In a 2016 legislative overview briefing held Tuesday morning, Orange County Commissioners identified what they would like to see emerge from the next legislative session.
State lawmakers begin their committee meetings later this month.
The presentation began with a state budget assessment, which county officials called the most “uncertain” forecast in some time, with unpredictable effects arising from the state’s decision not to expand Medicaid, and possible costs being passed down to the municipal level.
Draft priorities included proper county representation on transportation boards such as LYNX and the Central Florida Expressway Authority, two agencies that have lately been the source of controversy. In recent weeks, state and federal lawmakers have called for the privatization of LYNX and expressed confusion over the possible use of toll money for projects unrelated to the expressway such as SunRail.
The county also hoped the Legislature will take a second try at comprehensive water legislation as well as address the state’s challenges and satisfactorily fulfill Amendment 1 requirements.
Commissioners were also prepared to ask for a $15 million project to protect the modeling, research and simulation programs in Central Florida. In the briefing, they also announced support for a second try on the Florida Film incentive bill, expected to be refiled in 2016.
The agenda calls for the board to formally support a number of initiatives: repayment of about $11 million to $15 million from the state for expenses related to the Department of Juvenile Justice, funding tools for transportation such as a rental car surcharge, as well as funding for affordable housing and homelessness challenge grants.
The board will also actively oppose measures that negatively affect the tourism development tax, as well as efforts to erode home rule and existing county funding.
After minimum discussion, commissioners unanimously approved the agenda.