Century Commission crafts sustainability recommendations

12/15/08 Seán Kinane
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The Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida met today in St. Petersburg as a step in preparing its third Annual Report. The Commission will make recommendations to the state Legislature. Extending the length of time that Florida’s legislators can serve will be among those recommendations.

Term limits are currently eight years for the state House and Senate. On Monday, the Century Commission agreed to recommend extending term limits to 12 years.

Some members wanted to consider an extension to 16 years, but that was shot down by others, including St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, the Century Commission’s chair. Other electoral reforms, like longer terms, campaign finance reform and redistricting reform were not among the Century Commission’s recommendations but may be addressed in the future. Another recommendation to the Legislature, Center said, concerns sustainable building and community design.

Center said the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida is the type of entity that looks at issues that will affect the state in the long term.

This is the third year the Commission will make recommendations to the Legislature and they have been acted upon in the past, Center said.

Eighteen recommendations resulted from the water summit and the Century Commission decided to concentrate on four of them in their recommendations to the legislature. They include reinstating annual state funding for alternative water supply development and water quality improvement, incentives for long-term water sustainability in the state, and setting a per capita goal for water use within a one-year time frame, said Commission Chair Rick Baker.

The Century Commission also recommended protection of habitat through a Critical Lands and Waters Identification Project, or CLIP, Center said.

Other topics that the Century Commission for a Sustainable Florida will address next year include the Everglades restoration, a 50-year building code, infrastructure, education, health care, and tax and budget reform. The next Century Commission meetings will be a conference call on Jan. 6 and a two-day meeting in Tallahassee beginning on Feb. 9.

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