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Water-Related News

Red tide bills see mixed results in legislature

$3 million will be given every year for five years to Mote Marine Laboratory, but critics say more focus needs to be put on improving the county's water quality.

After one of the worst red tide blooms in decades, Sarasota and Manatee county residents hoped to see a wide range of legislative action from Tallahassee. But after the closing of the legislative session this month, some say there is still room for improvement.

While millions of the $91.1 billion state budget was directly allocated toward red tide initiatives, some related bills were ultimately rejected.

Rep. Will Robinson, R-Bradenton, sponsored legislation to change regulations governing sewage systems, while Rep. Margaret Good, D-Sarasota, sponsored new rules regarding stormwater runoff and alternatives to spraying pesticides in water bodies.

Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, sponsored bills that would provide penalties for wastewater treatment facilities that unlawfully discharge sewage and require inspections of on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems.

All of those bills faded in the legislative session.

Gruters did find bipartisan support in a bill that would support red tide mitigation efforts.