Leon County Commission sets state and federal legislative priorities

Florida’s 2022 legislative session runs from January 11th to March 11th. During the session,...
Florida’s 2022 legislative session runs from January 11th to March 11th. During the session, County Commissioners will receive weekly updates.(WCTV)
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 6:03 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Leon County Commissioners had a workshop Tuesday afternoon to discuss and confirm state and federal legislative funding requests and priorities.

Florida’s 2022 legislative session runs from January 11 to March 11. During the session, County Commissioners will receive weekly updates.

The County has six appropriations requests:

  • Backup generators at branch libraries and community centers: $500,000
  • Leon Works Expo and Junior Apprenticeship: $50,000
  • Old Plank Road Drainage Project: $500,000
  • Baum Road Drainage Project: $450,000
  • Fords Arm/Timberlane Tributary Restoration: $500,000
  • Fred George Wetland Restoration: $400,000

Those six projects are the ones staff believes will be most successful in obtaining funding because they deal with economic development, disaster relief, and water quality issues.

Commissioner Kristin Dozier spoke about the possibilities surrounding the Leon Works program.

“We could do outreach direct to schools. We have done a fantastic job with Leon Works capturing a certain group of students, for our annual event, but there was some questions about how to have a more coordinated presence in the schools, maybe a career day or something like that.”

State legislative policy priorities

The County also has eleven state-level legislative policy priorities.

  • Protection of the State Workforce
  • County Health Department structure
  • Preemption of COVID-19 mitigation measures
  • Remote public meetings during public health emergencies
  • Monument to Confederate soldiers from Leon County at Florida Capitol Complex
  • Establish Florida’s Emancipation Day as a state holiday
  • Medicaid expansion
  • Amtrak Passenger rail restoration
  • Public safety on college and university campuses
  • Public records exemption for election workers
  • Florida Association of Counties issues

Staff told Commissioners restoration of Amtrak service in Leon County is now more likely than it’s been before, due to a change in the stance of the federal government.

Amtrak service from New Orleans to Jacksonville was suspended in 2005 after damage from Hurricane Katrina.

Commissioners say restoring it could change the entire region.

Commission Chair Rick Minor cites the economic benefit for the area; rail service would give people another option when traveling to and from Tallahassee.

“60,000 college students would then have the ability to take the passenger rail back home. Or, you know, during spring break or summer, just hit the train and go anywhere in the country. As well as being an economic benefit for bringing people in for football games. The opportunities are really extensive,” Minor said.

The removal of the Confederate monument at the Florida Capitol Complex is also on the list; it’s an issue that dates back years.

Part of the issue is the lack of clarity on who has the authority to move the monument.

The County has received conflicting information, or no response, from the Florida Department of Management Services, the Senate Secretary’s Office, the Governor’s Office, and even the Historic Capitol Museum.

Commissioner Bill Proctor says it needs to be removed; the monument was given to the state by a group of Leon County women in 1882 honoring Confederate soldiers.

“It’s a poor representation of this County, what we’ve evolved to, what we stand for now. And to have a monument like that, when even in Richmond, Virginia, General Lee came down a couple of weeks ago. It’s just time, and it’s past time, for that old monument to come down,” Proctor said.

Federal legislative policy priorities

The County has seven federal legislative policy priorities.

  • FY 2022 Federal Appropriations
    • This item pushes for the inclusion of funding for the Lake Henrietta restoration project and the Concord school restoration project.
  • Surface Transportation Re-authorization and member-designated projects
  • Amtrak passenger rail restoration
  • Federal Disaster Housing Stability Act of 2021
  • Federal cannabis legislation
  • Foreign Trade Zone application
  • National Association of Counties issues

You can look at all of the workshop materials here.

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