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Tropical Storm Ernesto News

DATE: August 27, 2006
FROM: Alia Faraj, Governor’s Communications Director
RE: Governor’s Executive Order Number 06-200

Please see Executive Order 06-200, regarding Hurricane Ernesto.
If you have any questions or need additional information, please call the Governor’s press office at (850) 488-5394.

State of Florida
Office of the Governor
Executive Order Number 06-200
(Emergency Management/Hurricane Ernesto)

WHEREAS, on August 24, 2006, the fifth tropical depression of the 2006 Hurricane season formed near the Windward Islands; and

WHEREAS, on August 25, 2006, the National Hurricane Center advised that Tropical Depression Five strengthened to Tropical Storm Ernesto; and

WHEREAS, on August 27, 2006, as Tropical Storm Ernesto moved west-northwest through the Caribbean Sea it became more organized and strengthened to a Category One hurricane with sustained surface winds of 75 miles per hour; and

WHEREAS, Hurricane Ernesto continues to move west-northwest and is expected to increase in hurricane strength; and

WHEREAS, the current storm models brings Hurricane Ernesto’s eye to within 90 miles of Key West on Tuesday night and then into the Tampa Bay/Nature Coast region at Category 2 or 3 strength on Thursday afternoon; and

WHEREAS, hurricane-force or tropical storm conditions are forecast to impact southern Florida and along the Florida western coastline during the week in areas struck during the past two years by a record-breaking number of storms with devastating consequences; and

WHEREAS, Hurricane Ernesto is likely to produce heavy rainfall, storm surge, life-threatening flash floods, and lightening over a widespread portion of the State; and WHEREAS, special equipment, personnel and other resources may be needed to prepare the threatened communities for severe weather caused by Hurricane Ernesto; and

WHEREAS, central coordination and direction of such resources are needed to ensure that timely precautions are taken to protect the threatened communities; and

WHEREAS, other precautions may be needed such as evacations to protect the lives and property of the people in the threatened communities and the general welfare of the State of Florida;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JEB BUSH, as Governor of Florida, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Article IV, Section 1(a) of the Florida Constitution and by the Florida Emergency Management Act, as amended, and all other applicable laws, do hereby promulgate the following Executive Order, to take immediate effect:

Section 1. Based on the foregoing, I find that the State of Florida may be threatened with a major disaster, and I hereby declare that a state of emergency exists in the State of Florida, and that the evacuation of multiple counties in the State may be necessary because of Hurricane Ernesto.

Section 2. I hereby designate the Director of the Division of Emergency Management as the State Coordinating Officer for the duration of this emergency. In exercising the powers delegated by this Executive Order, the State Coordinating Officer shall confer with the Governor to the fullest extent practicable. In accordance with Sections 252.36(1)(a) and 252.36(5), Florida Statutes (2005), I hereby delegate to the State Coordinating Officer the following powers, which he shall exercise subject to the limitations of Section 252.33, Florida Statutes (2005), as needed to meet this emergency:

A. The authority to activate the Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan;

B. The authority to invoke and administer the Statewide Mutual Aid Agreement, and the further authority to coordinate the allocation of resources under that Agreement so as best to meet this emergency;

C. The authority to invoke and administer the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (“EMAC”) and other compacts and agreements existing between the State of Florida and other States, and the further authority to coordinate the allocation of resources from such other states that are made available to the State of Florida under such compacts and agreements so as best to meet this emergency;

D. The authority to seek direct assistance from any and all agencies of the United States Government as may be needed to meet the emergency;

E. The authority to distribute any and all supplies stockpiled to meet the emergency;

F. The authority to suspend existing statutes, rules, ordinances, and orders for the duration of this emergency to the extent that literal compliance with such statutes, rules, ordinances, and orders may be inconsistent with the timely performance of disaster response functions;

G. The authority to suspend the effect of any statute or rule governing the conduct of state business, and the further authority to suspend the effect of any order or rule of any governmental entity, to include, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, any and all statutes and rules which affect budgeting, printing, purchasing, leasing, procurement, and the conditions of employment and the compensation of employees; provided, however, that the State Coordinating Officer shall have authority to suspend the effect of any statute, rule or order only to the extent necessary to ensure the timely performance of vital emergency response functions;

