By DOTTY NIST
State Representative Brad Drake (R-Eucheeanna) and State Senator George Gainer (R-Panama City) have scheduled a public meeting to hear from their Walton County constituents.
The meeting is to take place at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 27 at the South Walton High School Auditorium. Any member of the public is welcome to attend and participate. Public comment will be taken on proposals for the 2017 legislative session. Legislative delegation meetings are also an opportunity for “local bills,” meaning those pertaining only to a municipality, taxing district, or school district within the county, to be considered and voted on by the delegation members.
Contacted on Feb. 2 about the meeting, Representative Drake commented, “According to my staff, we have had several people call and ask about the delegation meeting, but no one has asked to be on the agenda yet. Typically we receive requests from local government officials or representatives, social policy advocacy groups and constituents asking for time on the agenda to discuss issues that are of importance to Walton County or issues of statewide significance.”
“There is one proposal,” Drake continued, “that has been asked of the Walton County legislative delegation to be considered for filing in the form of a local bill, pertaining to the incorporation of South Walton. Senator Gainer and I have agreed to allow Walton County residents an opportunity to express their support or concerns in regards to this particular issue.”
Drake stated that this proposal for consideration of incorporation (creation of a town, city, or village) would definitely be on the meeting agenda.
The Florida Legislature’s and subsequent governor’s approval of the local bill for incorporation, if one is filed, would be followed by a local referendum anticipated for summer 2017. The referendum would be south Walton County voters’ opportunity to choose whether to incorporate or not.
The deadline for filing local bills is short but has not expired.
Drake noted, “Under the current Florida House rules, local bills, as with other bills, have to be approved for filing no later than noon on the first day of session. This year, the first day of the regular session is March 7. Any bill may be filed at anytime up until noon, March 7.”
Anyone desiring to request an appearance form to be placed on the meeting agenda or submit handouts for the meeting is asked to send an email to [email protected] or [email protected] or contact Drake’s district office at (850) 951-0547 no later than 4 p.m. on Feb. 20.
By DOTTY NIST