Bill signed to improve water-quality standards in troubled Indian River Lagoon

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday signed a bill that includes steps to improve the Indian River Lagoon, where poor water quality has contributed to problems such as numerous manatee deaths in recent years. 

The bill (HB 1379) also will direct $100 million a year from real estate taxes to the Florida Forever land-acquisition program. The bill, in part, will require the state Department of Environmental Protection, local governments, and agencies to plan how to improve water-quality standards in the Indian River Lagoon watershed. 

The department must establish a water-quality monitoring network throughout the lagoon. Another bill (HB 21) DeSantis signed Tuesday will establish a series of road designations, including designating the bridge on State Road 3 over the Canaveral Barge Canal in Brevard County to honor Christa McAuliffe, the New Hampshire teacher killed in 1986 on the space shuttle Challenger. 

The bill also will name the new NASA Causeway Bridge on State Road 405 over the Indian River in Brevard County after astronaut Sally Ride and a stretch of Cortez Boulevard in Hernando County for the late conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. 

Another bill signed Tuesday (SB 478) will make permanent a pilot program that provides school districts up to $150 for every kindergarten through second-grade student enrolled in a "comprehensive music education program."