Commissioner Stuart’s Message
As we celebrate our country’s 243rd birthday this month, it is a time to reflect on how blessed we are to live in America. I am personally grateful that I get to call Orlando my hometown. On the 4th, we can also take a moment to remember the sacrifices made by so many veterans to protect our freedoms and way of life.
If you are in the Baldwin Park area, check out the Navy Memorial at Blue Jacket Park, which celebrates the Navy’s important history in Central Florida and serves as a way to remember all those who bravely served our country. Since 2016, the Lone Sailor has watched over the park and is now joined by the Blue Jacket Recruit who was dedicated to the more than 188,000 women sailors who graduated or served as staff at the base up until it closed in 1998. This year’s new addition is the 10-panel History Wall, which stretches more than 30 feet and tells the story of the Navy’s history in our community through photos and captions. Visit cfnavyleague.com for more details and facts about the memorial.
July brings what has become another great tradition, the annual Bastille Day Celebration in the Audubon Park Garden District. Taking place this year on July 13th, this fundraiser for the Garden District incorporates many different French-inspired events, including a wine and cheese pairing, French Market, a visit by Marie Antoinette, and a Moulin Rouge cabaret. Visit the audubonparkgardens.com page for details and ticket information.
This month, our Orlando Police Department is hosting a Women’s Self- Defense Class on Wednesday, July 31st from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Orlando Police Headquarters (1250 W South Street). Visit orlando.gov/events for more information and to register.
And please don’t forget about our annual District 3 National Night Out Safety Splash event taking place on Tuesday, August 6th from 5:30-8 p.m. at the College Park Community Center and Pool (2393 Elizabeth Avenue). This is a chance for our entire district to kick off our National Night Out festivities, which culminate in October with block parties across the City, all focused on crime prevention. On August 6th enjoy an evening where our first responders and our citizens can come together to enjoy evening swimming, free food and drinks, and fellowship with our Orlando Police Department and Orlando Fire Department. Enjoy visits with the Police Mounted Patrol and K-9 Units, tours of Fire Station 3 and educational demonstrations.
July is also the month where many state laws that were passed during the previous legislative session go into effect. A few notable ones that will become law in Florida focus on topics ranging from education to vehicle safety. Requirements for the Bright Futures scholarships will get tougher and require higher SAT scores for both the full and partial versions. The school voucher program will also get expanded to allow families of four who make $77,000 or less annually get access to publicly funded scholarships for K-12 private schools.
Local governments will be prohibited from limiting homeowners who want to utilize their front yards to grow fruits and vegetables. Cities also will be prohibited from having input on communications companies’ decisions on where they place their equipment in city rights of way, including in front of a residential homes.
Texting and driving will be a primary offense (meaning a law enforcement officer can pull you over solely for that action). Vaping becomes illegal at indoor workplaces; and prescription drugs, provided they are FDA approved, can be imported from Canada and other countries. The Legislature also once again passed the back-to-school sale tax holiday, which removes sales tax from clothing $60 or less, school supplies $15 or less and computers $1,000 or less. For a complete list of all of the laws that were passed in this year’s legislative session, visit laws.flrules.org.
As I try to say every time I stand in front of a group of constituents, thank you for giving me the honor of serving as the City’s commissioner for District 3. Hope to see you on August 6th at our Safety Splash event!by