Oppose SB804/ HB631 “Possession of Real Property”
The Florida Legislature is attempting to take away local beach access ordinances- don’t let them! SB804/ HB631 would take away the home rule right of local governments to protect public beach access through customary use ordinances- that means beaches in St. Johns, Volusia, and Walton counties could be stripped of their local beach access protections.
Beach access is a universal right and necessary for the public’s enjoyment of the beach. The public, including all recreational user groups and members of the community, has the right to enjoy low-impact beach access.
Beaches aren’t just the heart of Florida’s tourism economy; they’re the reason why so many make the Sunshine State their home- in fact more than two thirds of Floridians live in coastal counties.
Annually, 3,200,000 visitors come to South Walton where they generate 65% of all spending in the entire county. Jeopardizing beach access means the potential loss of nearly 20,000 jobs that are directly related to tourism in Walton County.
Recently, in a U.S. District Court, Judge Rogers held that Florida counties have the home rule authority to recognize, regulate, and protect the public’s right to use their dry sand beaches, based on custom. Local entities in Florida must continue to have the right to recognize and regulate the public’s recreational customary use rights of beaches.
If the legislature were to take away local governments’ home rule authority to protect public customary use rights, it would negatively affect tourism and the economy at the state and local levels. People live and come to Florida because of our beaches. And as the recent Alford decision correctly recognizes, and as the Florida Supreme Court has acknowledged, “No part of Florida is more exclusively hers, nor more properly utilized by her people than her beaches.”
Oppose SB804/ HB631 and protect the local authority of cities and counties to recognize and protect the public’s right to access their local beaches.
Please contact your member of the Florida House of Representatives and your member of the Florida Senate. Let them know that you want them to take action and regulate single-use plastic bags! Ask them to OPPOSE SB804/ HB631 in the 2018 Legislative Session!