Representative Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) has refiled a gutted out version of his bill attempting to increase fines on local governments for sewage spills. His 2019 bill failed which sought to increase fines by charging $1/gallon of spilled sewage as a fine paid to the State or force them to allocate $2/gallon to fix the problem that caused the leak. Obviously, it was more likely that given the option, cash-strapped cities would ultimately pay the cheaper fine. Which at the end of the day comes from the taxpayers themselves.
One major criticism of the bill was that if the goal was to force local governments to fix the problem, then why give them a cheaper option to simply pay a fine to the state instead? Fine called the current levels of penalties a joke and most cities consider them just the cost of doing business.
DeSantis in September called for a 50 percent increase in fines for environmental violations. He labeled the existing structure a “slap on the wrist,” noting penalties for sewage spills are capped at $10,000 a day while pollutants are flowing.
Fine took notice and filed HB 1091 which he says ads teeth to the penalties by increasing the fines by 50%. He said this will change the thought process of municipalities. In several Facebook posts in reference to the bill, Fine repeatedly says this will “dramatically” increase the penalties on those who are responsible for sewage leaks.