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Florida Springs Council's
Analyses, Positions, and Tools for Advocates 

The 2024 Legislative Session runs from

January 9 through March 8, 2024.

We can’t promise you that we will win every time you take an action,
but we can promise that we will lose if you don’t.

We make it easy to contact lawmakers with pre-written emails. Provide your name and email address, modify the message if you wish, and hit send. Our system gets the right message to the right legislators.  

If you're ready to take action, use the button below to go directly to all active alerts. 

Post-Session Recap
Current Action Alerts

FSC Executive Director Ryan Smart will take us through a deep-dive of springs-related issues we fought hard on this Session, including protecting our access to the Courts, keeping trash out of our waterways, and advocating for increased funding for springs restoration and land conservation.


The livestream is now available to watch on the Florida Springs Council's YouTube and Facebook.

Overview of this year's bills
Action Alert 1
Tell Governor DeSantis to VETO a $400 million “back of the bill” appropriation to the St. Johns River Water Management District to acquire lands and construct a reservoir and stormwater treatment area near the headwaters of the St. Johns River.

If funded, the Grove Land Reservoir would redirect over one hundred million gallons of polluted water per day from South Florida into the St. Johns River. This could have serious negative impacts on the St. Johns River, the Indian River Lagoon near Sebastian, and Outstanding Florida Springs near Orlando. It continues the disastrous trend of “solving” South Florida’s pollution problems by moving the pollution into Central and North Florida. 


The $400 million Grove Land appropriation is the second largest “environmental” appropriation in the budget, and it was never discussed in any legislative session committee, meaning there was no opportunity for public comment. The supposed project sponsor, the St. Johns River Water Management District, was not even aware of the appropriation until a week after the budget had passed. 

We need you to join us in asking Governor DeSantis to veto this enormous, expensive, and unvetted appropriation, which was added to the “Back of the Bill” during the final two weeks of Legislative Session:

Action Alert 2
Tell Governor DeSantis to VETO two studies in the budget that are unnecessary, wasteful and harmful to Florida's waters

The Florida Springs Council is one of 27 organizations and businesses calling on Governor DeSantis to veto two unnecessary, wasteful, and potentially harmful studies in the 2024-25 budget. You can read our letter to the Governor here.

We need you to join us in asking Governor DeSantis to veto these studies using our click-to-send pre-written letter to the governor:

Line-Item 1756 “$25,000,000 - Provided to the Water School at the Florida Gulf Coast University to conduct a comprehensive water quality study to identify and analyze impaired rivers, including upstream sources, and determine the root cause of such impairments.”


  • A new study, conducted by an unknown contractor, to determine the (already known) sources of pollution to Florida’s rivers is completely unnecessary, a waste of taxpayer dollars, and will delay important rules and projects necessary to restore Florida’s waters. 

Line-Item 1543a - $4,000,000 - University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Fertilizer Rate Study.

  • Farm fertilizer is the dominant source of nitrogen pollution to Florida’s springs, rivers, lakes, bays, and estuaries. Florida law allows for nearly unlimited farm fertilizer pollution by providing farmers who implement best management practices a presumption of compliance with all water quality rules. It is well-known, and recognized by DEP, that current best management practices are not effective in achieving water quality goals. If this study is allowed to continue without considering the impacts on water quality, and DACS adopts the recommendations as part of updated agricultural best management practices, it will result in a massive increase in pollution entering Florida’s waters.

Action Alert 3

Tell Governor DeSantis to VETO HB 87: Taking of Bears


If passed, this bill will allow anyone to shoot a bear if they feel they, or their property, are being threatened. Current law already allows residents to defend themselves against any imminent wildlife threats, but this bill goes further; any person who uses lethal force to kill a bear would be free of any administrative, civil or criminal penalties under the terms of the bill.

The bill has now passed both chambers, and we are now asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto it.

Please call Gov. DeSantis at (850) 717-9337 and urge him to veto HB 87/SB 632. You can say something like "As your constituent, I am calling to urge you to veto the dangerous bill HB 87/SB 632 to protect Florida's bears from senseless killing. No one needs to kill a bear under the guise of self-defense." After making your call, follow up with an emailed message using the form provided here:

Bills that will affect Florida's springs

  • Senate Bill 738/House Bill 789    

      The one that would kill all environmental legal challenges

"Environmental Management" by Senator Danny Burgess & Representative Toby Overdorf


These bills would have prevented Florida Springs Council and other groups or individuals from going to court to enforce state laws and agency rules that impact Florida’s waters and wetlands.


