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Crisafulli's water bill passes Appropriations, next stop: Floor vote

It’s a complicated bill that House Speaker Steve Crisafulli says will modernize Florida’s water policy.

So far, at least, the nearly 100-page HB 7003 is finding little opposition in the House, easily passing the Appropriations Committee on Thursday with bipartisan support.

“I don’t see this as a perfect bill,” said Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa. “I don’t think we go far enough to deal with the complexities of Lake Okeechobee. But my concerns with the septic systems are being addressed, so because of that, I will vote the bill up and hope that it gets better as we go along.”

Even though session hasn’t started, there’s not much more to go. Next stop is the floor of the Florida House. That makes the bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Matthew Caldwell, R-Lehigh Acres and is one of Crisafulli’s top priorities, to be a leading candidate for first bill passed by the House when legislative session begins March 3.

Still, there’s quite a bit of difference between the House bill and the Senate version, sponsored by Sen. Charlie Dean, R-Inverness.

“My hope is that we will work well with our Senate colleagues, collaboratively, and develop a good comprehensive policy,” Caldwell said after Thursday’s meeting.