BEACON PHOTO/AL EVERSON REPRESENTING US — Above are West Volusia delegates to the Florida Legislature pictured in DeLand City Hall. From left are Sen. Jason Brodeur, Sen. Travis Hutson, Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, Sen. Tom Wright, Rep. Tom Leek and Rep. Paul Renner. All of Volusia County’s representation to the Legislature voted in favor of Senate Bill 620. VOICE OF THE PEOPLE? — At an Oct. 6 listening session at DeLand City Hall are members of the Volusia County legislative delegation, from left, Sen. Jason Brodeur, Sen. Travis Hutson, Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff, Sen. Tom Wright, Rep. Tom Leek and Rep. Paul Renner; all represent parts of Volusia County in the Florida Legislature. All are Republicans. At the listening session, members of the public and representatives from local municipalities talked to the legislators about bills and issues ahead of the upcoming legislative session. Not pictured is Rep. Webster Barnaby, who was present for the listening session, but left before the photo was taken

I imagine it’s not easy being a legislator, what with your salary being paid for by taxpayer dollars and the difficult expectations disparate groups of people (and lobbyists) have about how you should spend your time.

But thanks to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ wish list for the upcoming 2022 legislative session that begins Jan. 11, there are some no-brainers.

Our local legislators are pushing against COVID-19 measures and abortion, and they’re pushing against home rule with measures like SB 280, which would make it far easier for citizens to sue their local governments when they disagree with an ordinance.

They’re also seeking appropriation money for things to help out West Volusia, from sprucing up Lake Helen’s City Hall to allocating money to DeBary’s stormwater infrastructure.

Noah Hertz

One rep. isn’t doing much pushing at all. West Volusia’s own Rep. Paul Renner has not sponsored or co-sponsored a single bill for the 2022 legislative session. Renner is, by my count, one of just two reps., the other being Miami- Dade Rep. David Perez, who have not signed their name onto a single piece of legislation ahead of the 2022 session.

Renner was active during the COVID-19-focused special session last year, co-signing a number of bills requested by Gov. DeSantis to combat COVID-19 mandates and more, but this session he has, as of Dec. 31, not signed onto even a crumb of legislation.

Don’t get me wrong — there are legislators I certainly wish were sponsoring fewer bills. Lake County Rep. Anthony Sabatini comes to mind. Many of his bills are the very culture war nonsense I’ve bemoaned in the past, and his vision for Florida seems more Mad Max than I care to indulge in. Sabatini is sponsoring, among many more bills, HB 103 and HB 6099. These bills would make it much easier for people to purchase firearms and carry them everywhere, including into legislative meetings.

But come on, man. The No. 1 rule of not working hard is to at least make it look like you’re working! The least you could do is co-sponsor one of the no-brainer bills like HB 75, a bill further pushing against COVID-19 mandates! Or maybe ask for some appropriations money for a Volusia County project!

Several other legislators, including Bobby DuBose and Omari Hardy, have not filed any bills of their own, but they’ve at least signed their names onto other reps.’ bills as co-sponsors.

Mr. Renner, I’m sure it’s tough being a legislator, but at least make it look like you’re working for that $29,697 worth of taxpayer dollars you take home every year. Worried about government mismanagement? I think I’ve found $30,000 we could stick somewhere else.


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