MANATEE -- State Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, apologized Tuesday to the Manatee County Commission for the Florida Legislature's actions or non-actions, as it were.
"I'm sorry we at the Legislature have been so retractive this year," the vice majority leader and majority whip of the Florida House told commissioners. "But I'll
continue working for you up in Tallahassee and trying to get things done."
The apology, following a failed special session to redraw congressional districts when the Senate and House couldn't agree on a redistricted map by the Friday deadline, was apparently unnecessary. The commission followed Boyd's presentation with an award of appreciation. Nick Azzara, spokesman for the county, said commissioners decided his presentation would be a good opportunity for the recognition.
Chairwoman Betsy Benac thanked Boyd for his service to the county and said he has always worked hard to represent Manatee's interests at the state level.
"This is for always being there for us and for being our champion in Tallahassee," she said, getting up to give the surprised Boyd his award.
"I don't deserve an award. We're all in this game together to serve our communities," Boyd responded as he accepted it. "We do work well together, and we'll continue that.
"I'll always remember who sent me to Tallahassee and who I report to at the end of the day, and who can take me out just like they put me in," he added with a chuckle.
Boyd spoke briefly about past sessions and what is ahead for the Legislature. Manatee County projects, including biological water treatment and beach renourishment, were funded during the budget session in June, but Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the $4.7 million approved.
"In the budget, we got some good things done," Boyd said. "Unfortunately, some of those things didn't cross the finish line with the governor."
Boyd was critical of the Senate when talking about redrawing congressional districts, saying it decided to change the base map drawn jointly by House and Senate staff. A special session in October is on redrawing Senate districts, and Boyd gave little indication whether he expects it to be more successful.
Despite the Legislature's infighting, Commissioner Carol Whitmore reiterated Benac's thanks to Boyd for representing Manatee County interests. The commission was particularly thankful to Boyd for pushing legislation allowing them to put liens on properties with unpaid utility bills, which Manatee County was prevented from doing until this year.
"We had opportunities where we were going to lose what we were working on for years. And you took it by the horns at your own risk, and you took it and you carried it. And a lot of people don't realize that," Whitmore said. "And you took it and you said: 'This is my community, Manatee County is my county, and if they want this, I'm going to push it through.' And a lot of people don't know that -- they see you pass something and think lah-di-dah."
"Thank you," Boyd responded. "I tell you, I'd like to get on your agenda like once a month, this is great."
Kate Irby, Herald online/political reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7055. You can follow her on Twitter @KateIrby