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BlogBreaking NewsfeaturedNewsGov. DeSantis vetoes Senate Bill 2508, every voice matters

June 10, 20222
https://i2.wp.com/captainsforcleanwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/DSC09992-e1654859430968.jpg?fit=1200%2C586&ssl=1

The power of one is the strength of many—how individual voices can come together to create monumental change. 

And just like that, with the swift stroke of the pen, the bill was dead. The voice of the people had prevailed. Florida Senate Bill 2508—a proposed piece of legislation that threatened to undo years of Everglades restoration progress—was finally done, its last standing column taken out by way of veto at the hand of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. 

The governor officially axed the bad-water proposal Wednesday in Fort Myers, but the road to the bill’s demise started long before this moment—it started almost immediately after the bill was introduced back in February.  

This historic culmination is the result of tens of thousands of individuals taking seemingly small actions to create a massive force of opposition against a crooked political scheme, those individuals defying the corruption every step of the way.  

It’s the result of one, and it’s the result of many. It’s a reminder of the power we have as individuals to influence change, because this precedent-setting moment would have never happened without every single person that did their part—no matter how big or small. 

The Saga of Senate Bill 2508

From the moment members of the Florida Senate planted SB 2508 into the legislative arena, things were suspicious. The first red flag was the method by which the bill was filed, as a budget conforming bill. This would significantly reduce the opportunity for public engagement, effectively affording only one opportunity to take input from citizens a mere two working days after the bill’s filing.

https://i2.wp.com/captainsforcleanwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/IMG_3575-scaled-e1654860338783.jpg?fit=1200%2C746&ssl=1

It was a clear attempt to sneak the bill into policy under the cover of darkness. Just days after it was filed, Governor DeSantis denounced the bill and its handling, saying, “SB 2508 is being rammed through the budget process, short-circuiting public engagement and leaving affected agencies in the dark.” 

But its questionable filing was only part of the problem. In its original form, it really was one of the worst pieces of water policy in decades.

The bill threatened to reduce priority of the critical EAA Reservoir project, a cornerstone Everglades restoration project. It held hostage more than $300 million in Everglades restoration funding, forcing that funding to be contingent on the passing of SB 2508. And worst of all, it threatened to write into law the preferential treatment of the industrial sugar industry over all other stakeholders in Lake Okeechobee operations.

A Groundswell of Opposition

The threat that the bill posed was far too consequential for the people to sit idly by. Instead, they rallied. They rallied for more than a month straight. A massive wave of opposition mounted.  

Early on in the fight, during his testimony, Capt. C.A. Richardson warned Senate committee members of his community’s dedication to beat the bill, pledging that his fellow fishing guides and business owners were not going to quit. “They don’t quit when they’re tired. They quit when they’re done…and they are not done,” he emphasized. 

In fact, they were just getting started. Over the next month and a half, more than 50,000 Captains For Clean Water supporters protested the corrupt bill, sending 156,000 emails to legislators, adding 1,500 phone calls, tallying up 43,000 petition signatures, and making multiple trips to the State Capitol. 

Ultimately, these efforts forced the Florida Senate to amend the bill twice, removing most of the harmful Everglades language as well as the language that locked up the $300 million in state Everglades funding. A potential catastrophe for Everglades restoration and water quality had been mitigated, and a trainwreck had been resolved into a mild fender bender. 

So, when the bill finally passed the full legislature vote on March 14th, it was a mere shell of its former self. However, it still had some questionable language remaining that would certainly not be good for clean water or Florida’s environment. It still served only a few special interests, neglecting the majority of Floridians.  

Now, even that shell has been buried. Even the fragmented, desperate remnants of a crooked scheme are no longer a threat, swamped by the groundswell of opposition. The bill has been vetoed.  

https://i2.wp.com/captainsforcleanwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/fbc9832ee71c18ae1d87e66e847b8368-e1654861470211.jpeg?fit=1200%2C722&ssl=1

This particular battle is over, but more importantly, a precedent has been established in the larger fight for clean water. A precedent that condemns these corrupt tactics and gives true value to the voice of the people. A precedent that sends a clear message: if you get in the way of clean-water progress, “you’re gonna get steamrolled by Governor DeSantis,” as Capt. Daniel Andrews described it. 

