Legislative Bill Summaries

The following content is current as of Friday, January 12, 2018. It will be updated weekly. If you have any questions on a specific bill, please contact the lobbyist tracking the bill. This is indicated by the last name in parenthesis following each bill summary. Links to the House and Senate are located at the bottom of the page.

 

BUILDING CODES/CONSTRUCTION

Public Financing of Construction Projects (Oppose)

SB 542 (Rodriguez, J.) requires contractors to conduct a Sea-Level Impact Projection (SLIP) study on state-funded buildings within the coastal building zone. Coastal building zone is not defined in the bill. Buildings subject to this requirement would include construction projects of a municipality, county or any other public agency that is using state-appropriated funds for the project. The bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop guidelines for conducting a SLIP study. In addition, DEP must also approve and publish a copy of all SLIP studies for at least 10 years. (Branch) ...

Public Financing of Construction Projects (Oppose) SB 542 (Rodriguez, J.) requires contractors to conduct a Sea-Level Impact Projection (SLIP) study on state-funded buildings within the coastal building zone. Coastal building zone is not defined in the bill. Buildings subject to this requirement would include construction projects of a municipality, county or any other public agency that is using state-appropriated funds for the project. The bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop guidelines for conducting a SLIP study. In addition, DEP must also approve and publish a copy of all SLIP studies for at least 10 years. (Branch)

Permit Fees (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)

SB 1144 (Perry) and CS/HB 725 (Williamson) require local governments to publish permit and inspection fee schedules and reports on their website. The bills also require the building permit and inspection report to include direct and indirect costs incurred by local government to implement the Florida Building Code. (Branch) ...

Permit Fees (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate) SB 1144 (Perry) and CS/HB 725 (Williamson) require local governments to publish permit and inspection fee schedules and reports on their website. The bills also require the building permit and inspection report to include direct and indirect costs incurred by local government to implement the Florida Building Code. (Branch)

Florida Building Commission (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 299 (McClain) revises the membership of the Florida Building Commission from 27 members to 11. Of particular concern, the bill deletes the ability of the Florida League of Cities (FLC) and the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) to recommend a list of candidates for consideration to the commission. Under current law, FLC and FAC have a joint representative on the commission. (Branch) ...

Florida Building Commission (Oppose – Preemption) HB 299 (McClain) revises the membership of the Florida Building Commission from 27 members to 11. Of particular concern, the bill deletes the ability of the Florida League of Cities (FLC) and the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) to recommend a list of candidates for consideration to the commission. Under current law, FLC and FAC have a joint representative on the commission. (Branch)

Construction of Housing Within a Certain Distance of the State Highway System (Watch)

HB 1085 (Watson B.) requires the construction of certain multiple housing developments within a five-mile radius of a road on the State Highway System to be considered a single construction project if the total number of residential dwelling units within such housing developments exceeds 500. The bill also requires local governments, except in limited circumstances, to postpone all applications for local zoning or building permits for construction projects if a road on the State Highway System is rated below a level “D” within a five-mile radius. (Branch) ...

Construction of Housing Within a Certain Distance of the State Highway System (Watch) HB 1085 (Watson B.) requires the construction of certain multiple housing developments within a five-mile radius of a road on the State Highway System to be considered a single construction project if the total number of residential dwelling units within such housing developments exceeds 500. The bill also requires local governments, except in limited circumstances, to postpone all applications for local zoning or building permits for construction projects if a road on the State Highway System is rated below a level “D” within a five-mile radius. (Branch)

Open and Expired Building Permits (Watch) 

HB 1077 (Diamond) and SB 1322 (Powell) provide a procedure by which property owners may close dormant open or expired building permits in instances when the contractor who obtained the permit is no longer available to close it by calling for a final inspection. The bills also provide a mechanism for sellers and purchasers of real property, on which a building permit was previously obtained but not properly closed, to close the permit as part of the purchase and sale transaction for the property. The bills require local governments to send a written notice to the current property ...

Open and Expired Building Permits (Watch)  HB 1077 (Diamond) and SB 1322 (Powell) provide a procedure by which property owners may close dormant open or expired building permits in instances when the contractor who obtained the permit is no longer available to close it by calling for a final inspection. The bills also provide a mechanism for sellers and purchasers of real property, on which a building permit was previously obtained but not properly closed, to close the permit as part of the purchase and sale transaction for the property. The bills require local governments to send a written notice to the current property owner within one to three years after issuance of any building permit that has not been properly closed out. The bills allow local governments to charge one search fee per tax parcel identification number in an amount commensurate with research and time costs incurred. (Branch)

Fire-Safety Inspectors (Watch)

SB 820 (Powell) and HB 637 (Jacquet) prohibit individuals from influencing fire-safety inspectors by threatening, coercing, persuading or compensating to interfere with an inspection. The bills also provide criminal penalties for these violations. (Branch) ...

Fire-Safety Inspectors (Watch) SB 820 (Powell) and HB 637 (Jacquet) prohibit individuals from influencing fire-safety inspectors by threatening, coercing, persuading or compensating to interfere with an inspection. The bills also provide criminal penalties for these violations. (Branch)

Electrical Contractors (Watch)

SB 446 (Gibson) and HB 295 (Mercado) allow a city or county to require an electric journeyman to be present to supervise or perform work on an industrial or commercial new construction site when electrical work in excess of 77 volts is being performed. Under current law, they may only be required on a worksite with a facility of 50,000 gross square feet or more. (Branch) ...

Electrical Contractors (Watch) SB 446 (Gibson) and HB 295 (Mercado) allow a city or county to require an electric journeyman to be present to supervise or perform work on an industrial or commercial new construction site when electrical work in excess of 77 volts is being performed. Under current law, they may only be required on a worksite with a facility of 50,000 gross square feet or more. (Branch)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 106 (Campbell) - Fire Safety  ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 106 (Campbell) - Fire Safety  HB 723 (McClain) and SB 908 (Steube) – Construction Bonds

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Community Redevelopment Agencies (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/HB 17 (Raburn) and SB 432 (Lee) increase audit, ethics, reporting and accountability measures for community redevelopment agencies (CRAs). The bills require CRAs to annually submit additional reporting information to the state, including performance data for each CRA plan, number of projects started, total number of projects completed, commercial property vacancy rates, amount expended on affordable housing, etc. The bills require CRA procurement to comport with city and county procurement procedures. Of specific concern to cities, CS/HB 17 outlines a process by which CRAs can be phased out, unless reauthorized by a super majority vote of the body ...

Community Redevelopment Agencies (Oppose – Preemption) CS/HB 17 (Raburn) and SB 432 (Lee) increase audit, ethics, reporting and accountability measures for community redevelopment agencies (CRAs). The bills require CRAs to annually submit additional reporting information to the state, including performance data for each CRA plan, number of projects started, total number of projects completed, commercial property vacancy rates, amount expended on affordable housing, etc. The bills require CRA procurement to comport with city and county procurement procedures. Of specific concern to cities, CS/HB 17 outlines a process by which CRAs can be phased out, unless reauthorized by a super majority vote of the body that created the CRA. Additionally, CS/HB 17 prohibits the creation of a new CRA unless authorized by a special act of the Legislature. SB 432 differs from CS/HB 17 in that it does not provide for the phase out of existing CRAs or require legislative approval of new CRAs. SB 432 contains additional provisions that would cap administrative spending at 18 percent. In addition, SB 432 prohibits tax increment expenditures on festivals, street parties, grants to promote tourism, and grants to socially beneficial programs. SB 432 would also change CRA board composition by requiring the appointment of two non-elected members. Lastly, SB 432 would require CRAs to create lobbyist registrations for individuals who lobby the CRA.(Cruz)

Economic Development and Tourism Development Accountability (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/HB 3 (Grant, M.) was significantly amended in the House Ways and Means Committee on January 9. The bill defines economic development agencies to include public agencies, including cities, and third-party organizations that receive public funds and are engaged in economic development activities. The new definition of economic development activities includes, among other things, direct financial incentives, indirect financial incentives, fee or tax-based incentives, and below-market leases or deeds for real property. The bill provides new operational standards for economic development agencies that include financial disclosure requirements of directors, officers and board members; procedures for handling conflicts of ...

Economic Development and Tourism Development Accountability (Oppose – Mandate) CS/HB 3 (Grant, M.) was significantly amended in the House Ways and Means Committee on January 9. The bill defines economic development agencies to include public agencies, including cities, and third-party organizations that receive public funds and are engaged in economic development activities. The new definition of economic development activities includes, among other things, direct financial incentives, indirect financial incentives, fee or tax-based incentives, and below-market leases or deeds for real property. The bill provides new operational standards for economic development agencies that include financial disclosure requirements of directors, officers and board members; procedures for handling conflicts of interest; salary limitations for board members and staff; and travel restrictions for economic development agency members. Finally, the bill contains significant transparency measures, including reporting requirements associated with contracts and audit requirements.  SB 1714 (Perry) creates several new transparency and accountability provisions applicable to economic development agencies and tourism-promotion agencies. The bill authorizes the attorney general to audit certain aspects of these agencies and requires them to file an annual disclosure. The bill would implement several limitations on these agencies, including, but not limited to, requiring board members to serve without compensation, limitations on per diem and travel expenses, limits on the amount of public compensation certain persons can receive, prohibitions on performance bonuses and severance pay, as well as numerous spending limitations and requirements. The bill clarifies that if a municipality does not have an economic development agency, then the provisions apply to municipal officers or employees assigned to promote the general business interests, industrial interests or related responsibilities of the municipality. (Cook)

Film and Television Production (Support)

HB 341 (Silvers) establishes the Florida Motion Picture Capital Corporation (FMPCC) to encourage the use of the state as a site for movies and television shows. The corporation would provide financing to productions that are estimated to generate the greatest economic impact to the state. The FMPCC would be funded by a combination of federal, state and local dollars and would be governed by a board of directors serving three-year terms. The bill contains several accountability measures relating to the use of these funds for film and television production. (Cook) ...

Film and Television Production (Support) HB 341 (Silvers) establishes the Florida Motion Picture Capital Corporation (FMPCC) to encourage the use of the state as a site for movies and television shows. The corporation would provide financing to productions that are estimated to generate the greatest economic impact to the state. The FMPCC would be funded by a combination of federal, state and local dollars and would be governed by a board of directors serving three-year terms. The bill contains several accountability measures relating to the use of these funds for film and television production. (Cook)

Sports Franchise Facilities (Oppose)

HB 13 (Avila) and SB 352 (Garcia) prohibit a sports franchise from constructing, reconstructing, renovating or improving a facility on public land. The bills also require a lease of a facility on public land to be at fair market value. The bills would require contracts or agreements entered into or renewed after July 1, 2018, between a governmental entity and a sports franchise, to include provisions requiring the sports franchise to pay any outstanding debt incurred by the governmental entity if the franchise permanently discontinues use of the facility. Finally, the bills clarify that the sale of any ...

Sports Franchise Facilities (Oppose) HB 13 (Avila) and SB 352 (Garcia) prohibit a sports franchise from constructing, reconstructing, renovating or improving a facility on public land. The bills also require a lease of a facility on public land to be at fair market value. The bills would require contracts or agreements entered into or renewed after July 1, 2018, between a governmental entity and a sports franchise, to include provisions requiring the sports franchise to pay any outstanding debt incurred by the governmental entity if the franchise permanently discontinues use of the facility. Finally, the bills clarify that the sale of any public lands to a sports franchise for the construction, renovation or improvement of a facility must be at fair market value. (Cook)

Sports Development (Oppose)

SB 778 (Lee) and HB 6005 (Avila) repeal statutes relating to the process for receiving state funding for constructing, reconstructing, renovating, or improving a professional sports facility. In effect, the bills would prohibit the use of state funds for facilities used by professional sports teams. (Cook) ...

Sports Development (Oppose) SB 778 (Lee) and HB 6005 (Avila) repeal statutes relating to the process for receiving state funding for constructing, reconstructing, renovating, or improving a professional sports facility. In effect, the bills would prohibit the use of state funds for facilities used by professional sports teams. (Cook)

Rural Economic Development (Watch)

HB 1193 (Latvala) and SB 1496 (Gainer) increase the maximum grant amounts that regionally based economic development organizations (EDO) can receive from the Department of Economic Opportunity from $50,000 to $250,000. New language is also added specifying that grants awarded to EDOs in rural areas of opportunity must be matched with nonstate resources equaling 50 percent of the grant amount. (Cook) ...

