Legislative Update - Week 1
2019 Legislative Session Update – Week 1
Legislators hit the ground running during week 1 of the 2019 Legislative Session. With this week behind us we have just 56 days to make progress with the legislature. This session, water is the primary focus of our legislative efforts. A priority message is to support and fully fund Governor DeSantis’ Executive Order, Achieving More Now for Florida’s Environment . The Executive Order calls for $625 million to be allocated this year for water projects and policy reforms to address sources of pollution and improve water quality. Competition for funding is already targeting this funding request for Everglades and water quality restoration.
The first week of session saw heated discussion on fracking, waste water and septic bills and plastic straw and sunscreen ban preemptions.

Fracking : This week a fracking ban bill ( SPB 7064 ) was introduced in the Senate Agriculture Committee that mirrored a weakened fracking ban bill that passed in a pre-session House Committee. The problem with the bill  is  that the definition of fracking does not encompass “matrix acidizing”, the most common form of fracking in Florida. We prefer the comprehensive fracking ban bills by Senator Montford CS/SB 314 and HB 239 by Rep. Fitzenhagen. All sides have committed to continuing the discussion to find a solution. SCCF will provide Action Alerts on this as bill votes are scheduled. 
Wastewater:  8 bills addressing wastewater and septic have been introduced underscoring the need to address this preventable source of pollution.  CS/SB 286 Domestic Wastewater Collection system and Maintenance (by Albritton) establishes membership and criteria of an environmental wastewater collection and maintenance system. This bill passed in its first committee 5-0. HB 973 Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems (by Payne) transfers the Onsite Sewage Program from the Dept. of Health to the Dept. of Environmental Protection and establishes related evaluation programs and technical advisory committees.This bill was supported unanimously 12-0. We expect to see these bills and their companions move quickly in their respective committees.
Single Use Plastic Straws:   A good idea is being run off the tracks.  SB 588 – Single Use Plastic Straws (by Hutson) was proposed to ban single use plastic straws but following discussion this week has added a 5 year state preemption on local government bans, added plastic utensil bans and regulation of sunscreens containing chemicals harmful to coral reefs. We will work to oppose such local preemptions and see if this bill can get back on track. Stay tuned.
Each Monday we will post the weeks committee hearings on our legislative tracker and each Friday provide a recap of the week's progress. Bills and budgets can morph quickly so Action Alerts may require a quick turn around, but will assure your voice is heard. The Governors leadership lays out a path to progress but it requires all our efforts to bring it to fruition. So get ready to engage!

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