Key chairman says there is still time for DCA

The chairman of a key House council said Tuesday there is plenty of time in the legislative session to approve a bill that would reauthorize the Florida Department of Community Affairs.

The Legislature in 2006 established the “sunset review” process to determine whether agencies should be continued. DCA spokesman James Miller said Monday the department is concerned that the session could end April 30 without a bill being approved.

HB 7105 has been waiting to be heard by the Economic Development & Community Affairs Policy Council since March 12. Rep. Dave Murzin, R-Pensacola, said he hasn’t received any direction from House leadership to hold up the bill.

Regarding the amount of time left in the session, Murzin said, “There is plenty of green between here and the hole” — using a golf analogy. And he said the DCA reauthorization isn’t being affected by his repeated criticism of Secretary Tom Pelham.

Murzin told a Florida Chamber of Commerce gathering in February that he still wants Pelham to quit state government, repeating the publicized statement he made last year on the House floor. Murzin later called The Florida Tribune to say he’d been “overzealous” in his remarksand that he has a good working relationship with Pelham.

But Tuesday, Murzin said DCA remains the target of criticism because of delays in winning development approval in Florida compared to neighboring states. “They seem to be picked out as the agency to be picked on,” Murzin said.

SB 282, the DCA reauthorization bill in the Senate, passed the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee.

(Story used with permission from The Current, produced by The Florida Tribune. Do not copy or redistribute without permission.)