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Ocean Advocacy at The Capital

The month of January marked a significant milestone in Broward Chapter's advocacy journey as members made (for some—an inaugural trip!) their way to The Capital.

The Florida Legislature meets in session every year for sixty consecutive days. Committees conduct hearings, analyze bills, and may recommend amendments before sending them to the full chamber for consideration. Our State Legislators work with colleagues to build consensus and support. This involves negotiation, compromise, and collaboration to address diverse perspectives.

As we delved into the first meeting of seven total for the day, new members felt they had their "why" but didn't necessarily know the "how" of getting Legislators to co-sponsor a bill.

Joined by esteemed organizations: Surfrider, Oceana in Florida, Clean Miami Beach, and Debris Free Oceans, we felt a sense of solidarity as we banded together to advocate for clean water and healthy beaches in Tallahassee. Meeting with State Representatives and Senators, we passionately presented our case for the protection of our precious marine ecosystems.

It turns out a major force behind the action of a co-sponsor is simply sharing a brief conversation. It couldn’t be this easy, could it? A significant factor in securing a co-sponsor for a bill lies in the power of a concise conversation. One shares the bill number and why you support or are looking for opposition within the gravity of the climate-related bill, and then there's a bit of scrutiny to understand the impact. 

You can then follow along on the bill tracker: to see where the bill is heading within committees and who is co-sponsoring. Simply type the Bill number in the search bar. Since 1990, Senate bills have received even numbers and House bills have received odd numbers. When contacting your Representative and Senator, it's essential to specify the bill number and express your views on it, ensuring that your voice is heard in the legislative process. Sending emails is also an effective means of communication!

Our requests ranged from supporting mangrove restoration to opposing preemptions of single-use plastic, all in the name of safeguarding our oceans. The energy in the room was palpable as we engaged in discussions to advance our cause.

Reflecting on the day's events, we shared a swell of pride knowing that our efforts had not been in vain. The camaraderie forged with fellow advocates and legislators alike was heartening, and the impact of our advocacy reverberated beyond the confines of The Capital.

As we waved farewell to Tallahassee, we carried with us a newfound sense of purpose. The path ahead will be filled with challenges, but with every step forward, we are reassured of the combined strength we possess as friends of the ocean.

Gratitude fills my heart as I extend my thanks to Surfrider for extending the invitation to join forces. Looking ahead, I am eager to continue our local efforts with Broward Surfrider, knowing that our contributions, no matter how small, are integral to the larger movement for a cleaner, healthier ocean.

If you're looking to get involved with Broward Surfrider and witness how we leverage data from our beach clean-ups to advocate for legislative change, mark your calendar for our next event on March 9th, 2024 on Deerfield Beach! Stay in the loop and follow us on Facebook and Instagram for all the latest updates: Broward Surfrider / @browardsurfrider.