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water policy

Big-name groups, leaders trumpet progress on legislative priorities

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A major trio of political players at the Florida Capitol are happy with progress made Thursday on big-ticket priorities in the Legislature. The H2O Coalition, a water policy consortium affiliated with Associated Industries of Florida, applauded the further progress of what it calls comprehensive water reform in the Legislature. The praise comes after the House gave final approval to SB 552 by Sen. Charlie Dean, which is identical to HB 7005 by Rep. Matt Caldwell, who led the House’s efforts to update state water policy after…

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House OKs priorities for Steve Crisafulli, Andy Gardiner

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The state House of Representatives knocked out three pieces of priority legislation Thursday, sending two measures — a wide-ranging water policy bill and an education bill expanding scholarships to students with disabilities — to the governor. “I think this just sets the tone,” Senate President Andy Gardiner said after the House adjourned Thursday. “I think you’re going to see us work together quite a bit on all this stuff. This has just been a really good week.” The water bill (SB…

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Poll: Floridians overwhelmingly support improving water quality standards

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Floridians overwhelmingly support increased water quality and quantity standards, according to a new poll released Wednesday. The survey, commissioned by Associated Industries of Florida’s H2O Coalition, found 82 percent of respondents said they support a plan that creates new standards for Florida’s water policy and efforts to improve water quality. State lawmakers are expected to approve an extensive water policy bill in the coming days. The state Senate is scheduled to take up the measure (SB 552) Wednesday during a…

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Long-awaited water policy bill passes House committee

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A House budget panel on agriculture and the environment passed an expansive water policy bill by Rep. Matt Caldwell Wednesday afternoon. The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Committee approved HB 7005 by a vote of 11 to 1, with Democratic Rep. José Javier Rodríguez opposing. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection has signaled its approval for the bill, as did a number of business-backed groups such as Associated Industries of Florida and Florida Chamber of Commerce, while some environmentalists stay on the fence. Stephanie Kunkel, a lobbyist with the…

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Florida Chamber unveils ambitious plan for job growth, diversified economy in 2016

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Florida’s Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to the upcoming Legislative Session with a new blueprint for the effort to advance jobs, economic growth and opportunity in the Sunshine State. Now entering its 100th year, the Chamber unveiled its 2016 Legislative Agenda during a Tuesday news conference at the Florida Capitol. The Florida Legislature is scheduled to convene its 2016 Regular Session Jan. 12. Presenting the agenda was Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson, Chamber Chairwoman Tracy Duda Chapman, senior…

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State officials say Everglades water policy, BMP regime are working

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The South Florida Water Management District was joined by Republican elected officials Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and state Rep. Matt Caldwell this week in saying tighter restrictions on agriculture in the Everglades Agricultural Area are unnecessary because best management practices, or BMPs, are working. Levels of harmful phosphorous — a product of agricultural runoff into the ecologically sensitive area — are down 79 percent according to recently released state data. “For a milestone 20th year, water flowing from farmlands in the Everglades Agricultural Area achieved phosphorus reductions that…

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Bruce Ritchie: Enough secrecy! After voting on water plan, tri-state rivers group should vote to disband

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A group calling itself ACF Stakeholders was formed in 2010 with great promise in trying to create consensus among the various user groups along the Apalachicola, Chattahoochee and Flint (ACF) rivers. But when the group meets in Florida next week, it should vote to disband. Because the river system and the people who depend on it don’t need any more secrecy. And that’s what the group now seems to be largely about. ACF Stakeholders started off with great promise, in…

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