Rural Economic Development (Watch) HB 1193 (Latvala) and SB 1496 (Gainer) increase the maximum grant amounts that regionally based economic development organizations (EDO) can receive from the Department of Economic Opportunity from $50,000 to $250,000. New language is also added specifying that grants awarded to EDOs in rural areas of opportunity must be matched with nonstate resources equaling 50 percent of the grant amount. (Cook)

Rural Economic Development Initiative (Watch)

SB 170 (Grimsley) revises the intent and direction of the current Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) by expanding the definition of “rural area of opportunity” and including specific goals for qualifying projects. Specific goals include job creation, improving community infrastructure and access to healthcare, and the development and growth of a skilled workforce. The bill amends the membership of the REDI Board of Directors, and requires submission of an annual report to the Legislature that includes descriptions of all project operations and any major accomplishments. (Cook) ...

Rural Economic Development Initiative (Watch) SB 170 (Grimsley) revises the intent and direction of the current Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) by expanding the definition of “rural area of opportunity” and including specific goals for qualifying projects. Specific goals include job creation, improving community infrastructure and access to healthcare, and the development and growth of a skilled workforce. The bill amends the membership of the REDI Board of Directors, and requires submission of an annual report to the Legislature that includes descriptions of all project operations and any major accomplishments. (Cook)

Regional Rural Development Grants (Watch)

HB 1103 (Albritton) and SB 1646 (Montford) amend the Regional Rural Development Grants Program to clarify that funding can be used to build the professional capacity of regional economic development organizations (EDO). The bills authorize certain economic development organizations to receive grants of up to $250,000, but must match these grant funds with that 25 percent of the amount received from the state with nonstate resources. The bills also create new operational requirements for organizations expending grant funds or entering into contracts with other groups to expend grant funds. The bills amend the Rural Infrastructure Fund to authorize ...

Regional Rural Development Grants (Watch) HB 1103 (Albritton) and SB 1646 (Montford) amend the Regional Rural Development Grants Program to clarify that funding can be used to build the professional capacity of regional economic development organizations (EDO). The bills authorize certain economic development organizations to receive grants of up to $250,000, but must match these grant funds with that 25 percent of the amount received from the state with nonstate resources. The bills also create new operational requirements for organizations expending grant funds or entering into contracts with other groups to expend grant funds. The bills amend the Rural Infrastructure Fund to authorize the Department of Economic Opportunity to award grants for up to 50 percent of the total infrastructure project cost and stipulate that eligible projects must include improvements to broadband internet service and access in unserved or underserved rural communities. (Cook)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 182 (Rodriguez) - Small Business Roadway Construction Mitigation Grant Program ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 182 (Rodriguez) - Small Business Roadway Construction Mitigation Grant Program SB 544 (Brandes) - Procurement Procedures

ELECTIONS

Resign to Run (Watch)

HB 105 (Santiago) and SB 186 (Hutson) require an elected or appointed officer (including municipal) who qualifies for federal public office to resign from his or her current office if the terms of the current office and the federal office run concurrently. The bills specify the timeframes and manner for submission of a resignation and procedures for filling a vacancy created by a resignation. (O’Hara) ...

Resign to Run (Watch) HB 105 (Santiago) and SB 186 (Hutson) require an elected or appointed officer (including municipal) who qualifies for federal public office to resign from his or her current office if the terms of the current office and the federal office run concurrently. The bills specify the timeframes and manner for submission of a resignation and procedures for filling a vacancy created by a resignation. (O’Hara)

Election Dates for Municipal Officers (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1262 (Hutson) and HB 7037 (House Government Accountability Committee) would amend the state law to specify a uniform method for all municipal election dates. The bills would require a municipality to determine if its municipal elections will be held on the same date as the general election: the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in an odd numbered year, or the third Tuesday in March in an odd-numbered year or even-numbered year. The bills further specify required options for those municipalities that require runoff elections. (O’Hara)   ...

Election Dates for Municipal Officers (Oppose – Preemption) SB 1262 (Hutson) and HB 7037 (House Government Accountability Committee) would amend the state law to specify a uniform method for all municipal election dates. The bills would require a municipality to determine if its municipal elections will be held on the same date as the general election: the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in an odd numbered year, or the third Tuesday in March in an odd-numbered year or even-numbered year. The bills further specify required options for those municipalities that require runoff elections. (O’Hara)

Other Bills of Interest 

HB 43 (Gruters), SB 122 (Steube) and SB 1276 (Simmons) - Campaign finance requirements for candidates, political committees and electioneering communications organizations ...

Other Bills of Interest  HB 43 (Gruters), SB 122 (Steube) and SB 1276 (Simmons) - Campaign finance requirements for candidates, political committees and electioneering communications organizations HJR 65 (Roth) and SJR 978 (Baxley) - Percentage of Elector Votes Required to Approve Constitutional Amendment SB 194 (Stuebe) and HB 1031 (Fischer) - Term limits for School Board members SB 582 (Rader) and HB 6008 (Geller) - Write-in Candidate Qualifying HB 707 (Jenne) and SB 1474 (Farmer) - Campaign finance requirements for statewide elected officials and legislators SB 964 (Baxley) and HB 709 - Voting Systems HB 989 (White) - Repeal of State Constitution provision on campaign financing HB 991 (White) and HB 989 (White) - Repeal of statutory & constitutional provisions on public campaign financing HB 1049 (Sullivan) and SB 1484 (Book) - Poll workers HB 1275 (Henry) and SB 1682 (Torres) - Elections Alert System SB 1582 (Bean) - Elections

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Post-hurricane Relief for Residents of Health Care Facilities (Watch)

SB 372 (Garcia), HB 327 (Richardson) and SB 1874 (Passidomo) require the Florida Public Service Commission, in the event of an emergency, to prioritize the restoration of services to critical medical facilities with at least 50 residents, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The bills also require the Agency for Health Care Administration to conduct annual inspections to ensure that facilities have an operational emergency power source and sufficient fuel supply for at least four days of a power outage. In addition, the emergency power source must provide enough energy to maintain an ambient air temperature of ...

Post-hurricane Relief for Residents of Health Care Facilities (Watch) SB 372 (Garcia), HB 327 (Richardson) and SB 1874 (Passidomo) require the Florida Public Service Commission, in the event of an emergency, to prioritize the restoration of services to critical medical facilities with at least 50 residents, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The bills also require the Agency for Health Care Administration to conduct annual inspections to ensure that facilities have an operational emergency power source and sufficient fuel supply for at least four days of a power outage. In addition, the emergency power source must provide enough energy to maintain an ambient air temperature of 81 degrees or less, and allow for refrigeration of critical items. SB 284 (Book) and HB 479 (Williams) is similar to SB 372, but it requires every critical medical facility to maintain a fully operational emergency power source and a supply of fuel for at least five days during a power outage.  SB 558 (Campbell) and HB 1321 (Hardemon) are similar to SB 372 (Garcia), but provide a deadline of January 1, 2019, for health care facilities to adhere to the operational generator and supply of fuel criteria. (Branch)

Disaster Recovery Services Contracts (Watch) 

HB 1087 (Watson B.) and SB 1456 (Garcia) authorize political subdivisions of the state to add vendors to an existing contract or enter into a second contract with additional vendors for debris removal services if the originally contracted vendor has not made a good faith effort in fulfilling its obligations within 14 days after a state of emergency is declared. The bills establish criteria for selecting additional vendors. (Branch) ...

Disaster Recovery Services Contracts (Watch)  HB 1087 (Watson B.) and SB 1456 (Garcia) authorize political subdivisions of the state to add vendors to an existing contract or enter into a second contract with additional vendors for debris removal services if the originally contracted vendor has not made a good faith effort in fulfilling its obligations within 14 days after a state of emergency is declared. The bills establish criteria for selecting additional vendors. (Branch)

Emergency Alerts (Watch)

SB 1116 (Simmons) authorizes local law enforcement agencies to activate the Emergency Alert System and issue an Imminent Threat alert when the agency confirms that an imminent threat to the public exists. This alert extends to both public and private schools and requires them to go into lockdown immediately following the event if certain criteria are met. The bill defines an “imminent threat” as an event where a person has been killed or severely injured, the suspect has fled the scene and the local law enforcement agency has determined that the suspect poses a threat to the public. ...

Emergency Alerts (Watch) SB 1116 (Simmons) authorizes local law enforcement agencies to activate the Emergency Alert System and issue an Imminent Threat alert when the agency confirms that an imminent threat to the public exists. This alert extends to both public and private schools and requires them to go into lockdown immediately following the event if certain criteria are met. The bill defines an “imminent threat” as an event where a person has been killed or severely injured, the suspect has fled the scene and the local law enforcement agency has determined that the suspect poses a threat to the public. (Cook)

Other Bills of Interest  

HB 437 (Lee L.) and SB 1444 (Powell) - Building Standards for Health Care Facilities ...

Other Bills of Interest   HB 437 (Lee L.) and SB 1444 (Powell) - Building Standards for Health Care Facilities HB 655 (Edwards) and SB 896 (Farmer) - Nursing Homes and Related Health Care Facilities HB 779 (Cruz) and SB 1556 (Rodriguez) - Education Facilities as Emergency Shelters HB 933 (Harrison) and SB 1260 (Stargel) - Emergency Power Sources SB 1006 (Montford) and HB 1443 (Alexander) - Disaster Response and Preparedness SB 1312 (Thurston) - Building Standards for State-subsidized Developments

ETHICS

Repeal of Local Government Advisory Council (Support)

HB 6003 (White) and SB 614 (Montford) repeal the Participant Local Government Advisory Council. The six-member council was created by the Legislature in 2008, following an unanticipated liquidity crisis in Florida PRIME for the purpose of regularly reviewing the administration of Florida PRIME, and making recommendations regarding its administration. (Hughes) ...

Repeal of Local Government Advisory Council (Support) HB 6003 (White) and SB 614 (Montford) repeal the Participant Local Government Advisory Council. The six-member council was created by the Legislature in 2008, following an unanticipated liquidity crisis in Florida PRIME for the purpose of regularly reviewing the administration of Florida PRIME, and making recommendations regarding its administration. (Hughes)

Government Accountability (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/HB 11 (Metz) and CS/SB 354 (Stargel) require local governments to establish and maintain internal controls, and require municipalities to maintain specified budget documents on the government’s website for a designated time. The bills define “abuse,” “fraud” and “waste” to be used in the establishment and maintenance of the internal controls. The bills expand the definition of “local governments” to include tourist development councils and county tourism promotion agencies and expand the auditor general’s authority for audits to include those entities. The bills prohibit a board or commission from requiring an advance copy of testimony or comments from ...

Government Accountability (Oppose – Mandate) CS/HB 11 (Metz) and CS/SB 354 (Stargel) require local governments to establish and maintain internal controls, and require municipalities to maintain specified budget documents on the government’s website for a designated time. The bills define “abuse,” “fraud” and “waste” to be used in the establishment and maintenance of the internal controls. The bills expand the definition of “local governments” to include tourist development councils and county tourism promotion agencies and expand the auditor general’s authority for audits to include those entities. The bills prohibit a board or commission from requiring an advance copy of testimony or comments from a member of the public as a precondition to being given the opportunity to be heard at a public meeting. The bills require an independent certified public accountant to determine whether the local government’s annual financial report is in agreement with the audited financial statements. If the report and statement are not in agreement, the accountant shall specify and explain the significant differences. If an audit report includes a recommendation that was included in a previous financial audit report but remains unaddressed, the governing body of the audited entity must indicate, during a regularly scheduled public meeting, the intended corrective action and explain its decision to not take corrective action. The bills change the composition of the audit committee to include at least one member of the governing body and prohibit city employees from serving on the committee. The bills also add additional requirements to the selection of an external auditor. The bills require certain public entities, including municipalities, to report public officer and employee travel information in the “statewide travel management system” which is to be required by the Department of Management Services. (Hughes)

Local Government Ethics Reform (Watch)

HB 7003 (formerly PCB PIE 18-02) (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) and SB 1534 (Mayfield) revise provisions in the state Ethics Code regarding financial disclosure, conflicting employment and contractual relationships, voting conflicts, and the regulation of persons who lobby before local governments. The bills would require elected municipal mayors and governing board officers of municipalities with $10 million or more in revenues as defined in the bill to file the full public disclosure of financial interests (Form 6) rather than the current requirement to file the lesser detailed financial disclosure (Form 1). The bills modify current law ...

