SB 400 by Senator Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) and HB 561 by Representative Neil Combee (R-Auberndale) remove most of DEP’s Divisions and Offices currently required by statute and give the Secretary unbridled authority to organize the agency around his priorities.
While the Division of State Lands would be retained, the Division of Recreation and Parks is removed. Audubon believes that Recreation and Parks should also remain in the statute. This Division makes up one-third of the agency’s workforce and supports Florida’s world renowned state parks.
Audubon believes that Florida’s parks are too important for the Division to be optional. We will continue to push for it to be mandated by state law. SB 400 passed the Senate General Government Appropriations Committee this week. Audubon’s Julie Wraithmell conveyed our concerns to the committee.