State

We need your help!

On a statewide level, you can ask your Florida state representatives and senators to take action statewide on plastic/foam reduction, or at least remove the preemptions on plastics/foam to allow municipalities to decide for themselves whether or not to reduce single use plastics. Please read the action items with specific directions below! Also, please sign the letter to your state lawmakers: http://bit.ly/LetLocalsLead2021

Emailing is a great idea, but calling their offices is even better. Staff will answer the phone. You can relay the message to staff, or you can ask for an appointment with your state representative (either by phone or in person). Save the phone numbers of your state elected officials in your phone. The office phone numbers will come in handy during the legislative session when we are supporting and opposing various bills.

Currently, we are supporting HB 6027, SB 594 to repeal the preemptions on plastic bags, containers, and polystyrene foam. (HB means House Bill, and SB is the Senate companion bill). We are also supporting HB 1563/SB 1348 which directs the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to update its plastic bag report and requires the Legislature to act upon the recommendations. These bills will die in committees unless there is public pressure. We need your help!

Sample email for your state lawmaker:

Dear _____,

My name is ___ and I live at ____. I am very concerned about plastic pollution, and I am outraged that there are preemptions in the state of Florida that prevent my town from passing ordinances to reduce certain single use plastics. Plastic pollution is a threat to our oceans and marine life, to human health, to climate, and to our tourism based economy. There should be statewide action to reduce single use plastics, or local municipalities should have home rules on this issue. Please take action to reduce single use plastics or work to remove the preemptions. I would like you to cosponsor SB 594/HB 6027 which will repeal the preemptions on single-use plastic bags and polystyrene foam. I also ask that you cosponsor SB 1348/HB 1563 which would direct the FL DEP to update its plastic bag report.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

_________

Comfortable with social media? Post this photo on social media and tag your FL state elected officials. In your post, ask them to remove the preemptions on single-use plastics and pass SB 594/HB 6027.

2021 Bill Introduced to Allow Local Municipalities to Take Action on Plastic Bags, Containers, Polystyrene Foam

Sen. Linda Stewart and Rep. Mike Grieco have filed bills to repeal the state preemption of local rules governing single-use plastic products. (This would repeal the ban on bans). Read more here. Thank you, Senator Stewart and Representative Grieco, for filing these bills. #LetLocalsLead

TAKE ACTION: Do you agree that this preemption repeal bill (giving local control back to your community) should pass? Please call your FL state elected officials and say, “Hello, my name is _____. I am a constituent and I would like Senator/Representative ___ to cosponsor SB 594/HB 6027. Thank you.”

Calls are most effective. It will only take about one minute of your time to leave this message with staff.

Find your FL state representative here.

Find your FL state senator here.

Did your representative agree to cosponsor the bill? Don’t forget to follow up. Always hold your elected officials accountable. Thank them if they cosponsor the bill. Question them if they do not cosponsor the bill.

Consider writing a Letter to the Editor to be published in your local newspaper. Guidance for writing and submitting a Letter to the Editor is here. Name your elected officials in your LTE and say what you’d like them to do.

Don’t let these preemption repeal bills die in committees!

The 2021 Florida Legislative Session began on March 2nd. The session will run for 60 days, and is scheduled to end on April 30th. Committees are meeting to discuss bills, but if there isn’t public pressure to put these bills on committee agendas, they will not make it out of the committees. They may never even be heard! We need all Floridians to call the offices of these Committee Chairs.

HB 6027 has been referred to the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee. The Chair of that Committee is Rep. Bob Rommel (Marco Island/Collier). 850-717-5106 It has also been referred to the House Local Administration and Veteran Affairs Subcommittee and the Chair is Rep. Jackie Toledo. 850-717-5060 This bill has also been referred to the House Commerce Committee and the Chair is Rep. Blaise Ingoglia. 850- 717-5035

SB 594 has been referred to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The Chair is Senator Jason Brodeur (Volusia/Seminole County). 850-487-5009  This bill has also been referred to the Senate Rules Committee and the Chair is Senator Kathleen Passidomo. 850-487-5028 This bill has also been referred to the Community Affairs Committee and the Chair is Senator Jennifer Bradley. (850) 487-5005

If this bill were to pass this legislative session, it would give home rule back to local municipalities, allowing them to take meaningful action to reduce plastic pollution.

TAKE ACTION: Please call these Committee Chairs and tell the staff who answers the phone, “Hi, I am calling to request that Representative/Senator ____ place HB 6027 (for House Committee Chairs)/ SB 594 (for Senate Committee Chairs) on an upcoming committee agenda for consideration. Thank you.

Phone calls are most effective. Thank you!

Email Governor DeSantis

You can also email Governor DeSantis. Mayor Coniglio of Palm Beach wrote to Governor DeSantis, asking for support on this issue. View her letter here.

The Everglades Coalition wrote a letter to Governor DeSantis urging him to take action on plastic pollution. View the letter here.

Rise Above Plastics Advocacy Day 2020: Concerned citizens meet with their state elected officials to ask for action on single use plastics.

You don’t have to travel all the way to Tallahassee to meet with your state elected officials. They have offices in their home districts. You can also call and speak with their staff or write a handwritten letter.

Preemptions and Home Rule

Have you ever wondered why cities ban plastic straws and not plastic bags, cups, or bottles? It’s because of preemptions.

2021 Bill Filed to Update FL DEP Plastic Bag Report

There is data to show that legislative action to restrict single use plastic bag distribution has resulted in a reduction of plastic bag pollution around the world.

In 2008, Florida lawmakers passed a bill prohibiting our local governments from banning plastic bags until the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) creates recommendations, and they are adopted by the Legislature.

In 2010, the DEP completed the Retail Bags Report that studied the impact of plastic bags. (Of course, we know that the Legislature never adopted it).

Now, in 2021, Senator Polsky has filed a bill that would direct the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to update this bag study. Read the bill here. Representative Mooney has filed the companion bill in the House. Read the bill here. These bills would require that the Legislature act upon the DEP recommendations within a certain period of time. Thank you, Senator Polsky and Representative Mooney, for filing these bills.

ACTION ITEM: Please call your state senator and state representative and when staff answers the phone, say “Hi, my name is ___. I am a constituent, and I would like Senator/Representative ___ to cosponsor SB 1348/HB 1563.” (This is the bill to update the 11 year old FL DEP Retail Plastic Bags Report).

It will only take one minute of your time to leave that message with staff. Thank you!

Don’t let these bills die in committees!

The 2021 Florida Legislative Session began on March 2nd. The session will run for 60 days, and is scheduled to end on April 30th. Committees are meeting to discuss bills, but if there isn’t public pressure to put these bills on committee agendas, they will not make it out of the committees. They may never even be heard! We need all Floridians to call the offices of these Committee Chairs.

SB 1348 has been referred to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The Chair is Senator Jason Brodeur (Volusia/Seminole County). 850-487-5009 This bill has also been referred to the Senate Rules Committee and the Chair is Senator Kathleen Passidomo. 850-487-5028 This bill has also been referred to the Community Affairs Committee and the Chair is Senator Jennifer Bradley. (850) 487-5005

HB 1563 has been referred to the Environment, Agriculture, and Flooding Subcommittee. The Chair is Representative James Buchanan (Sarasota). (850) 717-5074 This bill has also been referred to the State Affairs Committee. The Chair is Representative Ralph Massullo (Citrus/Hernando). (850) 717-5034

TAKE ACTION: Please call these Senators/Representatives above, and when their staff answers the phone, say, “Hi, I am concerned about plastic pollution and I am asking Senator/Representative ___ to place SB 1348/HB 1563 on the earliest possible meeting agenda for committee consideration.” (This is the bill to update the DEP plastic bag report). Phone calls are most effective. Thank you!

Consider writing a Letter to the Editor to be published in your local newspaper. Guidance for writing and submitting a Letter to the Editor is here. Name your elected officials in your LTE and say what you’d like them to do.

Plastic bags blow easily in the wind, and are often found tumbling down the street, hanging from trees, and floating in our waterways. These are deadly to marine life. Many nations have passed legislation to reduce the use of single-use retail shopping bags.

Your checklist for state action:

  • Sign the petition here.
  • Call the office of your state representative and ask him/her to cosponsor HB 6027 and HB 1563.
  • Call the office of your state senator and ask him/her to cosponsor SB 1348 and SB 594.
  • Call the Committee Chairs and ask them to place the bills (House Committees: HB 6027, HB 1563, Senate Committees: SB 1348, SB 594) on their committee meeting agendas for consideration. (Names and phone numbers of the Committee Chairs listed above).
  • Consider writing a Letter to the Editor to be published in your local newspaper. Guidance for writing and submitting a Letter to the Editor is here. Name your elected officials in your LTE and say what you’d like them to do.

Local resolutions:

Local resolutions are a clear expression of the opinions of coastal communities, including business leaders in those communities and local elected officials. They send a message up the political chain, and can be influential in helping state-level elected officials and even members of Congress better understand what their constituents want. Resolutions matter, and you can ask your city can pass a resolution in support of statewide plastics legislation and/or support of home rule. Even if your city isn’t ready to pass an ordinance, they may still agree with the freedom to choose.

Advocate for local control. Local communities should have a say in the plastics pollution crisis. We need to give them the power to be part of the solution. Photo: LSSC

Lobbying your legislators

(Source: Indivisible) Lobbying is organizing with the intention of influencing a lawmaker’s decision through direct interaction. You can lobby in your home district office (if your state has local district offices) or at the capitol. Anyone can lobby, even kids! Your elected officials need to hear from you all throughout the year. Save the phone numbers of elected officials. Public pressure works, and your elected officials are there to represent you. Call the offices of your state lawmakers when you want them to support or oppose a bill. Have the bill number handy when you call.

Making in-person visits to meet with your elected officials, as well as calling their offices, are great ways to influence your elected officials. Don’t worry if you can only get a meeting with staff. Forming good relationships with staff can help you create a direct line of communication to your representatives.

Legislative Hearings in Your County

You can participate in your county’s legislative delegation hearings before the legislative session begins (usually December-February). At these meetings, all of the state legislators from your county are usually there, and you can speak to all of them at the same time for 2-3 minutes. It’s a good way for all of the state legislators in your county to hear your concerns about plastics and preemptions at the same time, before legislative session begins. You most likely will need to sign up in advance to speak. Keep an eye out in December for this opportunity.

District Office Visits

Call your lawmaker’s district office and ask when they might accommodate a meeting. You can also ask for a Zoom meeting.

Organizing a Legislative Lobby Day at The State Capitol

A lobby day is a powerful tactic that many organizations utilize to influence the state legislative process. For a lobby day, you gather a group of people to take a trip to Tallahassee and hold in-person meetings with legislators and/or their staff. This tactic is powerful because you are showing commitment to your cause and meeting lawmakers in person in their place of work.

Town Halls

Show up at a Town Hall and ask your state representative questions about plastics and preemption in front of an audience and members of the press. Some lawmakers host town halls on Facebook Live.

Local Public Events

Like town halls, these are opportunities to get face time with your legislators and make sure they’re hearing about your concerns. They often take place in district, close to your home. If you’re hosting an event, invite your elected officials to join.

Coordinated Calls

Generating calls to offices doesn’t take as much time as in-person action, but it can have a huge impact at the state level, where staffers are not used to getting a large volume of calls. Organize a large number of volunteers/constituents/friends/classmates to call about plastics on the same day. You can create a Facebook event and invite everyone to call in the same week.

Beaches Go Green travels to Tallahassee for Rise Above Plastics Lobby Day 2020, hosted by Surfrider Foundation.

Tag your elected officials on social media!

Sample Tweets:

Plastic pollution is harming our beaches, and the problem is expected to get worse if we don’t act now. This crisis is too large for voluntary actions. We need legislation to #RiseAbovePlastics. @______ pass HB 6027/ SB 594. 

Plastic production is rapidly increasing, and recycling isn’t keeping up. We need to open the door for local policies in Florida to turn off the tap. @________, pass HB 6027 / SB 594 so that our communities can #BreakFreeFromPlastic.

More than 27 cities in Florida have passed ordinances to reduce single-use plastics. Floridians want to do more. @_______ Repeal the preemption, pass HB 6027 / SB 594. #PlasticFreeSeas #RiseAbovePlastics #BreakFreeFromPlastic

Here in Florida, when we protect our waters, we protect our economy. @______ pass HB 6027 / SB 594 so that Florida’s cities can turn off the tap on single-use plastics. For #PlasticFreeSeas

Florida communities should have a say in whether we allow plastic producers to continue polluting our waterways. @________, restore home rule and pass HB 6027 / SB 594. #LetLocalsLead 

Spread the word on social media!

Sample Facebook Post:

Right now, our Florida legislators have the opportunity to pass a bill that will open the door to real action on single-use plastics, which will protect our oceans and our communities. With plastic production growing rapidly and polluting our water, air, and food, local governments shouldn’t be barred from deciding that enough is enough. Join me in calling on our state representatives and senators to pass HB 6027 and SB 594 to repeal the plastic ban preemptions. This will give power back to your local communities. Go to https://plasticfreefl.org/state/ to find out more. Sign the petition here: https://act.oceana.org/page/77412/action/1 #BreakFreeFromPlastic #RiseAbovePlastics #LetLocalsLead 

Beverage container deposit laws, or bottle bills, are designed to reduce litter and increase recycling rates. Bottle bills have been filed in Florida, but have unfortunately died in committees.

About Bottle Deposits

Has Florida considered a bottle deposit bill? Yes, a bottle bill was introduced but did not pass.

Can and bottle deposits were originally introduced in Oregon in 1971 as a way to address the growing litter problem along the state’s beaches and highways. Since then, other states have passed similar laws to clean up the roads and encourage recycling.

Bottle bills require the state to offer a minimum refund on beverage containers as a way to increase bottle recycling efforts by consumers. The process works like this:

  • When a retailer buys beverages from a distributor, a deposit is paid to the distributor for each container.
  • The consumer then pays the deposit to the retailer when purchasing the beverage but will receive a refund of that deposit when the empty container is returned to a redemption center.
  • The distributor reimburses the redemption center the deposit amount for each container, plus a handling fee. (Source: Global Trash Solutions)

Read more about bottle deposit bills here.

Oceana participated in Rise Above Plastics Lobby Day 2020 in Tallahassee. Concerned citizens met with their elected officials to ask for home rule on plastics legislation, supporting a bill that would remove the preemptions.

HOME RULE VIDEO (SPANISH)

¿Quieres una forma divertida de comunicar los conceptos básicos del gobierno de la ciudad? ¡Estás de suerte! En preparación para la Semana del Gobierno de la Ciudad de Florida, La Liga ha producido esta caricatura de 13 minutos, perfecta para el público juvenil y más allá. Cubre una variedad de temas que incluyen cartas de la ciudad, formas de gobierno, servicios municipales, impuestos a la propiedad y Autonomía. –Florida League of Cities

Photo credit: LSSC (Local Solutions Support Center)

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