PRESS RELEASE: FCV Announces 2019 Legislative Priorities

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PRESS RELEASE: FCV Announces 2019 Legislative Priorities

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release: March 5, 2019
Contact: Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director, aliki@fcvoters.org, 850-629-4656
Twitter: @fcvoters

FCV Announces 2019 Legislative Priorities

The most important year for our environment in modern history.

Tallahassee, FL (March 5, 2019) – With the 2019 Florida Legislative Session officially beginning on Tuesday, March 5, Florida Conservation Voters has announced our legislative goals for the coming year.
Statement from Aliki Moncrief, Executive Director
“Healthy people of all ages need clean air, clean water, and easy access to parks and other natural areas. The Florida Legislature can improve the lives of Floridians and future generations by passing common-sense legislation to protect these fundamentals of healthy living in our state. But it’s not up to elected officials alone. Florida voters must hold their own legislators accountable to their environmental record. If we want to protect the Florida we love, we must stay engaged with the legislative process this year. Call your state Representative and Senator today. Ask them to tell you what they plan to do to ensure a better quality of life for our children and stronger protections for our environment.”
Issues
The following is a list of priority issue areas for Florida Conservation Voters for the 2019 Florida Legislative Session. Besides advocating for good bills, FCV will also monitor all other legislation and amendments that would affect these issue areas. It is important to note that amendments can change the scope of a bill entirely and based on our overall priorities, FCV will refine our list of supported legislation as session progresses.
Water and land conservation is paramount to the future of Florida.
The people of Florida want the legislature to conserve and protect their water and land. Voters made their priorities clear with their overwhelming approval and continued support of the 2014 Water & Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1). Yet, the Florida Legislature has not done enough to satisfy this Constitutional requirement. In the coming months, FCV will be looking to the Legislature to adequately fund and support our most important conservation programs, which include: Florida Forever and projects on the ARC priority list, the Florida Communities Trust, the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, funding for land acquisition by the Water Management Districts, springs restoration, and Everglades restoration.
GOOD BILL: Senator Linda Stewart’s Florida Forever bill (SB 944) and Representative Loranne Ausley’s companion bill (HB 1341) create a permanent allocation for Florida Forever and restrict the use of Amendment 1 funds to land conservation only.
Climate change is real and Florida must begin a just transition to a clean energy future.
The Sunshine State should be a leader in solar energy production. While the new Governor has admirably made adaptation to climate change a centerpiece of his environmental platform, FCV will be looking to the legislature to fund science and projects that help our communities mitigate current and future damage. FCV will also be looking for the Legislature and the Governor to propose and support policies that reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels, which is the main cause of global climate change. The Sunshine State should be a leader in solar energy production and we will be looking for leaders to help make that happen.
GOOD BILL: Senator Lori Berman’s Community Solar bill (SB 1156) will help people of all income brackets benefit from the rapidly decreasing costs of solar infrastructure. Representative Anna Eskamani’s State Renewable Energy Goals bill ambitiously but prudently directs the Office of Energy to develop a unified statewide plan to generate 100% of Florida’s energy from renewable sources by 2050 (HB 1291). Rep. Ben Diamond’s Florida Climate and Resiliency Research Program Bill (HB 1369) will require the state to produce a comprehensive climate resilience plan every 4 years.
Fracking, in all its forms, has no place in Florida.
While on the campaign trail, Governor Ron DeSantis pledged to ban fracking in Florida. Thankfully, there have already been bills filed in both chambers by members of both parties that would ban this practice. In Florida, this process entails using a chemical slurry to fracture or dissolve underground rock formations at high or low-pressure gradients for the purpose of increasing the flow of and extracting oil and gas deposits. Any bill that intends to completely ban fracking in Florida must include all three forms of fracking: acid fracturing, matrix acidizing, and hydraulic fracturing. FCV will work to improve any legislation that does not include all three definitions.
GOOD BILLS: Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, Senator Linda Stewart, and Senator Bill Montford have all produced good fracking ban bills this session (HB 239, SB 146, SB 314). Unfortunately, leadership from both chambers have recently advanced bills that do not include the correct definitions for fracking, leaving matrix acidizing out as a big loophole for the oil and gas industry.
Water is life.
The summer of 2018 was one for the history books, even considering Florida’s long history with water quality problems. At one low point, the dangerous bacteria red tide plagued the Atlantic Coast, the Gulf Coast, and the Panhandle at the same time. Red tide is a naturally occurring phenomenon, but poor water quality management mixed with rising temperatures and increased rainfall due to climate change made last year’s red tide outbreak an epic disaster. In addition, inland pollution from agriculture, cattle-grazing, septic tanks, stormwater runoff, the absence of smart growth management laws, and other factors led to massive and toxic blue-green algae blooms that stink up the coast and destroy ecosystems. Simply put, Floridians (and our tourism-reliant economy) cannot handle much more of what happened in 2018. FCV will be looking to legislators to address these problems at every level. Clean water is paramount to healthy communities.
GOOD BILLS: As expected, there is a proliferation of bills that address water quality issues from a number of different angles. They range from reinstating Florida’s common-sense septic tank inspection program (Rep.Will Robinson, Rep. Mike Caruso, and Sen. Joe Gruters’ HB85/ SB214) to requiring the Department of Environmental Protection to establish statewide rules to address pollution from stormwater runoff (Rep. Good HB 1343). Also of note are bills that would restrict the land application of sewer and septic sludge in critical watersheds (Rep. Grall HB 405) and revise basin management action plan requirements to better address agricultural pollution runoff (Sen. Mayfield SB 1758). As these and more water-related bills progress this session, FCV will work to ensure that they provide real-world improvements for our waters.
There is nothing more important than your right to vote.
A healthy and active electorate is key to the success of our republic. This includes special attention to legislation that would affect the voting ability and public participation of eligible citizens from Florida’s historically marginalized and underrepresented communities. FCV is committed to reducing barriers to voting for eligible citizens and increasing opportunities for those citizens to participate in our electoral process.
GOOD BILL: Senator Annette Taddeo’s Voter Registration Bill (SB 1760) would require the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles to update an eligible citizen’s voter registration at the time of obtaining or updating a driver’s license or state-issued identification card. Citizens can still decline to participate if they choose.
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