Sadly, we’re here to report that the Safe Waterways Act (SB 604) appears to be dead for the 2022 Florida legislative session. Still, your calls, emails, and efforts got it passed in Senate Committee, which is a big victory for this bill and our work together!

Here is what happened: With Calusa Waterkeeper’s leadership, residents throughout Florida came together to contact their legislators to support this bill and the Right to Know about fecal bacteria contamination. The bill was substantially amended from the original by Senate leadership but made it to legislative committee and appeared to have strong support in the state Senate. However, the companion bill, HB 393, never gained traction in the first House Committee chaired by Wil Robinson of Bradenton. Efforts to have it included “proviso” later in the session also came up empty.

This is not the end of this effort. It is just the first step. All involved are committed to making this legislative policy better, stronger and work to gain bipartisan support next year!

We couldn’t be more appreciative of your support and the hard work put in by Senator Lori Berman, Rep. Yvonne Hinson, and their offices. What we collectively accomplished shouldn’t be understated, and Calusa Waterkeeper, John Cassani’s identification of this policy weakness is already serving as a guide for Waterkeeper initiatives in other states. The traction it received is something we should all be proud of and build on—this advocacy work comes in waves. Most importantly, we can’t thank you enough!

Thank you to the other Florida Waterkeepers, SCCF and other environmental organizations who supported this effort. Thank you to everyone who helped us advocate for the Right to Know.

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