Florida Senate
I enjoyed a visit from Kerry Keith of the City of Naples Airport and members of the Florida Airport Council.A Look Ahead
Each County has a local Legislative Delegation Meeting that gives local governments, nonprofit organizations and members of the public to appear before their local legislators and present on issues important to them before the upcoming legislative session. Please consider attending if there is an issue important to you that may be addressed in Tallahassee.
- Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2019
- Location: North Collier Regional Park, 15000 Livingston Rd. Naples, FL 34109
- Time: 9:00 a.m. until completion of the agenda. Note: the Delegation will recess at 11:30 a.m. and reconvene at 2 p.m. at the same location.
- Date: Wednesday, October 30, 2019
- Location: Nursing Building (Room AA-177) at Florida Southwestern State College, 8099 College Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL 33919
- Time: The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. and conclude upon completion of the agenda and public comment.As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office any time that I can be of assistance.
Kathleen C. Passidomo
Senate Majority Leader
State Senator, District 28Naples Office:Not paid for at taxpayer expense.
Paid political advertisement paid for by Working Together for Florida P.C., 133 South Harbor Drive, Venice, FL 34285.
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