H. The authority to relieve any and all state agencies responsible for processing applications or petitions for any order, rule, or other final action subject to the Administrative Procedure Act, as amended, from the deadlines specified in that Act and in other applicable laws for the duration of this emergency, if the State Coordinating Officer finds that such deadlines cannot be met because of this emergency;

I. The authority to direct all state, regional and local governmental agencies, including law enforcement agencies, to identify personnel needed from those agencies to assist in meeting the needs created by this emergency, and to place all such personnel under the direct command of the State Coordinating Officer to meet this emergency. In doing so, the State Coordinating Officer shall utilize the services of existing officers and agencies of the state and of the political subdivisions thereof, including their personnel and other resources, as the primary emergency management forces of the state, and all such officers and agencies shall cooperate with and extend their services and resources to the State Coordinating Officer, to the extent necessary to meet this emergency;

J. The authority to seize and utilize any and all real or personal property as needed to meet this emergency, subject always to the duty of the State to compensate the owner;

K. The authority to order evacuation, and the authority to direct the sequence of evacuation in which such evacuations shall be carried out, and the further authority to regulate the movement of persons and traffic to, from, or within the affected counties to the extent needed to cope with this emergency;

L. The authority to regulate the return of the evacuees to their home communities;

M. The authority to designate such Deputy State Coordinating Officers as the State Coordinating Officer may deem necessary to cope with the emergency; and

N. The authority to enter such orders as may be needed to implement any or all of the foregoing powers.

Section 3. I hereby order the Adjutant General to activate the Florida National Guard for the duration of this emergency, and I hereby place the National Guard under the direction of the State Coordinating Officer for the duration of this emergency.

Section 4. I hereby direct each county to activate its Emergency Operations Center and its County Emergency Management Plan (“CEMP”) to ensure an immediate state of operational readiness, and I further direct all counties in the State of Florida, at the discretion of the State Coordinating Officer, to prepare to activate all shelters to accommodate the evacuees.

Section 5. I hereby direct all state, regional and local agencies to place any and all available resources under the direction of the State Coordinating Officer as needed to meet this emergency.

Section 6. I hereby designate all state, regional and local governmental facilities including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, all public elementary and secondary schools, all Community Colleges, and all State Universities, at the discretion of the State Coordinating Officer for use as shelters to ensure the proper reception and care of all evacuees.

Section 7. I also find that the special duties and responsibilities resting upon some state, regional and local agencies and other governmental bodies in responding to the emergency may require them to deviate from the statutes, rules, ordinances, and orders they administer, and I hereby give such agencies and other governmental bodies the authority to take formal action by emergency rule or order in accordance with section(s) 120.54(4) and 252.46(2), Florida Statutes (2005), to the extent that such actions are needed to cope with this emergency. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, I hereby order the following:

A. I hereby give all agencies whose employees are certified by the American Red Cross, as disaster service volunteers within the meaning of Section 110.120(3), Florida Statutes, the authority to release any such employees for such service as requested by the American Red Cross as needed to meet the emergency;

B. I hereby authorize the Department of Transportation to waive the collection of tolls and other fees and charges for the use of the Turnpike and other public highways, to the extent such waiver may be needed to facilitate the evacuation of the affected counties; to close any and all highways and portions of highways as may be needed for the safe and efficient transportation of evacuees to those counties which the State Coordinating Officer may designate as destination counties for evacuees in this emergency; to suspend enforcement of hours of service requirements, the International Fuel Tax Agreement, and the International Registration Plan for vehicles with a valid registration from their home jurisdictions, while transporting emergency equipment, services, or supplies for the duration of the emergency; and to waive the size and weight restrictions for divisible loads on any vehicles transporting emergency equipment, services and supplies, allowing the establishment of alternate size and weight restrictions for all such vehicles for the duration of the emergency; to the extent such waivers are needed to meet this emergency;

C. At the request of the Director of Emergency Management of any county, I hereby direct the Department of Health to take over the operation of all shelters in that county that are intended for use by those evacuees with special personal, medical or psychological needs, and to station licensed medical professional and paraprofessional personnel at those shelters as needed to provide appropriate reception and care for such evacuees;

