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VIDEO: Stay engaged to keep lawmakers accountable this Legislative session

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKXCFA6ngkE There’s always a lot to track in Florida’s annual 60-day Legislative session. This year is no exception. During today's Friends of the Everglades LIVE, VoteWater's Gil Smart broke down the details of several bad environmental proposals looming, as well as the few silver linings that may emerge. Reps. Lindsay Cross and Anna Eskamani offered their takes on what to expect in the days ahead and praised the citizen involvement that they claimed necessary to encourage environmentally-successful outcomes. "Feedback does matter. If you have the ability to come up to Tallahassee to speak in support of good bills or against bad bills, it does make a difference," Rep. Cross said — a point that Rep. Eskamani enthusiastically agreed with. [...]

Friends of the Everglades 2023 Legislative Preview

Florida’s annual 60-day legislative session begins March 7. In line with our 2023 Legislative Priorities, we offer the following analysis of bills that have been filed. JUMP TO: Demand cleaner water, now Restore more wetlands, send more clean water south oil Smarter, controlled development Stop sugarcane burning Other Priorities Priority: Demand cleaner water, now Poor water quality is the root cause of blue-green algal blooms and red tide, seagrass loss, manatee die-offs and other harmful outcomes. Improved water quality will safeguard marine life, human health and Florida’s economic vitality. To achieve this goal, we recommend the following positions on bills pending before the Legislature: Implementation of the Recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force — SUPPORT HB 423 (Cross) [...]

Friends of the Everglades debuts Legislative Accountability One-Stop Shop

Each year, Florida lawmakers convene in Tallahassee to consider bills that will impact Floridians and the natural environment. The 60-day session, which begins March 7, offers lawmakers the chance to chart an impactful course for issues including water quality, conservation, and environmental justice. But it also leaves the door open for bad bills and special-interest influence. Unfortunately, we tend to see more of the latter in Tallahassee. Friends of the Everglades is committed to tracking it all. To make it easy for our supporters to follow along, we are proud to debut a new section of our website dedicated to just that.  Our new portal, Following the Florida Legislature, is your one-stop shop for regularly updated information related to [...]

Friends of the Everglades Legislative Priorities: 2023

About Friends of the Everglades: Friends of the Everglades was founded in 1969 by Marjory Stoneman Douglas, author of the seminal book The Everglades: River of Grass. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving America’s Everglades and its interconnected ecosystems. We are proud to advocate on behalf of supporters across the Greater Everglades region. 2023 State Legislative Priorities: JUMP TO: Demand cleaner water, now Restore more wetlands, send more clean water south Smarter, controlled development Stop sugarcane burning 1. Demand cleaner water, now: Poor water quality is the root cause of blue-green algal blooms and red tide, seagrass loss and manatee die-offs and other harmful outcomes. Improved water quality will safeguard marine life, human health and [...]

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 [...]

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