By: Jacob Murphey | WCTV Eyewitness News
January 3, 2020
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – Are the tides turning in the Sunshine State? A pair of bills up for discussion in 2020 could change how Florida looks at its shores.
Both proposals establish guidelines for a new state office, The Office of Resiliency. Governor Ron DeSantis launched the idea last year.
The bills are crafted by opposite parties and are drawing bipartisan buzz.
Deborah Foote keeps a close eye on environmental legislation. She's the Governmental Affairs and Political Director for the Sierra Club.
"The very conversation about climate change happening in both parties is a step forward from the last several years," she said.
Both bills also create a "Sea Level Rise Task Force." The committee would be tasked with predicting when and where the coastline will change.
The republican authored bill filed Friday (HB 1073) fills that committee with mostly state agency leads. The text calls for the use of "official scientific information from appropriate sources" in order to develop "consensus baseline projections."
According to Foote, the Sierra Club prefers HB 913, co-authored by a bipartisan team, which calls for a number of non-government scientists to take part.
"We believe it's really important to go beyond those working in state government," she said.
Will the governor show support for the measures? Gov. DeSantis keeping his promises broad so far. In August, he wrote the new office will "coordinate a statewide response to prepare for the environmental, physical and economic challenges facing our state."
What those challenges are and what lawmakers are willing to do will soon rise to the surface.