Since February 4th, we’ve been fighting to kill SB 2508 and remove the budget “boobytrap” that is holding $320+ million in Everglades restoration funding hostage, contingent on passage of 2508.
We’re seeing deadline delays at the Florida Legislature’s budget conference which has been playing out over the last week, with suspiciously no mention of bad water bill SB 2508. This means the legislative session, which is supposed to adjourn on Friday, March 11th, could now extend through the weekend.
Our take? The Florida Senate may be buying time to pull another sneak attack, ensuring they can negotiate their bad language back into the 2508 with little interference.
Since we were blindsided by this backwards, bad-water policy proposal, we’ve been told by the Florida Senate we were misinformed, misled, and confused. We’ve made two trips to Tallahassee, gathered tens of thousands of petition signatures opposing SB2508, sent thousands of emails and made thousands of phone calls to the Florida Legislature.
The bill was amended a couple weeks ago, removing the worst of the worst, but there are still some items left that absolutely must be removed in these final days of negotiations at the Florida Legislature.
This is the last week of Legislative session and this bill will have to be wrapped up in the next few days and submitted to Governor Ron DeSantis.
Stand up today—even if you’ve already done so—and let the Florida Legislature know that they MUST remove everything harming the Everglades from this bill and they MUST get rid of the budget boobytrap language that holds over $300 million in state funding for Everglades restoration hostage to the passage of this bad bill.
The annual Florida Legislative Session is a 60-day window (Jan 11-March 11) where the Legislature is convened for the purpose of lawmaking. On February 4th, the Florida Senate filed Senate Bill 2508 late at night, fast-tracking it to a Senate committee vote and stifling opportunity for public input.
Captains For Clean Water two major points of opposition:
The bill can be read here.
On February 17th, an amendment to Senate Bill 2508 was approved in the Senate by a 37-2 vote, but this does not mean the bill has passed into law. The amendment removed the worst of the worst from the original bill, but there is still harmful language that remains.
Harmful Language Removed:
Harmful Language Remaining:
SB 2508 is just one example of decades of similar political schemes intended to secure the interests of one powerful interest group—the industrial sugar industry, or “Big Sugar.”
For over 30 years, the federally-subsidized industrial sugar industry has employed the largest and most powerful lobbying force in Florida’s State Capitol, working daily to secure perfect growing conditions, a taxpayer-funded irrigation and flood control system, free water, lack of oversight on pollution, and federal subsidies to produce 1.5 million tons of refined sugar each year.
To protect and advance their political interests, Big Sugar has effectively navigated the political levers behind the curtains at both state and federal levels. They have successfully lobbied to identify and elect political candidates who understand the sugar industry’s political goals and priorities and they invest millions in political contributions to ensure their interests are prioritized—interests that are rarely aligned with the rest of South Florida.
In its very essence, SB 2508 benefits the sugar industry at the expense of all others. The treatment displayed by the Senate Committee to the constituents who showed up to oppose the bill—was intended to manipulate, confuse, and ultimately neutralize their resistance.
This resistance we face is largely the economy of the past. The intent is not to vilify the sugar industry, but they are desperate to keep their control on water management, preserving an antiquated system that benefits few at the expense of many. Rather than acknowledging their contributions to the problem and actively working toward solutions, they fight it completely against the good of today’s economy.
Call and email these Florida legislators and don’t let up until a resolution is reached!
These lawmakers are feeling the heat. They don’t like the negative media attention or the fact that thousands of people are holding them accountable on social media. Don’t let up! Our jobs, our economy, and our way of life hang in the balance.