Local Government Ethics Reform (Watch) HB 7003 (formerly PCB PIE 18-02) (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) and SB 1534 (Mayfield) revise provisions in the state Ethics Code regarding financial disclosure, conflicting employment and contractual relationships, voting conflicts, and the regulation of persons who lobby before local governments. The bills would require elected municipal mayors and governing board officers of municipalities with $10 million or more in revenues as defined in the bill to file the full public disclosure of financial interests (Form 6) rather than the current requirement to file the lesser detailed financial disclosure (Form 1). The bills modify current law on voting conflicts. Under current law, if an elected official has a conflict on a matter, they are required the official to disclose the conflict and prohibited from voting on the matter. The official may still participate in any discussion on the matter prior to the vote. The bills would strengthen this language to prohibit a public officer from participating in any discussion on a matter without first disclosing the existence of the conflict. The bills modify the current law restriction on conflicting employment or contractual relationships by providing that if public officer or employee of an agency holds a material interest in a business entity other than a publicly traded entity, or is an officer, director or member who manages such an entity, the contractual relationships held by the business entity would be deemed to be held by the public officer or employee. The bills also establish a statewide registration and reporting process for persons who “lobby” local governmental entities, as defined in the bills. The bills preempt to the state local government lobbyist registration requirements and prohibit the imposition of any registration fees by local governments, but authorize local governments to impose other regulations on lobbying activities, such as compensation and similar disclosure requirements. (O’Hara)

Ethics Code/Sexual Harassment (Watch)

SB 1628 (Book) and HB 1233 (Jacobs) create a Task Force: The Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct, define "sexual harassment" and amend the state ethics law to prohibit public officers, agency employees and lobbyists from sexually harassing any person. The bills provide for appointment and composition of the task force, which shall include an appointee of the Florida League of Cities. The task force is to convene by July 2018, and at least every four years thereafter, to examine best practices to prevent sexual misconduct in government settings (O’Hara) ...

Ethics Code/Sexual Harassment (Watch) SB 1628 (Book) and HB 1233 (Jacobs) create a Task Force: The Prevention of Sexual Harassment and Misconduct, define "sexual harassment" and amend the state ethics law to prohibit public officers, agency employees and lobbyists from sexually harassing any person. The bills provide for appointment and composition of the task force, which shall include an appointee of the Florida League of Cities. The task force is to convene by July 2018, and at least every four years thereafter, to examine best practices to prevent sexual misconduct in government settings (O’Hara)

State Ethics Reform (Watch)

HB 7007 (formerly PCB PIE 18-01) (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) and SB 1534 (Mayfield) prohibit the use of an elected official’s (including municipal) name, image, or symbols of office in a public service announcement while the official is a candidate for reelection or election to another public office if such announcement is paid for with public funds or donated media.  The term “public service announcement” is defined as any message that “promotes or announces an issue of public importance, concern, or welfare.” In addition, the bills amend various provisions relating to public officer and employee conduct ...

State Ethics Reform (Watch) HB 7007 (formerly PCB PIE 18-01) (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) and SB 1534 (Mayfield) prohibit the use of an elected official’s (including municipal) name, image, or symbols of office in a public service announcement while the official is a candidate for reelection or election to another public office if such announcement is paid for with public funds or donated media.  The term “public service announcement” is defined as any message that “promotes or announces an issue of public importance, concern, or welfare.” In addition, the bills amend various provisions relating to public officer and employee conduct regarding solicitation and negotiating of conflicting relationships. Specifically, the bills would prohibit any public officer or employee from soliciting any employment or contractual relationship from entities with whom they are prohibited from entering into conflicting relationships under the state Code of Ethics. The bills also amend various provisions relating to executive branch lobbyist registration. The bills clarify that the current lobbyist registration process for the executive branch does not require an officer or employee of a political subdivision, including a municipality, to register if the officer or employee is acting in the normal course of his or her duties. (O’Hara)

Ethics (Watch)

SB 1750 (Rodriguez, Jr.) amends current law to prohibit a state public official from voting on matters that would inure to the special gain or loss of certain individuals and entities. The bill would also require state officers to disclose certain conflicts before participating in matters that would inure to their special gain or loss. The bill would allow a prevailing complainant in an action by a respondent to recover costs and fees, even if the underlying complaint was determined by the Ethics Commission to have been filed with malicious intent. (O’Hara) ...

Ethics (Watch) SB 1750 (Rodriguez, Jr.) amends current law to prohibit a state public official from voting on matters that would inure to the special gain or loss of certain individuals and entities. The bill would also require state officers to disclose certain conflicts before participating in matters that would inure to their special gain or loss. The bill would allow a prevailing complainant in an action by a respondent to recover costs and fees, even if the underlying complaint was determined by the Ethics Commission to have been filed with malicious intent. (O’Hara)

Other Bills of Interest

HB 5 (Metz) and SB 1330 (Rouson) - State Officer Post-Service Lobbying Restrictions ...

Other Bills of Interest HB 5 (Metz) and SB 1330 (Rouson) - State Officer Post-Service Lobbying Restrictions HB 7005 (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee; Metz) - Local Gov’t Lobbyist Registration System Trust Fund HB 707 (Jenne) – Campaign Finance HB 709 (Drake) – Voting Systems PCB PIE 18-03 (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) and SB 1536 (Mayfield) - Local Gov’t Lobbyist Registration System Trust Fund HB 7005 (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee; Metz) and SB 1536 (Mayfield) - Local Gov’t Lobbyist Registration System Trust Fund

FINANCE & TAXATION

Homestead Exemption Implementation (Support)

HB 593 (Porter) and SB 772 (Grimsley) require the Legislature to appropriate monies beginning FY 2019-2020 if Amendment 1 is approved by voters, to offset reductions in ad valorem tax revenue experienced by local governments within a Rural Area of Opportunity that result from the additional homestead exemption required by Amendment 1. Qualifying local governments must apply annually to the Department of Revenue to participate in the distribution of the appropriation and provide documentation supporting their estimated reduction in ad valorem tax revenue. (Hughes) ...

Homestead Exemption Implementation (Support) HB 593 (Porter) and SB 772 (Grimsley) require the Legislature to appropriate monies beginning FY 2019-2020 if Amendment 1 is approved by voters, to offset reductions in ad valorem tax revenue experienced by local governments within a Rural Area of Opportunity that result from the additional homestead exemption required by Amendment 1. Qualifying local governments must apply annually to the Department of Revenue to participate in the distribution of the appropriation and provide documentation supporting their estimated reduction in ad valorem tax revenue. (Hughes)

Local Government Fiscal Transparency (Oppose – Mandate)

HB 7 (Burton) and SB 1426 (Lee) amend multiple provisions related to local government financial transparency. The bills expand public notice and public hearing requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes and new long-term tax-supported debt issuances. The language requires each local government to prominently post on its website the voting records on any action taken by its governing board related to tax increases and new tax-supported debt issuance. The bills impose requirements on county property appraisers and local governments relating to TRIM notices, millage rate history and the amount of tax levied by each ...

Local Government Fiscal Transparency (Oppose – Mandate) HB 7 (Burton) and SB 1426 (Lee) amend multiple provisions related to local government financial transparency. The bills expand public notice and public hearing requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes and new long-term tax-supported debt issuances. The language requires each local government to prominently post on its website the voting records on any action taken by its governing board related to tax increases and new tax-supported debt issuance. The bills impose requirements on county property appraisers and local governments relating to TRIM notices, millage rate history and the amount of tax levied by each taxing authority on each parcel. Additionally, local governments are required to conduct a debt affordability analysis prior to approving the issuance of new long-term tax-supported debt. The analysis would, at a minimum, calculate a debt affordability ratio to gauge the effects of the new debt issuance on the government’s debt service to revenue profile. The debt affordability ratio is the annual debt service for outstanding tax-supported debt divided by total annual revenues available to pay debt service on outstanding debt. The bills require the local government annual audit reports to include information regarding compliance with the requirements of this newly created section of law. Failure to comply could ultimately result in the withholding of state-shared revenues.   The bills revise the local government reporting requirements for economic development incentives. They require each municipality to report to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research whether the incentive was provided directly to an individual business or by another entity on behalf of the local government and the source of dollars obligated for the incentive (including local, state and federal). The bills also revise the statutory classes of economic development incentives. (Hughes)

Publicly Funded Retirement Plans (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 980 (Brandes) and HB 1363 (McClure) make numerous changes to the reporting requirements for publicly funded retirement plans. The bills revise the minimum requirements for actuarial reports for retirement systems or plans to include a list of pre-retirement and post-retirement benefits provided to employees. The bills expand the requirements of the statement by the enrolled actuary to include an analysis of the assumed rate of return established by the plan’s governing body, and specific recommendations regarding the assumed rate of return. For a retirement system or plan that comes into existence after October 1, 2018, the unfunded ...

Publicly Funded Retirement Plans (Oppose – Mandate) SB 980 (Brandes) and HB 1363 (McClure) make numerous changes to the reporting requirements for publicly funded retirement plans. The bills revise the minimum requirements for actuarial reports for retirement systems or plans to include a list of pre-retirement and post-retirement benefits provided to employees. The bills expand the requirements of the statement by the enrolled actuary to include an analysis of the assumed rate of return established by the plan’s governing body, and specific recommendations regarding the assumed rate of return. For a retirement system or plan that comes into existence after October 1, 2018, the unfunded liability must be amortized within 30 years of the first plan year. The bills require the recommended contribution rates be stated as a percentage of the annual revenue of the plan sponsor. The bills also provide that it fulfills an important state interest. (Hughes)

Financial Reporting (Oppose – Mandate)

HB 1019 (La Rosa) requires the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) to schedule a hearing, following a failure of a local government entity to comply with statutory provisions, to determine if further state action is needed. The bill clarifies that local government final budgets and amended budgets must be posted on the local government's website for five years.  ...

Financial Reporting (Oppose – Mandate) HB 1019 (La Rosa) requires the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee (JLAC) to schedule a hearing, following a failure of a local government entity to comply with statutory provisions, to determine if further state action is needed. The bill clarifies that local government final budgets and amended budgets must be posted on the local government's website for five years.  Beginning in the 2018-19 fiscal year, the bill requires a municipal budget officer to electronically submit information regarding the final budget to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) within 30 days after its adoption. The bill also requires that the budget officer electronically submit to the clerk of the court a copy of the information that was submitted to EDR, a copy of the final budget that was posted on the municipality’s website and a statement certifying that the requirements were completed in a timely fashion. The municipality must also submit to the clerk of the court a copy of its annual financial report and a statement clarifying that the report was timely filed with the department. If a local government entity fails to submit information to the clerk of the court as required, the clerk of the court shall notify the local finance officer to suspend future salary payments for the head of that local government entity. The clerk shall notify the appropriate local fiscal officer to resume payments when the clerk receives the information. The bill gives authority to the Department of Financial Services to extend the deadline for the annual financial report and audit report by an additional 90 days if the governor declares a state of emergency. Finally, the bill requires EDR to prepare, by June 15, 2018, forms local governments will use to submit the budget information. By December 1, 2018, EDR also must submit a report to the president of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives identifying a structure to create unique profiles for local governments that would assist the public in making comparisons between those governmental entities, as well as a recommendation for metrics that can be used to rank the local governments based on the final budget information. (Hughes)

Sales Tax on Commercial Leases (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 60 (Hukill) and HB 939 (Toledo) reduces the sales tax rate on commercial leases from 5.8 to 5.0 percent. The negative fiscal impact of these bills is estimated to be $12.69 million annually. (Hughes) ...

Sales Tax on Commercial Leases (Oppose – Mandate) SB 60 (Hukill) and HB 939 (Toledo) reduces the sales tax rate on commercial leases from 5.8 to 5.0 percent. The negative fiscal impact of these bills is estimated to be $12.69 million annually. (Hughes)

Tax on Commercial Leases (Oppose – Mandate)

HB 409 (Ahern) and SB 902 (Perry) exempt a portion of the rent or license fee that is subject to sales tax on commercial real property. Beginning January 1, 2019, the exemption would have been $10,000 and would have increased annually until the sales tax on commercial leases was repealed on January 1, 2028. (Hughes) ...

Tax on Commercial Leases (Oppose – Mandate) HB 409 (Ahern) and SB 902 (Perry) exempt a portion of the rent or license fee that is subject to sales tax on commercial real property. Beginning January 1, 2019, the exemption would have been $10,000 and would have increased annually until the sales tax on commercial leases was repealed on January 1, 2028. (Hughes)

Property Tax Exemption and Assessment: Manufacturing Equipment (Oppose – Mandate)

SJR 136 (Stuebe) proposes an amendment to the state constitution authorizing the Legislature to exempt certain manufacturing equipment from the tangible personal property tax or to allow manufacturing equipment to be assessed at less than just market value pursuant to an accelerated depreciation method established by general law. This proposed amendment requires 60 percent approval for passage. (Hughes) ...

