Bay County Chamber of Commerce

Bay County Chamber of Commerce

235 West 5th Street

Panama City, FL 32401


Phone: 850.785.5206

Fax: 850.763.6229





Governmental Affairs Update September 26, 2013
September 26, 2013

U.S. Representative Steve Southerland

U.S. Representative Steve Southerland had a roundtable discussion featuring several prominent travel and tourism leaders, including representatives from Visit Florida, the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, Panama City Beach CVB, The Resort Collection of Panama City Beach, Bay County Chamber of Commerce, Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, Visit Tallahassee and U.S. Travel Association.  Representative Southerland discussed travel and tourism in Northwest Florida.  He stated that all of the counties need to keep working as a team, as there is real synergy in the district. He stated that "we have the world's most beautiful beaches, we've got the world's finest seafood and we've got the world's friendliest people.with all of these efforts, visitors will come."  Representative Southerland also discussed the Transportation Committee Bipartisan Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) and his fight for the Apalachicola Oyster fishermen.  For more information on the WRRDA bill, please click here .  



U.S. Senator Bill Nelson Legislative Update

U.S. Senator Bill Nelson discusses government shutdown, fighting cyber-bullying, tax lien abuse, fixing credit reports, and covering complex rehabilitation technology in his latest Legislative update.  To read the full report, click here.


State Representative Jimmy Patronis

Congrats are in order for State Representative Jimmy Patronis.  He was selected to chair Florida's Defense Support Task Force for another term and the Florida League of cities honored him with a Legislative Appreciation Award on September 26, 2013.  This prestigious award was presented to Rep. Patronis for his tireless efforts to protect the home rule powers of Florida's cities during the 2013 legislative session. Rep. Patronis voted in support of League positions, offered amendments to help prevent preemptions and unfunded mandates, or worked behind the scenes to rally support for League positions.  Click herefor details.



Air Traffic Control Contract Concerns

The FAA contract tower funding seems to be secure for 2014, but could be at risk in the future.  The airport could lose $600,000 annually if the program is cut from the Federal Department of Transportation budget.  Members are encouraged to contact or write their Senators and Congressmen to help secure future funding.  For a sample letter, clickhere. 



Representative Matt Gaetz

Representative Gaetz discussed items concerning economic and work force development.  State of Florida lost out on a big economic development with Boeing to South Carolina.  South Carolina's schools are more focused on the industry engineering degrees and certifications than Florida. Representative Gaetz stated that there were two bills passed this year for education reform.  The first Bill, 7029, Education regarding Digital Learning will help the schools acquire knowledge and export their career knowledge to other education facilities.  The second bill that was passed is 1076, Career and Professional Education.  This bill requires integration of technology into the classrooms, it changes High School graduation and assessment requirements, details performance funding and College & Career planning.  He applauded Gulf Coast State College for their efforts and encouraged everyone to weigh in on education.  Representative Gaetz offered his e-mail for any concerns/questions:

Bay County Chamber 2014 Legislative Survey

Thanks to everyone who has taken the 2014 Legislative Survey.  If you haven't completed it yet, please click here. Your input is very important on how the Chamber will promote legislative interests.


Biggert-Waters Act of 2012

Do you have flood insurance?  The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 is a law passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2012 that extends the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years, while requiring significant program reform.  To see if you are affected, please read the attached Q&A here. 


Government Resources to Help Grow Your Business

On October 28, 2011, the President issued a challenge to government agencies to think beyond their organizational boundaries in the best interest of serving America's business community, and start thinking and acting more like the businesses they serve. He directed the creation of BusinessUSA, a centralized, one-stop platform to make it easier than ever for businesses to access services to help them grow and hire.

  • BusinessUSA makes it easier for small businesses and exporters to discover opportunities, connect with the right resources, and help them grow and hire.
  • The tiles on the front page are designed to give the most relevant results based on a few simple questions. Each tile is designed around a specific business need.
  • Search, track, and register for resource centers, events, and programs in your area. 

Check it out now at


HealthCare Reform

Starting October 1, 2013, you can enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Marketplace allows you to compare your options and find the one that best fits your needs and budget. Coverage goes into effect as early as January 1, 2014.
Learn 4 steps to getting coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace


Florida House of Representatives - Click here to find and contact your Representative

Florida Senate - Click here to find and contact your Senator

United States House of Representatives - Click here to find and contact your Congressman

Senators of the United States Congress - Click here to find and contact your Senator

<!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]-->


If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact one of our staff members.




The mission of the Bay County Chamber of Commerce is to create superior value for all chamber members large and small, cultivate economic and personal development, promote and protect a competitive system of business, be a community leader while embracing Bay County’s opportunities and challenges.


Home     About the Chamber     Bay County     Visit     Relocate     Gallery     Find a Business     Calendar     Marketing     Business Resources


Copyright © 2017, Bay County Chamber of Commerce. | Webmail | Login

Site Developed by Panama City Beach Website Design and IT Support