Legislative Session Update-Week 8
In the home stretch - the last week of session comes up next week. Legislators will work all weekend in an effort to reach consensus on the budget by Tuesday. There is a mandated 72 hour "cooling off period" before both chambers vote on the final budget the last day of session, scheduled for Friday May 3
: The House and Senate budget conferees were named this week and have been meeting to reconcile the funding differences between the chambers. There was significant progress made to resolve most budget issues but those issues where agreement could not be made are “bumped up” to the full Appropriation Chairs. Sen. Mayfield, the Co-Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Conference Committee, stated that of the environmental line items that have not yet been agreed to, it was not the funding amounts that were in question but the funding source that was different. Everglades restoration funding has been strongly supported by both the House and the Senate but another environmental priority, funding for the Florida Forever Land Acquisition Program, was one of those issues where agreement has not yet been reached. Watch for an SCCF Action Alert on Monday to urge the Appropriations Conference Chairs to support full funding for Florida Forever.
The Biosolids bill,
, was passed by the full Senate on Friday and is on its way to the House for their consideration. The comparable but far from identical House version,
, contains differences that include both biosolid and septic tank oversight improvements. The House version is on “second reading”. SCCF is keeping close tabs on this bill as it is not uncommon for either good or bad amendments to be attached to these bills which could change their composition and require last minute phone calls of opposition or support.
: SCCF has reported on the concerns many have regarding the threats that a Heartland Toll Road would have on the conservation lands critical for water recharge, nutrient filtration and wildlife habitat. This week the full Senate passed
, the Mid-State Toll Road bill which now makes its way to the House of Representatives. The House version of the bill,
was placed on second reading more than three weeks ago but has not been debated since then. This Senate priority bill will play prominently in negotiating House priority health care issues during this coming last week of session.
Thank you for taking part in this process along with us and thank you for your efforts to make your voices heard on the laws that impact our community.