TALLAHASSEE - A proposal to open the tap on BP oil-spill settlement money for Northwest Florida counties hard hit by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster has reached Gov. Rick Scott's desk.
The measure (HB 7077), which allocates to eight Gulf Coast counties $300 million of $400 million received by the state last year, was among 37 bills sent to Scott on Thursday. The eight counties - Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla and Walton - are also slated to get three-fourths of the remainder of the $2 billion the state is expected to receive for damages associated with the BP disaster, which dumped millions of gallons of oil less than 100 miles off the Florida coast.
Scott on Thursday also received a number of measures known as “claim” bills, which typically stem from lawsuits filed against government agencies because people have been injured or killed. Among the claim bills is a measure (HB 6515) that would provide $1.8 million to the family of Devaughn Darling, a Florida State University football player who died during a training session in 2001.
Another claim bill (HB 6529) would direct the St. Lucie County school district to pay $1.5 million because of the 2012 death of 9-year-old Aaron Beauchamp in a school-bus accident. Scott has until June 2 to sign, veto or allow the bills to become law without his signature.