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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A bill creating a nine-member commission focused on restoring Biscayne Bay was signed into law Thursday by Gov. Ron DeSantis during a ceremony alongside the South Florida water body.

DeSantis said the first task of the Biscayne Bay Commission, which will be housed in the Department of Environmental Protection, will be to review and consolidate existing programs and projects into a strategic plan for the bay’s improvement.

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DeSantis, who signed a state budget Wednesday for the upcoming fiscal year, said the state also is putting money into restoring the bay.

“This legislation builds on the momentum of the $20 million that we announced in December of 2020,” DeSantis said. “And then I’m happy to also report the budget that I signed yesterday contains an additional $20 million in state funding for Biscayne Bay protection efforts.”

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The bill (HB 1177) specifies that the commission will not supersede the regulatory authority of governmental agencies.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Miami Springs, and Sen. Ileana Garcia, R-Miami, also will prohibit disposal of sanitary sewage into Biscayne Bay that doesn’t first undergo “advanced waste treatment.” The Miami-Dade County Commission will name three members to the new panel.

The governor, the Miami-Dade County League of Cities, the South Florida Water Management District Governing Board, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the Florida Inland Navigation District each get to name one member.

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