A Florida Senate bill seeking to prohibit local regulation of trees on private property stalled Tuesday but the controversial proposal could still take root.
The Senate’s Community Affairs Committee ran out of time at its Tallahassee session Tuesday to consider SB 574, which seeks to prevent local governments statewide from enacting laws that affect trees on private property.
The bill could surface again at next week’s Community Affairs committee meaning, noted Miami-Dade and Florida Keys state Sen. Anitere Flores’ office.
State Sen. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota County) filed SB 574 “to stop the overreach of our counties and cities,” he wrote in a statement.
“As a property owner, you should not be required to obtain permission from the government ... to remove a tree on your property,” Steube wrote.
The 1000 Friends of Florida conservation group and similar organizations have issued calls for Florida residents to urge their state Senate and House representatives to block SB 574.
“We’re very concerned about this bill that would be a very serious preemption of local governments’ right to protect their community’s trees,” said Friends interim president Vivian Young. “We are still monitoring it very closely.”
Karen DeMaria, urban forestry manager for the Key West Tree Commission, said recently that passage of the bill would be “devastating” to the Florida Keys.
“People could cut down whatever they wanted, wherever they wanted, under these bills,” DeMaria said. “Nothing requires them to replant anything.”
Monroe County and Keys municipal officials headed to Tallahassee this week for today’s Florida Keys Day, where they planned to speak with legislators and agency staffers about several pending bills that could curtail local authority on regulations, including limits on vacation rentals in residential neighborhoods.
Kevin Wadlow: 305-440-3206