This veto shows that the people can write their own story, they can take back control of their waters. It proves that each and every individual voice does matter and can make a difference. 

The groundswell to tear down the status quo has turned the tide. But before it was a wave, that powerful force started as only a small ripple—just a single voice or a seemingly trivial action. It started with one. 

The power of one is the strength of many 

“Can you imagine if everybody just picked up one piece of trash a day?” That’s what Carter Andrews wondered before firing off his first #OnePieceADay post on social media, showing how easy it was to pick up one piece of trash out of the water each day. Carter, a fishing legend and TV show host, had always grabbed garbage when he saw it floating in the water, and he wanted to encourage everyone else to do the same. It was a simple concept that started with just one person—just one piece a day.  

Many critics would find that effort to be pointless or insignificant, arguing or excusing themselves under the mentality that, “I’m only one person, I won’t or can’t make a difference.” But, take a look at the phenomenon that Carter’s One Piece A Day initiative has generated, and you’d think otherwise. 

After that first post, the concept went viral. It started a revolution. Just like the wave that washed out SB 2508, One Piece A Day created real change. Now there are countless people posting their own #OnePieceADay moments every day, each time bringing others into the effort. Over the short time since his first ripple of a post, there have been thousands more that have followed. 

“Our water is important to us, but it’s not just important to us, it’s important to the fish and the marine life that live in it,” understands Carter. “We owe it to them to take a little bit better care of this resource.”  

That’s exactly what One Piece A Day is doing. A simple act to right a wrong created a wave of a movement to do better for our waters. Now that wave gets bigger every day, supported by the thousands of individuals who were inspired by one. Change is happening. 

10,000 pushups for clean water 

Another wave got rolling earlier this year when Capt. Tom Rowland rewrote the rules for his annual 10K Pushup Challenge, running this year’s competition as an effort to raise awareness for Florida’s water-quality issues and encouraging participants to take on the effort in teams. To most, the challenge—complete ten thousand pushups in 30 days—seems like a properly crazy idea and about as appetizing as a dry kale salad.  

Tom recognized that ironman-ing it wasn’t for everyone, and he realized he could introduce a lot more people to the fight for clean water by opening up the event to teams of any size. The more was indeed the merrier. In fact, it was the goal. Tom was hoping the event would rack up one million total pushups because he knew that every participant was a potential voice for our waters and every pushup had the power to bring someone else into the fold.  

And that was the real strength of the challenge: the power to grow the effort to restore our waters through individuals working together towards a common goal. 333 pushups per day might seem impossible for one person, but just like with fighting for clean water, if people band together, they can achieve great things. 

“The Florida water issues are much the same as the 10K Pushup Challenge,” says Tom. “There is this incredibly challenging goal of cleaning up the water for generations to come, which for some seems impossible. However, if we work together to take small actions—like writing our congressmen, voting in favor of water issues, using less fertilizers and chemicals on our lawns, and using our voice to educate others—we can make a massive difference.” 

Tom’s challenge happened to take place in February during the heat of the SB 2508 battle. There were hundreds of official registrants and countless more participating on social media, many who were previously unaware of any water-quality issues in Florida.  

Because of the 10K Pushup Challenge, those people were exposed to a problem and empowered to be a part of fixing it. They signed the petition, they sent emails, they made phone calls, and they got others to do the same. Each of them was a critical piece in the collective effort that ultimately effected real change for Florida’s waters. Each of them made a difference.

They say that if you want to eat an elephant, you have to take it one bite at a time. That’s the absolute truth. Whether you’re attempting ten thousand pushups, trying to rid our oceans of trash, or battling arguably the worst proposed piece of legislation in Everglades restoration history, it all starts with one. One voice, one act, one person. But one becomes many, and many can make a major difference. Many can take down an elephant like Senate Bill 2508.

