• Florida Policy Watch

FL Final Leg Round Up Part II: Environment, Health & Pro-Corporate Liability Protections

TALLAHASSEE, FL - In the first and last weeks of session the Florida Legislature pushed a pro-corporate, anti-working class agenda. Early in session Governor DeSantis signed the COVID liability immunity law (SB72) which provides blanket immunity to corporations, healthcare institutions, government agencies, schools and faith groups that might be spreading COVID. In the last few weeks of session we saw the passage of: 1) several preemption bills backed by corporate fossil fuel companies, including one that removes the abilility of local municipalities to promote local 100% clean energy initiatives in their city or county, 2) a pro-corporate solar bill that allows corporate solar companies to put solar panel fields anywhere despite strong community push back, and 3) a pro-corporate farming protection bill backed by the sugar industry that removes the ability of local communities and farm workers to sue farmers for using industry practices that are harmful to their health (including sugarcane burning which spreads toxic smoke throughout the glades area where industry farmers still use the archaic practice.



Bill: SB1128/HB919 State Preemption of Energy Infrastructure Regulations

Category: Environmental Justice, Home Rule, Climate Justice, Preemption, Clean Energy, Public Health

Status: Passed in the House and Senate as HB 919 and is waiting to be signed into law by Governor DeSantis.

Summary: Retroactively removes local municipalities resolutions to move towards 100% clean energy in all municipalities across the state except those that govern their own utilities (Tallahassee and Gainesville for example). Prevents local muncipalities from directing their government to move towards 100% clean energy. Promotes bad energy intiatives with severe environmental and public health consequences. The legislation was brought forward and carried by the fossil fuel industry and unfortunately supported by Democrats as well as Republicans in committee and final votes. Find out if your House Rep. voted for this terrible legislation HERE and if your Senator voted for the bill HERE

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3heqGMN

Actions: Send an email to Governor DeSantis (created by Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida) that asks him to protect the environment and Floridians' health and VETO the legislation. He claims to be a pro-environment Governor - help hold him to that.

Get More Involved: Join one of the groups that fought this bill. This includes ReThink Energy Florida, Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida, Florida Rising, and Florida Conservation Voters.


Bill: HB1601/SB88 Liability Immunity for Farming Practices

Category: Environment, Corporate Corruption, Public Health, Climate Crisis

Status: Signed into law by Governor DeSantis on April 30, 2021.

Summary: This bill amended the Florida Right to Farm Act to include lawsuit liability immunity for farmers, especially corporate farmers, who use farming practices that are harmful to the environment and/or the health of farm workers and/or surrounding communities. This bill was shamefully co-sponsored by Democrats and Republicans alilke and was backed by the powerful sugar industry. Unfortuntely, this bill is retroactive and will remove a current lawsuit put forward by members of the glades community in South Florida who were suing big sugar industry because the harmful effects of sugarcane burning on their health, especially the health of their children during a pandemic that attacks respiratory organs.

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3vWidBP

Get More Involved: Join one of the groups that fought this bill. This includes Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida and Florida Chapter of the Sierra Club.


Bill: SB896/HB539 Preemption for Solar Energy Fields

Category: Racial Justice, Workers Rights, Economic Justice, Home Rule, Poverty

Status: Passed in the House and Senate as SB 896 and is waiting to be signed into law by Governor DeSantis.

Summary: Removes local municipalities ability to object to solar facility creation in their area and restricts local municipalities ability to create their own priorities for agricultural land use. Like the other preemption bills this bill was promoted by corporations, specifically the corporate solar industry. Where we might normally align with the move towards more solar energy in Florida we argue against doing so at the expense of local impact, especially of communities of color and/or poverty impacted communities that object to solar panel fields in their area. Like the other preemption bills this legislative session, Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of this bill despite the fact that directly impacted people of color showed up at the Florida Capitol to testify, even to the point of tears, against the bill. Find out if your House Rep. voted for this terrible legislation HERE and if your Senator voted for the bill HERE

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/3blzgFQ

Get More Involved: Join one of the groups that fought this bill. This includes ReThink Energy Florida, Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida, Florida Rising, and Florida Conservation Voters.


Bill: HB7/SB72/SB74 COVID Liability Immunity for Corporations, Government Agencies and Healthcare Facilities

Category: COVID, Workers Rights, Amendment 7, Corporate Corruption, Criminal Justice, Education, Pubic Health

Status: Signed into law by the Governor

Summary: This legislation essentially creates civil lawsuit immunity for corporations, government agencies, faith based groups, schools, and healthcare facilities (including nursing homes) with no way to hold them accountable for negligence around COVID-19 including protection of employees, clients and consumers. SB72/SB74 was backed by for-profit and industry-related corporations and put profits before people. Like the environmental preemption bills, Democrats and Republicans voted for this bill removing the Amendment Seven right of people to hold corporations, their own government, and the healthcare industry accountable for spreading COVID to workers, consumers, clients, and children. Find out if your House Rep. voted for this terrible legislation HERE and if your Senator voted for the bill HERE

Link to More Information: https://bit.ly/38ddeTS and https://bit.ly/2RNozEM

Get More Involved: Join one of the groups that fought this bill. This includes, Florida Policy Action Network, Florida Justice Assocation, Florida AFL-CIO, SEIU Florida, Florida Alliance of Retired Americans and Florida Rising.


Full Bill Tracker

Tracker lists bills by their current status, prioritizing bills that are moving the fastest.



PRIORITY BILL ACTIONS TODAY


Tell Governor DeSantis to VETO the anti-clean energy preemption bill




Florida Policy Action Network is a project of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy and the Florida People's Advocacy Center. The mission of FPAN is to uplift directly impacted voices and combine movement research, public policy analysis, and citizen supported advocacy to change the way elected officials in Florida debate issues that directly impact the state's most marginalized and oppressed. We need your support to continue our work.


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