When Tarpon Springs officials learned their request for state funding for a portion of the Anclote River dredge project had been slashed from the budget last year by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the news was met with disappointment, but also a determination to not give up the fight.

Recently, the Board of Commissioners agreed to send a letter to state and local leaders, including Reps. Chris Sprowls and Chris Latvala and Sen. Ed Hooper, asking for their support for House Bill 2923, which calls for more than $724,000 in funding for the Extended Turning Basin portion of the multiphased dredge project.

Last week, there was joy at City Hall when word came down that the governor approved HB 2923 as well as HB 2925, which will provide more than $1.7 million for a flooding abatement system, or underground stormwater pump and vault, for the often-waterlogged Sponge Docks.

“I am very pleased to receive the good news … that the bills have been signed by the governor for the funding of the Anclote River Extended Turning Basin Dredge and the Sponge Docks Flooding Abatement (vault project) for the full amounts,” Tarpon Mayor Chris Alahouzos wrote in a June 2 Facebook post."

“My skill set’s best doing something at home at the local level,” Latvala said. “Right now, 100 percent of my focus is on serving in the Legislature. Running countywide is a pretty daunting task and I owe it to my constituents to be their full-time representative.”

Asked what he wants to achieve as a commissioner, he said fellow Republican Kathleen Peters is the only consistent conservative on the board, “and I intend to go on there and give her some help.”

"Tuck’s bill also has the support of at least one notable House Republican: Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater, who chairs the chamber’s Education and Employment Committee — another of the committees to which Tuck’s bill has been referred. In a February release, Latvala said the bill was protection against the “woke movement reversing every advancement for equality of access for women’s sports under Title IX.”

"Two Tampa Bay lawmakers have filed legislation to honor Pinellas County Deputy Michael J. Magli, who was recently killed in the line of duty. Sen. Ed Hooper and Rep. Chris Latvala filed SB 1716 and HB 1329 on Thursday, with the legislation earning recognition from House Speaker Chris Sprowls.

The proposal would rename a portion of County Road 611, East Lake Road in Pinellas County, in honor of Magli.

“The loss of Deputy Michael Magli is a tragedy that should have never happened,” Sprowls said in a news release. “I am heart-wrenched thinking about his wife and children. A local law enforcement hero was taken from us too soon. I am proud to keep his legacy alive with this legislation to rename East Lake Road in his memory. We will never forget Deputy Magli.”

"Rep. Chris Latvala’s rise into politics is nearing its next chapter as he faces term limits in the Florida House of Representatives at the end of 2022. But that leaves plenty of time in office, two full Legislative Sessions to be exact, to bring home wins for his mid-Pinellas House District 67.

This year, Latvala is sponsoring 19 bills, many of which carry Latvala’s long-established role as a child advocate pushing for reforms to the juvenile welfare system, education and mental health."

"Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Thursday lawmakers believe could save children’s lives in the state welfare system.

The law (HB 43), which goes into effect July 1, is aimed at catching red flags in a child’s life before their case turns traumatic or fatal. Rep. Chris Latvala, the legislation’s House sponsor, called the signing the proudest moment of his public service career.

“This bill will fix a broken system and save lives and I thank Governor Ron DeSantis for signing it,” the Pinellas County Republican said. “His administration has taken an intense focus on reforming the child welfare system in Florida. His (Department of Children and Families) Secretary, Chad Poppell, is committed to protecting Florida’s kids. I want to thank DCF for their help on this bill.”

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