From State Rep George Moraitis, March 2017 Update:

The 2017 Legislative Session begins today and I am excited to share with you some of the issues we will be working on to improve our state this session. Throughout the upcoming weeks, I will be fighting for legislation that will provide for the enhancement of Port Everglades, record funding for public and higher education, a long term fix to our beach renourishment problems in Broward County, and legislation to exempt condominiums and cooperatives from having to implement

The 2017-18 proposed Governor's budget contains $23.8 billion for prekindergarten through university education, vocational rehabilitation, and blind services. Just this month, the U.S. News and World Report named Florida the "Best State for Higher Education." The achievements that granted this title were high graduation rates, low debt at graduation, 
and lower tuition compared to other states. Under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott the State of Florida has frozen tuition rates for several years which has made attending a university more affordable for Floridians.
The Port Everglades Sand Bypass Project represents a central element of Broward County's comprehensive beach and inlet management programs and a critical resiliency strengthening measure for the Broward County community. The project is a systematic approach to deliberately manage sediments in a manner that maximizes natural and economic efficiency to sustainable projects, environments, and communities. For the past fourteen years, the County has worked with local interests to formulate a sand bypass project. The result is a project that will include the creation of a sand trap on the north side of the inlet and the periodic transfer of sand across the inlet, a project which has the support of communities north and south of Port Everglades. A portion of the spoil shoal will be removed to reduce sand accumulation along the north shoreline and make sand available in the sand trap for transfer to the beaches south of the inlet.  Broward County has requested a $15 million appropriation in this year's state budget which I will be working hard to secure this session.  
 
For more than a decade, older high-rise condominiums and cooperatives throughout Florida have been discussing, debating, and exercising their legal rights with regard to sprinkler system retrofitting requirements. In 2010, legislation was passed to allow associations the right to opt-out of fire sprinkler retrofitting because of the high cost which can run into millions of dollars per building. However, the requirement has remained that high rise buildings must still provide for an "engineered life safety system" (ELSS) by the end of 2019.  In most cases the adoption  of an ELSS means that the building must install fire sprinklers to meet the stringent requirements of an ELSS.  Because this will impose millions of dollars of costs through special assessments on our citizens in high rise condominiums and cooperatives I have sponsored HB 653, Community Associations, which seeks to address the ELSS problem. This bill would allow older high-rise condominiums and cooperatives to opt out of an ELSS and, for those who do not or cannot, provides more time for installation of an ELSS beyond the current 2019 deadline.
 
In addition to the above issues we will also be addressing the pollution of Lake Okeechobee and the Indian River Lagoon, funding for Port Everglades improvements to continue the redevelopment of our largest regional economic engine and a variety of other local needs. We will be working diligently to reform the workers compensation
system to provide a better benefit to injured workers while minimizing the cost of legal fees to the system. We will also be addressing proposals to make property insurance rates more affordable by identifying and combating abuses associated with the assignment of benefits. The assignment of benefits by homeowners to third parties, typically a contractor, has unfortunately been exploited by many to inflate costs and legal fees in settling claims which has led to higher property insurance rates.
 
I look forward to continuing our work over the past few years in reducing government bureaucracy and regulation, cutting taxes, and facilitating economic growth and development in South Florida. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at (954) 762-3757 or George.Moraitis@myfloridahouse.gov as we work through this session. Your input on proposed legislation means a lot to me and helps me to be more effective as your representative. It remains my privilege to represent you in our legislature as I advocate for you and the improvement of our great state. 

God bless you and your families and the great State of Florida.


Sincerely, 

George