Florida’s 2017 legislative session is underway in Tallahassee. From Capitol Hill, Palm Beach County-native Representative Rick Roth reports on how his bills are faring and some important issues that have been discussed.
Roth says he feels good about the way things have been going so far. As a businessman, he thinks he is in a great environment to help benefit the state of Florida. He feels that the House of Representatives is much more pro-business than in the past years. He has been attending the session for 30 years, but he thinks this is the most pro-business the House has ever been.
Similar to Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam, Roth would like to see working people move to Florida, bringing business along with them. The legislature could help encourage this. Roth feels that the whole point of the legislature is to help make Florida the best state it can be by making it more pro-business and continuing its legacy as a great state for work and play. “When I talk to people in Palm Beach County, I tell them every day: ‘Welcome to paradise. This is as good as it gets,'” he says.
Roth also discusses his primary issue this session, which is his constitutional amendment bill. Currently, to add an amendment to Florida’s constitution, it must receive 60 percent of the vote. He would like to raise that percentage to approximately 66.667 percent. Florida’s constitution has more amendments than the national constitution and most other state constitutions. Roth hopes by increasing this percentage, this will decrease the amount of amendments to Florida’s constitution in the coming years.
Roth believes this bill helps protect the constitution as well as the citizens of Florida. By protecting Florida’s constitution, he says it will deeply affect minorities in Florida who do not have the opportunity to have influence in the government. Ultimately, his goal is twofold: to educate the legislature and to get them to stand up for our representative form of government.
An important issue looming over this year’s legislative session is the land acquisition proposal of 60,000 acres of land south of Lake Okeechobee. Roth described the proposal as “crazy” because the plan neglects the amount of food that comes from that area as well as the people who live and work on that land. “Do we not even care about food production? Do we not care about private property rights? Do we not care about jobs?” he asked.
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