Legislative Session Update-Week 6
SCCF/Everglades Action Day:
SCCF CEO and Policy staff led the “Caloosahatchee” team of the Everglades Coalition around the FL Capitol on Tuesday May 9
where meetings were held with local legislators Senator Benacquisto and Representatives Eagle, Rodrigues and Roach to support four priorities: 1) Governor’s environmental budget requests, 2) stronger protection for all Florida's waters, 3) reinstatement of strong statewide land use planning for sustainable growth and 4) a comprehensive ban on fracking. We will be following up with our legislators on setting necessary standards and developing more effective criteria to address red tide and blue green algae and its impacts on our water resources.
The Caloosahatchee team also showed their support for the Governor’s South Florida Water Management District Governing Board nominees by putting our support on the record with the Senate Ethics & Elections Committee where their confirmation hearing was taking place. The Senate Committee endorsed the nominees where their confirmation will be up next in the full Senate.
Thanks to the many local residents who joined us for the long bus ride to and foot race around the capitol to see our legislators in Tallahassee. Sharing personal experiences with our lawmakers adds a unique, personal emphasis to our requests. Local faces made a lasting impression our on elected leaders.
Plastic Straws/Sunscreen Preemption
: What started out as the Straw Ban preemption bill has now become the Sunscreen use preemption bill. After a series of amendments
passed the Senate Affairs Committee without references to a straw ban but with local preemptions on sunscreen use including a provision for a $25,000 fine for any local government that enforces their own current sunscreen use ordinances. We will watch this bill closely as it seems to change frequently.
– Domestic Wastewater and Collection Systems (septic tanks) and
– Biosolids both passed the Senate Agriculture Environment and General Government Committee this week. These bills are among the surviving vehicles addressing septic tank and sludge field nutrient pollution. SCCF supports these efforts as just a piece of the puzzle to address the cumulative sources of our water quality issues.
: The ill-conceived Heartland and Suncoast Expressway bill,
, was passed unanimously out of the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. Several groups spoke in opposition to the cost, the environmental impacts and the lack of vision for truly addressing the stated goals of the bill in regards to traffic congestion and hurricane evacuation. Both the House and the Senate version of this bill will be heard by their respective full chambers next. We will stay engaged in this process as there are many steps ahead to have an impact on this process.
The substantive committees have stopped meeting so these last few weeks will be a push to pass the legislature’s priority bills along with an intense focus on budget negotiations. We will send out Action Alerts as the final bills make their way to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and then the full legislature after that. Reminder: the 2019 legislative session is scheduled to end on Friday, May 3
. Thank you for your continued interest and commitment to our community.