Our limited time (5 sessions) witnessing and following bills through the legislative process has taught us that one can never second-guess our elected representatives; their actions leave us perplexed.
How many do their homework? When they give opinions which reveal an astonishing ignorance of the issue, when they make statements that can be shown to be wrong with five minutes spent on Google, does this mean they actually don’t know, or do they know better but are only pursuing their agenda?
Carl Hiassen calls them whores, since they unabashedly and legally sell themselves (their votes at least) to the highest bidder. We used to call that bribes, but now our US Supreme Court says it is freedom of speech*.(see note below) No wonder we have so much corruption in politics.
So what happened with SB 712, the bill that started out looking like the answer to our problems? Sen. Debbie Mayfield apparently spent hours and hours including all the important points, right down to bottled water. This bill was so strong that it scared Seven Springs Water Company so much that they hired ex -Secretary of Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Jon Steverson to appear and speak against it. Interesting to hear this so called supposed-environmentalist defending not the environment but a bottling company pulling water for profit from a spring and river in recovery.
So what happened we ask again? When the current Sec. of DEP Noah Valenstein got up and praised the bill as the next best thing to smart phones, did those who did no research simply take his word?
What role did Sen. Mayfield have when her peers started taking her carefully crafted bill apart? What options did she have to stop this? Your writer has no clue.
Only one person in the entire Legislature, Rep. Anna Eskamani, voted against this horrible bill. One hundred and fifty nine people either did not read the bill, or read it and decided it was good for Florida. Either way is incredible.
Can 159 of our legislators be so closed-minded or disinterested as to not see what our current water needs are in Florida? If not, can they live with themselves after turning their backs to the issue? Do they owe that many favors to cronies? Are they so afraid of re-election? Have they taken that much money from lobbyists? All 159? . Did they write it off as a lost cause and vote for it so as not to needlessly attract the ire of enemies? Is there no such thing as principle and justice? How can this be? This makes no sense
An intelligent environmentalist friend says Florida is doomed because of this very phenomenon. If we believed that we would not be posting here, but evidence seems to back him up.
Our thanks go to Rep. Anna Eskamani for her courage to do what is right for Florida.
Following is taken from a Sierra Club statement giving a rundown and performance grading for our Legislature of the last session. Here is a link to the complete list.
Thanks to Deborah Foote for sending.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
– A river is like a life: once taken,
it cannot be brought back © Jim Tatum
Senate Bill 712: a vote supported the misnamed “Clean Waterways Act.”
It (1) fails to fix the broken BMAP program,
(2) doesn’t require agriculture to meet water quality laws,
(3) does nothing to protect our springs from water bottlers,
(4) fatally weakens rules regarding application of biosolids,
(5) makes reclaimed sewage water a source for public water systems without adequate safeguards, and
(6) bans local Rights of Nature laws.
SENT TO THE GOVERNOR
*We have seen bill sponsors deliberately and knowingly lie about their bills, and we subsequently found out that this is legal as long as they are not under oath. A good reason for conscientious lawmakers to do their own research. How many do?