Hillsborough Legislative delegation to meet at USF to talk local bills

Among the five listed local bills to be discussed on Tuesday at the Oval Theatre inside USF's Marshall Center is one requested by the Tampa Taxi Coalition and sponsored by State senator Jack Latvala and Representative Shawn Harrison "relating to permits (Chapter 2001-299, Laws of Florida) for the purpose of creating a private property right for the said permits."

Other bills that are on the docket to be discuss include increasing the death benefits paid to widows and survivors of Tampa police officers and firefighters who are killed in the line of duty. As the Tampa Tribune's Christian Wade reported over the weekend, the bill is something that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn would like to see implemented.

The other high profile bill that will be introduced by Storms and Representative Rachel Burgin would force the Brandon Community Advantage Center board of directors, which oversees the use of the ballroom and downstairs conference room at The Regent in Riverview, to open its meetings, its books and its spaces to the public. Right now that isn't the case. (UPDATE:Burgin says she is now withdrawing her bill. The Tampa Tribune reports that the Hillsborough County Commission's vote to create a committee that will explore her concerns).

The community center cost $6.7 million, $2.5 million coming from the Hillsborough County Commissioners via the Community Investment Tax. A recent audit identified around $35,000 in dubious costs and led commissioners to ask to be reimbursed.

The meeting could last all day. It begins at 9 a.m. at the Oval Theatre at the Marshall Student Center at USF in Tampa.

This year's meeting is happening more than two months earlier that it has in the past - but that's because the regular legislative session starts earlier this year, in January, as opposed to the traditional month of March.

  • The Regent in Brandon

Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. at the USF Tampa campus the public is invited to a meeting of the Hillsborough state Legislative delegation, where they'll be hearing about five different pieces of legislation dealing with issues inside Tampa/Hillsborough County that may be introduced in next year's session.

Last December you might recall it was at a similar meeting when dozens of taxi cab drivers in Tampa showed up to express their support behind a bill sponsored by Ronda Storms that would have dismantled the Hillsborough PTC (Public Transportation Commission).

Those cabbies ripped into that agency, saying it was unfair and arbitrary on how they regulate cab drivers in Hillsborough County, and said they were all about stifling competition. The PTC regulates taxis, limousines, tow trucks, ambulances and other vehicles for hire, and is the only organization of its kind in Florida.

The PTC you might remember, made headlines earlier this year when former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White was indicted on corruption charges when he headed the PTC.

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