State Representative Leonard Bembry is proud to announce that Governor Rick Scott held a ceremonial bill signing for three of his sponsored bills from the 2011 session.
House Bill 421 clarifies and preserves the exemptions farmers have historically had for bona fide agricultural practices. It also allows us to use agriculture lands for agriculture purposes without unnecessary environmental resource permitting requirements when bona fide agricultural practices are being carried out on our farms. Representative Bembry stated, “When we have to spend limited funds for permits to be able to farm we have a real problem in Florida agriculture.” Farmers must still qualify for the exemption, just as they have in the past. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) has the final word in determining whether the exemption applies to a particular agriculture practice or land owner.
This legislation is for farmers, not developers. Land owners must show agriculture activity has occurred on the property for four of the past seven years, in order to comply with the requirements of the bill and avoid additional permitting. The primary purpose of this bill is to assist farmers in being able to continue to farm and complete farm activities on agriculture land. “We need to do everything we possibly can to protect Florida agriculture and our rights as farmers, to farm our lands and provide for our families,” stated Representative Bembry.
House Bill 1037 allows Florida seniors the opportunity to contract for Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC’s) services while still remaining in their home. Due to the slow economy, seniors are not able to sell their homes at a reasonable value to support their lifestyle in the future. Some seniors may want to live in their homes longer and this legislation will allow them to do so by providing supportive services. “If this legislation had been in place before my mom entered a nursing home, we could have taken care of her longer at home. This would have given me and my family peace of mind knowing she was being properly cared for,” stated Representative Bembry. Continuing care at-home (CCAH) will allow seniors that reside outside the community future access to shelter, nursing care, or personal services at the CCRC until they sell their home or decide to move. The legislation is pro-seniors, pro-jobs, and will give seniors the ability to plan for their future. Representative Bembry also stated, “I feel like it’s a very positive piece of legislation for seniors that has the potential to add jobs to Florida.”
House Bill 95 (HB 95) allows the parents of fallen military veterans, as well as surviving spouses and parents of fallen law enforcement officers and firefighters, to join a select group of people eligible to receive lifetime free entry to Florida State Parks. HB 95 builds on legislation Representative Bembry passed last year that made state park passes available to surviving spouses of deceased members of the United States Armed Forces, National Guard, or reserves who have fallen in combat. “I believe this is a thoughtful way for a grateful state to thank those who have sacrificed so much for our nation. The favorable consideration of this deserved legislation is the least we could do,” stated Representative Bembry.