Legislative Affairs oversees and manages the legislative and intergovernmental initiatives and functions for the County at the state and federal levels.
The department's responsibilities include developing the County's state and federal legislative agendas, coordinating the County's position and response to pending state and federal legislation, preparing resolutions, talking points, issuing briefs and legislative updates, and identifying and responding to federal, state and local funding opportunities.
Each year, Legislative Affairs creates a State Legislative Agenda and a Federal Legislative Agenda. They are advocacy tools used to work with federal and state lawmakers and agencies. It includes the County’s legislative priorities and the County’s positions on anticipated issues relevant to the County that are expected to arise in the current U.S. Congress or the current state Legislature. The Monroe County Board of County Commissioners approves these agendas.
The County’s legislative staff and federal and state lobbyists pursue the legislative issues listed in the approved agendas, placing special attention on the priority issues. Monroe’s contracted federal lobbyist is Greg Burns, with the firm Van Scoyoc Associates.
Legislative Affairs works with the County's state and federal lobbyists, County staff and attorneys, the County's municipal partners, and other key stakeholders to support and advance the County's legislative priorities and appropriations.
The 2019 Florida State Legislature concluded May 4, 2019. Here are the final 2019 state appropriations for Monroe County:
- Florida Keys Stewardship – Water Quality: $6 Million
- Florida Keys Stewardship – Land Acquisition: $5 Million
- Vessel Pump Out program: $750,000
For more information, go to Monroe County's 2019 State Legislative Session Opens a New Window. .
Monroe County is now focused on the 2019 Federal Legislative Session Opens a New Window. . This year the County’s federal priorities include:
- Support Re-Authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and Protect Its Affordability
- Support timely FEMA Public Assistance Reimbursement for Hurricane Irma
- Oppose oil drilling and exploration, lease expansion and seismic testing on federal lands and waters
They also include support of 2020 funding for:
- PAYMENTS IN LIEU OF TAXES FUNDING: Support full and long-term mandatory funding of the Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.
- FLORIDA KEYS WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS PROGRAM FUNDING: Support full funding of the Florida Keys Water Quality Improvements Program via the Army Corps of Engineers annual Work Plans.
- FLORIDA KEYS NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY WATER QUALITY PROTECTION PROGRAM FUNDING: Support full funding of the South Florida Geographic Program/Florida Keys Water National Marine Sanctuary Quality Protection Program in annual Interior and Environment Appropriations bills.
- EVERGLADES RESTORATION: Support efforts to improve the health of Florida Bay by restoring adequate freshwater flows through the Everglades. Support funding for EAA Reservoir and CEPP and construction of the other elements of the Central Everglades Planning Project.
Florida Association of Counties' Federal Committee
Monroe County also works in partnership with federal groups to advance the County’s priorities. Monroe County is a member of Florida Association of Counties’ Federal Committee with Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers on the board. This committee helps to shape FAC’s federal priorities, which includes reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.
National Association of Counties
Monroe County is a member of the National Association of Counties (NACO). Monroe County Commissioner Carruthers participate on NACO’s Gulf Coast Counties and Parishes Caucus, which focuses on issues related to the Gulf of Mexico. These issues include the National Flood Insurance Program and funding for the RESTORE Act. The RESTORE ACT stands for the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act that was created due to the BP oil spill in 2010. Monroe County Legislative Director Lisa Tennyson sits on NACO’s Public Lands steering committee that monitors and advocates for federal PILT funding.
Southeast Regional Climate Change Compact
As a member of the Southeast Regional Climate Change Compact, Monroe County supports the Compact’s annual federal legislative agenda that advocates for federal action related to energy and climate issues.
The RESTORE Act is a 2012 federal law that established the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund. It provides programs, projects, and activities that restore and protect the environment and economy of the Gulf Coast Region that suffered from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Legislative Affairs is responsible for the implementation of the $20 million in RESTORE Act funds the County is slated to receive over the next 15 years.
Florida Keys Environmental Stewardship Act
The Florida Keys Environmental Stewardship Act was passed by the Florida State Legislature and signed into law in 2016. It was passed after a single session of consideration and is a significant State policy shift towards protecting the Florida Keys nearshore waters and lands that are critical to our delicate ecosystem. It also codifies the State’s recognition of the importance of land acquisition and water quality projects as critical needs.
Monroe County Pumpout Program
Federal and State Legislative Information and Links
For information on how to reach federal and state elected officials and for more information about the legislative process, go to Federal and State Legislative Information and Links.