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Impact Zone: 2024 Florida Legislative Session Week 2

Week two of the Florida legislative session came and went, with a number of bills on legislator's agendas that would impact our ocean, waves, and beaches for better and for worse. 

First, an update on a bad bill that stands to be the worst preemption bill for single-use plastics since the legislature preempted the regulation of most single use plastic items in 2008. As we mentioned in our opening week update SB1126 / HB1641 Regulation of Auxiliary Containers by Senator Martin and Representative Yeager would update the definition of auxiliary containers to more than single use plastic to include reusable boxes, bottles, cups, or other packaging sourced from a variety of materials. This bill would gut home rule on the regulation of these items and render Florida's communities unable to address plastic pollution legislatively.

Despite countless calls and emails to members of the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee to vote down on the bill and comments opposing the bill in its first hearing, it breezed through with no opposition or questions from members. The house companion has yet to be heard, and Surfrider Foundation will be closely monitoring the bill and vocally opposing as it makes its way through various committee stops. 

Now, for some better news. Nature-based solutions are on the agenda! SB32 Mangrove Replanting and Restoration was heard favorably in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government and now moves to the Rules committee before its first vote on the Senate floor. The Senate Committee on the Environment and Natural Resources also heard SB1258 Carbon Sequestration by Senator Rodriguez, which would establish a task force in DEP aimed at creating a state-level carbon sequestration program that would incentivize land and water management activities and policies that sequester carbon, including blue carbon. The bill was passed through its first committee stop unanimously. 

Next week, our volunteers and partners are headed up to the Capitol to meet with their lawmakers and advocate for healthy beaches and clean water for Florida Healthy Beaches Day! We will be sure to provide an update on the event and legislation for our ocean, waves, and beaches in Tallahassee.