Property Tax Exemption and Assessment: Manufacturing Equipment (Oppose – Mandate) SJR 136 (Stuebe) proposes an amendment to the state constitution authorizing the Legislature to exempt certain manufacturing equipment from the tangible personal property tax or to allow manufacturing equipment to be assessed at less than just market value pursuant to an accelerated depreciation method established by general law. This proposed amendment requires 60 percent approval for passage. (Hughes)

Taxation of Internet Video Service (Oppose – Mandate) 

SB 1210 (Brandes) and HB 1245 (Brodeur) define “internet video service” and exclude this type of service from the definition of “communications services” and therefore exclude internet video services from the communications services tax. Under these bills, internet video service means a subscription video programming service received by the end-user customer by means of a wired or wireless internet connection. Additionally, the bills prohibit a government from levying or collecting any tax, charge, fee or other imposition on the purchase of any internet video service. (Hughes) ...

Taxation of Internet Video Service (Oppose – Mandate)  SB 1210 (Brandes) and HB 1245 (Brodeur) define “internet video service” and exclude this type of service from the definition of “communications services” and therefore exclude internet video services from the communications services tax. Under these bills, internet video service means a subscription video programming service received by the end-user customer by means of a wired or wireless internet connection. Additionally, the bills prohibit a government from levying or collecting any tax, charge, fee or other imposition on the purchase of any internet video service. (Hughes)

Ad Valorem Taxation: Damaged Properties (Watch)

SB 1600 (Passidomo) and HB 1375 (Eagle) provide that certain residential properties damaged or destroyed in 2017 by a natural disaster can receive an abatement of certain property taxes. SB 1600 includes all natural disasters, and HB 1375 covers only those properties damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irma. The bills outline the procedures for property owners to apply for the abatement and for the property appraiser to investigate the claim. If the property appraiser determines the property owner is entitled to the abatement, the property appraiser must issue an official written statement to the tax collector by April ...

Ad Valorem Taxation: Damaged Properties (Watch) SB 1600 (Passidomo) and HB 1375 (Eagle) provide that certain residential properties damaged or destroyed in 2017 by a natural disaster can receive an abatement of certain property taxes. SB 1600 includes all natural disasters, and HB 1375 covers only those properties damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Irma. The bills outline the procedures for property owners to apply for the abatement and for the property appraiser to investigate the claim. If the property appraiser determines the property owner is entitled to the abatement, the property appraiser must issue an official written statement to the tax collector by April 1, 2019. The tax collector must calculate the damage differential and the disaster relief credit and reduce the property taxes initially levied on the residential property by an amount equal to the disaster relief credit. If the value of the credit exceeds the taxes levied in 2019, the remaining value of the credit shall be applied to taxes due in subsequent years until the value of the credit is exhausted. The bills outline the calculation for determining the amount of the disaster relief tax credit. By May 1, 2019, the tax collector must notify the Department of Revenue and the governing board of each affected local government of the total reductions in taxes for all properties that received an abatement. (Hughes)

Homestead Exemption for Disabled First Responders (Watch)

SB 1284 (Simmons) revises the definition of the term “first responder” to include law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or paramedics whose injuries are certified by their employing organizations to be caused by service in the line of duty on September 11, 2001, while responding to the terrorist attacks in New York City. (Hughes) ...

Homestead Exemption for Disabled First Responders (Watch) SB 1284 (Simmons) revises the definition of the term “first responder” to include law enforcement officers, correctional officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians or paramedics whose injuries are certified by their employing organizations to be caused by service in the line of duty on September 11, 2001, while responding to the terrorist attacks in New York City. (Hughes)

PACE – Improvements to Real Property (Watch)

SB 1858 (Passidomo) and HB 1225 (Jacobs) make numerous modifications to the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program. The bills revise the definition of “qualified improvements” to include the products and installation of wind resistance improvements and remove the current requirement that the improvements are the installation. The bills also contain many consumer protections. For example, each local government that offers a qualifying improvements program must develop a written disclosure form that contains the key terms of the agreement that must be provided to the residential property owner before he or she executes the financing agreement. (Hughes) ...

PACE – Improvements to Real Property (Watch) SB 1858 (Passidomo) and HB 1225 (Jacobs) make numerous modifications to the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Program. The bills revise the definition of “qualified improvements” to include the products and installation of wind resistance improvements and remove the current requirement that the improvements are the installation. The bills also contain many consumer protections. For example, each local government that offers a qualifying improvements program must develop a written disclosure form that contains the key terms of the agreement that must be provided to the residential property owner before he or she executes the financing agreement. (Hughes)

Property Tax Exemptions (Watch)

HB 727 (Grall) and SB 934 (Hukill) increase the property tax exemption, from $500 to $5,000, for homesteaded residents who are widows, widowers, blind, or totally and permanently disabled. The bills have an estimated negative fiscal impact on municipalities of $5.47 million per year. (Hughes) ...

Property Tax Exemptions (Watch) HB 727 (Grall) and SB 934 (Hukill) increase the property tax exemption, from $500 to $5,000, for homesteaded residents who are widows, widowers, blind, or totally and permanently disabled. The bills have an estimated negative fiscal impact on municipalities of $5.47 million per year. (Hughes)

Taxation of Real Property (Watch)

SB 1386 (Rodriguez, J.) prohibits separate ad valorem taxes or non-ad valorem assessments against land on which a multiple parcel building is located. For the purposes of this section, “multiple parcel buildings” means a building, other than a condominium, timeshare, or cooperative, which contains separate parcels that are vertically located, in whole or in part, on or over the same land. (Hughes) ...

Taxation of Real Property (Watch) SB 1386 (Rodriguez, J.) prohibits separate ad valorem taxes or non-ad valorem assessments against land on which a multiple parcel building is located. For the purposes of this section, “multiple parcel buildings” means a building, other than a condominium, timeshare, or cooperative, which contains separate parcels that are vertically located, in whole or in part, on or over the same land. (Hughes)

Property Tax Administration (Watch) 

SB 1406 (Perry) allows the property appraiser to contract for services to examine or audit homestead tax exemptions. A contractor’s compensation must consist solely of a portion, not to exceed 33 percent, of the back taxes, penalties, and interest imposed and collected on the assessments resulting from the contractor’s examination or audit and the removal of homestead exemptions from previous assessment rolls or tax rolls. (Hughes) ...

Property Tax Administration (Watch)  SB 1406 (Perry) allows the property appraiser to contract for services to examine or audit homestead tax exemptions. A contractor’s compensation must consist solely of a portion, not to exceed 33 percent, of the back taxes, penalties, and interest imposed and collected on the assessments resulting from the contractor’s examination or audit and the removal of homestead exemptions from previous assessment rolls or tax rolls. (Hughes)

Property Tax Exemption for Parents of Fallen Veterans (Watch)

HJR 743 (Abruzzo) and SB 1636 (Rader) propose an amendment to the state constitution to authorize the Legislature to create an exemption from property taxes on homestead property to the parent, or parents, of a veteran who died from service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. If approved by 60 percent of voters, the exemption could be equal to the total, or a portion, of the ad valorem tax that is owed, depending on how the Legislature implements the amendment. (Hughes) ...

Property Tax Exemption for Parents of Fallen Veterans (Watch) HJR 743 (Abruzzo) and SB 1636 (Rader) propose an amendment to the state constitution to authorize the Legislature to create an exemption from property taxes on homestead property to the parent, or parents, of a veteran who died from service-connected causes while on active duty as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces. If approved by 60 percent of voters, the exemption could be equal to the total, or a portion, of the ad valorem tax that is owed, depending on how the Legislature implements the amendment. (Hughes)

Property Tax Exemption Implementation: Parents of Fallen Veterans (Watch)

HB 745 (Abruzzo) and SB 1638 (Rader) implement HJR 745, if approved by voters. The bills authorize a municipality or a county to exempt from property tax the homestead property of certain parents of an unmarried veteran who died from combat-related causes while on active duty as member of U.S. Armed Forces. (Hughes) ...

Property Tax Exemption Implementation: Parents of Fallen Veterans (Watch) HB 745 (Abruzzo) and SB 1638 (Rader) implement HJR 745, if approved by voters. The bills authorize a municipality or a county to exempt from property tax the homestead property of certain parents of an unmarried veteran who died from combat-related causes while on active duty as member of U.S. Armed Forces. (Hughes)

Property Tax: Heavy Equipment (Watch)

SB 916 (Grimsley) and HB 1271 (Ahern) define “heavy equipment rental property” and “dealer of heavy equipment rental property” for the purposes of ad valorem taxation. The bill also expands the definition of “inventory” to include heavy equipment rental property. (Hughes) ...

Property Tax: Heavy Equipment (Watch) SB 916 (Grimsley) and HB 1271 (Ahern) define “heavy equipment rental property” and “dealer of heavy equipment rental property” for the purposes of ad valorem taxation. The bill also expands the definition of “inventory” to include heavy equipment rental property. (Hughes)

Property Tax Exemption - Generators (Watch)

SJR 974 (Brandes) proposes an amendment to the state constitution authorizing the Legislature to exempt permanently installed standby generators from the tangible personal property tax. The proposed amendment also authorizes the legislature to prohibit property appraisers from considering those generators in determining the assessable value of real property. This proposed constitutional amendment would be on the 2018 ballot and would require 60 percent approval for passage. (Hughes) ...

Property Tax Exemption - Generators (Watch) SJR 974 (Brandes) proposes an amendment to the state constitution authorizing the Legislature to exempt permanently installed standby generators from the tangible personal property tax. The proposed amendment also authorizes the legislature to prohibit property appraisers from considering those generators in determining the assessable value of real property. This proposed constitutional amendment would be on the 2018 ballot and would require 60 percent approval for passage. (Hughes)

Property Tax Exemption: Generators (Watch)

SB 976 (Brandes) implements SJR 974 (see above) relating to a new exemption from the tangible personal property tax for permanent standby generators. The bill also prohibits property appraisers from considering those generators in determining the assessed value of real property. (Hughes) ...

Property Tax Exemption: Generators (Watch) SB 976 (Brandes) implements SJR 974 (see above) relating to a new exemption from the tangible personal property tax for permanent standby generators. The bill also prohibits property appraisers from considering those generators in determining the assessed value of real property. (Hughes)

Sales Tax Holiday (Watch)

SB 686 (Perry) creates a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday. Between July 27- August 5, 2018, sales tax cannot be collected on specified items, including certain clothing, personal computers and school supplies. (Hughes) ...

Sales Tax Holiday (Watch) SB 686 (Perry) creates a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday. Between July 27- August 5, 2018, sales tax cannot be collected on specified items, including certain clothing, personal computers and school supplies. (Hughes)

Millage Limitation/Local Tax Referenda (Watch)

CS/SB 272 (Brandes) and CS/HB 317 (Ingoglia) amend when a local government may put a ballot question before the voters for a local discretionary surtax. CS/SB 272 requires that a referendum to adopt or amend the local discretionary surtax that is held at any date other than a general election, as defined by Section 97.021, Florida Statutes, would require 60 percent of voter approval for passage. A referendum held at a general election would require a majority for passage. CS/HB 317 requires that a referendum to adopt or amend the local discretionary surtax that is held at a ...

Millage Limitation/Local Tax Referenda (Watch) CS/SB 272 (Brandes) and CS/HB 317 (Ingoglia) amend when a local government may put a ballot question before the voters for a local discretionary surtax. CS/SB 272 requires that a referendum to adopt or amend the local discretionary surtax that is held at any date other than a general election, as defined by Section 97.021, Florida Statutes, would require 60 percent of voter approval for passage. A referendum held at a general election would require a majority for passage. CS/HB 317 requires that a referendum to adopt or amend the local discretionary surtax that is held at a general election, as defined by Section 97.021, Florida Statutes, would require a simple majority of voter approval for passage. A referendum held at a primary election would require 60 percent voter approval for passage. (Hughes)

Local Business Tax (Watch)

HB 603 (Gonzalez) and SB 910 (Garcia) create new exemptions from the local business tax for veterans, certain spouses of veterans and low-income people. The bills also exempt businesses with fewer than 100 people if an exempt individual owns a majority interest in the business. AB 603 also allows certain cities that impose a local business tax on merchants measured by gross receipts to continue to impose the tax. (Hughes) ...

Local Business Tax (Watch) HB 603 (Gonzalez) and SB 910 (Garcia) create new exemptions from the local business tax for veterans, certain spouses of veterans and low-income people. The bills also exempt businesses with fewer than 100 people if an exempt individual owns a majority interest in the business. AB 603 also allows certain cities that impose a local business tax on merchants measured by gross receipts to continue to impose the tax. (Hughes)

Annual Sales Tax Holiday for Veterans (Watch)

HB 69 (McGhee) creates an annual sales tax holiday for veterans from November 1 through December 31. During which time the sales tax may not be collected on the retail sale of certain items to a veteran. For the purpose of this sales tax holiday, a veteran is a person who served in the active military, naval or air service and was honorably discharged or released, or who later received an upgraded honorable discharge or release. To be eligible for the sales tax holiday, a veteran must show proof of military status at the time he or she ...

