• November Political Wrap-Up

    November Political Wrap-Up

    The political arena was very active this November, with the mid-term election on November 8 and the decisions being made in Tallahassee days later. Throw in two hurricanes leaving Florida with billions of dollars in damage and lost wages, a call for a special legislative session regarding insurance, and planning for 2023 - November has been a busy, busy month.

    On November 8, 2022, St. Johns County voters elected Sarah Arnold and Krista Joseph to full 4-year terms on the Board of County Commissioners (BCC). The open seat held by Commissioner Paul Waldron will be filled by Governor DeSantis in the near future. Voters also elected newcomers Cynthia Garris and Jim Springfield to seats on the City of St. Augustine City Commission. Earlier this summer, St. Augustine voters elected Nancy Sikes-Kline to a 2-year term as Mayor of St. Augustine. Other notable winning candidates include State Rep. Paul Renner, the incoming Speaker of the Florida House; Bev Slough and Jennifer Collins for School Board and Trish Becker at the Anastasia Mosquito Control District (Leadership St. Johns SJ Alumni). Finally, SJC voters overwhelmingly rejected the one-cent sales tax increase designed to address the $500 million infrastructure backlog county-wide. It is now up to the new County Commission to come up with alternative funding plans which might include new bond issues, transferring existing spending, or even an increase in the millage rate.

    On November 14, incoming Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo named SJC State Senator Travis Hutson as Chair of the Fiscal Policy Committee and Dean of the Senate, significantly powerful positions on her leadership team for the next 2 years. Along with House Speaker Paul Renner, the St. Johns County business community has a real opportunity over the next two years to press forward with important issues such as affordable workforce housing, property insurance reform, and workforce development.

    Governor Ron DeSantis has called for a special legislative session from December 12-16 to address property insurance reform in light of the recent 2 hurricanes Ian and Nicole. This issue is of vital interest to SJC businesses as any catastrophic losses borne by the state-run Citizens Property Insurance Company MUST be repaid through mandatory assessments on all insurance policies held in the State of Florida such as auto, commercial, property, and even pet insurance. 

    The Chamber’s Public Policy Committee is hard at work developing a legislative agenda for the 2023 Legislative Session in Tallahassee. If you have thoughts or suggestions on issues of great importance to the SJC business community, please contact Bob Porter, VP of Public Policy, at Bob.Porter@sjcchamber.com.

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