National & State Legislative and Advocacy Issues
Public parks are a unique legacy that defines our community's character. From the smallest, pocket neighborhood park to the grandest metropolitan treasures, parks give spirit and vitality to residents of Miami-Dade County.
Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces play a vital role in promoting the quality of life and livability of communities where residents enjoy and improve their mental and physical health; conserve and protect natural and cultural resources and open spaces; responsibly use energy resources; and enjoy a clean, healthy environment.
Support is critical for adequate local, state and federal investments and policies that encourage the acquisition and development of parks, public lands, and recreation resources for Miami-Dade County.
Advocacy & Becoming a Park Champion
Park Champions are needed to share with elected officials the many ways parks and recreation agencies improve health and wellness, increase economic vitality and preserve natural resources in communities. Political decisions are being made today that will determine the fate of parks and recreation facilities for years to come. Park, Recreation and Open Spaces programs and facilities will be impacted by these decisions. By educating legislators about the importance of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces agencies and communicating with them about legislation that impacts public parks, you can help determine how those decisions will be made.
How to Advocate for Parks:
- Telephone, write or visit your elected officials and tell them what you expect from them in making parks funding a priority in your community.
- Write an opinion editorial and submit to your local newspaper
- Get your newspaper to write an editorial
- Support Parks' legislative and policy platform
- For additional advocacy information see the Florida Park and Recreation (FRPA) Legislative Handbook below:
The Parks Department is a Valuable Public Resource:
- Creates outstanding recreational, natural and cultural opportunities for all
- Promotes the quality of life and livable communities where residents can enjoy and improve their mental and physical health
- Conserves and protects natural and cultural resources
- Promotes a clean, healthy environment
- Promotes health through physical activity
- Reconnects children with nature
- Protects open space for recreation
Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Encourage Park Champions to Support the following Legislative Issues:
Florida Forever (FF)
Requested Congressional Action: Support Funding for the Florida Forever Program, Florida's premier conservation and recreation lands acquisition program, a blueprint for conserving natural resources and renewing Florida's commitment to conserve the state's natural and cultural heritage. Assist the Florida Forever Coalition (FFCoalition) as it works on the grassroots level and with local governments advocating and educating on behalf of the Florida Forever program. The coalition is composed of more than 125 nonprofit groups, public agencies and private parties and is dedicated to the long-term success of the Florida Forever Program.
Surface Transportation Reauthorization
Requested Congressional Action: Increase funding in the reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Program for the Transportation Enhancements Program; bike and pedestrian trails; the Recreational Trails Program; boating safety and fishing education; Safe Routes to Schools; and other transportation related programs that improve community health and livability.
Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF)
Requested Congressional Action: In Fiscal Year 2010, appropriate $125M million in funding for the Land and Water Conservation Stateside Assistance Program.
Funding for Urban Parks
Requested Congressional Action: Appropriate $50 million to specifically fund urban parks through programs such as the Urban Park and Recreation Recovery Program (UPARR) or other comparable federal programs. Funding should include $1.1 million for program administration.
Support funding for CDC Dept. of Nutrition and Physical Activity to expand anti-obesity programming to all 50 states.
Appropriate a minimum of $150 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Healthy Communities Program through funding provided in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act and FY '10 appropriations.
- Children and Nature (NCLI)
Requested Congressional Action: Ensure that legislation that expands environmental education identifies park and recreation agencies as entities eligible for direct funding. Public parks, recreation and open spaces are vital to the effort to engage children in enjoying the outdoors, provide safe, healthy ways to explore nature, and enhance environmental education.
- Protection of Children (HB223) : Revises definition of "child care personnel" to include persons who work in summer 24-hour camps; requires summer day camps & summer 24-hour camps to be licensed by DCFS & requires employees thereof to undergo level 2 background screening; repeals exemption from fingerprinting requirements for summer camp personnel.