D. I hereby give the Department of Environmental Protection the authority to close state parks and other state recreational facilities under its jurisdiction in those counties of the State affected by the emergency, as needed to meet the emergency;

E. I hereby give all agencies of the State, including the collegial bodies within those agencies, the authority to suspend the effect of any statute, rule, ordinance, or order of any state, regional, or local government entity, to the extent needed to procure any and all necessary supplies, commodities, services, temporary premises, and other resources, to include, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, any and all statutes, rules, ordinances, or orders which affect budgeting, printing, purchasing, leasing and the condition of employment and the compensation of employees, but any statute, rule, ordinance, or order shall be suspended only to the extent necessary to ensure the timely performance of disaster response functions as directed by the State Coordinating Officer;

F. I hereby give all agencies of the State the authority to allow overnight stays by employees of the State who travel a distance of less than fifty (50) miles for the performance of official duties in connection with the emergency, and the authority to allow employees of the State reimbursement for the cost of meals during Class C travel incurred in connection with this emergency;

G. I hereby give all agencies of the State responsible for the use of state buildings and facilities the authority to close such buildings and facilities in those portions of the State affected by this emergency, to the extent to meet this emergency; and

H. I hereby give all agencies of the State, including the collegial bodies within those agencies, the authority to abrogate the time requirements, notice requirements, and deadlines for final action on applications for permits, licenses, rates, and other approvals under any statutes or rules under which such application are deemed to be approved unless disapproved in writing by specified deadlines, and all such time requirements that have not yet expired as of the date of this Executive Order are hereby suspended and tolled to the extent needed to meet this emergency.

Section 8. Medical professionals and workers, social workers, and counselors with good and valid professional licenses issued by States other than the State of Florida may render such services in the State of Florida during this emergency for persons affected by this emergency with the condition that such services be rendered to such persons free of charge, and with the further condition that such services be rendered under the auspices of the American Red Cross or the Department of Health.

Section 9. I hereby find that the demands placed upon funds appropriated to the agencies of the State of Florida and to local agencies may be inadequate to pay the costs of this disaster. In accordance with section 252.37(2), Florida Statutes (2005), to the extent that funds appropriated to the agencies of the State and to local agencies may be inadequate to defray the costs of this disaster, I hereby direct the transfer of sufficient funds from any unappropriated surplus or from the Budget Stabilization Fund. As directed by the State Coordinating Officer, agencies of the State and local agencies receiving these funds shall timely seek reimbursement for the State as provided under section 252.929, Florida Statutes (2005), the EMAC, and other compacts, agreements, and laws.

Section 10. In accordance with section(s) 501.160(2) and 501.160(3), Florida Statutes (2005), I hereby place all persons on notice that it is unlawful for any person in the State of Florida to rent or sell, or offer to rent or sell at an unconscionable price, any essential equipment, services, or supplies, the consumption or use of which is necessary because of this emergency. Such services shall include, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, any rental of hotel, motel, or other transient lodging facilities, and any rental of storage facilities. In accordance with section 501.160(1)(b), Florida Statutes (2005), any price exceeding the average price for such essential equipment, services, or supplies for the thirty (30) days immediately preceding the date of the Executive Order shall create a presumption that the price is unconscionable unless such increases is caused by actual costs incurred in connection with such essential equipment, services, supplies, or is caused by national or international economic trends.

Section 11. All state agencies that enter emergency final orders or take other final actions based on the existence of this emergency shall advise the State Coordinating Officer in writing of the action taken as soon as practicable, but in no event later than the expiration of sixty (60) days from the date of this Executive Order.

Section 12. This Executive Order shall be deemed to have taken effect on August 27, 2006, and all actions taken by the Director of the Division of Emergency Management with respect to this emergency before the issuance of this Executive Order are hereby ratified. This Executive Order shall expire sixty (60) days from the date hereof unless extended.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Florida to be affixed, at Tallahassee, the Capitol, this 27 day of August 2006.

ATTEST:

____________________________
SECRETARY OF STATE

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Last updated: August 28, 2006

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