Scott makes it clear: Florida isn't privatizing beaches

2. Barefoot Beach (Bonita Springs, Fla.)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Gov. Rick Scott is letting people know that a new law doesn't privatize beaches.

Scott signed an executive order Thursday evening making clear that he wants the public to have as much access to Florida beaches as possible.

In Florida, many homeowners own the sand down to the average high water line, though some counties have passed local ordinances that let the public use the beaches for sunbathing, fishing and walking.

A law that went into effect July 1 spells out the process for counties to grant public access to privately owned beaches. But in doing so, it voided an ordinance approved in Walton County in the western Panhandle.

Scott's order tells the state Department of Environmental Protection to be an advocate for beach access and asks state attorneys to "protect Floridians' constitutional right to access the beach."

“Today, I am ordering the Department of Environmental Protection to do everything in their power to advocate to keep our beaches open and public," Scott said in a statement about the order. "Also, I am putting a moratorium on any new state regulation that could inhibit public beach access and also urging local government officials to take similar steps to protect Floridians’ access to the beach."

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