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Fewer Local Projects Move Through Florida House

House Appropriations Chair Carlos Trujillo (R-Miami).
Florida Channel
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Florida House lawmakers submitted more than 12-hundred individual project bills asking for $2.5 billion. But just 516 projects have made it through committee.

Rep. Jose Diaz, R-Miami, has 23 local projects cleared through committee. But his Monticello Republican colleague Representative Halsey Beshears is on his heels with 13 moved through at least one committee. Because local Because local appropriations had to be filed as separate bills, committee heads have a lot of power to say what projects move. Rep. Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami, said committee heads are in the best position to judge projects on their merits.

“They have the opportunity to review and vet the projects and figure out which ones have a better return on investment for the state. So those are some of the projects that were heard," he said.

Projects sponsored by Beshears gives $1.7 million to the Wakulla County’s Statewide Law Enforcement Radio System. Another gives $1.5 million for a canal dredging project in Taylor County.

But Trujillo said he doesn’t think most of those projects will make it through the legislature.

“As we go through the process, I think that number will continue to decrease," he said. "Just because they were heard and made it out of a committee doesn’t mean, doesn’t guarantee implementation into the budget.”

House Speaker Richard Corcoran demanded all member projects be filed as separate pieces of legislation. He said it adds transparency to the appropriation process that hasn’t happened in previous years.

Sarah Mueller is a journalist who has worked for media outlets in several states since 2010. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2010 and worked as a print reporter covering local government and politics.