Skip links

2023 Legislative Priorities

We engage people in our democracy to protect our environment and healthy communities for everyone.

Climate & Clean Energy

See our 2023 Priorities & Bills


See our 2023 Priorities & Bills

Land & Growth Management

See our 2023 Priorities & Bills

Democracy & Voting Rights

See our 2023 Priorities & Bills

Racial Justice & Intersectionality

See our 2023 Priorities & Bills





Making communities healthy and protecting our natural world are inseparable and interdependent.

Florida Conservation Voters (FCV) engages people in our democracy to protect our environment and create healthy communities for everyone. A healthy and vibrant environment is the backbone of a strong economy. Similarly, ensuring opportunities for public engagement leads to

safe, fair, and accessible elections. As Florida welcomes hundreds of new residents every day, we must protect and improve the health of our environment and our democracy.

Our legislative priorities reflect our mission, vision, and values of inclusivity, collaboration, and transparency. Please consider the following priorities during the 2023 Legislative Session. As of opening day, FCV supports or opposes the following bills, and our position may change based on amendments that may alter the final intent of bills. We have also listed policies that may not be reflected in pending bills but that we support and hope you will consider as possible amendments and in future legislative sessions.

In addition to outlining the policies that we support, below you will find links to view interactive bill trackers highlighting proposed legislation that corresponds with our policy priorities.

Climate & Energy Bills

Click here to track priority bills.

Climate & Clean Energy Priorities

Climate change is the single biggest environmental threat facing Florida’s communities and our living planet. Fueled by a reliance on dirty fossil fuels, the harmful impacts of this human-made problem are worsening across the state. A steady, equitable, and just transition to clean, renewable energy is crucial to the future of Florida and the world. Florida lawmakers must respond to the climate crisis immediately by prioritizing clean energy and climate solution investments, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity and transportation sectors, democratizing energy, and elevating racial and economic justice and equity.

Carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels for energy are the leading cause of climate change. Florida is the third largest state by population and significantly contributes to greenhouse gases entering our atmosphere. To prevent the worst impacts of climate change, Florida must reduce its reliance on fossil fuel-based energy and transition to a just and equitable clean energy economy. A just transition considers workers and economic effects, redresses historical injustices, and ensures a transparent public process and equitable distribution of benefits across communities. The Legislature can accomplish this transition through various statutory changes, including an enforceable Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), community solar, electrifying our transportation sector, increasing solar power in schools (including an electric school bus program), and more.

Florida utilities have committed to significant expansions of solar infrastructure. Still, the deployment of this infrastructure could negatively impact our communities and ecosystems if the utilities do not give proper consideration to environmental justice concerns. We will support policies that encourage the deployment of solar infrastructure primarily on rooftops, brownfields, or other areas with minimal community or environmental impacts.

“Global warming” was once the term used to refer to the ongoing climate crisis and its many impacts for a good reason. The planet is warming, and in Florida residents throughout the state have already begun to experience increased temperatures and increased incidences of dangerous high-heat days. Climate change mitigation doesn’t just mean developing new infrastructure to accommodate rising seas; it also means updating protections for workers who work in increasingly stressful conditions. Protections for outdoor laborers will be necessary for a just adaptation and transition to a climate-conscious economy.

Carbon sequestration is an essential mechanism for mitigating the scope and impacts of climate change. Florida has a natural resource base that governments can leverage to sequester carbon through better understanding, better management, and robust incentive systems. FCV will continue to support efforts to investigate and expand the potential for natural carbon capture and storage through timber, aquaculture, living shorelines, grasslands, and soil sequestration.

Florida is experiencing profound impacts from a warming climate. Sea level rise, saltwater intrusion in our aquifers, increased episodes of extreme weather, rapidly intensifying hurricanes, climate gentrification, and more are devastating local communities and our economy. Resiliency planning and funding are crucial to understanding how Florida can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, better prepare communities for the future, and ensure public health and safety. All resiliency planning must be grounded in the goal of an equitable and just transition to 100% clean, renewable energy, understanding that Black and Latino populations will suffer disproportionately as climate change-related impacts increase. All coastal towns and cities should develop community-based resilience plans that identify appropriate adaptation and mitigation strategies, including areas for planned relocation. Hardening infrastructure, elevating roads and bridges, and other gray infrastructure techniques are a response to sea level rise, not a solution. That is why resilience planning should prioritize the protection and restoration of natural coastal habitats, incorporate living shorelines like oyster bars, and integrate other green infrastructure techniques.

The Florida Legislature established our state’s net metering and solar interconnection policies in 2008 to encourage the expansion of solar infrastructure on rooftops throughout the state. Utilities have sought to undermine these policies for years to reduce the amount of compensation they must provide to individuals and small businesses that install clean energy systems. FCV opposes the weakening of Florida’s existing net metering laws, when in fact, policies to expand solar access and incentives for going solar should be supported.

