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Siding With Environmentalists, DeSantis Vetoes Bill Prohibiting Bans on Plastic Straws

| May 12, 2019

Ron DeSantis issues his first surprise veto. (NSF)

In his first veto, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday rejected a bill that would have blocked local governments from banning plastic straws.

DeSantis, siding with environmental groups and local governments, vetoed the measure (HB 771) just hours after formally receiving it from the Legislature. The bill initially focused on recycling issues but later was expanded to include a five-year moratorium on bans or regulations of plastic straws.

“A number of Florida municipalities, including Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach and Miami Beach, have enacted ordinances prohibiting single-use plastic straws,” DeSantis wrote in a veto message. “These measures have not, as far as I can tell, frustrated any state policy or harmed the state’s interests. In fact, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has encouraged Florida residents, schools and businesses to reduce plastic straw use.

“Under these circumstances, the state should simply allow local communities to address this issue through the political process. Citizens who oppose plastic straw ordinances can seek recourse by electing people who share their views.”

Banning plastic straws has been a controversial issue in Florida and other parts of the country, with environmental groups contending that straws cause massive amounts of pollution and kill marine life. Also, groups such as the Florida League of Cities objected during this year’s legislative session to proposals that would have prevented local governments from imposing bans — what is known generally as “preempting” local control.

But critics object to imposing plastic-straw bans on businesses and say a voluntary approach is better. In a February blog post, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association urged hospitality businesses to take steps such as providing plastic straws only when requested by customers and considering the use of straws made of other materials.

The association said businesses that have multiple locations can find it “confusing and burdensome” when some local governments regulate plastic straws and others do not.

“Every business should be free to serve its customers in the lawful manner in which it sees fit,” the blog post said. “Some companies decide that providing disposable items such as straws does not fit with their culture and identity. Others may take a different approach, and there is space for both in Florida.”

In addition to the veto on the plastic-straw issue, DeSantis signed seven bills Friday.

The included a bill (HB 7098) that will carry out a constitutional amendment about death benefits for law-enforcement officers, firefighters, other first responders and military members who are killed while on duty. The constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 7, was approved by voters in November.

Also, DeSantis signed a measure (HB 523) that clears the way for the public Halifax Hospital Medical Center to open a hospital in Deltona after a legal battle. Similarly, the other bills involve issues in specific areas of the state. They were HB 193, which deals with Charlotte County; HB 745, which deals with Alachua County; HB 1063, which deals with the city of Palm Bay; HB 1099, which deals with the city of Kissimmee; and HB 1175, which deals with the village of Indiantown.

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9 Responses for “Siding With Environmentalists, DeSantis Vetoes Bill Prohibiting Bans on Plastic Straws”

  1. Keep Flagler Beautiful says:

    Bravo, Governor DeSantis! So far our new governor has done an outstanding job of making decisions that are based on what’s best for Florida, whether those decisions are viewed as coming from a conservative or liberal viewpoint. It would have been a disgrace to place a 5-year ban on localities deciding what they want to do to protect our precious environment. Without clean oceans and beaches, and thriving marine and wildlife, Florida would lose its tremendous advantage as a go-to vacation destination. It is heartbreaking to see whales, dolphins and other sea life dying agonizing deaths due to plastic in their stomachs, with a large percentage of the obstructions being plastic straws. I was at High Tides with a friend having lunch and was pleased to learn that they do not offer straws with their drinks any more. I think you can get one if you specifically ask, but they’re doing their part to save marine life. I hope other beach bars and restaurants are doing the same.

  2. Facts says:

    Senator Hutson brain child failure bill. Can the Republicans find a candidate to run against this child in the primary! Flagler deserve better.

  3. BMW says:

    While we are patting ourselves on the back, why aren’t we addressing K-Cups?

    “K-Cups may be small in size, but the waste is adding up fast. The amount of K-Cups trashed into landfills as of today could wrap around the planet more than 10 times! More broadly, almost 25% of American homes owned a single cup brewing machine. That’s over 75 million homes brewing single use pods like K-cups everyday, multiple times a day. This means that tens of billions of nonreusable, nonrecyclable plastic pods have ended up in landfills thanks to companies like Keurig – and that number is exponentially growing as more companies join the industry.”

    Although Keurig is going to start making recyclable cups by 2020, how many people are going to soil their recycling bins with the little monsters?

  4. Stranger in a strange land says:

    Low risk veto, but thanks! To readers, you don’t need a straw to drink a drink at a fast food restaurant. Odds are, you drink directly from your glass at home. Do the same when you’re out.

    Re. significant veto: Let’s see if he has the guts to veto the toll road bill that will hugely benefit two Billionaire land owners. Preserve Florida’s (YOURS!) springs and rural areas. Don’t allow your tax dollars to enrich Billionaires. I imagine they are major contributors to politicians.

    Email the Governor to express your wishes:

  5. Stranger in a strange land says:

    Couldn’t agree more with BMW. For better coffee and minimal impact get a French press and a mini grinder. I microwave water for three minutes in my mug, while microwaving I grind the beans (Starbucks Verona is my choice), pour ground coffee into french press, pour hot water in, stir a little, wait four minutes, push plunger down, pour coffee into the warmed mug and drink a great cup of coffee. Add a little water to the grounds and pour the water/grounds mixture under your shrubs or pour on ground cover. The grounds are great for acid loving plants. If you want, you can buy ground coffee and skip the grinder but fresh ground beans have great flavor.

    A recipe for a better, cheaper cup of coffee, a cleaner environment and a more beutiful yard. Not a thing (other than the bag the coffee came in) goes in the garbage.

  6. Jane GentileYoud says:

    Bravo Gov… keep it up- Hutson needs to go bye bye

  7. Agkistrodon says:

    BAN all Single use plastics. Plastics use should be DISCOURAGED in general. While some are worried about climate changed, those SAME people are destroying the planet with their use of plastics. Plastics have made their way into the food chain, in many fish species.

  8. Dave says:

    Do you use straws at home? No! So why do you need a straw when you go out? Single use plastic straws make no sense. They have been teaching this at Marine Land forever.

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