Gov. DeSantis signs Keys derelict vessel, land authority bills
Boats sit on the beach in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Eta, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020, in Gulfport. Image via AP.

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DeSantis signed 10 bills and vetoed one Wednesday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a pair of bills affecting the Florida Keys’ coastline.

The Governor signed 10 bills on Wednesday, including a measure addressing derelict boats in the Keys (SB 1432) and a second proposal dealing with a public-private agency unique to Monroe County (SB 442). Doral Republican Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez and Islamorada Republican Rep. Jim Mooney carried both measures through the Legislature.

Lawmakers approved both bills unanimously during this year’s Legislative Session.

“Thank you to Governor DeSantis for signing HB 442 Powers of Land Authorities and HB 1432 Vessel Anchoring today,” Mooney tweeted.

The vessel anchoring bill alters what lawmakers wrote last year when they created a 90-day anchoring limit in Monroe County that would kick in after an additional 300 mooring balls were installed. Under the revision, the 90-day limit would take effect with only 100 additional mooring balls.

Plus, the bill will allow people to moor houseboats that are their primary home for up to 10 years, up from one year, addressing a 2013 law filed by CFO Jimmy Patronis, then a member of the House.

In all, lawmakers approved $19.9 million this Session to fund a state-offered removal program that reimburses local governments that pluck derelict vessels from public waters.

The second proposal hands more grant-distribution power to public-private agencies called land authorities. The legislation allows land authorities to assist the county to administer state and federal grants covering residential flood and sea-level rise mitigation projects.

Counties with at least one area of critical state concern may create a land authority, which acts as an intermediary between landowners and government agencies dealing with land use. While six Florida counties have areas of critical state concern (Monroe County has portions of two), Monroe County is the only county that has established a land authority.

The Monroe County Land Authority, created in 1986, acquires property for conservation purposes and also provides affordable housing projects.

DeSantis signed eight other bills, including a bill allowing private security guards to be trained through online programs (SB 1474).

However, one bill didn’t receive his approval. The Republican Governor vetoed a bill (HB 741) that would have led to the end of net metering for the Sunshine State’s solar customers. DeSantis said the measure, reportedly penned by the utility giant Florida Power and Light, would have raised costs on Floridians amid inflation rates not seen in decades.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


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