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Friday, 04 April 2014 19:52

Action! Stop HB 703

Written by  Team SCPA

ACTION! Stop House Bill 703 -- called 'the worst bill in the Florida legislature' by Ocala Star Banner newspaper -- to be heard in House State Affairs Committee

Brevard's REP. RITCH WORKMAN (Melbourne-Republican) is on House State Affairs Committee.

Rep. Ritch Workman (Melbourne-R)
Tallahassee office: 850-717-5052
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SUMMARY BACKGROUND HB 703, from Ocala Star Banner

-- It retroactively prohibits the enforcement of any local ordinances regarding springs, wetlands and stormwater approved after July 2003.

-- It bans local government boards from requiring a super-majority vote, rather than a simple majority, to amend comprehensive plans and land-use actions.

-- Would make it illegal for local governments from rescinding comp plan amendments that permit more intensive development of agricultural lands, whether or not the landowner has met the conditions required for the change.

-- Would allow Developments of Regional Impact to receive a 30-year consumptive use water permit, which now are only granted to governments and public utilities.

-- Agriculture — which uses 40 percent of our groundwater and is the largest consumer of water in the state — would be exempt from taking part in the water supply planning process.

-- Large landowners who participate in water storage programs could receive 50-year water use permits and would be allowed to sell that water to governments and utilities, clearly the first step toward privatizing what is clearly a public resource.

Ocala Star Banner editorial:

More info, 1000 Friends of Florida:

NOTE: Some improvements to this bill have been made, but it is still a bad bill and needs to be stopped. Exact details are fuzzy.


Environmentalists fight proposed bill that reduce local control of water resources
By Jessie Van Berkel
Halifax Media Services
Published: Monday, March 31, 2014 at 8:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 31, 2014 at 10:37 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE — Environmentalists across Florida are on edge as a bill that would reduce local control over environmental protection moves through the state Legislature.

The House bill would limit counties’ ability to enforce regulations on springs, stormwater and wetlands adopted after July 2003, and allow local government officials to change their long-range growth plans with a simple majority vote. Currently, if Sarasota County and other communities change their plans, by increasing density in a certain area, for example, a supermajority — four of the five commissioners — must support the move.

The bill would also allow for decades-long water use permits to be granted to major developments on rural land.

“This bill not only wreaks havoc with the environment, it hits at our ability to have local control,” said Gerry Swormstedt, a conservation chairwoman for the Manatee-Sarasota Group of the Sierra Club.

The Sierra Club and numerous other environmental groups have lobbied against the House bill (HB 703) and its toned-down companion in the Senate (SB 1464).

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, has a history of filing bills aimed at environmental regulations. Some opponents of this year’s bill accused him of being beholden to the development, agriculture and sugar industries.


Thanks to Audubon Florida, 1000 Friends of Florida, Ocala Star Banner. Compiled by Team SCPA.


Last modified on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 19:45
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