2018 LEGISLATIVE UPDATES (Friday, 19 Jan 2018)

It’s the end of week two of the 2018 Florida legislative session! Here’s the latest on bills that we are tracking:

1. Coral Reefs: SB 232 (Sen. Book) & HB 53 (Rep. Jacobs)

This bill establishes the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area so that the reef can be studied and protected from coral disease and bleaching.

Great news- this bill passed through its last committee stops this week and is headed to the full House and Senate for a vote!

TAKE ACTION- Call your local legislators and ask them to vote yes on Coral Reefs! Click here to find your House & Senate member!

2. Regulation of Smoking: SB 562 (Sen. Mayfield) & HB 627 (Rep. Altman)            

Cigarette butts are the number one type of plastic litter we find on beach cleanups, unfortunately it’s currently against the law for cities or counties to regulate or ban smoking in their parks, playgrounds or beaches. This bill would allow municipalities and counties to restrict smoking in public parks.

More good news, SB 562 passed through the Community Affairs Committee this week! There was a bad amendment that would have limited the local regulations to playgrounds (instead of parks), but thankfully, it was withdrawn from consideration. Thank you to the Surfrider activists that testified in support of this good bill and in opposition to the bad amendment!

TAKE ACTION- Call the members of the Senate Health Policy Committee and ask them to support SB 562, Regulation of Smoking. Click here for a list of the members.
3. Gulf of Mexico Range Complex: SR 550 (Sen. Broxon) & HR 319 (Rep. Ponder)

This resolution supports an extension of the current prohibition on drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico up to 125 miles off Florida’s Gulf coast.

The Senate bill (SR 550) made it through its first committee stop with unanimous support! Thank you to the Surfrider activists that testified in support of this good bill!
4. Possession of Real Property: SB 804 (Sen. Passidomo) & HB 631 (Rep. Edwards)

This bad bill has the potential to kill local beach access by prohibiting customary use ordinances. There are currently customary use ordinances on the books in Volusia, Walton, and St. Johns counties.

Unfortunately, the House and Senate versions of this bill passed through their first committee stops. In fact, the House version (HB 631) was amended to be even worse. We are resolved in our opposition to this bill that would take away existing beach access protections and stop future ordinances from being enacted.

TAKE ACTION- Call the bill sponsors, Rep. Edwards: (850) 717-5098 and Sen. Passidomo (850) 487-5028 and ask them to remove the customary use language from their bill, “Possession of Real Property”.