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Politics

Corcoran, Brandes Call for Committees to Review State's Hurricane Preparedness Efforts

September 19, 2017 - 4:00pm
Jeannette Nunez, Ray Rodrigues, Richard Corcoran, Sean Shaw and Kristin Jacobs
Jeannette Nunez, Ray Rodrigues, Richard Corcoran, Sean Shaw and Kristin Jacobs

House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Sen. Jeff Brandes are making the push for an overhaul on how the state handles hurricanes.

On Tuesday, Corcoran announced the creation of a special committee to help prepare Florida for large, catastrophic storms like Hurricane Irma. The new Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness will take a closer look at how Florida officials managed Hurricane Irma and to find ways to improve hurricane preparedness in the future.

The committee will make recommendations on how Florida can respond more effectively should any hurricanes hit the Sunshine State in the future.

Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, urged state lawmakers to forget “business as usual” for next year’s legislative session and instead hone in collective efforts to ensure legislators are all focused on the same mission.

To Corcoran, that means local projects would be a no-no -- instead, money for citywide and county programs would be better served going to victims of the monster storm and helping prep the Sunshine State moving forward, he said.

“I ask all of you, and our colleagues in the Senate, to join me in setting aside the business as usual of pork projects and instead invest all of those funds to either assist those in need after Hurricane Irma or prepare Florida against the threat to life and property that will surely come with future storms,” Corcoran said. 

The commission will likely be paired with intense efforts from lobbyists on nursing home regulations, utility companies as well as local law enforcement officials, all of whom have stakes to claim in hurricane response efforts. 

The 16-member committee is a mix of both Republicans and Democrats from around the state as well as lawmakers who have been faithful to Corcoran during his time as House Speaker.

Rep. Jeannette Nunez, R-Miami, will chair the committee. Republican representatives on the committee include Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, Michael Grant, R-Port Charlotte, Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, Ray Rodriguez, R-Estero, Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor and Cyndi Stevenson, R-St Johns.

Democrats on the committee include Robert Asencio, D-Miami, Kristin Jacobs, D-Coconut Creek, Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, Sean Shaw, D-Tampa and Richard Stark, D-Weston. 

Other state legislators are also pushing for a second glance at how Florida handled Irma. 

On the Senate side, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, called for a special review commission of hurricane response efforts, pushing Gov. Rick Scott to create a special commission to review the disaster preparedness, response, and recovery of the state and local public entities involved in Hurricane Irma efforts.

“The response by Governor Scott, emergency management officials, and our first responders to Hurricane Irma has saved lives and overcome numerous challenges,” Brandes said. “We should learn from the experiences of this effort, while those lessons are fresh in our minds in order to positively impact future preparedness.”

 

Gov. Scott has yet to form a special commission.

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen


Comments

Jeff was actively involved during the Hurricane, and advocating for people with power outages. Corcoran was no where to be found. He is a tool and this is just a photo op for him to try to get into the news for his failed candidacy...

Just another committee to gather funding for and abuse in any way they wish. Just do your job you were sent to do. You do not need any committee You IDIOTS !!!!!!!! People are tired of this crap. Just another re-election slush fund for both sides to divide up.

The state needs to require all electrical utilities to bury as much of their overhead lines. Set up a program giving them 20 years. Require all new developments to be underground!

While this committee is "at it", I've heard a couple of anecdotal stories that need investigation to see if county/city code enforcers are imposing penalties and restrictions during a disaster that add to the citizen's burden. If this practice is true, the State needs to investigate and get this practice stopped. Irma stories: A family was unable to find shelter to move to when ordered to evacuate so his boss told him he and family were welcome to stay at the office where their was a bed and shower. When they arrived at the office, they were turned away by the guard or whoever was in charge of office security. They were turned away supposedly because the building code did not allow accommodation occupancy. Answer to this problem would have been a written statement signed by the family then and there that stated no one would sue anyone should they suffer injury, illness etc. while they were given shelter. This is called a WAIVER that most judges recognize as binding if dated and signed. Send a family out in a storm because it would violate a code???? Really!!! Another story relayed to me was of a man who's fence was blown down by Irma. A city code inspector came out and threatened to give the man a citation and penalty for violating the pool fence law. Good grief. The man had no electricity and his efforts to find someone to repair the fence was unsuccessful because Irma has such workers spread very thin over South Florida. I think finally the code enforcer put up yellow tape to warn others that the pool was not fenced. The point is that during a disaster, county and city code enforcers have to back off, knock it off and be helpful, not add to the disaster burden citizens are experiencing. State politicians can do a great service on this committee if you look into more ways to ease the effects of a disaster on the citizenry that possibly have not risen to the point of grabbing your attention in the overall hurricane disaster planning at the state level. Sometimes, local government bodies need a bit more oversight.

Yep another Waste of Taxpayers Money & stir away from WORK they should be Doing....If there are any NEW preparation to be Doing IS....new Legislators in next Election....Fresh Minds & drain swamp of DO NOTHING's except for themselves....Billy Nelson in DC your the one GONE

They have had their chance. We now need to move forward with both new blood and pragmatic, informed leadership. 2018. Vote today's version of Lincoln's GOP out of office.

Why is neither Rep. Byron Donalds (District 80) or Rep. Bob Rommel (District 106) on this Committee? They have been dealing with the after effects of Hurricane Irma from Day 1 in Collier County, the most devastated county impacted by Hurricane Irma!! Surely their hands on experience of what worked and what didn't work would be of great value to this Committee.

What. these "Politicians" have nothing better to do. I truly believe Florida was about as prepared as possible. Our GREAT Governor, Rick Scott, was ahead of the storm as much as possible. Yes, POWER (electric) was a big problem - but THAT is a Public Utility, and they requested help from other State as soon as possible. There are STILL problems in that only the NEWER homes, businesses, etc. are required to have BURIED Utilities! Yes, FPL knows this, and over time that will happen to "Older Florida" as well - but that COSTS! The JERKS setting up COMMISSIONS could be helpful - if done Properly, info will be gathered, analyzed and result in Recommendations that are reasonable. Then the Commission goes away --- fast and easy.

Amen, Tampaguy, Scott did an outstanding job. We were as prepared as a state can get. And most of the people ignored Scott's pleas to evacuate. He BEGGED people to leave and be safe, yet they stayed. NO ONE could have done a better job. Corcoran is just grandstanding to get his name in the news. He wants to be governor, but he will NEVER have my vote.

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