Here are three legislative issues impacting Volusia County right now

Florida Sen. Travis Hutson led the Volusia County Legislative Delegation meeting on Friday, Nov. 3.

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  • | 6:10 p.m. November 3, 2017
  • Ormond Beach Observer
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From alternative pathways to high school graduation to raising funds for county infrastructure,  Florida Sen. Travis Hutson and other local members of Congress attended the Volusia County Legislative Delegation meeting held on Friday, Nov. 3, in order to hear public input on issues relevant to the county in preparation for the upcoming Florida congressional session starting Jan. 9, 2018.

Sen. David Simmons, Florida Rep. Tom Leek, Rep. David Santiago, Sen. Dorothy Hukill and Rep. Patrick Henry comprised the delegation along with Hutson, and together they hear 34 different presentations over the course of three hours. 

These are three of the major topics of discussion brought up by leaders in Volusia County.

Expansion of the Daytona Beach racing and recreation facilities district

A bill to amend the boundaries of the Daytona Beach racing and recreation facilities district was the only one discussed during the local legislation portion of the meeting. Amending the boundaries of the district will allow it to spread into the city limits. Daytona Beach representative Hardy Smith said this bill was a way to remedy the fact that the district's boundaries had remained the same even

as the city of Daytona Beach expanded.

This is the bill's second appearance, as it was kept off the adoption calendar last time around due to what Smith called a last-minute "miscommunication."

“The communication was resolved but at that point we just kind of missed the train there," Smith said.

He asked the delegation to support the bill once again, which they did unanimously.

Traffic, transportation and pedestrian safety

Volusia County Chair Ed Kelley came before the delegation for help raising funds for transportation and high tech economic development infrastructure for the county. He asked that metropolitan planning organizations be allowed to "create waves" to then generate funding mechanisms for transportation.

Kelley mentioned three state roads with increasing traffic: Dunlawton Avenue in Port Orange, Granada Boulevard in Ormond Beach and State Road 44 in New Smyrna Beach.

He also asked that delegation do their best to not give any unfunded mandates to the county, as that would a strain in Volusia's economic development. 

“We’re going to be in a financial crisis if our funding abilities are cut," Kelley said. "It makes a hardship on everyone.”

Lois Bollenback, executive director of the River to Sea Transportation Planning Organization, called on the delegates to simplify the Florida law regarding pedestrians crossing the street using marked crosswalks.

She said Florida reigns second in the nation for most pedestrian fatalities and that Volusia County ranks high on its own, with the Deltona, Daytona Beach and Ormond Beach area ranked fifth in the nation.

“So there are a number of measures out there and each one of those seem to indicate we have some concerns and that’s not good for our residents," Bollenback said.

She suggested Florida lawmakers make it clear that when people are trying to cross the street they have to stop. As it currently reads, section 7b of Florida Statute 316.130 reads drivers must stop "when the pedestrian is in the crosswalk or steps into the crosswalk and is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling or when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger."


Tom Russell, superintendent of Volusia County Schools, brought House Bill 311 by Rep. Ralph Massullo to the attention of the delegation. If passed, the bill would provide alternate pathways for students to receive their standard high school diploma.

Russell said students who graduate with just a certificate of completion instead of a diploma will be affected by it all of their lives. He said historically in Volusia County, an approximate 250 students graduate with a certificate of completion each year. These students have fulfilled every high school graduation requirement, but failed either their ELA or FSA Algebra exam.

“We are forcing these students down a path of financial hardship," Russell said. "Frankly, I do not think any of us here want to do that to 18-year-olds.”

He also addressed the topic of District Cost Differential briefly,  citing that Volusia County Schools get $43 per student in comparison to Orange County who receives about $100 as an example of one negative impact. He also suggested a 2-3% increase in the Florida Education Finance Program calculations.





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