Legislative Update - Week 9 - Session Adjourns
Week 9 Update – 2019 Legislative Session Ends

The Florida legislature reached Sine Die Saturday passing a record $ 91.1 million dollar budget and officially adjourned the 2019 Legislative Session.
The bright spot this session is dedicated funding for Everglades Restoration.  However, given the magnitude of the water crisis the past year, this session provided little meaningful water quality legislation.

Budget: Everglades Restoration and Florida Forever Funding – The Everglades received $322.6 million from the Legislature. We look forward to seeing agency initiatives to address harmful algal blooms. The Florida Forever Land Acquisition Program unfortunately received only $33 million, a fraction of the $100 million requested.

Failed: Water Quality - Considering the water quality crisis Florida has experienced, it is devastating that none of the water quality bills passed: No septic tank inspections, biosolids management, fertilizer requirements, fracking ban, environmental resource permitting rules or water quality improvement bills passed this session.

Passed: Plastic straw ban preemption HB 771 , originally a recyclable materials bill, was amended in the last days of session to attach the straw ban preemption. This bill is an assault on local government’s ability to address the needs of its citizens by preempting existing and future local ordinances. We continue to ask the Governor to veto this very bad bill.   

Passed: Growth Management - HB 7103 At 6:20 pm the last evening of session, the House passed a harmful late filed Senate amendment to this bad growth management bill.
·          The bill makes citizens that challenge local comprehensive plan amendments automatically liable for paying for the prevailing party’s attorney’s fees.
·          There are two existing FL Statutes that already cover prevailing parties for frivolous suits.
·          This bill also prohibits local governments from requiring rules regarding affordable housing.
This will have a chilling effect on citizens that serve as the last option to hold their local governments accountable for questioning local growth rules since the State no longer has any oversight on local growth plans. We applaud the valiant attempts made by House members that disagreed with the amendment. Stay tuned regarding an upcoming SCCF Action Alert to ask the Governor to veto this very bad bill.

Passed: Transportation – SB 7068 the Mid-State Toll Road Bill ;  
·          The bill authorizes 3 new state toll roads in the center of the state that will cost taxpayers billions of dollars because the tolls are not estimated to cover costs.  
·          The roads will slice through Florida’s environmentally and ecologically valuable conservation lands critical to storing, cleaning and recharging our water supply.
·          The funding proposed for this bill will divert funds away from desperately needed state water infrastructure project priorities.

Next Steps:  In a post session press conference the Governor indicated he will be carefully reviewing and possibly vetoing some line item funding requests and some bills that threaten home rule.  Watch for upcoming requests to encourage his veto. Stay tuned, your actions do make a difference in the outcome of these bills.

According to Article III, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution – the Governor has 7 days to either sign or fail to veto any bills presented to him during the session and he has 15 days to either sign or fail to veto any bills presented to him once session has adjourned.

SCCF is updating our legislative tracker for those interested in the complete report on the bills we tracked this session. Check back with us on the Governor’s action on the bills presented to him.

Thank you for your interest and we look forward to continuing to work together to make an impact on our community.

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