+ Buchanan bill fights citrus disease
U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, announced Feb. 21 he will introduce legislation to provide research funding to combat citrus greening — a deadly bacterial disease threatening to cripple Florida’s citrus industry.
Since 2005, citrus greening has cost Florida 8,200 jobs and $4.5 billion in economic damages.
“The world depends on Florida citrus,” Buchanan said. “Citrus greening threatens not only the existence of Florida citrus farmers and producers, but the entire U.S. citrus industry. Finding a cure to this destructive disease is vital to sustaining a strong economy and protecting Florida jobs.”
Specifically, Buchanan’s bill creates a federal trust fund devoted to finding a cure for the disease, which kills citrus trees. Existing tariffs on imported citrus will finance the fund, and an advisory board of nine members will oversee it. It will be funded up to $30 million annually over five years. The bill does not raise taxes.
Buchanan’s legislation is the House companion bill to Florida Democractic Sen. Bill Nelson’s Citrus Research and Development Trust Fund Act.
Florida generates $9 billion in economic activity and employs nearly 76,000 people, as the second-largest citrus producer in the world.
In Sarasota and Manatee counties, the citrus industry supports $994 million in economic activity and employs 8,700 workers.
+ Ranch Young Leaders Alliance hosts luncheon
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance’s Young Leaders Alliance learned about leading at its first educational luncheon Feb. 27, at State College of Florida.
+ Open-records suit filed against commissioner
A paralegal has filed suit against Manatee County Commissioner Robin DiSabatino and the county, alleging public records violations.
Documents from the Manatee County Clerk of Courts show plaintiff Michael Barfield filed the suit Feb. 7 and has requested declaratory and injunctive relief for a claim that DiSabatino and her employer failed to comply with state open-records laws.
Last fall, Barfield requested from DiSabatino documents, including emails, text messages and social-media messages from Aug. 1, 2012, to Sept. 30, 2012, the complaint said.
Barfield said he never received them.
At a Board of County Commissioners meeting, Barfield said DiSabatino and former Commissioner Joe McClash acknowledged having a meeting following a Sarasota-Manatee Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting.
The plaintiff said having that meeting without public notice violated the state’s sunshine law. The law requires public notice when public officials meet and talk official business.
Meetings & Agendas
•Â„ Manatee County Board of County Commissioners meeting — 9 a.m. March 12, at 1112 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton