Rep. Holly Raschein breaks it down
State representative Holly Raschein said she is happy the legislative season is over and be back home in the Keys. She can hang her hat on some great successes that will be affecting Monroe County soon in a positive way. Raschein has one more year as a junior Representative before becoming a “senior” until 2020, when her term is up.
- The Florida Keys Stewardship Act is number one. It will be receiving $13.3 million dollars this year that will be used for conservation and protection of Monroe County land and water quality. “The State recognizes that our environment is tied to our economy, so this is a big win for us.” Raschein, who initially sponsored the Stewardship Act in 2016, is now putting it to work providing funds for Monroe County mobile vessel pump out service, Mote Marine, Farm Share Program, fighting against Laurel Wilt disease in the Redland area (which affects the avocado industry) and a new treatment plant in Homestead — all to help the Keys keys ecology.
- Bill 425 was not passed. The bill would have changed vacation rental laws allowing more state control. Raschein voted against it multiple times and succeeded. “We have a different situation in the Keys,” said Raschein “We have to have a balance between tourists and people who live here and our rental laws are tailored for just that.” Raschein wants Monroe County to have “home rule” over its own rental laws, so defeating that bill was certainly a plus.
- “Uber! Woohoo!” said Raschein, who has always been a proponent of ride share. “The transportation network is transforming at rapid pace.” Raschein credits the bill with providing a good “backbone” to making sure that proper insurance and protections are in place to safeguard drivers and riders. And is Uber the way? “They are planning a diplomatic entrance very soon,” said Raschein. Gov. Rick Scott is expected to sign the bill into law July 1.
- Monroe County won big time gaining more uniform standards for anchoring and mooring vessels statewide. “Monroe County and the City of Marathon were big players in this. We were able to bring in everyone from the marine industry, everyone had skin in the game.” The bill addresses mooring fields, boat yards, local control over pump out proof, and more tools to deal with at-risk and derelict vessels.
- Craft distilleries — different than craft breweries — also received a boost. They can now sell six different varieties of whatever is distilling (rum, vodka, moonshine). The previous limit was two. This adjustment can allow local businesses to grow and increase product sales. “We want to help locals maintain and grow their business,” said Raschein.
- And lastly, Florida is actually at the forefront of a nationwide movement by eliminating the tax on female hygiene products. Ladies, Florida has abolished the “Tampon Tax!” “Yes, that was due,” said Raschein. Some women between the ages of 15 and 50 would say it was “scary overdue.”