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Congratulations to our April Volunteer of the Month, Marilu Christina Flores! Marilu currently serves as the Treasurer of the Miami Chapter- but does much more than crunch numbers and keep the books! Miami Chapter Chair Jayson Koch writes,
“Since Marilu relocated back to Miami in 2015 from Vermont, she has taken on the Surfrider Miami Treasurer role and overall, has gone above and beyond! Marilu attends all Surfrider events- most of which she was also a key lead in planning and executed advance work and detail. She is a fearless fundraiser and is always eager to ask local businesses for donations or support for the Miami Chapter. In November 2015, Marilu worked with Volcom to give us the Miami premier rights for their Psychic Migrations film, to show at our fall fundraiser event. She always reaches out to get food/drink donations for clean-up events and meetings, and secures the best raffle donations for our fundraiser events.
Lobby Day was quite the interesting and informative experience! I had never been to the Florida capitol before, let alone been lobbying. Myself, and two other UF students were there representing the Surfrider Quad club at the University of Florida, and we were definitely all newcomers to the political arena! After meeting with the other activists for a quick briefing and breakfast at 9am, Holly split us into groups and gave us each a schedule which detailed the meeting times she had previously scheduled with various representatives and senators, as well as other relevant information about the three bills we would be speaking about.
Legislature once again blocking local governments
Saturday, February 13th, 2016
Florida legislators quickly fault the federal government for overreaches, mandates and for just generally being “big government.” Yet last week, without public input or scrutiny, the Florida House of Representatives moved to strip cities and counties of their ability to regulate polystyrene foam foodware. Click here to read the full story.
Last week the Florida House pushed through a last minute amendment to HB7007 (a Department of Agriculture bill) to preempt local polystyrene (aka “styrofoam”) regulations. The bill, including the foam preemption, passed the full House on February 3rd. The polystyrene preemption language has not been filed in the Senate yet, but rest assured that we are working hard to protect home rule, our beaches, and waterways.
We are currently working with legislators to craft a solution to the preemption issue and will share a call to action as soon as there is an opportunity for the public to weigh in. In the meantime, we encourage you to reach out to your Senator and let them know that you oppose the preemption of local polystyrene ordinances. Click here to find your legislators!
ACTION ALERT: There are a number of very good amendments filed to the bad polystyrene (foam) bill- HB7007! Some of the amendments deal with polystyrene foam foodware and others deal with single-use plastic bags. This bill will be voted on by the full House Tuesday at 4pm- here’s how you can help!
Representative Richardson has filed a critically important amendment on the plastic bag preemption! It gives the Legislature until January 1st, 2017 to adopt rules for the regulation of single-use plastic bags. If the Legislature fails to do so, the preemption would be lifted.
Polystyrene Foam Foodware:
Representative Richardson and Representative Miller have also filed amendments to the proposed ban on local regulation of polystyrene.
- Representative Miller’s amendment (712405) gives local governments until April 2016 to pass any polystyrene ordinances (instead of the original deadline of January 1st, 2016- which has already passed!). Click here to read the amendment.
- Representative Richardson’s amendment (111591) goes even further and extends the deadline for the preemption until January 1st, 2017. Click here to read the amendment.
- Representative Richardson’s other amendment (510403) provides an exemption for coastal communities from the preemption of polystyrene- meaning that any communities that touch the Gulf, Atlantic or a Bay would still be able to regulate or ban polystyrene foam foodware. Click here to read the amendment.
We need you to call your House member ASAP- the vote is Tuesday at 4pm! Click here to find your House member!
- Support ALL of Representative Richardson’s amendments: delay implementation of the polystyrene preemption until January 1st, 2017, provide an exemption of coastal communities, and require the state to make a comprehensive statewide plan to deal with single-use plastic bags.
- Coastal communities are dependent on clean and healthy beaches.
