Friday, May 17, 2019

Four Remaining Veto Requests of Governor DeSantis

Sierra Club Florida has four remaining veto requests of Governor DeSantis.  These four requests cover threats that both directly and indirectly impact the natural environment upon which we depend, freedom of speech, and the state of our democracy:

Property Development: Amended in the waning hours of the legislative session, HB 7103 turns the growth management law upside down by requiring comprehensive plan amendments to conform to pre-existing development orders, and requiring costs be paid to the prevailing party in challenges to development orders.  This will have a chilling effect on citizen enforcement of comprehensive plans. See letter here:  

Attorney Fees and Costs – HB 829 provides that fees and costs will always be granted to the prevailing party in a challenge involving an ordinance that is ‘’expressly preempted by the State Constitution or by state law.” Even if the preemption is expressed, the scope of the preemption  may legitimately be in doubt – exactly the sort of disagreement the courts are designed to settle. The risk of being assessed the local government’s fees and costs may be chilling for regular citizens challenging an ordinance, but not necessarily for a developer or other large landholder. Legal fees are a cost of doing business. The bill attempts to coerce localities to cave to any challenge they are not absolutely sure they are going to win. This bill is actually unnecessary, as Florida Statute already provides for awarding costs to victims of unscrupulous or frivolous suits. Additionally, a newly added Section 2 of the bill adds an implicit preemption of the local regulation of biosolids that would begin on the effective date of the FL Department of Environmental Protection regulation of same. See letter here:  

Voting Rights Restoration: When other bills failed, SB 7066 was amended with the restoration of rights (Amendment 4) languageThe legislation will harm all returning citizens who have prior felony convictions but have completed all but the financial obligations of their sentences by rendering them ineligible to vote. See letter here: 

Constitutional Amendments: HB 5 was amended late in the session to include the citizens' initiative petition gatherers language which will make it harder for citizen initiatives to get on the ballot. The bill makes it illegal to pay petition gatherers based on the number of petitions they collect, requires submission of information about petition gatherers, including their permanent and temporary addresses, and would require the gatherers to sign sworn statements that they will follow state laws and rules. The bill would also require petitions to be turned into county supervisors of elections no more than 30 days after being signed by voters, and includes penalties of up to $50 for each late submission. Fines could grow to $1,000 for any petition “willfully” not submitted on time. See letter here: http://www.sierraclubfloridanews.org/2019/05/sierra-club-florida-asks-governor.html