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Regulations regarding post-construction inspections need to be re-examined, said Florida Senator Shevrin Jones.

With the Surfside condominium collapse process moving from rescue to recovery, Jones said now is the time to take a look at the state’s role in building inspections and certifications. 

“We have to do something,” Jones said. “This is the one time where the state has to step in to ensure the safety of Floridians when it comes to building codes and how these buildings are built.”

Two weeks after the collapse the confirmed death toll is 64 with 76 people unaccounted for at Champlain Towers South. Jones (D-West Park) said the situation in Surfside raises many questions about construction on beaches and inspections are needed at existing buildings to prevent another collapse. 

“Was it structural? Did the ground give way? What happened?” Jones said.

A task force to review condominium regulations has been assembled by the Florida Bar Association.  

Meanwhile, Jones, Florida’s first Black gay Senator, announced plans to tour 12 public colleges and universities. His mission is to ensure these state funded institutions of higher learning are making informed decisions in the age of COVID and social justice movements.

“Everyone ultimately wants students, faculty, staff, families, and community members to stay healthy and safe,” Jones said. “Decisions now will impact everyone, not just Florida students, and it’s important that campus leaders create plans and protocols rooted in inclusion. That’s how we will resiliently emerge from this moment, stronger and truly ready for the future. I look forward to meeting with leadership across the state to hear from them about their concerns and strategies heading into the fall.”

Florida’s 2021-2022 budget allocated $4.1 billion in operational funding for higher education. The budget does not increase tuition fees at state colleges and universities and carves out $526 million, aided by federal funding, for workforce initiatives that ensure students are prepared for high-demand, high-wage jobs.

“I am looking forward to sitting with university presidents and higher ed leaders,” Jones tweeted. “Finding solutions to keep good talent in FL and get all high school students college ready will require an all-hands-on-deck approach.”

Jones taught chemistry in Broward Public Schools and biology at Florida Atlantic University before entering politics. His visit to FAU is scheduled for July 20.


Jones’ schedule is as follows:

Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers, July 13

Florida Polytechnic University, Lakeland, July 21

University of South Florida, Tampa, July 28

New College of Florida, Sarasota, July 29

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, Aug. 3

Florida State University, Tallahassee, Aug. 3

University of West Florida, Pensacola, Aug. 4

University of Florida, Gainesville, Aug. 10

Florida International University, Miami, Aug. 18

University of Central Florida, Orlando, TBA

University of North Florida, Jacksonville, TBA

Related: Person of the Year - Shevrin Jones