Legislative Accountability2023-05-16T10:15:54-04:00

Following the Florida Legislature

Each year, Florida lawmakers convene in Tallahassee to consider bills that will impact Floridians and the natural environment. The 60-day session that begins March 7, 2023, 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. Friends of the Everglades is committed to tracking it all here.

2023 Post-Mortem

Find an update and analysis on key bills in our Post-Session Legislative Report.

Legislative Priorities

  1. Demand cleaner water, now: Poor water quality is the root cause of blue-green algae blooms, seagrass loss and manatee die-offs and other harmful outcomes. Improved water quality will safeguard marine life, human life and Florida’s economic vitality.
  2. Restore more wetlands, send more clean water south: To relieve pressure from the beleaguered northern estuaries and adequately clean water going south to meet court-ordered pollution limits, we must acquire more land for man-made marshes known as Stormwater Treatment Areas.
  3. Smarter, controlled development: Florida needs to re-establish the bipartisan consensus for a common-sense state role in growth management.
  4. Stop sugarcane burning: Pre-harvest sugarcane burning represents an environmental injustice that must be phased out in favor of “green” harvesting.

Latest News –

How They Voted –

They did it.

On May 2 the Florida House of Representatives voted 87-30 to pass Senate Bill 540, the worst bill this session.

The measure, passed by the Senate April 19, stipulates that citizens or public interest groups that challenge a local comprehensive plan amendment and lose may be on the hook for legal fees incurred by the “prevailing party.” This includes “intervenors” like developers, meaning local citizens concerned about runaway growth – and amendments made to their local comp plan to accommodate it – could be liable for thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The measure now heads to Gov. DeSantis’s desk, while conservation group – including VoteWater – are asking the Governor to veto the bill.

So who voted to intimidate and disempower citizens by casting a “yes” vote for this bill? The full list is below.

Representatives who voted YEA/for SB 540:
Rep. Shane Abbott, R-5 Rep. Randy Fine, R-33 Rep. Rachel Lora Saunders Plakon, R-36
Rep. Thad Altman, R-32 Rep. Alina Garcia, R-115 Rep. Susan Plasencia, R-37
Rep. Daniel Antonio “Danny” Alvarez, R-69 Rep. Sam Garrison, R-11 Rep. Juan Carlos Porras, R-119
Rep. Carolina Amesty, R-45 Rep. Mike Giallombardo, R-79 Rep. Paul Renner, R-19
Rep. Adam Anderson, R-57 Rep Karen Gonzalez Pittman, R-65 Rep. Alex Rizo, R-112
Rep. Robert Alexander “Alex” Andrade, R-2 Rep. Peggy Gossett-Seidman, R-91 Rep. Spencer Roach, R-76
Rep. Jessica Baker, R-17 Rep. Michael Grant, R-75 Rep. William Cloud “Will” Robinson, R-71
Rep. Doug Bankson, R-39 Rep. Tommy Gregory, R-72 Rep. Bob Rommel, R-81
Rep. Webster Barnaby, R-29 Rep. Philip Wayne “Griff” Griffits Jr., R-6 Rep. Rick Roth, R-94
Rep. Fabian Basabe, R-106 Rep. Fred Hawkins, R-35 Rep. Joel Rudman, R-3
Rep. Melony M. Bell, R-49 Rep. Jeff Holcomb, R-53 Rep. Michelle Salzman, R-1
Rep. Mike Beltan, R-70 Rep. Berny Jacques, R-59 Rep. Jason Shoaf, R-7
Rep. Kimberly Berfield, R-58 Rep. Sam H. Killebrew, R-48 Rep. David Silvers, D-89
Rep. Dean Black, R-15 Rep. Traci Koster, R-66 Rep. Tyler Sirois, R-31
Rep. David Borrero, R-111 Rep. Chip LaMarca, R-100 Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-92
Rep. Adam Botana, R-80 Rep. Thomas J. “Tom” Leek, R-28 Rep. David Smith, R-38
Rep. Robert A. “Robbie” Brackett, R-34 Rep. Vicki L. Lopez, R-113 Rep. John Snyder, R-86
Rep. Robert Charles “Chuck” Brannann III, R-10 Rep. Randall Scott “Randy” Maggard, R-54 Rep. Paula A. Stark, R-47
Rep. James Buchanan, R-74 Rep. Patt Maney, R-4 Rep. Kevin M. Steele, R-55
Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera, R-114 Rep. Ralph E. Massullo, R-23 Rep. Cyndi Stevenson, R-18
Rep. Jennifer Canady, R-50 Rep. Stan McClain, R-27 Rep. John Paul Temple, R-52
Rep. Michael A. “Mike” Caruso, R-87 Rep. Lawrence McClure, R-68 Rep. Josie Tomkow, R-51
Rep. Charles Wesley “Chuck” Clemons Sr., R-22 Rep. Fiona McFarland, R-73 Rep. Dana Trabulsy, R-84
Rep. Dan Daley, D-96 Rep. Lauren Melo, R-82 Rep. Chase Tramont, R-30
Rep., Kimberly Daniels, D-14 Rep. Kiyan Michael, R-16 Rep. Keith L. Truenow, R-26
Rep. Wyman Duggan, R-12 Rep. James Vernon “Jim” Mooney Jr., R-120 Rep. Kaylee Tuck, R-83
Rep. Lisa Dunkley, D-97 Rep. Tobin Rogers “Toby” Overdorf, R-85 Rep. Taylor Michael Yarkosky, R-24
Rep. Tiffany Esposito, R-77 Rep. Bobby Payne, R-20 Rep. Bradford Troy “Brad” Yeager, R-56
Rep. Tom Fabricio, R-110 Rep. Daniel Perez, R-116
Rep. Juan Alfonso Fernandez-Barquin, R-118 Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, R-78
Representatives who voted NO/against SB 540:
Rep. Bruce Hadley Antone, D-41 Rep. Lindsay Cross, D-60 Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, D-95
Rep. Kristen Aston Arrington, D-46 Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-67 Rep. Dottie Joseph, D-108
Rep. Robin Bartleman, D-103 Rep. Jervonte “Tae” Edmonds, D-88 Rep. Johanna Lopez, D-43
Rep. Christopher Benjamin, D-107 Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, D-42 Rep. Angela “Angie” Nixon, D-13
Rep. LaVon Bracy Davis, D-40 Rep. Gallop Franklin II, D-8 Rep. Felicia Simone Robinson, D-104
Rep. Daryl Campbell, D-99 Rep. Ashley Viola Gantt, D-109 Rep. Allison Tant, D-9
Rep. Joe Casello, D-90 Rep. Michael “Mike” Gottlieb, D-102 Rep. Susan Valdes, D-64
Rep. Hillary Cassel, D-101 Rep. Jennifer “Rita” Harris, D-44 Rep. Katherine Waldron, D-93
Rep. Kevin Chamliss, D-117 Rep. Dianne “Ms. Dee” Hart, D-63 Rep. Patricia H. Williams, D-98
Rep. Linda Chaney, R-61 Rep. Yvonne Hayes Hinson, D-21 Rep. Marie Paule Woodson, D-105

