The Florida Legislature is cancelling upcoming committee meetings ahead of Hurricane Irma. Lawmakers’ preparations for the 2018 session will have to wait.
Lawmakers were supposed to return to Tallahassee next week. Discussions on workers comp, sports stadiums, Jefferson County schools and the death penalty were all on the schedule. But because of the potential threat of Hurricane Irma, legislative leaders are putting those meetings on hold.
Instead, committees are slated to meet the week of October 9th. The Capitol and state agencies will be closed Friday September 8th.
Legislative leaders hope lawmakers and their staff will use the time to prepare and support their home districts. In a written statement, Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran encouraged lawmakers to volunteer.
"Earlier today, Governor Scott stated that there is a need for volunteers at shelters throughout the state. Please be supportive of these efforts if you are near an affected region," Corcoran said.
President of the Senate Joe Negron highlighted the potential threat Irma poses, and the importance of evacuation orders.
"Please use this time to prepare your family and home. The specific trajectory of this unprecedented storm is still uncertain and impacts could vary drastically across the state. All Floridians need to be ready. Staff should monitor local weather advisories and adhere to local evacuation orders," Negron said in a written statement.
According to NOAA's National Hurricane Center, Irma is the strongest Atlantic Hurricane on record, with maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour. As of 5:00 pm on Wednesday September 6th, the National Hurricane Center says "The threat of direct hurricane impacts in Florida over the weekend and early next week has increased. Hurricane watches could be issued for portions of the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula on Thursday."