Legislature Adjourns, Hits And Misses

The Florida Legislature has adjourned for the year and now comes the complicated task of figuring out what happened.

Florida Forever money was diverted to other projects once again in the biggest shell game since the lottery started.

They promise to approve money next year. We’ll see.

The test ban on single-use plastic bags for coastal cities died before the session ended. However, Coral Gables passed a ban anyway, which is predicted to trigger a lawsuit from the bullyboys in Tallahassee who don’t want local officials daring to do what they don’t have the integrity to do. It seems aiding and abetting littering is still official state policy.

Polk officials were able to get approval of a bill that will qualify them for water supply project funding if they provide detailed information on how they plan to spend the money. A provision that would have allowed Polk to seek a sales tax increase at the polls to pay its local share of the project cost was deleted during the bill’s review.

One of the areas where the result is unclear relates to drones. They are banned now in conservation lands such as Circle B Bar Reserve because of their effects on wildlife and other users. But it seems the only places where drones are restricted under the recently passed legislation is sewer plants, utility lines and other infrastructure and everyone else has to petition the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to restrict these craft. The only good news is that it is illegal for civilians to weaponize drones.

The only septic tank bill proposed this year that went anywhere—but didn’t pass—would have required anyone selling a home with a septic tank to disclose the existence of the septic tank and to let the next owner know that the septic tank needs to be maintained to avoid polluting the environment. Inspections and funding for replacement didn’t come up.

Also failing this year were bad bills that would have potentially intimidated people challenging zoning and environmental permits by threatening them with paying the defendant’s legal costs if they don'[t win.

Finally, it appears there will be money for Lakeland’s Se7en Wetlands Park, though not as much money as was originally sought. However all expenditures are still under review by the Governor’s office.

Stay tuned.


Posted in Group Conservation Issues.