In 2019, the Florida Legislature mandated by law that three massive and unneeded toll roads would be built through what remains of the rural parts of the Florida peninsula. Florida Wildlife Federation (FWF) fought against this proposal, but the law was passed. In 2020, FWF again fought against the law, even as millions of our tax dollars were being spent to facilitate construction and even as the vast majority of Floridians voiced opposition to this incredibly expensive proposition that would likely spell the end of rural lifestyles and endangered species such as the very rare Florida panther.
Thankfully, the 2021 Legislative Session, which is now half-way over and ends on April 30, has seen a bill to repeal MCORES pass through the Florida Senate. This bill, Senate Bill 100 by Senator Harrell, eliminates the MCORES plan and replaces it with a much more thought-out set of guidelines. This is definitely good news. FWF has been in meetings with Senate staff to make the bill better and has succeeded in having two amendments passed to the original bill. These amendments will ensure that the Department of Transportation considers our fragile environment and existing conservation lands if any new roads are built. Senate Bill, 100 with these amendments, passed the full Senate 39-1.
SB 100 is now to be heard in the Florida House of Representatives. It is highly unusual for a bill that was overwhelming passed just two years ago to now be repealed, and we are thankful our elected leaders have listened to the citizens. If you contacted your legislators on this critical issue, thank you very much. You were heard!
FWF will keep track of the bill as we progress towards the end of the Session. Please feel free to contact your House of Representatives member and tell them you oppose MCORES and that we must protect our environment, our waters and our wild lands.