Bad Bill Alert: HB 41 would limit citizens’ ability to challenge development rules

House Bill 41, filed by Rep. Alina Garcia, emerged as one of the earliest Bad Bills of 2023.  Identified first by our friends at VoteWater, “the proposal looks to be yet another sop to developers, prohibiting local initiatives or referendums on land development regulations. State law already prohibits such initiatives or referendums on comprehensive plan or map amendments, except those specifically authorized in a local charter provision enacted before June 2011. HB 41 would essentially expand this to any local push to change land development rules, and make it retroactive.” You can read the full analysis by VoteWater by clicking here.  

Bad Bill Alert: HB 359 would punish citizens who challenge comprehensive plan amendments

Residents against the Rural Lifestyle amendment protest ahead of the Martin County Commission meeting Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022, in Stuart. As the paving of Florida continues and often haphazard growth leapfrogs across the landscape, a proposed new law would supercharge sprawl by punishing citizens who dare question it. House Bill 359, titled “Local Government Comprehensive Plans,” was filed this week by Rep. Wyman Duggan, a Republican from Jacksonville. The bill stipulates that anyone who loses a legal challenge to a comprehensive plan — or comprehensive plan amendment — must pay the winner’s attorney fees and costs. Current law allows the winning party to recover court costs in cases filed by citizens who allege a development order violates [...]

WATCH NOW — Dissecting DeSantis’ executive order

We're hearing a lot of questions about Gov. Ron DeSantis' latest executive order on the environment. Will it curtail the pollution that's plagued Florida's water and air? Will it help restore the Everglades? How exactly will the promised $3.5 billion be spent? The success or failure of this cash infusion is entirely dependent on the projects it pays for. And, on that front, DeSantis is vague in the executive order. That's why tracking the money will be essential — and we're committed to it. Watch the 3-minute video take on the order below from Friends of the Everglades executive director Eve Samples, then check out this helpful analysis from our friends at VoteWater. Exactly four years ago, DeSantis issued his first [...]

Close out 2022 with one final gift to Friends of the Everglades!

A roseate spoonbill explores the freshwaters of the Big Cypress Swamp on Friday, Dec. 16, near Clyde Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery in Ochopee. As we move steadily toward the final days of 2022, we’ve got our eyes trained on new goals in the year ahead. In 2023, our focus will turn quickly to the looming 60-day state legislative session — a time when lawmakers consider bills that have a significant impact on Florida’s fragile environment. We expect the 2023 session, which will run from March 7 to May 5, to require in-depth analysis, citizen engagement and fast action. Rest assured, you can count on Friends of the Everglades to track important bills, highlight key players, and [...]

2022-12-22T11:19:09-05:00December 27th, 2022|All Posts, Florida Legislature, Marjory's Circle|

VIDEO: Examining the Annihilation of Florida

Jeff VanderMeer is a realist — but that doesn't mean he's without hope for the future of wild Florida. During today's Clean Water Conversation, the bestselling author and Tallahassee resident talked with Friends of the Everglades Executive Director Eve Samples about his recent article in Current Affairs, "The Annihilation of Florida: An Overlooked National Tragedy." Jeff discussed special interests that work against environmental protection in Florida, the rapid pace of habitat loss, and the expanses of Florida's wilderness that still need to be protected. Several football fields-worth of forest and other valuable habitat are cleared every day in Florida. And we have 11 million acres of wetlands that remain vulnerable, down from 20 million acres prior to the 1800s. Jeff [...]

Veto request caps 2022 Legislative Session

The Florida Legislature has ended its 2022 session. But we’re not done yet. One of the worst bills to emerge from Tallahassee this year was approved by the Legislature but has not yet been signed into law by Gov. DeSantis. Senate Bill 2508 was a toxic stew of bad ideas that sought to undermine responsible water management on Lake Okeechobee, fast-track wetlands destruction and expand the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program to rival, and perhaps compete with, Florida’s signature environmental land-acquisition program, Florida Forever. Introduced surreptitiously as a “budget conforming bill,” SB 2508 had only one legislative hearing — but generated such a massive wave of opposition that legislators amended it, then further altered it during budget negotiations, stripping [...]

2022-04-13T16:10:06-04:00March 31st, 2022|All Posts, Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

Your opposition helped fend off the worst of SB 2508

We wounded the beast. But Senate Bill 2508 is still an ugly monster of a bill. And now it’s headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk. On Thursday, March 10, the Florida Senate and House resolved a budget impasse triggered in part by the controversial SB 2508, agreeing to slight revisions in the bill language. The changes are a marginal improvement over the previous version, and they do little to redeem this sneak-attack legislation — which Senate leaders rammed through the Legislature with little public input. The bill still poses risks to Florida’s fragile environment. The original bill — which was proposed in early February and had but one legislative hearing — was a hodgepodge of bad ideas that would have [...]

2022-04-13T16:10:40-04:00March 11th, 2022|Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

Everglades Illustrated: SB 2508 is still a danger to Florida’s environment

The fight to kill Senate Bill 2508 isn't over. We outlined the reasons that this bill is still a danger to Florida's environment in a recent Clean Water Conversation. The long-story-short explanation is listed in the graphic above. You can find more information about why we still have major concerns by clicking here. Though amended to remove some of the most damaging provisions, there is no reason to let our guard down, and we need your help rallying others to help us kill this bill for good. If you haven't already, use the button below to send a message to Senate President Wilton Simpson, Senator Ben Albritton, Representative Chris Sprowls, and Representative Josie Tomkow today. If you've already done so, [...]

SB 2508 is still a threat. Tell legislative leaders to oppose it.

The surprise attack that is SB 2508 emerged late on a Friday afternoon during Florida's annual 60-day legislative session, prompting a fast and furious reaction from the environmental community to push back. In response to that impressive effort, the Florida Senate amended the bill on February 17, stripping some of its most egregious provisions. But major concerns remain. Even amended, SB 2508 remains a mixed bag of bad proposals that undermine Florida's environmental protections and protect powerful industries — most notably Big Sugar. If enacted by the Legislature, this bill could have detrimental impacts on Florida's environment, economy, and public health. It would: Enshrine outdated water-shortage rules into state law, preserving the status quo that benefits Big Sugar at the [...]

2022-04-13T16:11:07-04:00March 3rd, 2022|Action Alerts, Florida Legislature, SB 2508|

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