Legislative session 2024: It’s going to be a long two months

The Florida Capitol during the 2023 legislative session in Tallahassee.

Welcome to the good, the bad and the hideously ugly.

The 2024 Florida Legislative session began Tuesday, Jan. 9, and continues through Friday, March 8. More than four dozen bills that could have an impact on clean water have been filed, and as we noted in a recent newsletter, the mantra this year seems to be: “Spend more money on clean-water projects so we can push through more dirty-water bills.”

One particularly noxious pair of bills (HB 527/SB 664) seeks to pare back local wetlands protections. Others seek to expand the use of mitigation banking. But the big push this year — as was the case last year — comes from the “sprawl” industry; there’s a growing stack of bills designed to intimidate citizens and prevent environmental challenges, to curtail the power of local governments, and to push through as many residential building permits as quickly as possible.

If passed, these bills will have a massive impact on water quality.

Our friends at Friends of the Everglades have the canonical rundown on their Legislative Accountability page, and check out this video from Tuesday’s livestream with Friends’ Executive Director Eve Samples and VoteWater Executive Director/Friends Policy Director Gil Smart on what to expect over the next two months.

Stick with VoteWater for updates and behind the scenes news about how dirty money fuels this year’s legislative assault on clean water and more. And get ready to chime in when these bad bills come up for a vote; your voice can make a difference.