Annual Sales Tax Holiday for Veterans (Watch) HB 69 (McGhee) creates an annual sales tax holiday for veterans from November 1 through December 31. During which time the sales tax may not be collected on the retail sale of certain items to a veteran. For the purpose of this sales tax holiday, a veteran is a person who served in the active military, naval or air service and was honorably discharged or released, or who later received an upgraded honorable discharge or release. To be eligible for the sales tax holiday, a veteran must show proof of military status at the time he or she purchases the items. (Hughes)

Homestead Exemption for Surviving Spouses of Deceased Disabled Veterans (Watch)

HB 527 (Magar) and SB 1000 (Grimsley) carry over certain ad valorem tax discounts to widows or widowers of certain deceased veterans as long as they do not remarry or sell the property. If the property is sold, the tax discount may be transferred to the new homestead. (Hughes) ...

Homestead Exemption for Surviving Spouses of Deceased Disabled Veterans (Watch) HB 527 (Magar) and SB 1000 (Grimsley) carry over certain ad valorem tax discounts to widows or widowers of certain deceased veterans as long as they do not remarry or sell the property. If the property is sold, the tax discount may be transferred to the new homestead. (Hughes)

Increase of Homestead Portability Timeframe (Watch)

SJR 452 (Brandes) and HJR 501 (Ahern) proposes an amendment to the state constitution to increase the period from two to three years when accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. This proposed amendment requires 60 percent approval for passage. (Hughes) ...

Increase of Homestead Portability Timeframe (Watch) SJR 452 (Brandes) and HJR 501 (Ahern) proposes an amendment to the state constitution to increase the period from two to three years when accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. This proposed amendment requires 60 percent approval for passage. (Hughes)

Implementation of Increase of Homestead Portability Timeframe (Watch)

SB 454 (Brandes) and HB 503 (Ahern) increase the period from two to three years when accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. This change only takes effect if SJR 452, HJR 501 or a similar amendment having the substantially same specific intent and purpose, is approved by the voters at the November 2018 general election. (Hughes) ...

Implementation of Increase of Homestead Portability Timeframe (Watch) SB 454 (Brandes) and HB 503 (Ahern) increase the period from two to three years when accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. This change only takes effect if SJR 452, HJR 501 or a similar amendment having the substantially same specific intent and purpose, is approved by the voters at the November 2018 general election. (Hughes)

Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax (Watch)

CS/SB 243 (Avila) and SB 688 (Garcia) require any county operating under home rule charter to use the proceeds of the Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax for the planning, development and expansion of fixed guideway rapid transits or bus systems. (Hughes)   ...

Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax (Watch) CS/SB 243 (Avila) and SB 688 (Garcia) require any county operating under home rule charter to use the proceeds of the Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax for the planning, development and expansion of fixed guideway rapid transits or bus systems. (Hughes)

Homestead Waivers (Watch)

SB 512 (Young) and SB 421 (Berman) provide language that may be used to waive spousal homestead rights with respect to devise restrictions. (Hughes) ...

Homestead Waivers (Watch) SB 512 (Young) and SB 421 (Berman) provide language that may be used to waive spousal homestead rights with respect to devise restrictions. (Hughes)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 70 (Rodriguez, J.), HB 279 (Hagar), HB 359 (Nunez) and SB 538 (Garcia) - Divestment: Venezuela ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 70 (Rodriguez, J.), HB 279 (Hagar), HB 359 (Nunez) and SB 538 (Garcia) - Divestment: Venezuela SB 76 (Garcia) and HB 519 (Brown) - Small Business Saturday Sales Tax Holiday HB 163 (Cruz) and SB 56 (Book) - Sales Tax Exemption for Diapers and Incontinence Products SB 236 (Book) and HB 809 (Duran) - Sales Tax Credit for Baby Changing Table in Restaurants SB 312 (Stuebe) - Excise Tax on Documents HB 571 (Hardemon)- Robot Tax Study HB 585 (Fine) - Tourist Development Tax SB 620 (Passidomo) - Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Exemption SB 650 (Baxley) - Administrative Review of Property Taxes SB 658 (Brandes) -Tourist Development Tax HB 765 (Ingoglia) - Truth in Millage Notices SB 766 (Bean) and HB 6045 (Miller) - Sales Tax Exemption: Aircraft Sales or Leases HB 803 (Roth) and SB 1592 (Grimsley) - Emergency Energy Equipment Sales Tax Exemption SB 816 (Powell) - Annual Veterans’ Sales Tax Holiday HB 1123 (Berman) and SB 1448 (Passidomo) – Sales Tax Exemptions for the Elderly SB 1246 (Grimsley) – Sales Tax Exemption: Emergency Generators for Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities SB 1292 (Stargel) and HB 1073 (Hagar) - Department of Financial Services HB 1345 (McClain) and SB 826 (Hukill) - Taxpayers’ Rights Advocate SB 1450 (Steube) and HB 1231 (Trumbull) - Sales Tax Refund for Eligible Job Training Organizations SB 1504 (Rouson) and HB 1383 (Latvala) - Tax Deed Sales HB 7001 (Ways and Means Committee) and SB 1742 (Stargel) - Supermajority Vote for State Taxes or Fees

HOUSING

State Housing Trust Fund (Support)

SB 874 (Passidomo) and HB 191 (Shaw) specify that monies deposited in the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund may not be transferred or used for any other purpose. The bills also allow for the continuation of transfers of these trust fund monies to the following programs:  ...

State Housing Trust Fund (Support) SB 874 (Passidomo) and HB 191 (Shaw) specify that monies deposited in the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund may not be transferred or used for any other purpose. The bills also allow for the continuation of transfers of these trust fund monies to the following programs:  •Affordable Housing Catalyst Program: provides specialized technical support to local governments and community-based organizations to implement the HOME Investment Partnership Program, State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program and other affordable housing programs. •Training and Technical Assistance Program: provides community-based organizations, staff of state and local governments, and designated lead agencies of homeless assistance continuums of care with the necessary training and technical assistance to meet the needs of homeless persons, very-low-income persons, low-income persons and moderate-income persons for standard, affordable housing. •State Office on Homelessness/Council on Homelessness: provides programs that assist persons who are homeless or at risk for homelessness. (Branch)

Affordable Housing (Oppose – Preemption) 

HB 987 (Cortes) and SB 1328 (Perry) revise the criteria that counties and municipalities must use when evaluating real property as part of their inventory for disposal of lands. Beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 20, 2023, the bills preempt local government from charging a mobility or impact fee for the development or construction of affordable housing. The bills also require counties and municipalities to report additional data on all impact fees charged. In addition, the bills require local governments to review the permit application for affordable housing within 15 days, and must notify the applicant of ...

Affordable Housing (Oppose – Preemption)  HB 987 (Cortes) and SB 1328 (Perry) revise the criteria that counties and municipalities must use when evaluating real property as part of their inventory for disposal of lands. Beginning July 1, 2018, and ending June 20, 2023, the bills preempt local government from charging a mobility or impact fee for the development or construction of affordable housing. The bills also require counties and municipalities to report additional data on all impact fees charged. In addition, the bills require local governments to review the permit application for affordable housing within 15 days, and must notify the applicant of any deficiencies. The bills specify that a local government must approve or deny an application for a development or construction permit, or certificate of occupancy for affordable housing within 60 days after receipt of a completed application. The bills stipulate any application that is not approved or denied within this 60-day period is considered approved. HB 987 creates the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program, which provides funds to local governments for affordable housing due to impacts resulting from hurricanes Irma and Maria. The bill directs the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) to administer the program. For the 2018-2019 fiscal year, HB 987 redirects 20 percent of funds from both the Local Government Housing Trust Fund and the State Housing Trust Fund to the FHFC for affordable housing hurricane recovery efforts. It also requires the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation and the FHFC to determine whether nonconservation surplus lands are suitable for affordable housing when they become available. (Branch)

Housing Assistance (Watch)

HB 301 (Cortes J.) creates a local government risk mitigation program through a local government’s housing assistance plan for counties and municipalities participating in the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program. The program is intended to provide a mechanism for a landlord of affordable housing rentals units to offset out-of-pocket losses incurred from property damage or unpaid rent by tenants.  ...

Housing Assistance (Watch) HB 301 (Cortes J.) creates a local government risk mitigation program through a local government’s housing assistance plan for counties and municipalities participating in the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program. The program is intended to provide a mechanism for a landlord of affordable housing rentals units to offset out-of-pocket losses incurred from property damage or unpaid rent by tenants.  This bill specifies that up to 10 percent of the funds used to reserve rental houses for eligible persons may be set aside to fund the program if the local government provides an equivalent percentage of local matching funds. The bill establishes monetary caps that may be awarded to a landlord under the program. The Florida Housing Finance Corporation is directed to develop guidelines to administer the program, including requirements for submission of claims to the appropriate local government. A local government is required to review a properly submitted claim within two days. (Branch)

Florida Affordable Housing Guarantee Program (Watch)

SB 1174 (Stewart) revises the definition of “eligible housing” under the Florida Affordable Housing Guarantee Program to include evacuees from a United States territory. Under current law, “eligible housing” means real and personal property designed and intended for the primary purpose of providing decent, safe and sanitary residential units for homeownership or rental for eligible persons, including specifically housing for the homeless. (Branch) ...

Florida Affordable Housing Guarantee Program (Watch) SB 1174 (Stewart) revises the definition of “eligible housing” under the Florida Affordable Housing Guarantee Program to include evacuees from a United States territory. Under current law, “eligible housing” means real and personal property designed and intended for the primary purpose of providing decent, safe and sanitary residential units for homeownership or rental for eligible persons, including specifically housing for the homeless. (Branch)

IMMIGRATION

Federal Immigration Enforcement/Sanctuary Policies (Watch) 

CS/HB 9 (Metz) and SB 308 (Bean) relate to state and local government enforcement of federal immigration laws. The bills provide several definitions, including “sanctuary policy,” which means a law, policy, practice, procedure or custom adopted or permitted by a state entity, law enforcement agency or local governmental entity that contravenes the federal immigration laws, or that knowingly prohibits or impedes a law enforcement agency from communicating or cooperating with a federal immigration agency with respect to federal immigration enforcement. The bills also define “sanctuary policymaker” to mean a state or local elected official, or an appointed official ...

Federal Immigration Enforcement/Sanctuary Policies (Watch)  CS/HB 9 (Metz) and SB 308 (Bean) relate to state and local government enforcement of federal immigration laws. The bills provide several definitions, including “sanctuary policy,” which means a law, policy, practice, procedure or custom adopted or permitted by a state entity, law enforcement agency or local governmental entity that contravenes the federal immigration laws, or that knowingly prohibits or impedes a law enforcement agency from communicating or cooperating with a federal immigration agency with respect to federal immigration enforcement. The bills also define “sanctuary policymaker” to mean a state or local elected official, or an appointed official of a local governmental entity governing body, who has voted for, allowed to be implemented or voted against, the repeal or prohibition of a sanctuary policy. The bills prohibit the adoption or effectiveness of a sanctuary policy, and require cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The bills require a state or local government official to promptly report a known or probable violation of this law to the attorney general or the state attorney having jurisdiction over the local governmental entity. Failure to properly report may lead to an individual being suspended or removed from office. The attorney general or a state attorney may initiate proceedings in court to enjoin a state entity, law enforcement agency or local governmental entity from violating the law. A court shall enjoin any unlawful policy and order an entity to pay a civil penalty of at least $1,000, but not more than $5,000 for each day that the policy was found to be in effect before the injunction was granted. A sanctuary policymaker may be suspended or removed from office. The bills provide for a civil cause of action against any state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency determined to have a sanctuary policy under specified circumstances for personal injury or wrongful death by persons injured by an illegal alien. The bills also restrict state grant funding for five years for any governmental entity that has violated the law. (Cruz)

Enforcement of Federal Laws (Watch)

SB 1726 (Torres) and HB 1333 (Smith) create the Florida Trust Act, which aims to protect the constitutional rights of Florida residents, to use the state’s resources on State and local matters exclusively, and set forth relevant definitions pertaining to federal immigration enforcement. The bills prohibit law enforcement from using resources to investigate or detain a person for immigration enforcement and prohibit the creation or use of a database for immigration enforcement. The bills also clarify that state and local agencies must cooperate with an immigration authority to the extent required by federal law. (Cruz) ...

