South Florida lawmakers Jose Oliva, Shevrin Jones discuss important local issues

Florida’s first legislative session of 2020 is underway

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida Speaker of the House, Republican Rep. Jose Oliva, is from Hialeah.

He knows South Florida as well as any politician and wields quite a bit of power at the state capital in Tallahassee.

Oliva sat down with Local 10 News reporter Hatzel Vela to discuss some of the local issues that are expected to come up during Florida’s legislative session, which began this week.

The first thing Oliva discussed was the traffic issues that commuters in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties deal with on a daily basis.

“I think the matter of traffic in South Florida is a serious issue,” Oliva said.

Oliva knows there is no simple answer to this problem and thinks that government help isn’t the only solution.

“We begin to fall into this place where we believe that anything, any issue that we have, becomes a responsibility of government to solve,” he said. “It’s often government that makes the problem worse than they were before they got involved.”

Another issue that is important to South Floridians is affordable housing.

Local governments, Oliva said, have to create a system that allows builders to erect homes in a more affordable way.

“Large impact fees and tremendous amounts of time for permitting, and sometimes very restrictive codes, make that difficult,” Oliva said.

Earlier this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis said teacher pay and school funding is a priority in his agenda for 2020.

Oliva believes something can be done, but there is a lot of unknown information that needs to get hashed out first.

“What is going to be the quantity? Which teachers get raises? Is there going to be a bonus system?” he asked.

Another South Florida lawmaker, Democratic Rep. Shevrin Jones, who represents parts of Broward County, praised DeSantis on his education initiatives, but Jones thinks it’s just a start.

“It’s a slap in the face that we are now going to raise the salary and not do anything to ensure that our veteran teachers are taken care of,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, Jones said that there are other pressing matters in his district, such as criminal justice reform.

According to Jones, his constituents are constantly asking about reforms, like the restoration of voting rights for felons who have served their time.

“My Republican colleagues have made it clear that they want to put fines and fees on individuals in order for them to vote,” Jones said.

Scroll down to hear Oliva and Jones’ thoughts on several other issues impacting residents.





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