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CS/HB 7065 — Everglades Improvement and Management

by Appropriations Committee; State Affairs Committee; and Rep. Caldwell and others (CS/SB 768 by Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee and Senator Simpson)

This summary is provided for information only and does not represent the opinion of any Senator, Senate Officer, or Senate Office.

Prepared by: Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee (EP)

The bill amends s. 373.4592, F.S., to merge Florida’s existing Long-Term Plan with the South Florida Water Management District’s (SFWMD) Restoration Strategies plan in order to create a single comprehensive plan for achieving the restoration efforts envisioned under the Everglades Forever Act (EFA). The bill allows the SFWMD to continue to use ad-valorem funds currently collected in accordance with the EFA for the continued implementation of the Long-Term Plan. The bill also extends the agricultural privilege tax in the Everglades Agricultural Area as follows:

  • $25 an acre for tax notices mailed November 2014 to November 2026;
  • $20 per acre for tax notices mailed November 2027 to November 2029;
  • $15 per acre for tax notices mailed November 2030 to November 2035; and
  • $10 per acre for tax notices mailed on or after November 2036. 

The bill appropriates $12 million in recurring general revenue funds and $20 million in recurring funds from the Water Management Lands Trust Fund for the Restoration Strategies Regional Water Quality Plan starting in Fiscal Year 2013-2014 and each year thereafter through Fiscal Year 2023-2024. The bill also directs the SFWMD to conduct a use attainability analysis after all of the projects and improvements in the Long-Term Plan are complete.

If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect upon becoming law.

Vote: Senate 39-0; House 114-0