The National Marine Manufacturers Association’s (NMMA) first state level fly-in was held in Tallahassee, Florida recently, serving as a critical component of NMMA’s strategic plan to bolster advocacy efforts in key states and regions. Twenty-five industry representatives participated in the event and met with several legislators and agency officials to discuss water quality, uniform vessel titling, and the state’s infrastructure needs.
NMMA members kicked off the fly-in by meeting with boating champion and House Appropriations Chair Holly Raschien (R-120, FL Keys) to discuss the governor’s budget. The group also met with Major Rob Rowe of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, Division of Boating and Waterways.
On Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Jayer Williamson (R-3, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa) acknowledged the fly-in during a speech on the house floor (starting at 23:26). Rep. Williamson also recognized NMMA members for their hard work and the industry’s importance to the entire Florida economy. Rep. Williamson is the sponsor of the uniform titling bill that members discussed throughout the event.
Closing out the first day, Senate President Bill Galvano (D-35, Miami-Dade) met with the entire fly-in delegation. President Galvano acknowledge the need for consistent funding to improve water quality. Finally, the group heard from Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Noah Valenstein. NMMA supported Secretary Valenstein’s reappointment, as he has been a champion for the boating industry.
The second day of the fly-in started with a robust discussion on water quality with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Deputy Secretary Drew Barlett. Dep. Secretary Barlett discussed issues regarding Lake Okeechobee, algal blooms, and the time schedules on the projects to help alleviate these issues. Dep. Secretary Barlett encouraged participants to remain engaged and contact him directly in the future.
An Everglades panel featuring the Everglades Foundation, the Florida Land Council, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce followed Dep. Secretary Barlett. This panel presented the challenges of the projects within the Everglades. The panel forecasted that within ten years, there will be significant progress towards restoring the Everglades. The fly-in concluded with a thank you meeting for Senator Ed Hooper (R-16, Pinellas), who is sponsoring the uniform titling senate companion bill.
Throughout the two-day fly-in, members had various meetings not only with their own state senator and representative, but with legislators throughout Florida. Members in both houses and on every side of the aisle thanked the participants for coming to Tallahassee and discussing the industry’s priorities.
If you interested in hosting a legislative fly-in in your state, please contact NMMA director of state government relations, Libby Yranski at email@example.com.
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