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Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet marks an easement record.

Influence

Back to the beach: Rick Scott issues order protecting public access

Thursday saw Gov. Rick Scott issue an executive order protecting the public’s access to the beaches, days after two women left a Fort Walton Beach after law enforcement invoked a beach-access restriction bill, HB 631to ask them to leave.

The theory behind the enforcement action: that parts of what were formerly considered public beaches by customary use were equivalent to homeowners’ backyards.

Scott’s executive order effectively negates the controversial bill.

“Last session, HB631 was passed with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately, the legislation has now created considerable confusion and some have even interpreted it as restricting beach access,” Scott lamented.

“Today, I am ordering the Department of Environmental Protection to do everything in their power to advocate to keep our beaches open and public. Also, I am putting a moratorium on any new state regulation that could inhibit public beach access and also urging local government officials to take similar steps to protect Floridians’ access to the beach,” Scott added.

State Attorneys are also compelled, by the order, to protect public access to the beach.

The move was instantly snarked by the Florida Democratic Party.

“While it is welcome news that Floridians could now be able to access their beaches without fear of prosecution, this is yet another example of how Rick Scott will say and do anything to get elected,” snarked spox Nate Evans.

“Scott literally just signed the law that allowed residents to restrict beach access. These election year actions remind Floridians that Rick Scott has spent the past seven years as governor looking out for himself at the expense of Florida,” Evans added.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

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