Senate Bill 540, one of the most controversial bills advancing during this “Session of Sprawl,” passed the Florida Senate last week by a vote of 29-10.

The bill, which may soon land on Gov. DeSantis’ desk, mandates that anyone who challenges a local comprehensive plan amendment and loses is liable for the other side’s legal fees. This includes “intervenors” like developers, meaning local citizens concerned about runaway growth – and amendments made to their local comp plan to accommodate it – could be on the hook for thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

If signed into law by Gov. DeSantis, this could spell the end of citizen challenges to bad development proposals in Florida.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Nick DiCeglie, R-18. A failed last-second amendment would have prevented “intervenors” from collecting legal fees from losing citizens.

The House companion bill, HB 439, has been on the House Second Reading Calendar since late March but hasn’t yet been scheduled for a vote. With passage by the Senate, the House may now take up SB 540.

Senators who voted YEA/for SB 540:
Sen. Ben Albritton – R-27 Sen. Brian Avila – R-39 Sen. Dennis Baxley – R-13
Sen. Jim Boyd – R-20 Sen. Jennifer Bradley – R-6 Sen. Jeff Brodeur – R-10
Sen. Doug Broxton – R-1 Sen. Danny Burgess – R-23 Sen. Colleen Burton – R-12
Sen. Alexis Calatayud – R-38 Sen. Jay Collins – R-14 Sen. Nick DiCeglie – R-18
Sen. Gayle Harrell – R-31 Sen. Ed Hooper – R-21 Sen. Travis Hutson – R-7
Sen. Blaise Ingoglia – R-11 Sen. Shevrin “Shev” Jones – D-34 Sen. Jonathan Martin – R-33
Sen. Debbie Mayfield – R-19 Sen. Keith Perry – R-9 Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez – R-40
Sen. Linda Stewart – D-17 Sen. Jay Trumbulll – R-2 Sen. Tom A. Wright – R-8
Sen. Clay Yarborough – R-4 Sen. Kathleen Passidomo – R-28 Sen. Corey Simon – R-3
Senators who voted NO/against SB 540:
Sen. Lois Berman – D-26 Sen. Sen. Lauren Book – D-35 Sen. Rosalind Osgood – D-32
Sen. Jason Pizzo – D-37 Sen. Tina Polsky – D-30 Sen. Bobby Powell – D-24
Sen. Darryl Rouson – D-16 Sen. Geraldine Thompson – D-15 Sen. Victor Torres – D-25

Key Players –

The following elected officials have an outsized influence on environmental decisions made by Florida’s Legislature during the 2023 legislative session.

Live Stream & Video Archive –