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House to create special panel for hurricanes

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

House Speaker Richard Corcoran later today will announce the creation of a special panel to consider the state’s readiness to deal with monster hurricanes like Irma. 

And that will likely mean setting aside “business as usual,” the speaker said, meaning that filing local projects will be frowned upon – at least officially – during the 2018 Legislative Session.

The Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness will “gather information, solicit ideas for improvement, and make recommendations that can be utilized in the work plans of the appropriate standing committees,” a memo to members said. 

Corcoran is expected to formally announce the panel at a 1 p.m. Tuesday press conference at the Capitol. In the memo, he called the committee his “advance team to prepare the House for the regular session.”  

The panel’s chair will be Miami-Dade’s Jeanette Nuñez, the House’s Speaker pro tempore. House Republican Leader Ray Rodrigues of Estero will be vice chair. 

A working list of committee members includes Danny Burgess, Cord Byrd, Bob Cortes, Dane Eagle, Michael Grant, Elizabeth Porter, Holly Raschein, Paul Renner, Chris Sprowls, Cyndi Stevenson and Jay Trumbull. 

The committee will eventually “make recommendations either for immediate actions under the Governor’s emergency authority … or for broader proposals for consideration during the 2018 Legislative Session to address hurricane preparedness,” the memo said. 

“We should carefully evaluate each proposal for new spending. We should also re-evaluate our current expenditures and consider changing our priorities,” Corcoran said in the memo.

“…I ask all of you, and our colleagues in the Senate, to join me in setting aside the business-as-usual of pork projects and instead invest all of those funds to either assist those in need after Hurricane Irma or prepare Florida against the threat to life and property that will surely come with future storms.”

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Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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