Rep. Randy Fine 2020 Legislative Session Bill Will Create $50 Million Indian River Lagoon Matching Fund

By  //  September 12, 2019

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A Senate companion bill is anticipated shortly

Representative Randy Fine announced the filing of his first general bill of the 2020 Legislative Session, HB 153, the “Indian River Lagoon State Matching Grant Program,” along with an appropriations request, HB 2053, in the amount of $50 million, to fund the first year of the program.

BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – Representative Randy Fine announced the filing of his first general bill of the 2020 Legislative Session, HB 153, the “Indian River Lagoon State Matching Grant Program,” along with an appropriations request, HB 2053, in the amount of $50 million, to fund the first year of the program.

Fine is the State Representative from District 53, which is comprised of the southern portion of Brevard County and includes the entirety of Palm Bay, Malabar, and Grant-Valkaria, and portions of Melbourne, West Melbourne, and unincorporated Brevard.

“There is no more important issue to the future of the central East Coast of Florida – including Brevard County — than saving the Indian River Lagoon,” said Fine.

“This is a multi-billion problem, and it will require a multi-billion dollar solution. We will never solve this problem if we do not get vulnerable areas off of septic systems that are not designed to stop pollution and if we do not upgrade our municipal wastewater systems to remove nutrients from wastewater.”

“Under HB 153, projects that tackle the core of the problem – upgrading existing sewage treatment plants to higher nutrient removal standards, extending sewer lines into existing developments that are on septic systems, and providing funding to connect homes that are on septic but have a sewer line available – will be eligible for 50-50 matching grants from the state.

“We are proposing a first-year funding allocation of $50 million, which when matched by local governments in the five-county Indian River Lagoon region, would fund at least $100 million of these critical upgrades. I am optimistic that with the leadership that Governor DeSantis and the Legislature showed last session on water quality funding, we have a great opportunity to successfully launch this program this year.

“A final note – this legislation does not reduce the home rule obligations of local governments to adequately maintain and operate their wastewater systems, nor will it subsidize new plants necessary as part of their development strategies. Illegal sewage spills remain a crisis across our state, and I look forward to announcing additional statewide legislation to tackle that issue in the coming weeks.”

A Senate companion bill is anticipated shortly.

“There is no more important issue to the future of the central East Coast of Florida – including Brevard County — than saving the Indian River Lagoon,” said Rep. Randy Fine.

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In the legislature, Fine is the Chairman of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, and serves on the Appropriations Committee, Education Committee, Public Integrity & Ethics Committee, Business & Professions Subcommittee, and Gaming Control Subcommittee.

He also serves as one of Florida’s six Commissioners to the Education Commission of the States.

An active leader in Cub Scouting, Fine introduced the first-ever Boy Scout Day in the Capitol in 2018; the third annual Scout Day will be held on February 11, 2020.

He received his undergraduate degree in government, magna cum laude, from Harvard College, and his MBA, with high distinction, from Harvard Business School, where he was the youngest graduate in decades and was named a Baker Scholar, the school’s highest academic honor.

While at Harvard Business School, he also served as a Teaching Fellow in Economics.

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