Enforcement of Federal Laws (Watch) SB 1726 (Torres) and HB 1333 (Smith) create the Florida Trust Act, which aims to protect the constitutional rights of Florida residents, to use the state’s resources on State and local matters exclusively, and set forth relevant definitions pertaining to federal immigration enforcement. The bills prohibit law enforcement from using resources to investigate or detain a person for immigration enforcement and prohibit the creation or use of a database for immigration enforcement. The bills also clarify that state and local agencies must cooperate with an immigration authority to the extent required by federal law. (Cruz)

INSURANCE

Workers' Compensation Benefits for First Responders/Mental or Nervous Injury (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)

HB 227 (Willhite) and CS/SB 376 (Book) provide that a mental or nervous injury suffered by a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic is compensable under the workers’ compensation law if the mental or nervous injury was shown to meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. CS/SB 376 was amended in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee to lower the evidentiary standard for compensability from clear and convincing evidence to a preponderance of evidence. The clear and convincing evidence standard requires that the evidence be substantially more likely to be true whereas the preponderance of ...

Workers' Compensation Benefits for First Responders/Mental or Nervous Injury (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate) HB 227 (Willhite) and CS/SB 376 (Book) provide that a mental or nervous injury suffered by a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic is compensable under the workers’ compensation law if the mental or nervous injury was shown to meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. CS/SB 376 was amended in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee to lower the evidentiary standard for compensability from clear and convincing evidence to a preponderance of evidence. The clear and convincing evidence standard requires that the evidence be substantially more likely to be true whereas the preponderance of evidence standard requires that the evidence be mostly true (above 50 percent). This has the potential to impact cities because it is a less stringent standard of proof.  Additionally, the amendment eliminates the requirement that an employee must initiate mental health treatment within 15 days after the incident. Finally, the amendment to CS/SB 376 expands the instances that qualify for compensability by allowing a first responder to arrive at the scene of a murder, suicide, fatal injury or child death, rather than witnessing a qualifying act. (Cruz)

Workers' Compensation Benefits for First Responders (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate) 

SB 126 (Torres) and HB 629 (Asencio) provide that a mental or nervous injury suffered by a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic is compensable under the workers’ compensation law if the mental or nervous injury was demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence. (Cruz) ...

Workers' Compensation Benefits for First Responders (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)  SB 126 (Torres) and HB 629 (Asencio) provide that a mental or nervous injury suffered by a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic is compensable under the workers’ compensation law if the mental or nervous injury was demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence. (Cruz)

Workers Compensation (Watch)

HB 7009 (House Commerce Committee) makes numerous changes to the state’s workers’ compensation laws, primarily in response to recent court decisions. The legislation requires a good faith effort by claimants and their attorneys to resolve disputes prior to filing petitions for benefits. The bill specifies that injured workers may receive up to 260 weeks of temporary total disability or temporary partial disability. The bill substantially revises attorney fees provisions. It caps the maximum hourly rate that may be applied by a judge of compensation claims to $150 per hour. The bill also mandates a specified notice regarding attorney ...

Workers Compensation (Watch) HB 7009 (House Commerce Committee) makes numerous changes to the state’s workers’ compensation laws, primarily in response to recent court decisions. The legislation requires a good faith effort by claimants and their attorneys to resolve disputes prior to filing petitions for benefits. The bill specifies that injured workers may receive up to 260 weeks of temporary total disability or temporary partial disability. The bill substantially revises attorney fees provisions. It caps the maximum hourly rate that may be applied by a judge of compensation claims to $150 per hour. The bill also mandates a specified notice regarding attorney fees be signed by the claimant that states the injured worker may be responsible for any remaining attorney fees. In addition, the bill removes the restriction for an injured worker to enter a fee agreement with an attorney. (Cruz)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 62 (Hukill) - Assignment of Property Issuance Benefits ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 62 (Hukill) - Assignment of Property Issuance Benefits HB 89 (Spano) and SB 604 (Steube) - Actions Against Contractors Without Required Insurance Coverage HB 97 (Santiago) - Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund SB 256 (Farmer) - Property Insurance SB 258 (Farmer) - Insurance Rates HB 465 (Santiago) - Insurance HB 483 (Yarborough) - Unfair Insurance Trade Practices SB 714 (Baxley) and HB 143 (Massullo, Jr.) - Patient’s Choice of Providers SB 1168 (Steube) - Insurance SB 1866 (Broxson) and HB 1235 (Albritton) - Loss-sensitive Worker’s Compensation Insurance Programs

LAND USE & COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING

Annexation Procedures for Municipalities (Support)

HB 1121 (Silvers) and SB 1722 (Torres) revise the process for cities to annex by amending the definition of enclave, and adjusts annexation procedures of bordering enclaves. HB 1121 requires any unincorporated improved and developed area enclosed on all sides by at least two municipalities or unincorporated areas that are at least 75 percent bounded on three or more sides by municipalities, to be considered enclaves. The bills require the municipalities to provide first responder services by a formal mutual aid agreement for the area to be annexed. The bills specify that if a proposed annexation has 25 ...

Annexation Procedures for Municipalities (Support) HB 1121 (Silvers) and SB 1722 (Torres) revise the process for cities to annex by amending the definition of enclave, and adjusts annexation procedures of bordering enclaves. HB 1121 requires any unincorporated improved and developed area enclosed on all sides by at least two municipalities or unincorporated areas that are at least 75 percent bounded on three or more sides by municipalities, to be considered enclaves. The bills require the municipalities to provide first responder services by a formal mutual aid agreement for the area to be annexed. The bills specify that if a proposed annexation has 25 or fewer registered electors, and those electors do not own property in the proposed annexed area, that a vote of the electors is not required and a municipality may annex via a resolution in lieu of requiring a petition of property owners. Finally, the bills clarify that when two or more municipalities form an enclave, the jurisdiction lies with the municipality providing services to the enclave. If multiple municipalities provide services, the municipalities may annex portions of the enclave. (Cruz)

Impact Fees (Oppose – Preemption) 

CS/SB 324 (Young) and CS/HB 697 (Miller) prohibit local governments from collecting impact fees prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the property that is subject to the fee. The bills specify that the collection of the impact fee be no earlier than the issuance of the building permit for the property that is subject to the fee. In addition, the dual rational nexus test is codified in the bills. The rational nexus test requires that the expenditures of funds collected by an impact fee and the benefits that are accrued to the new construction ...

Impact Fees (Oppose – Preemption)  CS/SB 324 (Young) and CS/HB 697 (Miller) prohibit local governments from collecting impact fees prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the property that is subject to the fee. The bills specify that the collection of the impact fee be no earlier than the issuance of the building permit for the property that is subject to the fee. In addition, the dual rational nexus test is codified in the bills. The rational nexus test requires that the expenditures of funds collected by an impact fee and the benefits that are accrued to the new construction (both residential and commercial) should be reasonably connected to the need for additional capital used for a major facility, and should be connected to the increased impact caused by said new construction. Additionally, the bills require the local governments to specifically earmark funds collected by the impact fees for use in acquiring capital facilities to benefit the “new residents.” Finally, the bills prohibit the use of impact fee revenues to pay existing debt or for prior approved projects unless the expenditure is reasonably connected to, or has a rational nexus with, the increased impact generated by the new residential or commercial construction. (Cruz)

Private Property Comprehensive Plan Element (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate) 

HB 207 (McClain) and SB 362 (Perry) require local governments to adopt a new mandatory element in their comprehensive plans that addresses the protection of private property. (Cruz) ...

Private Property Comprehensive Plan Element (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)  HB 207 (McClain) and SB 362 (Perry) require local governments to adopt a new mandatory element in their comprehensive plans that addresses the protection of private property. (Cruz)

Military Affairs (Watch)

HB 785 (Ingram) prohibits the construction of buildings, roads, billboards, advertising, utilities or structures that compromise the mission of a military base in the event that the land lies within a “clear zone,” “accident potential zone” or a “Military Influence Planning Area 1 or 2” on lands located in a Rural-Lands-Protection easement. (Cruz) ...

Military Affairs (Watch) HB 785 (Ingram) prohibits the construction of buildings, roads, billboards, advertising, utilities or structures that compromise the mission of a military base in the event that the land lies within a “clear zone,” “accident potential zone” or a “Military Influence Planning Area 1 or 2” on lands located in a Rural-Lands-Protection easement. (Cruz)

Possession of Real Property/Customary Use Ordinances (Watch)

SB 804 (Passidomo) and CS/HB 631 (Edwards) are comprehensive bills outlining the process by which a property owner with a superior right of possession can use a cause of action to recover possession of the property. Previously the bill maintained that a common law claim of customary use for the public use of private property must apply to a particular parcel and must be determined by the court. Customary use ordinances have been used by a handful of counties to establish public access to beaches. An amendment to HB 631 maintains that a local government may not adopt ...

Possession of Real Property/Customary Use Ordinances (Watch) SB 804 (Passidomo) and CS/HB 631 (Edwards) are comprehensive bills outlining the process by which a property owner with a superior right of possession can use a cause of action to recover possession of the property. Previously the bill maintained that a common law claim of customary use for the public use of private property must apply to a particular parcel and must be determined by the court. Customary use ordinances have been used by a handful of counties to establish public access to beaches. An amendment to HB 631 maintains that a local government may not adopt or keep in effect an ordinance or rule that is based on customary use unless the portion of the beach has previously been determined to be accessible to the public under customary use; this section will not apply to ordinances adopted before January 1, 2016. The amendment also establishes that in a civil action, customary use must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. The amendment preempts local governments home rule ability to make a determination of customary use, and instead would require the determination to be made by a court. (Cruz)

Developments of Regional Impact (Watch)

SB 1244 (Lee) and HB 1151 (Jenne) substantially revises and limits the statewide guidelines and standards for existing developments of regional impact (DRIs). In 2015, legislation passed that essentially dismantled the long-standing DRI review process and instead required new large-scale projects to follow the state coordinated review process. SB 1244 addresses existing DRIs in Florida by largely removing most state oversight over them and instead, requires local government approvals. The bill repeals requirements for DRI applications and DRI review procedures, and would require local approvals, rather than the DRI process to amend an existing development order. The bill ...

Developments of Regional Impact (Watch) SB 1244 (Lee) and HB 1151 (Jenne) substantially revises and limits the statewide guidelines and standards for existing developments of regional impact (DRIs). In 2015, legislation passed that essentially dismantled the long-standing DRI review process and instead required new large-scale projects to follow the state coordinated review process. SB 1244 addresses existing DRIs in Florida by largely removing most state oversight over them and instead, requires local government approvals. The bill repeals requirements for DRI applications and DRI review procedures, and would require local approvals, rather than the DRI process to amend an existing development order. The bill would impact the instances in which exactions from former DRI projects can be required. The legislation preserves all entitlements, vested rights and other protections for existing DRIs. (Cruz)

Regional Planning Council Meetings (Watch)

HB 611 (Geller) provides that under certain circumstances, a regional planning council (RPC) member may attend an RPC meeting via real-time videoconferencing and be counted for purposes of a quorum requirement. (Cruz) ...

Regional Planning Council Meetings (Watch) HB 611 (Geller) provides that under certain circumstances, a regional planning council (RPC) member may attend an RPC meeting via real-time videoconferencing and be counted for purposes of a quorum requirement. (Cruz)

Other Bills of Interest 

HB 337 (Cortes, J.) - Community Development Districts ...

Other Bills of Interest  HB 337 (Cortes, J.) - Community Development Districts SB 1046 (Passidomo) - Covenants and Restrictions of Property Owner Associations

OTHER

Public Deposits Act (Support)

HB 769 (Trumbull) and SB 1258 (Hutson) allow the state's chief financial officer to designate credit unions as qualified public depositories if certain conditions are met. (Hughes) ...

Public Deposits Act (Support) HB 769 (Trumbull) and SB 1258 (Hutson) allow the state's chief financial officer to designate credit unions as qualified public depositories if certain conditions are met. (Hughes)

Government Actions Discriminating Against Businesses/Wedding Cake Bill (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1290 (Baxley) and HB 871 (Fant) create the Free Enterprise Protection Act. The legislation, filed in response to a business refusing to make a wedding cake for a wedding reception in Colorado, broadly defines discriminatory actions by governmental entities against businesses. The definition includes provisions such as government action to alter the tax treatment of a business; an action that denies, delays or revokes a business' exemption from taxation or other tax benefits; an action that withholds, reduces, excludes, terminates, denies or makes unavailable a grant, contract or subcontract; or any action that excludes a business' access ...

