Oppose SB804/ HB631 “Possession of Real Property”
NOTE- Please see below for updates on this legislation.
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!
UPDATE MARCH 23rd:
Governor Scott signed HB 631 into law today. This is a great disappointment, but not the end of our fight! We’ll continue to work with Walton County (and any other Florida city or county that wants our help!) to support their fight for Customary Use. For now, here’s how you can help! If you or your family has visited the beach in Walton County for generations, they need your photos and documentary evidence to support customary use beach access! Please send your historic photos and documentation of public beach access to: firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE MARCH 7th:
Beach Access Legislation Update: Our thanks to everyone who called their legislators, and voiced their opposition to SB 804 & HB 631, Possession of Real Property. The bad news is that the legislation was approved in the House and Senate and is headed for final passage soon. The good news is that the bill was amended create a process that will allow cities or counties to codify customary use beach access. We would still prefer to see no bill at all, but this improvement is definitely the result of your public input and action! For now, please direct all opposition to Governor Rick Scott, (850) 488-7146.
UPDATE MARCH 1st:
This morning the Senate Rules Committee passed SB 804, it’s now headed to the Senate Floor. Please take a moment to contact your State Senator to oppose this bill and protect beach access in Florida!
UPDATE FEBRUARY 27th:
Good news- Representative Edwards-Walpole will not be attempting to amended the unrelated bill HB 1173, but instead the Senate will take up the original SB 804. That means you should direct ALL calls to the Senate Rules Committee and the full Senate when it heads to the floor.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 26th:
Rep. Edwards-Walpole is now trying to add her bad beach access language onto an unrelated bill, HB 1173, that is already heading to the House Floor for votes this Wednesday! Please call your State Representative TODAY and ask them to vote no on this bad amendment (amendment # 962197, )! Follow this link to find your Representative: http://myfloridahouse.gov/…/Represent…/myrepresentative.aspx
UPDATE FEBRUARY 20th:
We are disappointed to report that SB 804, the bad beach access bill, passed out of the Community Affairs committee today. We will fight on, there’s still on more committee stop in the Senate before it heads to the floor! Video of the hearing below, discussion of the bill begins around the 30-minute mark, Surfrider testimony at 1:04: http://www.flsenate.gov/media/videoplayer?EventID=2443575804_2018021208&Redirect=true
UPDATE FEBRUARY 15th:
SB 804, the bill that would take away existing beach access ordinances and prohibit all local customary use ordinances in the future, is up in the Community Affairs Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 20th. Please call these committee members and ask them to vote NO on SB 804!
Senator Lee, Chair-(850) 487-5020
Senator Bean, Vice Chair-(850) 487-5004
Senator Brandes- (850) 487-5024
Senator Campbell- (850) 487-5038
Senator Perry- (850) 487-5008
Senator Rodriguez- (850) 487-5037
Senator Simmons- (850) 487-5009
UPDATE January 11th:
The bad beach access bill passed through committee stops in the House and Senate yesterday. The bill has one more stop in the House and two more in the Senate before it goes to a full vote. Follow the link to watch video of yesterday’s hearing. Discussion of the bill begins around the 11-minute mark, our testimony is around the 43-minute mark. http://www.flsenate.gov/media/videoplayer?EventID=2443575804_2018011061&Redirect=true
UPDATE January 5th:
The bad beach access bill is up in its first committee next week (the first week of session). First, call Sen. Passidomo and politely ask her to remove the customary use language from her bill: (850) 487-5028 or (239) 417-6205. Then it’s time to call the Judiciary Committee members and let them know you’re opposed to SB 804. More info here: https://florida.surfrider.org/?page_id=1687 #longlivethebeach