- Extended School Day Programs: Identical Bills (HB299) (SB246):
Creates pilot program in Miami-Dade County that authorizes school districts to enter into agreements with county recreation department for purpose of using facilities for extended school day programs in approved middle schools & high schools.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose to list the Burmese python and eight other large constrictor snakes that threaten the Everglades and other sensitive ecosystems as "injurious wildlife" under the Lacey Act . For additional information see the Federal Register Notice, Injurious Wildlife Proposed Rule below. Comments on the proposed rule received by the Fish and Wildlife Service on or before May 11, 2010 will be considered.
Parks Disability Services
Encourage federal support for therapeutic recreation options.
Support restoration of Rehabilitative Services Administration Recreational Program Grants funding.
- Community-Based Rehabilitation for Wounded Service Members and Veterans: Requested Congressional Action: Appropriate $10 million in FY '10 to the United States Paralympic Integrated Adaptive Sports Program (P.L. 110-389) and appropriate $5 million in FY10 to the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) Paralympic Military Program.
- Ensuring Access to Recreation Therapy
Requested Congressional Action: Direct the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to clearly define recreational therapy performed by a licensed or certified therapeutic recreation (TR) professional as a covered Medicare Service.
Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG)
Requested Congressional Action: Fund the Community Development Block Grant Program at $4.6 billion in FY '10.
Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act (H.R. 3734)
The Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act, introduced by Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ) and 102 co-sponsors, would authorize $445 million to be appropriated annually for FY 2011 - FY 2021. Funding would be provided through matching federal assistance grants and could be used by parks and recreation agencies to rehabilitate existing, and develop new, urban parks and community recreational infrastructure as well as for the continued investment in programs that improve public health, increase daily physical activity, reconnect children with nature, reduce crime, provide safe healthy alternatives for at-risk youth, encourage environmental stewardship, and foster local economic development.
Green Communities Act (H.R. 2222)
Directs the Secretary of Commerce, through the Economic Development Administration, to make grants to municipalities to promote community greening initiatives (defined as programs increasing economic development through environmental improvements). Directs the Secretary to select 80 municipalities to receive grants. Requires an eligible program partner to develop and plan such an initiative, which may include revitalizing municipal parks and public spaces, tree plantings, green roof construction, and vacant lot management. Directs the Secretary to make grants to, or enter into contracts with, five nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance and training to eligible program partners in developing, planning, implementing, and assessing initiatives.
Revitalizing Cities through Parks Enhancement Act (H.R. 4382)
Introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) on 12/16/2009. Purpose is to authorize the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to make grants to nonprofit community organizations for the development of open space on municipally owned vacant lots in urban areas. This legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.
Livable Communities Act (S. 1619)
Introduced on 8/6/2009 by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT). This bill would establish the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, to establish the Interagency Council on Sustainable Communities, to establish a comprehensive planning grant program, to establish a sustainability challenge grant program, and for other purposes. This legislation has been referred to the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009 (H.R. 1612)
The Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009 aims to mobilize thousands of service corps participants over the next few years to help the national parks and other public lands restore and repair lands; engage exponentially more volunteers to serve episodically in the parks; to invest in a new, more diverse generation of National Park Service leaders. It was introduced to the House of Representatives in April by U.S. Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Nick J. Rahall (D-WV). Projects could include rehabilitating campgrounds, restoring historic structures, eradicating invasive species, educating visitors, or conducting science and research projects throughout the park system. They might also reach out to communities and help enhance interpretation and education of national park visitors. Currently the Public Land Corps - a partnership between The Corps Network and the National Park Service - brings corps members into the parks. The Public Lands Service Corps Act would expand the scope and the mission of the current program, including bringing in the experience and skills of older Americans as Encore Fellows (a program recently authorized by the Serve America Act). The Encore Fellows could potentially help train corps members.
2010-11 Legislative RequestsFederal
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, (FWC)
- Florida Forever, (FF)
- Rails to Trails Conservancy, (RTC)
- Florida Bicycle Association,(FBA)
- National Recreation and Park Association, (NRPA)
- Florida Recreation and Park Association, (FRPA)
- Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, (OIA)
- The Trust for Public Land, (TPL)
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