Environment Fares Well in Legislative Session
The pandemic didn’t slow the Florida legislature down in 2021. Lawmakers filed 4,158 bills during the 60-day legislative session that ran from March 1 through April 30. Two hundred and seventy-two bills were approved and made it to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ desk. Only five of those bills were vetoed.
Funding for the environment fared well as the approved budget included $522 million for Everglades Restoration projects and $400 million for the Florida Forever Land Acquisition Program, with $300 million of that total amount earmarked for lands within the Florida Wildlife Corridor as formally recognized in Senate Bill 976-Protection of Ecological Systems. That $300 million will be funded as a one-time allocation from the Federal American Rescue Plan.
Many joined SCCF in asking DeSantis to veto several bad bills including House Bill 735-Preemption of Occupational Licensing which limits local governments’ ability to require training for professional fertilizer applicators and HB 421/HB 1101-Relief from Burdens of Real Property Rights that adds to the challenges local communities face in enforcing their comprehensive plans. These bills were ultimately signed by Gov. DeSantis on June 29.
As Florida’s population increases, wetlands disappear, and impervious surfaces multiply, our challenge will continue to the next session to offer solutions to address some of the harmful laws passed this year and to continue to advocate for effective ways to protect our water quality.
For a more comprehensive summary of the legislative action from this session, visit the SCCF Legislative Tracker.