Florida Lawmaker Talks Dorian Relief & 2020 Session Preparation

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A Florida lawmaker is speaking out about how we should help the Bahamas recover from Hurricane Dorian.

"The issue right now is FEMA is putting an operation in place in the Bahamas, and it's our job as the state of Florida to try to all coordinate our efforts."

State Representative Rick Roth of West Palm Beach says people need to be sure they are donating to organizations that work directly with FEMA.

"We don't need to just send product, we need to have a coordinated effort. We need to be working with our local, county, state and federal governments all trying to coordinate."

As for monetary donations, he says be very wary of who you're giving them to.

Roth and the rest of Palm Beach County's legislative delegation are meeting Wednesday to elect their new Chair and Vice-Chair. Roth, a Republican, is currently the Vice-Chair, while Democrat State Rep. Matt Willhite is serving as Chair. Roth is expected to be lifted to Chair at the meeting, where the lawmakers will also discuss potential pieces of legislation that they plan to file ahead of the 2020 Legislative Session, which begins in January.

"Issues are still up in the air. Most representatives and state senators are in the process of submitting bills. I've submitted two bills on adoption. I've submitted an agricultural bill."

Roth says the adoption bills area aimed at making it easier for foster parents to adopt the kids they're caring for.

He expects a number of gun control bills to be filed.

"Obviously I know there's going to be some bills filed to regulate assault weapons. I think the state of Florida is ahead of the curve, unfortunately (with) the Parkland shooting."

Roth says even after passing the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, he expects more gun control measures to be filed. He believes a focus on mental health needs to be front and center.

"We put into place red flag laws, increased funding for mental healthcare. I think there needs to be a more coordinated effort, maybe a little better focus on how we're going to provide better mental healthcare to the schools."

He says our state leads the way in efforts to stop mass shootings.

Photo: MyFloridaHouse.gov

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