The power of one is the strength of many—how individual voices can come together to create monumental change. 

And just like that, with the swift stroke of the pen, the bill was dead. The voice of the people had prevailed. Florida Senate Bill 2508—a proposed piece of legislation that threatened to undo years of Everglades restoration progress—was finally done, its last standing column taken out by way of veto at the hand of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. 

The governor officially axed the bad-water proposal Wednesday in Fort Myers, but the road to the bill’s demise started long before this moment—it started almost immediately after the bill was introduced back in February.  

This historic culmination is the result of tens of thousands of individuals taking seemingly small actions to create a massive force of opposition against a crooked political scheme, those individuals defying the corruption every step of the way.  

It’s the result of one, and it’s the result of many. It’s a reminder of the power we have as individuals to influence change, because this precedent-setting moment would have never happened without every single person that did their part—no matter how big or small. 

The Saga of Senate Bill 2508

From the moment members of the Florida Senate planted SB 2508 into the legislative arena, things were suspicious. The first red flag was the method by which the bill was filed, as a budget conforming bill. This would significantly reduce the opportunity for public engagement, effectively affording only one opportunity to take input from citizens a mere two working days after the bill’s filing.

https://i2.wp.com/captainsforcleanwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/IMG_3575-scaled-e1654860338783.jpg?fit=1200%2C746&ssl=1

It was a clear attempt to sneak the bill into policy under the cover of darkness. Just days after it was filed, Governor DeSantis denounced the bill and its handling, saying, “SB 2508 is being rammed through the budget process, short-circuiting public engagement and leaving affected agencies in the dark.” 

But its questionable filing was only part of the problem. In its original form, it really was one of the worst pieces of water policy in decades. 

The bill threatened to reduce priority of the critical EAA Reservoir project, a cornerstone Everglades restoration project. It held hostage more than $300 million in Everglades restoration funding, forcing that funding to be contingent on the passing of SB 2508. And worst of all, it threatened to write into law the preferential treatment of the industrial sugar industry over all other stakeholders in Lake Okeechobee operations.

A Groundswell of Opposition

The threat that the bill posed was far too consequential for the people to sit idly by. Instead, they rallied. They rallied for more than a month straight. A massive wave of opposition mounted.  

Early on in the fight, during his testimony, Capt. C.A. Richardson warned Senate committee members of his community’s dedication to beat the bill, pledging that his fellow fishing guides and business owners were not going to quit. “They don’t quit when they’re tired. They quit when they’re done…and they are not done,” he emphasized. 

In fact, they were just getting started. Over the next month and a half, more than 50,000 Captains For Clean Water supporters protested the corrupt bill, sending 156,000 emails to legislators, adding 1,500 phone calls, tallying up 43,000 petition signatures, and making multiple trips to the State Capitol. 

Ultimately, these efforts forced the Florida Senate to amend the bill twice, removing most of the harmful Everglades language as well as the language that locked up the $300 million in state Everglades funding. A potential catastrophe for Everglades restoration and water quality had been mitigated, and a trainwreck had been resolved into a mild fender bender. 

So, when the bill finally passed the full legislature vote on March 14th, it was a mere shell of its former self. However, it still had some questionable language remaining that would certainly not be good for clean water or Florida’s environment. It still served only a few special interests, neglecting the majority of Floridians.  

Now, even that shell has been buried. Even the fragmented, desperate remnants of a crooked scheme are no longer a threat, swamped by the groundswell of opposition. The bill has been vetoed.  

https://i2.wp.com/captainsforcleanwater.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/fbc9832ee71c18ae1d87e66e847b8368-e1654861470211.jpeg?fit=1200%2C722&ssl=1

This particular battle is over, but more importantly, a precedent has been established in the larger fight for clean water. A precedent that condemns these corrupt tactics and gives true value to the voice of the people. A precedent that sends a clear message: if you get in the way of clean-water progress, “you’re gonna get steamrolled by Governor DeSantis,” as Capt. Daniel Andrews described it. 