Government Actions Discriminating Against Businesses/Wedding Cake Bill (Oppose – Preemption) SB 1290 (Baxley) and HB 871 (Fant) create the Free Enterprise Protection Act. The legislation, filed in response to a business refusing to make a wedding cake for a wedding reception in Colorado, broadly defines discriminatory actions by governmental entities against businesses. The definition includes provisions such as government action to alter the tax treatment of a business; an action that denies, delays or revokes a business' exemption from taxation or other tax benefits; an action that withholds, reduces, excludes, terminates, denies or makes unavailable a grant, contract or subcontract; or any action that excludes a business' access to property, facilities or charitable fundraising campaigns. The legislation prohibits a governmental entity from taking discriminatory action against a business on the basis of the internal policies of the business entity, including, but not limited to, personnel and employee benefit policies that are in compliance with state law. Additionally, the bills also prohibit a government discriminatory action because of the business' exercise of a right guaranteed under the state or federal constitutions, including, but not limited to, the rights of freedom of expression and free exercise of religion. Therefore, the legislation could potentially preempt some city regulations, such as human rights ordinances. (Cruz)

Community Development Districts (Oppose – Preemption) 

SB 1348 (Perry) and HB 883 (Ingoglia) allow a petitioner to establish a new community development district of less than 2,500 acres within the next ten years. After establishment of the district, individuals may petition the municipality or county to amend the boundaries of the district to include a previously identified parcel that was a proposed addition to the district. The bills prohibit a local government from charging a filing fee. The bills specify requirements for the petition. (Branch) ...

Community Development Districts (Oppose – Preemption)  SB 1348 (Perry) and HB 883 (Ingoglia) allow a petitioner to establish a new community development district of less than 2,500 acres within the next ten years. After establishment of the district, individuals may petition the municipality or county to amend the boundaries of the district to include a previously identified parcel that was a proposed addition to the district. The bills prohibit a local government from charging a filing fee. The bills specify requirements for the petition. (Branch)

Parking Garages (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 378 (Steube) preempts a city from adopting an ordinance or rule that prohibits a driver from, or authorizes the issuance of a citation to a driver for, back-in parking a vehicle in a parking space located in a parking garage. The bill would void any such ordinance or rule in effect on July 1, 2018. (Cook) ...

Parking Garages (Oppose – Preemption) SB 378 (Steube) preempts a city from adopting an ordinance or rule that prohibits a driver from, or authorizes the issuance of a citation to a driver for, back-in parking a vehicle in a parking space located in a parking garage. The bill would void any such ordinance or rule in effect on July 1, 2018. (Cook)

Public Charters and Amendments (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 1480 (Brandes) requires the Department of State (DOS) to create and maintain a centralized electronic database containing county, municipal and special district charters and amendments that must be accessible to the public through the department’s website. The bill requires cities to file an electronic copy of their charter and each adopted amendment with the DOS by October 1, 2018. Any amendments to a city charter after July 1, 2018, must be filed electronically with the DOS within 90 days of adoption. Cities that fail to comply with these new requirements would not be able to levy a ...

Public Charters and Amendments (Oppose – Mandate) SB 1480 (Brandes) requires the Department of State (DOS) to create and maintain a centralized electronic database containing county, municipal and special district charters and amendments that must be accessible to the public through the department’s website. The bill requires cities to file an electronic copy of their charter and each adopted amendment with the DOS by October 1, 2018. Any amendments to a city charter after July 1, 2018, must be filed electronically with the DOS within 90 days of adoption. Cities that fail to comply with these new requirements would not be able to levy a new tax, levy or collect an existing tax, or issue a bond until they comply. (Cook)

Towing and Immobilizing Fees and Charges (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 963 (Cortes) and SB 1632 (Mayfield) require counties to adopt a maximum rate for the towing of vessels in certain situations. The bills clarify that the maximum rate to immobilize a vehicle or vessel cannot be more than 20 percent of the maximum rate for towing charged by a towing company. The bills prohibit cities from enacting an ordinance that imposes a fee or charge on an authorized wrecker operator or towing company for towing, impounding or storing a vehicle or vessel. This would prohibit any cities with sole source contracts for towing if the contract requires ...

Towing and Immobilizing Fees and Charges (Oppose – Preemption) HB 963 (Cortes) and SB 1632 (Mayfield) require counties to adopt a maximum rate for the towing of vessels in certain situations. The bills clarify that the maximum rate to immobilize a vehicle or vessel cannot be more than 20 percent of the maximum rate for towing charged by a towing company. The bills prohibit cities from enacting an ordinance that imposes a fee or charge on an authorized wrecker operator or towing company for towing, impounding or storing a vehicle or vessel. This would prohibit any cities with sole source contracts for towing if the contract requires the tow company to pay an annual or monthly fee to provide those services. The bills allow cities to charge an administrative fee of up to 25 percent of the maximum towing rate to the registered owner of the towed vehicle when it is towed from public property. The bills clarify that towing businesses can collect this administrative fee, but are required to remit the fee only when it is collected. Finally, the bills clarify that cities may not impose a charge, fee or fine on the registered owner of the towed vehicle, unless specific requirements are met. (Cook)

Companion Animal Public-Private Partnership Act (Oppose –Unfunded Mandate)

HB 249 (Watson, B.) prohibits an animal shelter from euthanizing an animal, with certain exceptions, if a rescue organization has indicated it will take custody of the animal. The bill allows for a reasonable fee to be assessed to the rescue organization. (Cook) ...

Companion Animal Public-Private Partnership Act (Oppose –Unfunded Mandate) HB 249 (Watson, B.) prohibits an animal shelter from euthanizing an animal, with certain exceptions, if a rescue organization has indicated it will take custody of the animal. The bill allows for a reasonable fee to be assessed to the rescue organization. (Cook)

Municipal Conversion of Independent Special Districts (Watch)

SB 84 (Lee) adds a minimum population standard to existing criteria for converting an independent special district into a municipality. Specifically, it requires an independent special district wishing to convert to a municipality to have a minimum population of 1,500 people if the population of the county is less than 75,000 people or, if the county has more than 75,000 people, then the independent special district wishing to convert to a municipality must have a population of at least 5,000. Unlike the standards for incorporation of a new municipality, there is not currently a population requirement for the ...

Municipal Conversion of Independent Special Districts (Watch) SB 84 (Lee) adds a minimum population standard to existing criteria for converting an independent special district into a municipality. Specifically, it requires an independent special district wishing to convert to a municipality to have a minimum population of 1,500 people if the population of the county is less than 75,000 people or, if the county has more than 75,000 people, then the independent special district wishing to convert to a municipality must have a population of at least 5,000. Unlike the standards for incorporation of a new municipality, there is not currently a population requirement for the conversion of an independent special district. (Branch)

Animal Rescue Organizations (Watch)

SB 132 (Steube) and HB 153 (Porter) require the sterilization of all dogs and cats sold or released from animal rescue organizations and animal control agencies. The bills clarify that sterilization costs must be paid for by the prospective adopter. The bills also prohibit the importation of animals into the state by animal control agencies, except when animals are imported during an emergency or natural disaster. The bills create certain public records requirements and extend an existing monthly reporting requirement to animal rescue organizations. Finally, the bills create criminal penalties for any entities or individuals convicted of importing ...

Animal Rescue Organizations (Watch) SB 132 (Steube) and HB 153 (Porter) require the sterilization of all dogs and cats sold or released from animal rescue organizations and animal control agencies. The bills clarify that sterilization costs must be paid for by the prospective adopter. The bills also prohibit the importation of animals into the state by animal control agencies, except when animals are imported during an emergency or natural disaster. The bills create certain public records requirements and extend an existing monthly reporting requirement to animal rescue organizations. Finally, the bills create criminal penalties for any entities or individuals convicted of importing animals into the state under certain circumstances. (Cook)

Prohibition Against Contracting with Scrutinized Companies (Watch)

HB 545 (Fine) and SB 780 (Brandes) prohibit companies on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List from bidding on, submitting a proposal, or entering into or renewing a contract with an agency or local government entity for goods or services. If a company is on the Scrutinized Companies with Activities in the Iran Petroleum Energy Sector List or engaged in business operations in Cuba or Syria, the company cannot bid on, submit a proposal, or enter into or renew a contract over $1 million. The bills require contracts with state and local government entities to provide for ...

Prohibition Against Contracting with Scrutinized Companies (Watch) HB 545 (Fine) and SB 780 (Brandes) prohibit companies on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List from bidding on, submitting a proposal, or entering into or renewing a contract with an agency or local government entity for goods or services. If a company is on the Scrutinized Companies with Activities in the Iran Petroleum Energy Sector List or engaged in business operations in Cuba or Syria, the company cannot bid on, submit a proposal, or enter into or renew a contract over $1 million. The bills require contracts with state and local government entities to provide for the termination of the contract if the company is found to have been placed on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List. (Cook)

Public Lodging (Watch)

SB 1138 (Steube) prohibits hotels and motels from having minimum-stay requirements greater than one night and directs the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to adopt rules implementing the prohibition. (Cook) ...

Public Lodging (Watch) SB 1138 (Steube) prohibits hotels and motels from having minimum-stay requirements greater than one night and directs the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to adopt rules implementing the prohibition. (Cook)

Lost or Stray Dogs or Cats (Watch)

HB 823 (Cruz) requires public and private animal shelters that take receivership of any lost or stray dogs and cats to adopt written policies and procedures to ensure that efforts are made to return owned animals to their owners. The bill lists specific items that must be included in the policies and procedures and clarifies that all records associated with the policies and procedures be made available to the public upon request. (Cook) ...

Lost or Stray Dogs or Cats (Watch) HB 823 (Cruz) requires public and private animal shelters that take receivership of any lost or stray dogs and cats to adopt written policies and procedures to ensure that efforts are made to return owned animals to their owners. The bill lists specific items that must be included in the policies and procedures and clarifies that all records associated with the policies and procedures be made available to the public upon request. (Cook)

Other Bills of Interest  

HB 15 (Beshears) and SB 526 (Brandes) - Deregulation of Professions and Occupations ...

Other Bills of Interest   HB 15 (Beshears) and SB 526 (Brandes) - Deregulation of Professions and Occupations SB 86 (Hukill) - Animal Hoarding SB 216 (Book) - Charter Schools SB 266 (Passidomo) and HB 617 (Edwards) - Covenants and Restrictions SB 296 (Brandes) and HB 669 (Perez) - Beverage Law  HB 385 (Toledo) and SB 566 (Young) - Transient Occupants of Residential Property HB 395 (Magar) - Martin County HB 547 (Killebrew) - Reports Concerning Seized or Forfeited Property HB 625 (Cortes) - Community Associations SB 612 (Steube) and HB 749 (Plakon) - Residential Tenancies HB 691 (Moraitis) and SB 898 (Perry) - Self-Service Storage Facilities SB 734 (Baxley) - Homeowners’ Associations HB 741 (Goodson) - Professional Geology HB 907 (Olszewski) and SB 1376 (Torres) - Emergency Evacuation of Domestic Companion and Service Animals SB 990 (Montford) - Rural Communities

PERSONNEL

Firefighter Cancer Benefit (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 900 (Latvala, J.) and HB 695 (Latvala, C.) entitle firefighters that receive a diagnosis of cancer, at no cost to the firefighter, to coverage under a group health or self-insurance policy. The policy must use the same health care network as all other employees, be available to the fighter for at least 10 years after leaving employment, and have a cash payout of $25,000. If the firefighter participates in an employee-sponsored retirement plan, the plan must qualify the firefighter as totally and permanently disabled if he or she is prevented from rendering useful and effective service as ...

