TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Hundreds of tourism officials and those who depend on visitors were in the State Capitol Wednesday, fighting for the state agency that promotes the state.
Visit Florida has been under fire from the State House leadership, but a potential trade could be in the works to keep Visit Flordia alive.
Supporters sported 'Save Visit Florida' badges during their annual tourism day breakfast.
Governor Ron DeSantis has asked for $50 million to keep the promotion agency alive.
“Our Governor understands that tourism is the foundation of our state economy,” said Visit Florida CEO Dana Young.
The Governor said there is a time and place for Visit Florida to tell the nation that Florida is open for tourists after a natural disaster.
“People just think Florida, what’s going on in Florida. Maybe we’ll do something else this year,” said DeSantis.
Pinellas State Senator Ed Hooper got a standing ovation after telling the crowd he’s got a bill to keep Visit Flordia alive for another eight years.
“We know where the problem lies, we know where the obstacles are,” said Hooper.
Conspicuously absent was House Speaker Jose Oliva.
He calls Visit Florida useless.
Instead, the House Speaker staged a rally and press conference with advanced registered nurse practitioners.
He wants to see them get the full authority to practice general medicine.
So we asked the bill's sponsor Rep. Cary Pigman if trading Scope of Practice for Visit Florida could be in the works.
“I try to make really good arrows. How the Speaker chooses to use my arrows is his decision,” said Pigman.
We asked the Governor the same question, which brought a smile to his face.
“Look, Visit Florida is what it is, I think we’re gonna do that. I know the Speaker has some strong views on some of these other things,” said DeSantis.
But the reality is that there are very few coincidences when it comes to legislation in Tallahassee.
The Senate President has said funding for Visit Florida would have to stand on its own, but during the last week of the 60-day session, virtually every major issue is involved in some type of horse-trading.