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Keep up with legislation related to Florida’s environment

By HOLLY SCHWARTZ - | Feb 2, 2021


Did you know you can keep up with the 2021 Florida Legislative session, which starts on March 2, through the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation’s Legislative Tracker? We track bills related to the environment, as well as provide an assessment of our position.

There’s already been a flurry of activity signaling a busy session. The Senate has filed 301 bills, which is outpaced by the House’s 522 bills filed. The varied number of bills filed can be partly explained because local funding projects are filed through the House.

Interim committees began meeting the week of Jan. 11, mostly with agency update presentations. A House Ways and Means Committee budget briefing discussed the projected $2 billion budget deficit due to the COVID-19 sales tax lag. As a result, the Senate budget chief stated that there is simply no funding this year for the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) Program, which had been slated to receive $100 million this year to continue its implementation.

Climate change — specifically sea-level rise — was also discussed during the first week of interim committee meetings. Senate Bill 514 establishes the Statewide Office of Resiliency and creates a Sea Level Rise Task Force, an effort which received Senate support last year but failed to pass in the House. However, it appears that the House is taking the issue of climate change seriously. The House committee assigned to hear environmental legislation has been renamed to the 2021 Environment, Agriculture and Flooding Committee. (The word “flooding” replaces the committee’s 2020 title word “general government.”)

Last week, interim committee meetings continued.

Visit www.sccf.org/our-work/environmental-policy and click on our “2021 Legislative Tracker” for links to SCCF’s legislative priorities and the latest information on the environmental bills filed to date.

Holly Schwartz is environmental policy assistant for the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation. Founded in 1967, the SCCF 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.