Water Bills

Click here to track priority bills.

Water Priorities

As Floridians, we are all connected by a common right to clean, abundant water. FCV works to preserve this right, prevent water pollution at the source, and improve water quality. Lawmakers must oppose any policies that would roll back protections for Florida’s precious coastal and freshwater wetlands. These wetlands are an essential part of the water cycle, providing vital habitats and food sources for animals, as well as natural filtration for pollution and water storage. The Florida Legislature has an obligation to uphold our right to clean water, both now and for future generations.

Florida uses numerous strategies for reducing the pollution of impaired waterbodies. Examples include Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), which set numeric limits for pollution in a specific waterbody, and Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs), which provide a roadmap for reducing pollution within a watershed.

The Florida Legislature should strive to set more protective water quality standards and accelerate the timeline for reaching pollution reduction goals, including developing Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) that exceed the reductions needed to meet Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs).

Water projects should be prioritized based on their projected pollution reductions. Agricultural operations should be required to monitor pollution runoff as a component of Best Management Practices.

Policies should also consider population growth, include protection for downstream water bodies, address the disposal of biosolids (dried human waste), account for legacy pollution sources, and factor in the impacts of global climate change.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) enforces baseline drinking-water quality standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some states, however, have established more stringent drinking water standards than required by the Federal Clean Drinking Water Act. Beyond addressing traditional pollutants such as lead, Florida must establish standards for emerging contaminants of concern such as “PFAS” (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). The Legislature should direct FDEP and the Florida Department of Health to adopt new and more protective standards that consider those most vulnerable to polluted water, including children, the elderly, and communities of color harmed by disparities in exposure to pollution.

Investments in water quality infrastructure, such as septic to sewer conversion and wastewater treatment plant upgrades, are needed to improve human and industrial waste treatment and disposal. Florida must establish a timeline by which all wastewater treatment plants upgrade to advanced wastewater treatment standards, regardless of the disposal method. The state should incentivize wastewater facilities to utilize backup solar power and battery storage to prevent toxic discharges resulting from loss of power. The state should create a regulatory system for septic tanks that prohibits the installation of new septic systems in environmentally sensitive areas, including coastal high hazard areas. Traditional septic tanks should be replaced with nitrogen-removing systems or connected to central sewers. These projects should be funded cooperatively with the state, federal, and local governments and industry and public/private partnerships–not from dedicated conservation funds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund or the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Stormwater carries pollutants from roadways, residential and urban areas, and agricultural lands into receiving water bodies like rivers, springs, and estuaries. The state has begun the rulemaking process to address this “non-point” source of pollution, which is the most significant contributor of phosphorus and nitrogen pollution (“nutrients”) in many parts of the state. New stormwater regulations must reduce environmental harm by incorporating new science-based technologies; eliminating the statutory presumption of compliance; and utilizing periodic, quantifiable water quality testing to determine compliance.

Florida’s native seagrasses are undergoing a dramatic and steady decline, with as much as 58% loss in places like the Indian River Lagoon over the past ten years. Decades of poor water quality (from weak water laws and enforcement) have led to an increase in blue-green algae, red tide, and other organisms that make water cloudy, preventing sunlight from reaching the seafloor. Seagrasses require ample sunlight to thrive. Florida’s seagrasses face extreme danger when coupled with damage from boats, construction machinery, and sea level rise. Many of Florida’s most iconic wildlife species rely on seagrass meadows for survival, including the beloved Florida manatee. Manatees have been the most visible victim of the ongoing seagrass die-off event, with more than 1,000 manatees dying in 2021 alone (over 10% of their entire population in Florida). Without the dramatic improvement of Florida’s coastal water quality and increased protections to stop the physical destruction of seagrasses, our coastal ecosystems will collapse.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) enforces baseline drinking-water quality standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Some states, however, have established more stringent drinking water standards than required by the Federal Clean Drinking Water Act. Beyond addressing traditional pollutants such as lead, Florida must establish standards for emerging contaminants of concern such as “PFAS” (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). The Legislature should direct FDEP and the Florida Department of Health to adopt new and more protective standards that consider those most vulnerable to polluted water, including children, the elderly, and communities of color harmed by disparities in exposure to pollution.

State policy should establish the minimum requirements for protecting our waters, and should not prevent local governments from enacting more protective measures in response to local conditions and constituent demands. In other words, state policy should establish the floor – not a ceiling – when it comes to safeguarding our waters.

Land Bills

Click here to track priority bills.

