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SCCF salutes HB 711 veto, calls for action on two more bills

By Staff | May 15, 2019


The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation commends the decision taken by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto House Bill 771 on May 10.

If let stand, HB 771 would have banned actions by local governments, such as the city of Sanibel’s Ordinance 18-008, prohibiting the sale and distribution of single-use plastic straws.

“SCCF thanks the governor for upholding our right to set local environmental policies that exceed those set by the State,” SCCF Chief Executive Officer Ryan Orgera said. “Municipalities like Sanibel are setting standards of excellence that benefit and should be embraced by all Floridians.”

A link to the governor’s letter is on SCCF’s Legislative Tracker at www.sccf.org and can also be found at www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/05.103.pdf.

The letter includes the governor’s observation that: “In fact, the DEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection) has encouraged Florida residents, schools and businesses to reduce plastic straw use.”

“We applaud Gov. DeSantis’s action late Friday to veto House Bill 771, including its moratorium on the local regulation of single-use plastic straws until 2024,” SCCF Natural Resource Policy Director Rae Ann Wessel said on May 10. “SCCF thanks our members and everyone who used our Action Alerts to communicate with the Legislature and governor during the recently concluded session.”

In addition, SCCF is grateful for the governor and Legislature’s focus on Everglades restoration funding this session, but two very bad bills threaten that commitment to protect, preserve and restore the health of our environment.

We are grateful for the Governor and Legislature’s focus on Everglades Restoration funding this session but two very bad bills threaten that commitment to protect, preserve and restore the health of our environment.

Please call and email Gov. DeSantis to veto these two harmful bills. SB 7068 was presented to the governor on May 13 and he has 15 days to either sign, veto or allow the bill to become law without a signature. Please take action on these bills quickly.

The following is provided as information for your calls with the governor’s office:

Veto SB 7068 – Mid State Toll Expressways

– This bill will cost billions to build roads and utility infrastructure through the most environmentally sensitive and ecologically valuable conservation lands in our state; lands critical to store, clean and recharge our state’s water supply.

– The funding proposed to build these roads would divert existing state general funds away from badly needed state water infrastructure priorities.

– These proposed mid-state toll roads are not projected to generate enough revenue to pay for themselves in tolls and will not address their stated goals of long-term job creation in rural communities or provide necessary traffic relief in the state’s congested population centers.

Veto CS/CS/HB 7103 – Community Development and Housing

– This bill contains harmful growth management amendments that were not debated in the committee process and were added to this bill on the last day of session, providing no transparency for citizen participation.

– The provisions of this bill undermine the rules that citizens use to hold governments accountable for their own growth management plans. It mandates any citizen or group that challenges and loses be required to pay the prevailing local government and developer’s attorney’s fees. Florida Statutes currently address frivolous lawsuits so the punitive action in this bill serves no purpose other than to freeze out citizen involvement in the local planning process.

– Other bad provisions in this bill put up obstacles to addressing the workforce housing needs of individual communities further impacting our local government’s ability to provide for the local needs of their constituents and impacting our quality of life.

Contact Gov. DeSantis and urge him to veto these two bills – SB 7068 and CS/CS/HB 7103 – by calling 850-717-9337 or the governor’s Legislative Affairs Office at 850-488-5000. To email your message to Gov. DeSantis, visit https://p2a.co/w9gkPOq. Also thank him for his veto on HB 771.

The Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed. For more information, visit www.sccf.org.