Our team has represented clients on a wide range of issues, from land use to appropriations, economic development to utilities, and everything in between. Listed below is a glimpse into the government and lobbying experience we've gained during the last several decades.
GrayRobinson has a considerable history of success in the budgetary process. Each session, our goal is to ensure members fully understand the importance of our clients' appropriations requests to ensure they are included in the state budget. We work to fund numerous types of projects for our clients, such as infrastructure projects, utilities, educational research, corrections reform, tourism, transportation, and economic development, to name a few.
Our lobbying practice represents private clients on economic development, incentive, deregulation, and other "pro-business" ideas and issues. We were intimately involved in the "jobs bills" passed by the Legislature, we fought alongside many others against the raiding of the State Transportation Trust Fund, and we coordinated our efforts with the Florida Airports Council and the Florida Ports Council to fight for airport and seaport specific appropriations and policy matters.
Our lobbying team consists of some of the most experienced individuals in the field of education policy. With decades of experience representing and serving public sector clients, our team remains at the forefront of emerging education policy. Our education team is very familiar and experienced with the education governance structure in Florida. Our team has worked with the State Board of Education, the Board of Governors, university and state college trustees, the commissioner of education, and the chancellors of our college and K-12 school systems. In addition, our team has worked with the Office of Early Learning in Florida.
Most notably, lobbying team member Kim McDougal, Ph.D., has served in multiple leadership roles for several Florida governors and as a senior policy advisor for several education commissioners. Kim has dedicated 28 years to public service and, for most of her 10-year tenure at the Florida Legislature, focused her policy work on the PreK-20 agenda. She later served as the education policy coordinator for both Governor Jeb Bush and Governor Rick Scott. Kim is a certified high school teacher and earned her Ph.D. at Florida State University. Before joining GrayRobinson, Kim served as Governor Rick Scott's chief of staff. Before serving as chief of staff, she served more than two years as his deputy chief of staff and his legislative affairs director.
In addition, members of our lobbying team have worked with school boards, student government associations, college foundations, community colleges, and major universities throughout the State of Florida since the firm's inception in 1970. This experience allows our team to provide clients with insight and understanding into the unique nature of the legislative issues faced by educational systems.
Growth Management Planning
For years, GrayRobinson has been involved in legislative activities related to this critical local government priority. The firm was very involved in the legislation that all-but dismantled the former DCA, wrapping its oversight role into the Department of Economic Opportunity and significantly diminishing the State's review of local plans. From the legal side, representing local government has been an integral part of our firm since its founding more than 50 years ago. For example, GrayRobinson served for the last 30 years as general counsel to the Volusia Growth Management Commission, reviewing every major growth management initiative for that County since the 1980s. As a result, from a county perspective, the intersection of legal and lobbying is particularly strong.
Our lobbying team represents multiple health care districts, hospitals, and laboratories. We have relationships with healthcare agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, Department of Health, Department of Insurance, and Board of Medicine.
In many instances, our health care attorneys and consultants have developed close working relationships with agency heads and their general counsels. These relationships are critical in representing clients regulated by these agencies. Our lobbying team has been involved in shaping significant health care reform efforts locally and statewide.
GrayRobinson has successfully represented multiple clients in the area of public safety. We advocated on behalf of the Orange County Sheriff's Office to increase stricter penalties for crime and provide better protection for our first responders.
On behalf of the Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, we successfully lobbied for the passage of the "Tourist Safety Act," which provides law enforcement throughout the state with badly-needed tools to protect Florida's #1 economic engine, tourism.
On behalf of the City of Orlando and Lasercraft, Inc. (red light camera company), our team served on the lead group lobbying for legislation that would allow counties and municipalities the use of red light camera technology in the enforcement of red light running violations. This was an eight-year battle that culminated in the passage of a fair system ensuring the safety of Florida's roads. While others were working on this issue alongside us, GrayRobinson often led the high-level meetings that crafted this legislation's final form.
The firm is a founding member of Floridians for Better Transportation. GrayRobinson professionals have represented both the Canaveral Port Authority and the Melbourne Airport Authority as its state-level lobbyists and, in the case of the airport for many years, also as general counsel. In addition, our team was integral in the passage of the Charter County Transit Surtax amendment for The Central Florida Regional Transportation Authority (LYNX), to ensure that Orange County had the option to levy its transportation tax (by voter referendum) to provide a permanent funding source for public transportation.
Water, Wastewater, Stormwater and Utilities
For more than thirty years, the firm has represented more than 50 cities and counties in various environmental matters, from negotiating complex but cost-saving consent orders for municipal and industrial utility operations to defending or leading the permitting of public facility projects and operations throughout Florida. These public projects include water, wastewater, and electric plants; pipelines; civic/convention centers; university campuses; governmental operation buildings; resource recovery plants; landfills; expressways; interchanges; and numerous other facilities.