SB 88 – Relating to Farming Operations
On Monday, February 1, SB 88 by Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee and was reported favorable with 10 yeas and 1 nay. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
This bill amends and strengthens the Florida Right to Farm Act, which is intended to protect reasonable agricultural activities conducted on farmland from nuisance lawsuits. The bill provides stronger liability protections to farms that comply with best management practices and environmental regulations, and:
- Adds Agritourism to the list of practices protected by the Right to Farm Act;
- Institutes caps on attorney fees for punitive and compensatory damages; and
- Limits eligibility to file a lawsuit to individuals located within one half mile of the activity.
SB 88 will now go to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
AIF supports legislation that protects Florida’s farmers and helps to eradicate bad faith litigation which drives up the cost of doing business, insurance rates, and negatively affects those providing food and resources to the state.
SB 64 – Relating to Reclaimed Water
On Monday, February 1, SB 64 by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) was heard by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee and was reported favorable with 4 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
In the next 20 years, the population in Florida is expected to grow and with it, water demands. For some regions of Florida there is enough water to meet future needs through existing sources, though for others additional water sources must be developed. Water reuse is an important component of both wastewater management and water resource management in Florida. Reuse is defined as the deliberate application of reclaimed water for a beneficial purpose, whereas reclaimed water is water from a domestic wastewater treatment facility that has received at least secondary treatment and basic disinfection for reuse.
The bill creates a timeline and plan to eliminate nonbeneficial surface water discharges from domestic wastewater utilities within 5 years and contains a series of conditions for authorizing discharges that are being beneficially used or are otherwise regulated. Additionally, the bill specifies that potable reuse is an alternative water supply and incentivizes the development of potable reuse projects.
SB 64 will now go to the Senate Community Affairs Committee.
AIF supports legislation which increases Florida’s water supply by encouraging greater utilization of reclaimed water, direct and indirect potable technology, and other alternative water supplies that are both technologically and economically feasible. States with an adequate water supply will have a head start on future economic development and job creation.