GAC Invites State Representative to Address VMs

At the May 14 VM Meeting, Florida Representative Jamie Grant (R., Dist. 64), fielded questions from VMs and residents.

Grant’s district encompasses portions of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties and includes Westchase.

Woodbridge VM Rick Goldstein, also chair of the Government Affairs Committee (GAC), which invited Grant, said the visit was the first part of a Government Affairs legislative update series that was put together to provide an opportunity to talk to state and local elected officials. In June VMs will hear from Mike Ryan, the Deputy Emergency Manager at the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management. Goldstein said that the talks would be recorded and posted on the Westchase Chronicles Facebook page.

Goldstein said he had asked Grant to talk specifically about the status of Airbnb legislation and conflicts with HOAs; plans for toll roads; and regional transportation.

Grant told the group that the legislature had introduced a bill that would require owners of short-term vacation rentals to get a license and that if they received three violations, the license would be revoked. He said that in the case where HOAs already prevented short term vacation rentals, the HOA rule would prevail but that if an HOA did not already have a rule in place, any new restrictions would only affect homeowners who purchased a home after the new rules were put in place.

Westchase currently bans short-term rentals.

Grant said that the legislature had also sent a bill to the governor that would extend the Suncoast Parkway to Georgia and that he would continue to monitor how money collected from the regional transportation tax was being spent.

Grant spoke very highly of Governor Ron DeSantis (Rep.), saying, “It was a session unlike any other. The House, Senate and the governor’s office worked collaboratively.”

After addressing Goldstein’s issues, Grant went on to discuss what he consider highlights of the session, including repealing the certificate of need requirements that are used to approve hospital expansion or new construction requests; prescription drug reforms, including safely importing drugs from Canada; private school vouchers for low-income students; and the guardian program for schools that would allow teachers to carry guns. But, he said, the accomplishment he was most proud of was one done in the last few days of the session: preventing non-residents from funding amendments to Florida’s constitution.

Grant then opened up the floor to questions. When asked by WOW’S reporter if, based on his support of the Oldsmar mayor’s proposal to bring the Tampa Bay Rays stadium to the corner of Race Track Road and Forest Lakes Boulevard, he would in the future, consult with members of Westchase’s GAC, the WCA or Westchase VMs about any projects that would potentially have a negative impact on the community, Grant stated that he had never supported the project, just having a conversation about the proposal.

A Woodbay resident pointed out that Grant had only been elected by 52 percent of the people in his district and asked what he was doing to address the concerns of the Democrats in his district. Grant said he had relationships with a number of Democrats in the house and worked with them.

Goldstein asked Grant about the status of the no texting while driving laws and Grant said they were working with the Black Caucus to make sure there were not any discriminatory parts of the law while making sure that public safety safeguards were in place.

Grant also said he, “was not proud the county has the highest sales tax in the state. I think if a group of business people dug into the school budget, they could find the resources needed.”

Grant ended the evening by telling the audience that he would love to hear from them if they had any concerns. Grant’s district office is located at 12972 N. Dale Mabry Hwy. His phone number is 265-6272. Residents can email him by going to MyFloridaHouse.gov and searching for his page under Representatives.

By Marcy Sanford

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