Recently forty-five regional government and business leaders attended the 2017 Legislative Conference in Tallahassee. For over 30 years, the county Chambers of Commerce from Indian River, St. Lucie, and Martin counties have planned and facilitated the “Treasure/Research Coast Legislative Conference” held in Florida’s Capitol City.
The group met with State officials and legislators about issues of importance to our three county region. Among the top legislative priorities for all three counties is the health of the Indian River Lagoon and what may be anticipated during the State’s 2017 legislative session that will aide in lagoon restoration. The group is also concerned about the State’s tourism and economic development initiatives and bills introduced this session in Florida’s House of Representatives regarding the future of Enterprise Florida and Visit Florida as well as Workers Comp rates.
Another top priority is the cost to local governments in regard to safety measures for high speed rail proposed to run through the communities along the three county area.
Drew Bartlett, Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection spoke to the conference attendees about the Indian River Lagoon and the Governor’s budget for the Lagoon, St. Lucie River & Everglades projects.
Addressing the concerns about the future budget of Visit Florida was Mat Forrest, lobbyist for Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations. Cissy Proctor Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity spoke about Florida’s business climate and Florida’s position as a business attractor and creator of new jobs.
Meetings took place with Senate President Joe Negron, Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala, and Senator Debbie Mayfield. The attendees also met with Representatives Erin Grall, Gayle Harrell, Larry Lee, and MaryLynn Magar.
The Indian River County Chamber, Stuart/Martin County Chamber and St. Lucie County Chambers are proud to work with one another on this legislative conference. Administration and conference planning rotate among the three chambers. “Our chamber coalition brings together the regions business community, and provides an opportunity for our business and government leaders to get to know one another regardless of county boundaries. We believe coming together on issues of importance in our communities will help our region grow and thrive” stated Penny Chandler, 2017 conference coordinator.
The dates for the 2018 legislative session conference are February 6th through 8th. The Conference coordinator will be Joe Catrambone, Stuart/Martin County Chamber of Commerce 772-287-1088, ext. 108.