You signed a petition in opposition to hydraulic fracturing and the two bills relating to that came to a screeching halt. You let everyone know you were fed up with bills that weakened or destroyed environmental protection and bills ceased to move through committees.
From the beginning of session and all throughout, we heard that next year will be the year for water policy issues as the incoming leadership prefers to address those important topics at the 2015 Session. If this year was any kind of dress rehearsal, then no doubt we are ready. And fired up.
The 2014 Legislative Session brought out many new supporters as Senators and Representatives alike began to understand the need to address some of the state’s critical water quality problems. Senator Joe Negron (R-Palm City) led the way with the creation of the Senate Select Committee on the Indian River Lagoon and Lake Okeechobee Basin last summer which resulted in record funding for this area and many Everglades projects as well.
Also in the Senate, an impressive “Gang of Five” consisting of Senator David Simmons, Senator Charlie Dean, Senator Wilton Simpson, Senator Bill Montford and Senator Alan Hays put their best effort into launching a Springs bill, only to have it refused in the House. The good news here is that Senate President Elect Andy Gardiner has stated that he intends to see this through next year when he becomes President of the Senate. Here’s hoping Speaker Designate Steve Crisafulli is more receptive to the need for this bill next year as well.
The 2014 session was marked by a budget surplus and the ever present awareness of upcoming elections in the fall. While we had some disappointments such as the decreased funding for Florida Forever, all in all it was a good session for Florida’s environment. Thank you for your continued support.
Next year will be the year of water policy.With your help, we will be ready.
**For a list of additions and corrections, please click here.