Public Policy

Water Management Districts Threatened

February 15, 2012

February 14, 2012-Water Management Districts 

Click here to urge the appropriate legislators and Governor Scott to (1) remove the current revenue caps and restore the proper ad valorum millage rates to allow the districts to do their jobs; (2) restore oversight of district budgets exclusively to the Governor’s Office; and (3) avoid legislative involvement in the "core missions", regulatory functions, administration outreach and management of the water management districtsIn other words restore the districts to their status in 2010.   (feel free to add your local representative and senator to the email addresses you will find when you "click"!)

Urgent. We hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but just as we predicted, the new "improved SB 1834" has been reincarnated as SPB 7092.  It is very similar to 1834, but, to avoid appropriate public viewing and normal procedures, it is coming up in the Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday, February 15.  Let's be clear about this, it would not likely have passed the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee. This is a clear political move by those who feel they can control the Senate Budget Committee, and they are the same people who want to take over our Water Management Districts.

1. The legislature assumes full authority over the Water Management District Budgets. (The Governor's Office only has control over the final submissions to the Legislature.)  The process is complex, and utltimately could result in a sort of appellate review by the Legislative Budget Commission, who only has to give 7 days notice of its actions, but through legislative channels which vary. The budget can be altered in any way by the legislature under proposed provision 373  .  535(3)(b), line 272 of proposed bill. This is the end of regional water management.  Period.

2.  There are two separate tracks for funding. The one for the "core missions" is heavily oriented towards funding water supply and alternative water supply. The other track includes regulation.  The bill does not consider regulation to be a core mission or essential to implementing core missions.  In reality regulation is bedrock for protecting water supplies, water quality and natural systems (Core Missions).  In this bill it is placed in a separate funding category and is subject to not being funded at all. (373  .  503(3)(a) and (b), line 126 of proposed bill  .   ) 

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  • General areas considered to be of statewide FNPS significance
  • Any Florida legislative action that affects our state environmental land acquisition program known as Florida Forever, which includes Florida Communities Trust and/or any other state agency funded through Florida Forever (DEP). This includes, but is not limited to, any legislation affecting funding of the program. It also includes the urgent need to fund the Florida Forever program.
  • All state and local land acquisition efforts for preservation and conservation.
  • Any statewide policy changes that enhance improve or further natural resource system protection within recognized preserves and/or reserve or state park refuge.
  • Development issues that are regional or have statewide significance in that they affect a change in Florida policy towards land acquisition, natural resource systems or waters of the state, but only if the issue clearly relates to the FNPS mission to preserve, conserve and restore native plants and native plant communities.
  • Any state legislative, state agency or state university action that would affect the viability (or lack thereof) of native plants and native plant communities. This includes, but is not limited to, state policy on exotic invasive species, water conservation, listed plant species, and cataloging of native plant communities.

General areas considered not to be of statewide significance include

  • Issues that are primarily related to managing the way a local jurisdiction grows or the methods it uses to plan growth. Unless it can be shown to meet criteria number four in the previous section.
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