The Florida State Parks Foundation's bid to get a specialty license plate to support Florida’s award-winning state parks cleared its final House and Senate Committee hurdles, with unanimous support, this morning. It goes before the full House and Senate next week.
“We are delighted that PCS for House Bill 249 and CS/Senate Bill 676 were approved by their respective committees today and now go before the full House and Senate next week,” said Foundation President Gil Ziffer. “Both bills have received tremendous bipartisan support and if passed, will provide significant and ongoing funding to enable us to protect and preserve Florida’s state parks."
Senate Bill 676 was filed by Republican Senator Dennis Baxley (SD 12), and House Bill 249 was filed by Democratic Representative Allison Tant (HD 9).
“Florida’s state parks are a treasure that need to be protected for future generations, but this will require significant and ongoing funding. I am delighted to support a specialty Florida State Parks license plate which would provide some of this much needed funding,” said Senator Baxley.
“Although our state parks are the only four-time National Gold Medal winners for excellence, there is much that needs to be done to ensure they continue to be recognized as world leaders. Funds from a specialty license plate will help us achieve this,” said Representative Tant.
“As 2020 clearly demonstrated, Florida’s state parks play an important role in providing open spaces where people can recreate and exercise in a safe, socially distanced environment. The demand for these open spaces will continue to increase as Florida’s population is expected to top 23 million by 2025 and tourism numbers grow,” said Ziffer. “To meet this growing demand, it is important that state parks continue to provide exceptional value in terms of visitor experience and the range of outdoor pursuits available. It is also important that these pursuits are available to the widest possible audience both in terms of accessibility and diversity."
The Foundation, founded in 1993 as Friends of Florida State Parks and renamed in 2018, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support and help sustain the Florida Park Service, its 175 award-winning parks and trails, local Friends groups and more than 20,000 park volunteers.
It does this through programs that preserve and protect state parks, educate visitors about the value of state parks, encourage community engagement and active use of state parks, and advocacy.
The volunteer Board of Directors represents private and public sectors as well as local and statewide interests.