Florida Ports Council advocacy update – October 2020
Stimulus Legislation – House Revised HEROES Act – Although discussions continue, it appears unlikely at this time that any stimulus legislation will pass soon. We have heard from several of our delegation members concerning the need for emergency relief for seaports, and we continue to stress the need for language in any revised legislation. We will continue to work with our delegation members on any potential stimulus legislation.
Maritime Transportation System Emergency Relief Act (MTSERA) – Based on early discussions on compromise National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) legislation, it appears that both sides will seek to include the MTSERA language in the final compromise bill. As noted earlier, the current language merely provides authorization without funding. We are hopeful that we can work with our Delegation and House/Senate leadership to include an appropriation for the MTSERA authorization in any final bill.
Water Resource Development Act (WRDA) – The House and Senate are still in negotiations on language to be included in any final compromise bill on WRDA. Again, it is unlikely that House or Senate will act on this legislation any time soon.
Advisory Committee for the Safe Resumption of Cruise Line Operations – Congresswoman Gonzalez- Colon from Puerto Rico has filed the House companion to Senator Scott’s Set Sail Safely Act. To date neither the House nor Senate has scheduled a hearing on this legislation.
H.R. 8337 – The Senate passed H.R. 8337 extending FY20 appropriations through December 11th and FAST ACT FY20 programs and funding for one year. The House now has until December 11th to either finalize a one-year appropriations bill for FY21 or pass an additional Continuing Resolution.
Florida Legislature Organizational Session – The Florida Legislature will meet in Organizational Session on November 17th. The Senate and House have new leadership – Senate President Wilton Simpson (R- Pasco County) and House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Tampa). The public will not be allowed access to the Florida Capitol complex during Organizational Session. President Simpson and Speaker Sprowls have already announced interim committee weeks prior to the commencement of Regular Session 2021 on March 2nd – weeks of January 11th, January 25th, February 1st, February 8th, and February 15th.
Speaker Sprowls has named the chairs of full House Committees – this includes House Appropriations (Representative Jay Turnbull, R-Panama City), State Affairs (Transportation is currently a Subcommittee of this Committee) (Representative Ralph Massullo, R-Citrus County) and a New Pandemic and Public Emergencies Committee (Representative Tom Leek, R-Daytona Beach). President Simpson has not named leadership for Senate committees to date.