Senator Hays' Facebook page, Florida Department of
Tourism and the Elected Officials in the House and Senate
in Tallahassee were flooded by postings and emails.
Senator Hays comments were "calm the panic". Below is
The effects of SB 868 have been misunderstood. This bill
simply extends current law to areas in which the State
currently does not have jurisdiction. The extension is very
small in scope in order to cover areas such as those depict.
These are pictures of land owned by Lake County Water
Authority, a political subdivision/special taxing district
created by the legislature within my district. As current law
is written, when this type of damage is done to the property,
law enforcement’s hands are tied and they cannot take action
to enforce preservation of the land or the artifacts recovered.
As you can see from the pictures, the bill is addressing
unauthorized excavation and exploration on these types of
This bill does not impact private lands, the ability of
individuals to use a metal detector on our beaches, or any of
the activities these hobby enthusiasts legally enjoy now.
My office has been in contact with staff from
detectingrights.com. and clarified what the bill actually
addresses. Hopefully, if you belong to that organization, you
will be receiving an email soon. I would also encourage you
to visit the updated post on their website at
detectingrights.com and look at the tab which states items
requiring immediate attention.
I understand where some of the confusion on this bill may
have originated. The original language of the bill had a
drafting error that was caught and corrected during the first
committee stop. The bill originally read “any lands” when it
should have read “any state owned lands”, so it was never
my intent to prohibit anyone from doing anything on their
own land. It was never my intention to create overly
burdensome regulations, and I do believe in keeping
government small, but when I see in my own district where
our shorelines are being washed away by someone with a
“borrowed” garden hose, or holes are being dug deep
enough for someone to stand in, and all this damage must be
repaired, I need to take action.
I do appreciate the posts and your letting me know this
concern was out there and that word was spreading
regarding the potential impact of this bill. Hopefully, I have
been able to address your concerns and create a better
understanding of what this legislation is all about.
HUNT MASTER'S CONCERNS
I am concerned about the wording which can be open for
interpretation by rangers, wildlife officials and archeologists
(just to name a few). I am not a lawyer, but I know how a
written statement (especially legal talk) can be interpreted
more than one way. I know it doesn't specifically mention
metal detecting. But some public parks in Palm Beach
County that are not on the beach are now saying we can't
hunt in the grass because we are breaking the law that states
plant life is not to be disturbed or that we are excavating
when we make a small hole to retrieve an item.
COMMENTS FROM DICK STOUThttp://www.stoutstandards.com/Latest.html
SB868 IN FLORIDA
Received some correspondence about this bill, and a few
said that it's not as bad as we are saying.... Not sure I agree
with that. My concern? How will it be interpreted? How will
those chosen to enforce it understand it, and how will they
react. Likewise a bill like this didn't come out of nowhere. It
was surely designed with a purpose, and Senator Hays was
just the vehicle. We need to find out who the "paying or
contributing party" is, what their purose is, and how Senator
Hays got involved. Difficult, but not impossible....
Interesting that Senator Hays' first reaction to all the
responses he received on Facebook was to say "Calm the
Panic...not meant to eliminate detecting". If so Senator it
should be very simple to insert that into the current bill. Then
shortly after saying that he deleted all our comments....
COMMENTS FROM FMDAC
This bill just came to light two days ago. Emails were sent
out and all club contacts should have received them
are opposed to this. Although it apparently has had some
wording changes we remain opposed as the wording is not
clear and could be misinterpreted and twisted by anyone in
the future to suit their agenda. It is another small step in the
wrong direction. Vague wording is the way it is done to slip
things through under the radar.
Comments from the Task for Metal Detecting
The Task Force spoke with Pierce Schuessler (Legislative
Affairs Director from the Florida Department of State)—
apparently an older version of the bill was distributed within
the metal detecting community where the words "all lands"
were used. This error has been corrected.
The bottom line is the amendments to this bill are actually
good. The problem they have is with people literally using
heavy equipment removing dirt and sifting for Indian
artifacts. Pierce was very clear that the updates to this law
had nothing to do with metal detecting. It simply allows the
laws that govern state land to now cover special tax areas or
"sub divisions". If this bill does not pass, law enforcement
can only ask people to leave and not prosecute them for
tearing the land apart.
When you read this bill, it is important to understand that
all text which is not underlined is the current law. Only the
underlined text and crossed out text is the amended part of
the bill. The house version HB591 passed without opposition
PDF. The passing or not passing of SB868 or HB591 has no
relevance since the existing law will still be in place. To
effect change, local Detectorists need to meet with their
Senator and discuss amending the current law to specify
recreational metal detecting be excluded. Otherwise, what
you see not underlined, will stand as law what the upcoming
vote is on SB868.