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Senator Stewart, District 13 — Press Release


February 28, 2017

CONTACT: Ali Akin Kurnaz, 850-487-5013

Senator Linda Stewart Files Black Bear Act that Protects Wildlife, Restores Habitats

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) on Tuesday filed comprehensive legislation to protect Florida black bears and preserve their habitat. Senate Bill 1304, which has been called the Florida Black Bear Habitat Restoration Act, also establishes a fund for local governments for the purchase of bear resistant garbage containers.

“At a time when Florida’s native black bears are facing several threats to their habitat, it is our obligation to ensure the preservation of the iconic species as well as the safety of our neighborhoods,” said Stewart. “Today, we are setting out to do just that.”

Senate Bill 1304 is a companion bill to House Bill 491, which has been introduced in the Florida House of Representatives by Rep. Amy Mercado (D-Orlando).

“By protecting Florida black bear habitats and their food sources, we in turn limit bear-human conflicts and ultimately are closer to ensuring the public’s safety,” said Mercado.

Sen. Linda Stewart and Rep. Amy Mercado will be joined by the President of Speak Up Wekiva Chuck O’Neal to announce the new legislation at a press event on Wednesday, March 1, 2017. The announcement will take place at 1:00 PM at Lake Eola Park in Orlando by the red pagoda by North Eola Drive.

“This bill addresses many of the problems that are driving Florida black bears from public forests and into neighboring subdivisions,” said O’Neal. “In order to reverse that exodus, we must stop destroying their habitat.”