Space Florida

Space Florida Revamp Gets Backing In House

Space Florida
Space Florida (Source: SF)

Florida’s aerospace agency, Space Florida, would see more direct state oversight of under a measure backed Monday by the House Commerce Committee.

The unanimous vote came after the committee took out a proposal that would have required the Joint Legislative Budget Commission — composed of members from the House and Senate — to review contracts of $10 million or more.

“We want to make sure we’re sending consistent messages to the aerospace marketplace that they can come in and do business without burdensome regulation,” bill sponsor Tyler Sirois, R-Merritt Island, said.

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A key part of Space Florida’s activities since its creation in 2006 has been facilitating financing, mostly for private research-and-development and manufacturing facilities.

The bill (HB 7041) makes the public-private agency an entity under the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The measure also would require economic-development programs within Space Florida to undergo analysis by the Legislature’s Office of Economic and Demographic Research and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.

The bill, which comes as the House seeks to eliminate Enterprise Florida, the state’s business-development agency, also would change the makeup of the Space Florida board. The current 13-member board is drawn from people appointed to the Enterprise Florida Board of Directors by the governor, House speaker and Senate president.

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The bill, which is now headed to the House floor, would lead to the governor appointing the chairperson and five members.

Board members would need experience in the aerospace industry, seaports, the aviation industry or the bond-financing industry or as an academic with experience in aerospace or aviation.

The state Department of Transportation secretary, who is appointed by DeSantis, also would be on the board. The Senate version of the bill (SB 7048) needs approval from the Rules Committee before it can go to the full Senate.

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