- Because of its lightweight nature, foam containers frequently blow out of trashcans and garbage trucks, where they make their way to storm drains, retention ponds, waterways and our beaches.
- Polystyrene foam foodware is rarely recycled, frequently littered and never biodegrades.
Some communities have been working on foam ordinances for months and are ready to implement those policies. Give them the opportunity to protect their local communities and waterways! For the last six years, the Legislature has failed to take action on the DEP’s
- . Require the Legislature to create a statewide policy to regulate single-use plastic bags, and if the Legislature fails to do so- give that authority back to our local communities!
Late Wednesday night, Rep. Jake Raburn filed an amendment to HB7007 (a Department of Agriculture bill) to preempt all local polystyrene (aka “styrofoam”) regulations. The amendment was heard the following morning at 10am in the House State Affairs Committee, and despite overwhelming opposition from the public- passed. This is the last committee stop for this bill, now heading to the House floor.
This preemption is devastating to our coastal communities that are trying to keep EPS foam off their beaches and out of their waterways. We are going to fight tooth and nail to keep this bad preemption language out of the Senate companion bill. Click here to read the bad amendment that is now part or HB 7007.
Great news- SB306, the plastic bag bill, successfully passed through its first committee stop in the Senate. Next it heads to the Senate Community Affairs Committee. Unfortunately, the bill has not yet moved in the House, so we need your help!
ACTION ITEM: Please contact Rep. Goodson, Chair of the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee, and ask him to put HB143, Disposable Plastic Bags, on the agenda ASAP!
Representative Goodson: (850) 717-5050
ACTION ITEM: Please contact Sen. Simpson, Chair of the Senate Community Affairs Committee, and ask him to put SB306, Disposable Plastic Bags, on the agenda ASAP!
Senator Simpson: 850-487-5018
You can also contact the members of the Community Affairs Committee to ask for their support when the bill is voted on:
- Senator Brandes (850) 487-5022
- Senator Abruzzo (850) 487-5025
- Senator Bradley (850) 487-5007
- Senator Dean (850) 487-5005 (Please thank him for his yes vote on the bag bill!)
- Senator Diaz de la Portilla (850) 487-5040
- Senator Hutson (850) 487-5006 (Please thank him for his yes vote on the bag bill!)
- Senator Thompson (850) 487-5012
Thank you for your support!
Florida Regional Manager
SB306, the plastic bag bill, is moving in committee. We need your help contacting members of the Senate Environmental Preservation & Conservation Committee to ask for their support. The Committee will be voting on the bag bill on Wednesday, January 20th at 1:30pm.
Please call the members of this committee and ask them to vote YES on SB306, Disposable Plastic Bags.
Please contact the following committee members and voice your support for SB306:
Senator Dean, Chair: 850-487-5005 (please thank him for putting the bill on the agenda!)
Senator Simpson, Vice Chair: 850-487-5018
Senator Altman: 850-487-5016
Senator Evers: 850-487-5002
Senator Hays: 850-487-5011
Senator Hutson: 850-487-5006
Senator Simmons: 850-487-5010
Senator Smith: 850-487-5031
Senator Soto: 850-487-5014 (please thank him for co-sponsoring the bill)
You can also reach the committee members by email:
Join us in Tallahassee!
Please consider joining us in Tallahassee to speak in support of this bill on Wednesday, January 20th at 1:30pm in the Mallory Horne Committee Room (37 Senate Office Building). If you’re traveling to Tallahassee, sick around for Surfrider Foundation’s Lobby Day on Thursday, January 21st. We’ll be advocating for the bag bill, cigarette litter reform, and much more! Details and registration here.
Florida Regional Manager
The 2016 Legislative Session kicked off on January 12th and already things are off to a busy start. This year the Florida Chapters of the Surfrider Foundation will be focusing on three major issue areas:
1. Single Use Plastic Bags: Representative Richardson and Senator Bullard have filed Disposable Bags (HB143/S306), which would allow coastal municipalities with populations under 100,000 to create a pilot program to regulate or ban single-use plastic bags. Right now it’s against the law for cities to ban, tax or regulate plastic bags!
