State senator files bill to repeal customary use law

TALLAHASSEE — A Senate Democrat this week filed a proposal that could refuel a debate about beach access in Florida. But Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, indicated he does not want to revisit a controversial law that critics say can help private landowners prevent public access to some beach areas.

HB 631 became law on July 1 — wiping out Walton County’s Customary Use Ordinance. Coastal property owners in South Walton began posting no trespassing signs and taking action to keep almost everyone, including county tourist development employees, off of the dry sand portions of beach to which they hold deeds.

Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, filed bill SB 54 that would repeal the law, which passed during the 2018 legislative session and caused a backlash in places such as fast-growing Walton County. Rouson’s proposal to repeal the law is filed for consideration during the 2019 session, which starts in March.

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