A bill to limit the ability of cities and counties to regulate residential fertilizer use passed the House unanimously on Friday. Rep. Clay Ingram, R-Pensacola, earned praise for adjusting a bill that initially faced resistance from both Republicans and Democrats.
"You're a man of your word," Rep. Franklin Sands, D-Weston, said before voting in favor for HB 457.
As originally presented, the bill would have prevented cities and counties from passing any laws that go beyond a model fertilizer ordinance approved by the legislature. It also would have vetoed all existing local ordinances, including a summer fertilizer sales ban in Pinellas County. In its final form, the bill grandfathers in existing ordinances and allows local governments to insititute fertilizer rules more strict than the state model if they can make a scientific argument for it.
Restrictions on summer fertilizer use have become popular in recent years as environmental advocates have promoted them as a way to prevent nitrogen run-off into surface waters during the rainy season. Cities and counties say the ordinances limit pollution in local waterways and prevent the need for expensive clean-up to meet clean water standards.
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A similar bill, sponsored by Greg Evers, R-Baker, is making its way through the Senate.