This veto shows that the people can write their own story, they can take back control of their waters. It proves that each and every individual voice does matter and can make a difference. 

The groundswell to tear down the status quo has turned the tide. But before it was a wave, that powerful force started as only a small ripple—just a single voice or a seemingly trivial action. It started with one. 

The power of one is the strength of many 

“Can you imagine if everybody just picked up one piece of trash a day?” That’s what Carter Andrews wondered before firing off his first #OnePieceADay post on social media, showing how easy it was to pick up one piece of trash out of the water each day. Carter, a fishing legend and TV show host, had always grabbed garbage when he saw it floating in the water, and he wanted to encourage everyone else to do the same. It was a simple concept that started with just one person—just one piece a day.  

Many critics would find that effort to be pointless or insignificant, arguing or excusing themselves under the mentality that, “I’m only one person, I won’t or can’t make a difference.” But, take a look at the phenomenon that Carter’s One Piece A Day initiative has generated, and you’d think otherwise. 

After that first post, the concept went viral. It started a revolution. Just like the wave that washed out SB 2508, One Piece A Day created real change. Now there are countless people posting their own #OnePieceADay moments every day, each time bringing others into the effort. Over the short time since his first ripple of a post, there have been thousands more that have followed. 

“Our water is important to us, but it’s not just important to us, it’s important to the fish and the marine life that live in it,” understands Carter. “We owe it to them to take a little bit better care of this resource.”  

That’s exactly what One Piece A Day is doing. A simple act to right a wrong created a wave of a movement to do better for our waters. Now that wave gets bigger every day, supported by the thousands of individuals who were inspired by one. Change is happening. 

10,000 pushups for clean water 

Another wave got rolling earlier this year when Capt. Tom Rowland rewrote the rules for his annual 10K Pushup Challenge, running this year’s competition as an effort to raise awareness for Florida’s water-quality issues and encouraging participants to take on the effort in teams. To most, the challenge—complete ten thousand pushups in 30 days—seems like a properly crazy idea and about as appetizing as a dry kale salad.  

Tom recognized that ironman-ing it wasn’t for everyone, and he realized he could introduce a lot more people to the fight for clean water by opening up the event to teams of any size. The more was indeed the merrier. In fact, it was the goal. Tom was hoping the event would rack up one million total pushups because he knew that every participant was a potential voice for our waters and every pushup had the power to bring someone else into the fold.  

And that was the real strength of the challenge: the power to grow the effort to restore our waters through individuals working together towards a common goal. 333 pushups per day might seem impossible for one person, but just like with fighting for clean water, if people band together, they can achieve great things. 

“The Florida water issues are much the same as the 10K Pushup Challenge,” says Tom. “There is this incredibly challenging goal of cleaning up the water for generations to come, which for some seems impossible. However, if we work together to take small actions—like writing our congressmen, voting in favor of water issues, using less fertilizers and chemicals on our lawns, and using our voice to educate others—we can make a massive difference.” 

Tom’s challenge happened to take place in February during the heat of the SB 2508 battle. There were hundreds of official registrants and countless more participating on social media, many who were previously unaware of any water-quality issues in Florida.  

Because of the 10K Pushup Challenge, those people were exposed to a problem and empowered to be a part of fixing it. They signed the petition, they sent emails, they made phone calls, and they got others to do the same. Each of them was a critical piece in the collective effort that ultimately effected real change for Florida’s waters. Each of them made a difference.

They say that if you want to eat an elephant, you have to take it one bite at a time. That’s the absolute truth. Whether you’re attempting ten thousand pushups, trying to rid our oceans of trash, or battling arguably the worst proposed piece of legislation in Everglades restoration history, it all starts with one. One voice, one act, one person. But one becomes many, and many can make a major difference. Many can take down an elephant like Senate Bill 2508.