Gov. DeSantis signs bill to rename conservation area after Kristin Jacobs

jacobs, kristin
Jacobs championed the environment before passing away in April 2020 after a cancer battle.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation renaming the Southeast Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area after the late Rep. Kristin Jacobs.

Legislators approved the measure from Rep. Christine Hunschofsky (HB 217) in early April. Jacobs prioritized environmental issues during her legislative career before passing away in April 2020 after a cancer battle.

“Rep. Kristin Jacobs was a fierce advocate for the environment, a friend and is sorely missed,” Hunschofsky said after DeSantis signed the bill late Wednesday. She also posted a video tribute from the House, which lawmakers played the day they approved the legislation.

Hunschofsky holds Jacobs’ former seat in House District 96, making her the natural lead on the House measure. Democratic Sen. Lauren Book of Plantation sponsored the Senate companion (SB 588) and also released a statement upon the Governor’s signing.

“Rep. Kristin Jacobs left behind a legacy of environmental advocacy, preservation and deep love for Florida’s natural treasures,” Book said.

“Her memory now lives on through the Kristin Jacobs Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area, which she fought to protect and designate as an important conservation zone.”

The Southeast Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area runs along the coast near Martin, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties. The measure requires the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to place markers along the path noting the name change.

In the final weeks of the 2020 Legislative Session, shortly before Jacobs passed away, she remained in Tallahassee to help push through a measure banning the import and export of shark fins in Florida.

The Legislature approved that bill, renaming it the “Kristin Jacobs Ocean Conservation Act.” Jacobs died the next month. DeSantis signed the legislation into law last September.

“Kristin Jacobs leaves behind a beautiful legacy of advocacy, passion and dedication to the environment,” House Speaker Chris Sprowls added in a statement after the bill’s signing.

“Thanks to her conservation efforts, the reef system that now bears her name will live on for generation after generation.”

During the 2021 Session, Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson each approved a vote allowing legislators in their respective chambers to serve as co-sponsors of the bill. House and Senate lawmakers unanimously agreed to join onto the bill as an added sign of support for their late colleague.

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected]


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