2. Cigarette Smoking: Senator Altman and Representative Moraitis have filed Regulation of Smoking (HB4063/S1554) which gives local communities the ability to ban smoking on their beaches, parks and sidewalks. Cigarette butts are most frequent type of litter found on our beaches
3. Sea-level Change: Representative Jacobs and Senator Clemens have filed Weather Impacts (HB1223/S1544) which, among other things, creates an interagency workgroup to share information, coordinate ongoing efforts, & collaborate on initiatives relating to weather events including sea-level change.
As we prepare to close out 2015 and ring in the new year, I want to brag a little about all the accomplishments of our Florida Surfrider Foundation Chapters:
- The Miami Chapter helped ban EPS foam in Miami Beach (the biggest EPS ban in the state!), helped local schools ditch foam trays, launched a major, all inclusive RAP effort, hosted their first ever event at Art Basel and so much more!
- The Broward County Chapter has come back from a long absence- they have a new EC, are hosting regular chapter meetings, cleanups, and more! 2016 has big things in store for this chapter, so lookout!
- The Palm Beach County Chapter has launched Florida’s only Blue Water Task Force water quality monitoring program! That is of course in addition to holding meetings with legislators, commenting on coastal projects and signing on to a lawsuit against FDEP for armoring on Singer Island.
- The Sebastian Inlet Chapter launched the hugely successful Melbourne Beach Bag Reduction Program and now have other local communities asking to be next! Their annual Ocean Reef Beach Festival reached over 7,000 people! They’ve also bolstered their OFG program and started a new school club, to name just a few of their many accomplishments!
- This year the Cocoa Beach Chapter joined forces with Operation Surf to get soldiers and veterans out on the water. One participant had lost his legs above the knee and endured over 100 surgeries- this was the first time he’d seen the ocean, but at the end of the week, “he was surfing like a pro!” Cocoa Beach also reminds the Florida Chapters to save the date for the Annual Waterman’s Challenge June 3rd-5th!
- The Volusia-Flagler Chapter has been working hard to build a strong activist and member base with fun events like the annual Black Tie & Baggies and Kids Eco-Surf Clinic. The Chapter brought out over fifty participants to Hands Across the Sand to say no to seismic testing and offshore drilling in the Atlantic!
- In 2015, the First Coast Chapter conducted eight beach cleanups, fought seismic testing by pursuing resolutions of support from local governments across their region, and developed a major Ocean Friendly Garden project at Mayport Elementary School. They used their annual Black Tie & Baggies to support outreach and education by the Saltwater Cowgirls to get a new generation of young women into surfing.
- The Emerald Coast Chapter is now the only entity conducting any sort of organized beach monitoring post-Deepwater Horizon. The Chapter created and launched a volunteer training program to help concerned citizens identify and report tarballs, tarmats, oiled debris and more. The Chapter is also working with Surfrider’s legal team on several beach access issues in the Destin area.
- The Suncoast Chapter is getting very close to a plastic straw ban on Treasure Island (stay tuned in early 2016!), partnered with Barefoot Wine & Bubbly to bring over 100+ volunteers to a beach cleanup, launched a major new RAP committee, partnered with local artists to create a plastic awareness public art installation, and so much more!
- This year the Central Florida Chapter launched the No Foam Zone campaign to ban EPS foam in Orlando! Fingers crossed Orlando will pass their ordinance in early 2016- stay tuned! Central Florida also hosted numerous waterway cleanups and outreach events to share the Surfrider Foundation’s mission to protect and enjoy!
Thank you for all that you do, thank you for all of your hard work, and thank you for ensuring that our future generations will get to know and love the oceans, waves and beaches you work to protect. I can’t wait to see what we accomplish in 2016!!
Florida Regional Manager