Letter from Commissioner Putnam
May 7, 2013
Commissioner Putnam notes the accomplishments of the Florida Legislature following the close of the 2013 session.
On Friday, the Florida Legislature celebrated Sine Die, the end of the 2013 legislative session. This year, there is much to celebrate given all that we accomplished for Florida.
After a $300 million conspiracy was uncovered involving one of the largest purveyors of internet cafes, I worked with Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Florida Legislature to shut down more than 1,000 internet cafes in Florida. Not only were these stores fronts for illegal gambling, but many were also scamming consumers for money while claiming to support charitable causes like veterans and children’s cancer research.
This session, I also worked with Sen. Denise Grimsley and Rep. Travis Hutson to ensure Florida would have an adequate supply of water to meet its future needs. We passed a bill that will establish consistent methodologies in long-term water planning to keep water management districts from applying five different sets of rules. Statewide water policy is critical to Florida’s economic success.
Working with Sen. Bill Montford and Rep. Halsey Bashears, we passed a measure that will help us improve the management of state lands. Our efforts will open more opportunities for public access, increase revenue streams, save taxpayer dollars and protect private property rights.
In addition, Rep. Travis Cummings and Sen. Kelli Stargel helped me pass legislation to better protect consumers from unwanted sales calls and to reduce burdens on charities that receive less than $25,000.
My appreciation goes to Reps. Seth McKeel, Steve Crisafulli and Ben Albritton, along with Sens. Joe Negron and Alan Hays, for their efforts in ensuring the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has the resources to further our mission. Florida’s state budget includes funding to support Florida’s fight against citrus greening, a bacterial disease that poses an existential threat to Florida’s $9 billion citrus industry. Florida’s state budget also includes funding to support our efforts to ensure Florida has an adequate supply of water for generations to come, upgrade equipment to enable the Florida Forest Service to protect more than 26 million acres from wildfire and restore oyster reefs in Apalachicola Bay.
Finally, I want to thank Rep. Heather Dawes Fitzenhagen and Sen. Nancy Detert for their unwavering support of our bill to protect children from identity theft. We will continue to work with partners in the Legislature to ensure Florida’s most vulnerable citizens are protected.
I greatly appreciate the hard work of the bill sponsors and the support of all the House and Senate members for my department’s proposals. It has been a successful legislative session and I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished.