Florida Legislature overrides Crist vetoes on environmental bills

By the Florida Tribune

State lawmakers dealt with several environmental issues as they convened for a one-day special session on Tuesday.

Although most of the work involved overriding vetoes by Gov. Charlie Crist, legislators also discussed whether to approve one Crist-backed initiative. Legislators approved $31 million in federal stimulus funds to provide energy rebates for homeowners who bought solar panels, solar water heaters and energy-efficient air conditioning units. Currently a backlog of 13,000 solar rebate applicants are awaiting their payments of nearly $52 million.

Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, said he is “not nuts about the rebates” but “a promise was made to the consumers” and the money is sitting there waiting for the legislature to take it and do the right thing.

One of the most highly contested measures brought up was HB 1565, which would require legislative approval of administrative rules adopted by the governor if they are deemed to have an economic effect. Those opposed to the bill say it will stifle economic growth at a time when Florida suffers from an 11.9 percent unemployment rate.

The Legislature also voted to delay by six months a septic tank requirement contained in SB 550. The requirement that septic tanks be inspected every five years is intended to protect groundwater and springs but has been second-guessed by legislators after hearing opposition from rural homeowners.

Read more at The Florida Tribune.

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