On June 28, 2019, Gov. DeSantis signed into law HB 7103, a bill with a provision that will doom what’s left of growth management in Florida. If the provision isn’t repealed, it will undermine efforts to ease the state’s water quality crisis and protect its environmental treasures – just when we need them most.
The provision was slipped into the bill in the final days of the 2019 legislative session through an amendment on the Senate floor. The amendment, from Senator Jeff Brandes, will effectively dismantle the only enforcement mechanism for city and county comprehensive plans, their blueprints for sustainable development. Under the provision, any citizen who challenges a development order as inconsistent with a comprehensive plan and loses will be forced to pay the prevailing side’s legal costs. Citizens won’t dare mount these challenges facing such a financial risk.
The Brandes amendment was never introduced in committee, never analyzed by legislative staff, never subjected to public testimony and never debated by legislators. We don’t believe a majority of Representatives and Senators would have supported the amendment if they recognized its devastating impact on Floridians and their hard-won right to shape the future in their communities.
On July 16, 1000 Friends of Florida and eight allied organizations sent a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate committees where HB 7103 and its Senate counterpart were first considered, seeking their support for a repeal of the Brandes amendment in the 2020 session. We sent copies to the chairs of the four other committees that considered the legislation before it was amended on the Senate floor. We hope you’ll join us by calling or emailing each of these members and urging them to repeal the Brandes amendment. Their Capitol office telephone numbers and emails are below.
Let’s take a stand for sustainable development in Florida. Find out more about HB 7103.
Call Committee Chairs:
Representative Blaise Ingoglia, 850-717-5035, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Anitere Flores, 850-487-5039, email@example.com
Representative Paul Renner, 850-717-5024, firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Mike La Rosa, 850-717-5042, email@example.com
Senator Tom Lee, 850-487-5020, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, 850-487-5027, email@example.com