Associated Industries of Florida shindig marks start of 2017 Legislative Session

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The 2017 Legislative Session kicks off Tuesday, which can only mean one thing: It’s time for a party.

Associated Industries of Florida will host its annual pre-session welcome back reception for legislators, lobbyists and a host of other politicos this evening. The shindig has helped kick off the annual 60-day legislative session for more than 30 years, and is considered the place to see — and be seen — the night before the big day.

“AIF is proud to host this event every year as it signals the start of the legislative session,” said Tom Feeney, president and CEO of AIF, in a statement. “Each year, the event draws a couple thousand attendees from the governor to cabinet members, lawmakers and AIF members and of course Capitol watchers.”

Event organizers expect about 2,000 people will attend this year’s festivities. And while the party is meant to be a last escape before the work begins, you can bet a little shop talk will be on the menu (as well as 200 pounds of steamed shrimp, 30 gallons of pasta and 15 gallons of ice cream.)

If you’re heading over to the party tonight, might as well take a few minutes to bone up on the organization’s priorities, just in case you need something to chat about while waiting for a cocktail.

The organization on Thursday released its 2017 Legislative Priorities, which includes:

— Opposing proposes that would eliminate and defund agencies like Visit Florida and Enterprise Florida;

— Supporting equitable funding for capital outlay for public charter schools; removing artificial enrollment caps that prevent public charter schools from meeting the demands of students on waiting lists; restricting the authority of school districts from imposing additional regulatory burdens on charter schools; and charging formulas tor require that funding follows the individual student; and

— Supporting any legislation or rule that encompasses timely notification by emitters of pollution with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the subsequent evaluation and dissemination of the threat level by the FDEP through appropriate communication channels to affected Floridians.

The ticketed event kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Associated Industries of Florida, 516 North Adams Street.