Raschein readies for new session on March 13

State Rep. Holly Rachein, R-Key Largo, has begun moving back into her Tallahassee office to prepare for a new legislative session.

Though wastewater funding will be a priority, Raschein has other bills she wants to push through the Florida House of Representatives.

She is pursuing funds for the Tarpon and Bonefish Trust by asking the state to register a specialty license plate. She said Florida has put a moratorium on specialty plates, but that won’t keep her from seeking approval through the Legislature.

Raschein also will propose a windstorm insurance bill that would provide coverage to those living in areas that fall within the Coastal Barrier Resource System. This includes residents of No Name Key and North Key Largo along County Road 905.

The bill is a response to the refusal of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to insure people in these areas where new utilities and infrastructure are discouraged.

Raschein previously secured passage of a measure to delay the government-established, not-for-profit insurer from cutting off coverage.

Raschein is also co-sponsoring House Bill 37, which would allow businesses that register with the state to solicit and collect contributions from customers for construction and maintenance of public education facilities. The money would be deposited into the Public Education Capital Outlay fund, otherwhise known as PECO.

“This is a proeducation effort,” she said.

Raschein is co-sponsoring the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, which would prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

In a bipartisan measure with state Sen. Dwight Bullard, D-Miami, the pair is attempting to commemorate a day in perpetuity to Lancelot Jones. Raschein said she was approached by Mahogany Youth, an organization of young black people that wanted to honor Jones, an early settler of Elliot Key who operated a Key lime farm.

Jones also helped lead opposition on an effort to link Key Biscayne to the Overseas Highway through a series of roads and bridges that would have brought development to Elliot Key. The effort failed and Elliot Key is now part of Biscayne National Park.

Unlike last year’s session, Raschein has no plans to sponsor bills for the Key Largo Wastewater District or the Key Largo Fire-EMS District.

Following the governor’s inauguration last week, Raschein said she planned to meet with Florida Keys lobbyists to finalize an agenda.

Five weeks of committee meetings are scheduled for January and February, followed by the 60-day regular session that starts March 3.

jgore@keysnews.com

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