Land Conservation & Growth Management Priorities

FCV works to protect natural areas, wildlife habitats, and parks. Providing our residents and visitors with the opportunity to connect with nature is invaluable. For this reason, the Florida Legislature must establish dedicated, consistent, and robust funding for Florida’s premier conservation programs, like Florida Forever, Florida Communities Trust, and the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. Furthermore, lawmakers must adhere to their constitutional obligation to keep these programs up and running until 2035 and beyond. Additionally, effective and sustainable growth management policies are essential to help local governments find ways to balance development and environmental protections. FCV is committed to preserving Florida’s conservation lands and wildlife for years to come.

Conservation of land and water is an investment in our future and a top priority for Floridians. In 2014, 75% of voters approved the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) to protect funding at the state level. Per our Conservation of land and water is an investment in our future and a top priority for Florida residents. In 2014, 75% of voters approved the Water and Land Conservation Amendment (Amendment 1) to stabilize state-level funding. As a result, our Constitution requires 33% of all revenue generated through documentary stamp taxes to be deposited into the State Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) and used for explicit conservation purposes. Despite the economic downturn and unemployment crisis facing Florida, the housing market has stayed relatively stable thanks to low federal interest rates. Florida’s population continues to grow, along with documentary stamp revenues and the LATF. The Amendment was designed to set a floor for conservation funding in Florida that was directly tied to revenues generated by growth and development. Land acquisition, restoration, and management are the critical metrics for measuring conservation work in Florida. FCV will advocate for the Legislature to restore funding for the Florida Forever land conservation programs to pre-2009 levels ($300 million/year) and maintain funding levels for other conservation programs like Everglades and springs restoration.

Bonding is a helpful tool that can leverage the time value of money to purchase lands that provide valuable ecological functions and are in imminent threat from development. The Legislature used bonding to provide stable funding of $300 million annually for the Florida Forever program before the 2008 recession. This bonding authority, as granted in statute, expired in 2020. The Legislature should restore this authority to improve flexibility and consistency in conservation funding.

Additionally, lawmakers must begin to plan for relocation that may become necessary due to sea level rise, salt water intrusion, and other issues related to climate change and extreme weather events. 

Democracy Bills

Click here to track priority bills.

Democracy & Voting Rights Priorities

Our democracy depends on transparency, fairness, and increased civic engagement in the public policy process and elections. We will advocate for laws that expand access to the ballot box and protect our fundamental rights, like the citizen initiative process. Fair and truly representative political districts are the bedrock of a healthy republic.

Voting should be easy and free of complicated barriers. Yet, millions of Florida residents eligible to vote remain unregistered, leading to elected bodies that do not adequately reflect or represent the people. FCV will advocate for pro-voter policies that increase participation like

  • automatic voter registration and same-day registration,
  • expandingincreasingly popular voting methods like vote by mail by extending deadlines for vote by mail and expanding availability of drop-boxes, and
  • ensuring safe, equitable, and accessible polling sites.

The citizen initiative process is a right that belongs to the people of Florida and is enshrined in our State Constitution. Grassroots citizen groups from all political persuasions have used this process to advance policies when the Legislature was unable or unwilling to act. In recent years, the Legislature has attacked this right by adding unnecessary bureaucratic rules, timelines, and costs to weaken this section of the state constitution. The Legislature’s changes have only pushed this process further into the hands of millionaires and billionaires. But getting an initiative on the ballot is not the only challenge. The Legislature has repeatedly refused to implement amendments as intended by voters. We will defend the citizen initiative process, advocate for more affordability, and seek the proper implementation of amendments.

Racial Justice Bills

Click here to track priority bills.

Racial Justice & Anti-Racism Priorities

Florida Conservation Voters views local, state and federal policies from an environmental justice lens to fully meet the demands of a complex and intersectional movement, authentic to all Floridians. When our environment suffers, so do people. But not all people suffer equally. Sea level rise, flooding, and air and water pollution are just a few of the environmental challenges that have historically and disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, Latine, and people of color in economically depressed regions of Florida. It is essential that policies adopted by the Florida Legislature take into account the risks and harms faced by these communities in the state. These policies must not only focus on safeguarding against environmental degradation, but also on equitable distribution of its benefits. Legislative initiatives must be rooted in racial, economic, social, and environmental justice.

Intersectional Priorities

Key issues & priorities for communities and partners we work with

The issues of climate gentrification, fair wages, affordable housing and energy, access to healthcare, autonomy over one’s body, and a robust public education and union presence in Florida are all interconnected. We live in an infinitely complex world where racial, social, and economic justice are inextricably connected to issues of conservation, to the environmental movement, and to democracy. We recognize that the intersectionality of Florida’s (and the world’s) problems requires comprehensive solutions. We recognize and embrace that these solutions may steer us beyond what people may believe to be environmental or conservation spaces in order to advance racial and economic justice. As an organization dedicated to protecting a healthy and thriving environment, we commit to promoting environmental, racial, social, and economic justice, and to eradicating all forms of oppression that serve as barriers to them.





Our 2023 Legislative Priorities