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1000 Friends of Florida Names Four "Action Bills" in Tallahassee


TALLAHASSEE — The 2024 Florida Legislative Session is currently in session and will conclude on March 8. Environmental non-profit 1000 Friends of Florida has identified a number of bills that the group is either fighting or supporting.

Established in 1986, 1000 Friends partners with citizens, community and state leaders, conservation and business groups, and others to promote a more sustainable future in Florida, as it continues to be one of the fastest-growing states in the nation.

The group has long fought for issues like Everglades restoration, wildlife corridors, land conservation, Florida greenways, springs protection planning, and other water-related issues. In this year's session, the group has identified  four "action needed" bills, including:

SB 738/HB 789 Environmental Management (oppose)

· The bill would weaken the enforcement of environmental laws by preventing citizens from bringing reasonable legal challenges to flawed permitting decisions.

· This is another bill preventing citizens from participating in land use and environmental decisions by stifling opposition to major, often irreversible, state agency actions.

SB 738 (Burgess) and HB 789 (Overdorf), entitled Environmental Management, contains 3 main provisions. It would entitle prevailing parties in cases against the FDEP or any water management district to recover costs and attorney fees; it also specifies that stormwater ponds cannot exceed a steepness of 4:1, unless it is sufficiently fenced. Lastly, it establishes a requirement for FDEP and the water management districts to review coastal permitting processes with the goal of identifying ways to increase efficiency and allow for improved storm recovery.

UPDATE: A committee substitute for HB 789 was introduced and approved in its first House committee of reference. The substitute removed the provisions entitling prevailing parties to recover their costs, and also removed the section calling for a streamlining of coastal permitting.

UPDATE: A committee substitute for SB 738, approved in the Senate Judiciary Committee, removed the section entitling prevailing parties to recover their legal costs, but retained the section calling for a streamlining of coastal permitting.

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 1/10); Judiciary (approved 1/29); Fiscal Policy

House referrals: Water Quality, Supply & Treatment Subcommittee (approved 1/24); Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee (approved 1/31); Infrastructure Strategies

SB 1526/ HB 1647 Local Regulation of Nonconforming or Unsafe Structures (oppose)

This bill would preempt local government from prohibiting the demolition of buildings if the structure does not conform to specific requirements in Florida’s coastal cities, tying the hands of communities seeking to protect historic and cultural resources.

·       Ensuring that our communities are safe and buildings are structurally sound is a shared goal, it is also essential we protect the unique historic areas that make Florida special. 

·       Florida’s historic buildings and districts hold significant heritage and history, contributing to local cultural tourism and economic growth. Historic preservation and community safety do not need to be mutually exclusive goals. 

 See our 1/19 email alert here for additional information.

SB 1526 (Avila) and HB 1647 (Roach) would preempt local governments’ ability to prevent the demolition of historic buildings that do not comply with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards and are located within a half mile of the coastline. The bill exempts buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, however few historic buildings meet current FEMA standards, many of which were established as recently as 2008. UPDATE: SB 1526 was amended to apply to buildings “seaward of the coastal construction line” and to exempt national historic districts established by 2000. 

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (approved 1/22); Environment and Natural Resources (approved 1/30); Rules

House referrals: Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee (approved 2/1); Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee; Commerce

HB 723/ SB 1364 Everglades Protection Area (support)

 Requiring additional layers of review to land use decisions that would impact our Everglades is a protective community planning tool

  • Given the critical importance of the Everglades to Florida’s environment, wildlife and water supply, and the billions of dollars that taxpayers are investing in its restoration, this higher standard is common sense, and long overdue. 

See our 1/19 email alert here for additional information.

HB 723 (Busatta Cabrera) and SB 1364 (Calatayud) requires comprehensive plans and amendments that apply to lands within or near Everglades Protection Area to follow state coordinated review process, establishes duties of DEP related to such amendments and requirements for adoption of development amendments in the EPA.

House referrals: Agriculture, Conservation & Resiliency Subcommittee (approved 1/29); Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; Infrastructure Strategies

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (approved 1/16); Agriculture (approved 2/6); Rules

SB 484/HB 1049 Flood Disclosure in the Sale of Real Property (support)

  A recent report from the Natural Resources Defense Council, using data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), found that thousands of Florida properties have repeatedly flooded and been rebuilt.

  • There is no requirement in Florida law for property sellers to disclose a property’s flood history, potentially putting the buyer’s life and property and taxpayers at risk. 
  • Flood disclosure would not only protect buyers and taxpayers, it would also discourage further development in coastal high-hazard areas and floodplains. 

See our 1/19 email alert here for additional information.

SB 484 (Bradley) and HB 1049 (Hunschofsky) would require property sellers to disclose whether property has suffered damage from flooding and the number of times the property has been subject to flooding; whether the owner has maintained flood insurance; whether all or part of the property is in a flood zone; whether the owner has ever filed a claim for flood damage; and whether the owner has received federal assistance for flood damage.

Senate referrals: Judiciary (approved 2/5); Banking and Insurance; Rules

House referrals: Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee (approved 2/6); Civil Justice Subcommittee; Commerce


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