A bill that would delay implementation of a statewide septic tank inspection requirement was presented Tuesday to Gov. Rick Scott -- after agency rule-making already had been halted.
A Senate spokesman declined to say whether the Legislature had delayed sending the bill to avoid a veto by then-Gov. Charlie Crist. He signed SB 550 in June, which contained the inspection requirement. Supporters, including Sierra Club Florida and the Florida Home Builders Association, said the requirement would protect public health and water quality.
SB 2A was adopted on Nov. 16 by the Legislature during its special session after an outcry from some Panhandle residents and legislators over concerns about the cost of inspections.
The bill "was given to the governor in a timely manner," David Bishop, the Senate's director of communications and information technology, said Tuesday. Scott has 15 days to sign or veto the bill or allow it to become law without his signature.
The Florida Department of Health estimated that inspections would cost $150 to $200, according to a Senate bill analysis. Replacing failing septic systems could cost $5,000 to $7,000. DOH estimates that 10 percent of Florida's 2.6 million septic tanks are failing.
SB 2A would delay implementation from Jan. 1 to July 1. But DOH already had delayed implementation in December pending action by the governor on the bill, Michelle Dahnke, a department spokeswoman, said Tuesday.
Furthermore, Scott on Tuesday issued Executive Order 11-01 halting rule-making by agencies under the direction of the governor. Any proposed rules must be reviewed by his new Office of Fiscal Accountability and Regulatory Reform for consent.
Dahnke said that executive order would not appear to affect rule-making on the septic tank inspection requirement because action already had been halted until the governor could act on SB 2A.
Meanwhile, bills have been filed for the 2011 session that would repeal the requirement altogether. One of those bills, SB 130, was filed by Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness and chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation.
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