Seven lawmakers representing Volusia and Flagler counties are headed to Tallahassee on Tuesday to consider bills, hammer out a budget and shape state government over the next year. The four representatives and three senators representing the area are all Republicans.
Rep. Paul Renner*and Rep. Tom Leek, representing Volusia Co, are in high-ranking leadership roles. They will have a significant hand in what moves through the House. (*Renner will succeed current Speaker of the House Chris Sprowls after the 2022 legislative session)
Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, who represents a district spanning DeLand and mainland Daytona Beach, is proposing to address a problem homeowners and home sellers are having with getting timely septic-system inspections.
"Right now there is a backlog of inspections, either because of manpower or COVID, so why not cut red tape by allowing a private provider to be hired at the cost of the homeowner?"
Rep. Webster Barnaby, R-Deltona, introduced legislation banning abortions when physicians can hear what Barnaby terms a "fetal heartbeat," usually around 6 weeks. Texas enacted a similar law last year.
It's a fight Barnaby and other abortion opponents are primed to have as the U.S. Supreme Court reconsiders the 1973 Roe v. Wade precedent legalizing abortions.
"I've been pro-life all of my political career and as an ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, That's my stand and That's where I stand."
Senators pitch sweeping, pro-business changes
Sen. Tom Wright, of New Smyrna Beach, represents southeast Volusia as well as northern Brevard County — the Space Coast.
He has proposed the bill with perhaps the snappiest title, the "Zero G, Zero Fee" act, which would exempt certain spaceport users from fees or charges while transporting a space vehicle or equipment.
Sen. Travis Hutson, of St. Augustine, has proposed a way to support businesses who've been harmed by local or county ordinances.
"We've seen local governments who want to ban sunscreen (for environmental purposes), or communities attempt to stop cruise ships from docking, or when a city dramatically reduces hours when a bar can operate."
Sen. Jason Brodeur, who represents Seminole County and a chunk of southwest Volusia, filed 34 bills as of Thursday, proposing, among other things:
- requiring a state inventory of critical wetlands
- barring foreign nationals from making political contributions
- establishing "education recovery scholarship accounts" to help children who missed 10 or more days of public school