The Republican leadership of the Florida legislature yesterday detailed plans to override most of the vetoes by Gov. Charlie Crist that they first announced would be discussed a week and a half ago. Today’s agenda features a handful of bills that, if passed, could have large consequences for Florida’s environment and the state’s ability to regulate industry.
“We want to make sure tomorrow goes as smoothly as possible and we wanted to pick bills that we thought were in unison with everyone, Democrats and Republicans, alike,” incoming Senate President Mike Haridopolos said, according to the News Service of Florida.
One veto bill up for an override is House Bill 1565.
At a press conference hailing the EPA’s announcement of new water pollution standards, Frank Jackalone of the Sierra Club of Florida noted that the Department of Environmental protection had — and still has — the authority to implement similar standards without federal intervention, but “the cabal of polluters who are opposing it have an iron grip on Tallahassee.”
If H.B. 1565 passes, it will become “virtually impossible” to set similar regulations at the state level, Jackalone said.
Its effects will range far beyond environmental regulations, requiring any new rule projected to cost the state’s economy more than $1 million over five years to be approved by the legislature.
Another measure up for an override, House Bill 569, would allow local governments and waste management companies to consolidate yard waste with other trash. David Cullen, a lobbyist representing the Sierra Club, said he’s concerned that it will increase methane emissions and put additional strain on landfills. Community gardeners also opposed the measure, fearing it would reduce their access to free mulch and compost.
The leadership also affirmed their plans to extend the dates for septic tank inspections. At the time the bill was passed, regulators estimated that one in 10 septic tanks in the state were failing, posing a threat to the state’s waterways. The bill is set to take effect in January, but lawmakers want to delay it till July 1, after this spring’s regular session.
A six-month delay isn’t very long, Cullen said. The key for his group is to defend the measure’s original intent during the regular session, when lawmakers may try to tweak it.
The legislature also plans to approve the use of federal funds to pay for a portion of the state’s unfunded solar rebate programs.
Here are the other vetoed bills the legislature plans to pass today:
+ An appropriation of $9.7 million to Shands hospital at the University of Florida.
+ House Bill 545, which would repeal a law requiring sellers of homes in coastal areas to disclose their storm protections. “The statute is a potential impediment to home sales in Florida because it puts an additional burden on the seller,” according to a statement from the House majority office.
+ House Bill 981, which makes it easier for buyers of agricultural land to keep the favorable tax treatment enjoyed by farms.
+ House Bill 1385, which streamlines the cleanup of contaminated gas station sites.
+ Senate Bill 1516, which would require the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to develop a database of state-owned lands.
+ Senate Bill 1842, a transportation bill that had drawn fire from cyclists.