Because they would require the losing party in legal challenges against the Department of Environmental Protection or a water management district to pay the prevailing parties' court costs and attorney fees, they would make the financial risk too great to risk seeking recourse in the courts. State law already requires sanctions and attorney fees for frivolous lawsuits filed for an improper purpose

The intent is not to stop frivolous lawsuits, but to shut local non-profits and concerned citizens out of the court system entirely. The only possible outcomes are more harmful development, water use permits, and pollution in Florida, and less that we can do to prevent it. 

On Jan. 10, SB 738 passed in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee (5-2) with Senator Tina Polsky and Senator Linda Stewart providing the "no" votes. 

HB 789 AMENDED: On Jan. 22, the House Water Quality, Supply & Treatment Subcommittee filed an amendment to HB 789 that removed Section 1, the provision on mandatory attorney fees, and Section 4, the changes to coastal permitting processes. This amendment was voted favorably and the bill passed in the Water Quality, Supply & Treatment Subcommittee on January 24.  

SB 738 AMENDEDOn Friday, January 26, Senator Burgess filed an amendment to SB 738 that removed section one, the section that would prevent organizations like FSC from going to court to enforce Florida's environmental laws. Unfortunately the amendment did not strike Section 4 of the bill, which is still a concern for our coastal allies. On Monday, January 29, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the amendment, removing the fee-shifting provision.


On Thursday, February 15, Senator Berman filed an amendment, striking the coastal permitting process section from the bill. The amendment passed and the bill was voted favorably on February 15. Now, both the House and Senate versions of the bill no longer include the fee-shifting provision or the section with the changes to coastal permitting processes.

Killing the fee-shifting provision was the Florida Springs Council's highest legislative priority this Session. 

  • Senate Bill 1126/House Bill 1641

      The one that would pre-empt all regulations on single use containers

"Regulation of Auxiliary Containers" by Senator Jonathan Martin & Representative Troy "Brad" Yeager


If passed, this bill would take away local government’s home rule and ability to regulate any single-use or reusable cup, bottle, bag, or other packaging designed for transporting, consuming, or protecting merchandise, food, or beverages from a retail or food establishment. 


It would not only prevent local governments from adopting regulations, it would prevent any state agency (like state parks) from regulating food packaging. The protections currently in place prohibiting single-use containers on the Rainbow River, Ichetucknee River and Weeki Wachee River would be repealed. 

On January 16, SB 1126 was voted favorably (4-0) in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. 


On January 24, HB 1641 was voted favorably (11-7) in the House Agriculture, Conservation & Resiliency Subcommittee, even though several lawmakers on the committee were joined by FSC, Surfrider, Sierra Club, and Oceana in speaking out against the bill.  

On February 6, SB 1126 was temporarily postponed and pulled from the Community Affairs Committee agenda. This was the last time the committee was scheduled to meet this session, so we are hopeful the bill will not be heard again this Legislative Session and single-use container bans in our state parks and local communities will remain in place.

HB 1641 was placed on the House State Affairs Committee agenda for February 14. However, the bill was temporarily postponed and pulled from the agenda at the beginning of the meeting at the request of the bill sponsor. 

  • Senate Bill 664/House Bill 527    

      The one that keeps local communities from protecting wetlands

"Land and Water Management" by Senator Danny Burgess & Representative Randy Maggard


Section 1 is effectively a state preemption on local environmental buffers to protect waters, wetlands, and natural areas. 


Section 2 preempts the regulation of all dredge and fill activities to the Department of Environmental Protection and water management districts, shutting down any local review of wetlands permitting.


These bills are a direct assault on local governments attempting to protect their communities and natural resources.

Deep dives and tracking

Read more about each bill, and track its progress through the legislature.

A Deeper Dive 

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For those of you who would like to go beyond mailing or calling your representatives: this gives you the chance to travel to Tallahassee and speak in front of lawmakers in person. Sign up to be notified of any opportunities to join our executive director Ryan Smart, the only lobbyist in Tallahassee working solely on springs issues, for a day in the Capital Building. 

We'll bring you up to speed on the issues and together present a united voice for springs. 


UPDATE: As legislative session winds down it becomes less likely that there will be further trips to the Capitol. But once you sign up you'll be notified of in-person advocacy opportunities during next year's session or for unexpected advocacy needs throughout the year.

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