FCC Legislative Alert January 22, 2012

These are the two most urgent bills to keep working on.  Legislators are noticing the email and telephone traffic.  So, please write and call all the highlighted folks, below.  There are two more bills about which we need to report but we are awaiting further news.  We have also found recently that the local reporters are not up to date on these things anymore.  They just do not have the time with all the budget cuts.  Please call or email those whom you know and help keep them informed.  This is also easy to do and very, very effective.  Most of the worst bills go unnoticed and unreported and that is way the folks here like it as the promoters of the bills work for very specific sectors, and the Administration is playing virtually no role in working on these bills.  So it is up to us!

I want to assure you that Audubon of Florida, the Wildlife Federation, Everglades Foundation, 1000 Friends of Florida and The Nature Conservancy are working very, very hard every day on these bills.  But there is little "respect" on the part of most legislative members for the organized Conservation Community any more, so we just need to get regular folks protesting. We have been fortunate to be working closely with the fishing, hunting, boating community on HB 1103, and other groups as well.

HB 639: Alert, January 22. The sponsor, Dana Young still continues to refuse to make even the slightest change to this damaging and precedent -creating legislation despite numerous attempts by the conservation community to offer specific changes.  These would assist in the bill's stated goals to make it easier to use reclaimed water, but continues jurisdiction of this water as Water in the State. She has called a meeting with us for Monday at 3PM.  Please write her, even again ASAP to take our amendments. 

Even though all the waters in Florida are a public resource, HB 639 would put reclaimed waters under the exclusive control of utilities with no oversight by the water management districts. Twelve members on the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee voted for this bill and only two legislators, Representatives Vasilinda Rehwinkel and Garcia voted against this bill. Its next stop is the Rulemaking and Regulation Subcommittee. No meeting is currently scheduled. Unfortunately key legislators, support this bill, and the South Florida Water Management District Executive Director Melissa Meeker supports the concept if not the specific language. The City of Tampa is the prime mover behind this bill. Conservation groups are working hard to stop it, but it is moving quickly through the committee process. Your urgent assistance is needed to contact the chair and members of the Rulemaking and Regulation Subcommittee. The chair is Representative Chris Dorworth (R) a real estate investor from Lake Mary and his phone number is 850/488-5843. To see the names and contact information for the other committee members go to www
.myfloridahouse.gov and click on committees and then click on the representatives names. 

HB 1103: Alert, January 22.  This is perhaps the most detrimental bill of the session so far.  This bill proposes to remove half a million acres of public land and put it in private ownership by changing the definition of ordinary high water line to the low water line. The bill's sponsor Tom Goodson  of Titusville is the Bill's sponsor.  He has been putting out a long complicated response to the many negative emails he has been getting. We are providing a longer analysis of the bill and a shorter one which makes it pretty clear that Mr. Goodson's arguments are not correct.  Feel free to use these in response to him. Inessence, this bill will make it illegal for you to hunt, fish, camp or picnic along Florida’s freshwater bodies where these activities have traditionally taken place. Nine members on the House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee voted for this bill and four voted against it. The four who voted against this bill are Representative Vasilinda Rehwinkel, Sands, Perman and Bullard. The next stop for this bill is the Civil Justice Subcommittee. It is not on its agenda today (January 19) and its next meeting is not scheduled. This bill is also moving quickly through the process in spite of the valiant efforts of the different environmental groups. The chair is Eric Eisnaugle(R) an attorney from Orlando and his phone number is 850/488-9770. His hobby is wildlife watching. Other members of the committee vice chair Clay Ford from Pensacola, Richard Steinberg from Miami Beach,Bernard Mack from West Palm Beach, Matt Gaetz 
from Shalimar, Bill Hager  from Boca Raton, Shawn Harrison  from Temple Terrace, Marty Kiar  Temple Terrace,Larry Metz  Eustis, Kathleen Passidomo  Naples, Darren Soto  Orlando, Cynthia Stafford  Miami, Kelli Stargel  Lakeland, Gregory Steube  Sarasota, Michael Weinstein  . Please write or call as many of these members as you can.

- Pam McVety and Vicki Tschinkel