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Impact Zone: 2024 Committee Weeks Begin

After a sizzling summer in the Sunshine State, members of the Florida House of Representatives headed up to Tallahassee this week to move into their Capitol offices and kick-off discussions about policy issues in preparation for the 2024 legislative session. Notably, members of the state Senate did not meet this week, but will meet independently of the House the week of October 9th. Both chambers will be in Tallahassee together beginning October 16th.

It was not the most exciting week for the House, with very few committees scheduled to meet and no bill actions taken. One of the few house committees to meet this week of interest to Surfrider's coastal advocates was the Water Quality, Supply and Treatment Subcommittee, which welcomed State Representative Lindsay Cross (D-60), an environmental scientist from St. Petersburg, to the committee this session. The committee heard from FDEP about the state wetlands program and the St. Johns River Management District regarding mitigation banking. Committee members asked some great questions regarding the impacts of the Sackett decision on wetland permitting and the efficacy of mitigation banking. 

While the committee schedule was lean, legislators have started filing their legislation for the 2024 session in a trickle. Senator Ileana Garcia (R-36) filed SB32 Mangrove Replanting and Restoration which directs DEP to establish rules for planting mangroves. Given the tremendous power of mangroves to sequester carbon and provide flood mitigation benefits, this bill will help support the implementation of nature-based solutions using mangroves throughout the state. In addition to coastal resilience policy, new laws for flood disclosures for rental units and updates to state recycling law and programs were filed by Senator Linda Stewart (D-17). 

It is still too early to tell how this legislative session will shape up for Florida's ocean, waves and beaches, but you can be sure that Surfrider will be following the biggest issues for our coasts. We'll be back to keep you informed with another installment of Impact Zone after the next committee week in October.