The coalition calls on the legislator to protect maritime trade

A newly formed coalition of businesses and trade associations pledges to support two bills that would “responsibly regulate” trade and seaports.

The Keep Florida’s Economy Sailing coalition was launched on Wednesday, supporting two Florida legislature bills that would protect maritime commerce. Members of the group say they seek to protect the uniform and federally regulated flow of trade through Florida seaports from local ordinances that could disrupt or negatively impact trade vital to Florida’s economy. .

“Florida’s ports are major economic engines and have become global hubs for maritime commerce, and Senate Bill 426 and its counterpart Bill 267 provide vital protection for our deep-water ports in Florida. “, said John wells, President of Caribe Nautical Services and a native of Key Wester. “Rightly so, we’ve heard concerns that the Key West referendums could open a Pandora’s Box that threatens the continued success of our ports. That is why maritime trade must be responsibly regulated by the state. I thank Senator Boyd and Representative Roach for their good bills and look forward to supporting them this session.

Measures to protect seaports from potential economic damage are spearheading state senator Jim boyd and State representative Spencer roach. The pair of tickets (SB 426/HB 267) reverse orders and prohibit local governments from refusing entry into a port based on the size, type of cargo and number or nationality of passengers.

“The Port of Florida pilots work diligently to maximize the efficiency of Florida’s seaports which serve as hubs for economic growth and stimulation, making their safety and well-being our top priority,” said the captain Ben Borgia, president of the Florida Harbor Pilots Association. “We believe that Senator Jim Boyd’s Senate Bill 426 and Representative Spencer Roach’s House Bill 267 allow ports to operate unimpeded by local ordinances that could otherwise make port operations unpredictable and threaten port investments which have made them the economic powers that they are today. We will wholeheartedly plead this session for the passage of SB 426 and HB 267. ”

The legislation has also received praise from several executives in the hospitality industry, with many noting that the proposals would protect people’s livelihoods as the state grapples with the ongoing pandemic.

“I want to thank Senator Boyd and Representative Roach for bringing forward this public policy that ensures that local ordinances do not threaten the livelihoods of those who work in the hospitality industry around Florida seaports, which benefit cruise passengers, who before and after their cruise, spend time in Florida, stay in hotels, shop and eat in restaurants, contributing millions of dollars and thousands of jobs to the state’s economy. Additionally, when cruise ships stop at Florida seaports, passengers take advantage of local attractions, museums, shops, restaurants, and bars, exposing people to places for the first time and Often encourages them to come back for subsequent vacations, where they stay at local hotels and spend even more time patronizing local businesses, ”said Carol Dover, president of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “Florida tourism businesses, including the restaurant and accommodation industry, have already taken a hit from COVID-19, and referendums in Key West will have irreversible short- and long-term effects. . damage to local businesses statewide. We just need to insist on uniform regulation of trade in our ports to ensure that other businesses do not have to shut down permanently, due to ill-advised attacks on our state’s trade. “

But the divisive measures have also angered several opponents who argue that the twin bills seek to do away with the voters’ wishes in Key West.

Roach is presenting his version of the bill to the House subcommittee on tourism, infrastructure and energy today.