Firefighter Cancer Benefit (Oppose – Mandate) SB 900 (Latvala, J.) and HB 695 (Latvala, C.) entitle firefighters that receive a diagnosis of cancer, at no cost to the firefighter, to coverage under a group health or self-insurance policy. The policy must use the same health care network as all other employees, be available to the fighter for at least 10 years after leaving employment, and have a cash payout of $25,000. If the firefighter participates in an employee-sponsored retirement plan, the plan must qualify the firefighter as totally and permanently disabled if he or she is prevented from rendering useful and effective service as a firefighter and is likely to remain disabled continuously and permanently due to the diagnosis or treatment of cancer. The retirement plan must qualify the firefighter as “died in the line of duty” if he or she dies as a result of the cancer or treatment of cancer. If the firefighter did not participate in an employee-sponsored retirement plan, the employer must provide a disability retirement plan that provides at least 42 percent of annual salary, at no cost to the firefighter, until the firefighter’s death. The employer must provide a death benefit, for at least 10 years, to the firefighter’s beneficiary totaling at least 42 percent of the firefighter’s most recent annual salary. Additionally, firefighters who die as a result of cancer or cancer treatment are considered to have died in the manner described in section 112.191 (2)(a), F.S., for purposes of statutorily required death benefits. To qualify for these benefits, the firefighter must be employed by the employer for at least five continuous years, may not have used tobacco products in the preceding five years, and may not have been employed in any other position that is proven to create a higher risk for any cancer in the preceding years. For determining employer policies and the provision of benefits, a firefighter’s cancer diagnosis must be considered an “injury or illness incurred in the line of duty.” The bills also require the Division of State Fire Marshal within the Department of Financial Services to adopt rules to establish employer best practices for preventing or reducing the incidence of cancer among firefighters. (Hughes)

Discrimination in Employment Screening (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 702 (Farmer) prohibits a public employer from inquiring into or considering an applicant’s criminal history on an initial employment application, unless otherwise required by law. A public employer could inquire into or consider an applicant’s criminal history only after the applicant’s qualifications have been screened and the employer has determined the applicant meets the minimum employment requirements for the position. (Hughes) ...

Discrimination in Employment Screening (Oppose – Preemption) SB 702 (Farmer) prohibits a public employer from inquiring into or considering an applicant’s criminal history on an initial employment application, unless otherwise required by law. A public employer could inquire into or consider an applicant’s criminal history only after the applicant’s qualifications have been screened and the employer has determined the applicant meets the minimum employment requirements for the position. (Hughes)

Firefighter Cancer Initiative (Watch)

HB 2915 (Nunez) provides a nonrecurring $2 million appropriation for fiscal year 2018-2019 to the Department of Financial Services to fund the Firefighter Cancer Initiative at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The goals of the Firefighter Cancer Initiative include improving understanding of increased cancer risk among firefighters; expanding cancer screening throughout the state; enabling prevention and earlier detection of the disease; identifying exposures that account for increased cancer risk; and developing new technology and methods that measure exposure in the field. (Hughes) ...

Firefighter Cancer Initiative (Watch) HB 2915 (Nunez) provides a nonrecurring $2 million appropriation for fiscal year 2018-2019 to the Department of Financial Services to fund the Firefighter Cancer Initiative at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. The goals of the Firefighter Cancer Initiative include improving understanding of increased cancer risk among firefighters; expanding cancer screening throughout the state; enabling prevention and earlier detection of the disease; identifying exposures that account for increased cancer risk; and developing new technology and methods that measure exposure in the field. (Hughes)

Discrimination in Employment Screening (Watch)

SB 798 (Braynon) prohibits a private employer from excluding an applicant from the initial interview for employment due to his or her conviction history of certain crimes. Employers would also be prohibited from requiring the applicant to disclose certain convictions either on an employment application, prior to the initial interview, or before making a conditional offer of employment. This section does not prevent an employer from considering an applicant’s conviction history when making a hiring decision. (Hughes) ...

Discrimination in Employment Screening (Watch) SB 798 (Braynon) prohibits a private employer from excluding an applicant from the initial interview for employment due to his or her conviction history of certain crimes. Employers would also be prohibited from requiring the applicant to disclose certain convictions either on an employment application, prior to the initial interview, or before making a conditional offer of employment. This section does not prevent an employer from considering an applicant’s conviction history when making a hiring decision. (Hughes)

State-administered Retirement Systems (Watch)

SB 7014 (Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee) establishes the contribution rates paid by employers participating in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) beginning July 1, 2018. These rates are intended to fund the full normal cost and the amortization of the unfunded actuarial liability of the FRS. (Hughes) ...

State-administered Retirement Systems (Watch) SB 7014 (Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee) establishes the contribution rates paid by employers participating in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) beginning July 1, 2018. These rates are intended to fund the full normal cost and the amortization of the unfunded actuarial liability of the FRS. (Hughes)

Discrimination in Employment Screenings (Watch)

HB 51 (Jones), SB 102 (Bracy) and HB 433 (Henry) prohibit an employer from inquiring into or considering an applicant’s criminal history on an initial employment application, unless otherwise required by law. An employer could inquire into or consider an applicant’s criminal history only after the applicant’s qualifications had been screened and the employer had determined the applicant met the minimum employment requirements for the position. (Hughes) ...

Discrimination in Employment Screenings (Watch) HB 51 (Jones), SB 102 (Bracy) and HB 433 (Henry) prohibit an employer from inquiring into or considering an applicant’s criminal history on an initial employment application, unless otherwise required by law. An employer could inquire into or consider an applicant’s criminal history only after the applicant’s qualifications had been screened and the employer had determined the applicant met the minimum employment requirements for the position. (Hughes)

Employment Discrimination: Emergency Evacuation Order (Watch)

HB 225 (Davis) and SB 1828 (Rodriguez) prohibit an employer from taking retaliatory personnel action against an employee who has left a place of employment to evacuate under an emergency evacuation order. The bills provide an exemption for emergency personnel, individuals necessary for the restoration of vital services and individuals employed at nursing homes. (Hughes) ...

Employment Discrimination: Emergency Evacuation Order (Watch) HB 225 (Davis) and SB 1828 (Rodriguez) prohibit an employer from taking retaliatory personnel action against an employee who has left a place of employment to evacuate under an emergency evacuation order. The bills provide an exemption for emergency personnel, individuals necessary for the restoration of vital services and individuals employed at nursing homes. (Hughes)

Discrimination in Labor and Employment (Watch)

HB 393 (Berman) and SB 594 (Stewart) prohibits an employer from providing less than favorable employment opportunities to an employee based on their sex. The bills also prohibit an employer paying an employee less than the employer pays another employee of the opposite sex with substantially the same job except when the employer can demonstrate the wage differential is based on specific factors. The bills provide for civil penalties for violations of this provision. Additionally, employers are prohibited from taking certain employment actions against employees and engaging in certain activities relating to employee wages and benefits. (Hughes) ...

Discrimination in Labor and Employment (Watch) HB 393 (Berman) and SB 594 (Stewart) prohibits an employer from providing less than favorable employment opportunities to an employee based on their sex. The bills also prohibit an employer paying an employee less than the employer pays another employee of the opposite sex with substantially the same job except when the employer can demonstrate the wage differential is based on specific factors. The bills provide for civil penalties for violations of this provision. Additionally, employers are prohibited from taking certain employment actions against employees and engaging in certain activities relating to employee wages and benefits. (Hughes)

PROCUREMENT

Department of Management Services (Watch)

HB 111 (Albritton) and SB 368 (Brandes) create the Statewide Efficiency Task Force (SETF) for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness and value of state and local procurement laws and determining where inconsistencies exist. The SETF would be composed of 14 members, including one municipal official appointed by the governor. The SETF must submit a final report to the governor, the president of the Senate, and the speaker of the House by July 1, 2019. The report must include recommendations for creating procurement efficiencies, streamlining procurement policies and other best management practices. (Cook) ...

Department of Management Services (Watch) HB 111 (Albritton) and SB 368 (Brandes) create the Statewide Efficiency Task Force (SETF) for the purpose of evaluating the effectiveness and value of state and local procurement laws and determining where inconsistencies exist. The SETF would be composed of 14 members, including one municipal official appointed by the governor. The SETF must submit a final report to the governor, the president of the Senate, and the speaker of the House by July 1, 2019. The report must include recommendations for creating procurement efficiencies, streamlining procurement policies and other best management practices. (Cook)

Direct Purchases of Tangible Personal Property by Contractors (Watch)

HB 715 (Leek) and SB 1108 (Young) allow cities to authorize the use of its government certificate of entitlement by contractors for the direct purchase of tangible personal property that will become a part of the public works owned by the governmental entity. The bills clarify that cities must issue a formal letter of authorization to the contractor specifying the instances when the certificate may be used and which entity assumes the risk of damage or loss to the property. (Cook) ...

Direct Purchases of Tangible Personal Property by Contractors (Watch) HB 715 (Leek) and SB 1108 (Young) allow cities to authorize the use of its government certificate of entitlement by contractors for the direct purchase of tangible personal property that will become a part of the public works owned by the governmental entity. The bills clarify that cities must issue a formal letter of authorization to the contractor specifying the instances when the certificate may be used and which entity assumes the risk of damage or loss to the property. (Cook)

PUBLIC RECORDS & PUBLIC MEETINGS

Public Meetings (Support)

HB 79 (Roth) and SB 192 (Baxley) exempt meetings between two members of any board or commission from certain public meetings and public records requirements. The bills specify that members of the same commission may participate in fact-finding excursions to research public business, and may participate in meetings with a member of the Legislature. The bills require that the board or commission provide reasonable notice and that appropriate records be taken and retained as public record. Finally, the bills provide that notice is not required when two or more members of a board are gathered if no official ...

Public Meetings (Support) HB 79 (Roth) and SB 192 (Baxley) exempt meetings between two members of any board or commission from certain public meetings and public records requirements. The bills specify that members of the same commission may participate in fact-finding excursions to research public business, and may participate in meetings with a member of the Legislature. The bills require that the board or commission provide reasonable notice and that appropriate records be taken and retained as public record. Finally, the bills provide that notice is not required when two or more members of a board are gathered if no official acts are taken and no public business is discussed. (Cook)

Public Meetings and Records (Support)

HB 439 (Donalds) and SB 560 (Steube) expand the public meeting requirements exemption that allows city officials to meet privately with their attorney to discuss pending litigation. The exemption is expanded to include “imminent” litigation. Litigation is considered imminent when the city has received notice of a claim or a party has threatened litigation before a court or administrative agency. The bills require a transcript of the meeting to be kept and released to the public within a reasonable time after the matter is resolved or the statute of limitations has expired. (Cook) ...

Public Meetings and Records (Support) HB 439 (Donalds) and SB 560 (Steube) expand the public meeting requirements exemption that allows city officials to meet privately with their attorney to discuss pending litigation. The exemption is expanded to include “imminent” litigation. Litigation is considered imminent when the city has received notice of a claim or a party has threatened litigation before a court or administrative agency. The bills require a transcript of the meeting to be kept and released to the public within a reasonable time after the matter is resolved or the statute of limitations has expired. (Cook)

Public Meetings (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)

HB 589 (Newton) and SB 1092 (Rader) require meetings of any entities created by general or special law to be subject to the public meetings law. In addition, the bills require agendas and other meeting materials of these entities to be made available at least three days prior the meeting. The bills require the presiding officer to allot time for public comment as either the first or last item listed on the agenda. Each member of the public must be given at least three minutes to speak regarding any agenda item relating to the appointment of a public ...

Public Meetings (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate) HB 589 (Newton) and SB 1092 (Rader) require meetings of any entities created by general or special law to be subject to the public meetings law. In addition, the bills require agendas and other meeting materials of these entities to be made available at least three days prior the meeting. The bills require the presiding officer to allot time for public comment as either the first or last item listed on the agenda. Each member of the public must be given at least three minutes to speak regarding any agenda item relating to the appointment of a public officer; zoning or land use regulations; the imposition of taxes, fees, and fines or other interests affecting the rights of residents and businesses within the jurisdiction of the entity. The bills also require the board or commission of the entity to respond, either publicly at the meeting or through written correspondence, to any question made by a member of the public. If the response is in writing, it must be provided within 10 days after the meeting and be incorporated into the minutes of the meeting. (Cook)

Public Records/Trade Secrets (Watch)

HB 459 (Massullo) deletes several provisions that exempt agency contracts and other trade secrets from public records requirements.  ...

Public Records/Trade Secrets (Watch) HB 459 (Massullo) deletes several provisions that exempt agency contracts and other trade secrets from public records requirements.  HB 461 (Massullo), SB 956 and SB 958 (Mayfield) create a public record exemption for trade secrets and a process by which requested records containing trade secrets could be released to the requestor. The bills apply to all state agencies, counties and municipalities. (Cook)

Public Records (Watch)

HB 273 (Rodrigues) and SB 750 (Perry) prohibit an agency that receives a public records request from responding to the request by filing a civil action against the individual or entity making the request. (Cook) ...

Public Records (Watch) HB 273 (Rodrigues) and SB 750 (Perry) prohibit an agency that receives a public records request from responding to the request by filing a civil action against the individual or entity making the request. (Cook)

Public Records and Public Meetings/Firesafety Systems (Watch)

HB 411 (Clemons) and SB 738 (Perry) are public record exemptions for information relating to fire safety systems for any properties owned by the state or local governments. The bills also exempt any portion of a meeting relating directly to, or that would reveal information about, these systems. (Cook) ...

Public Records and Public Meetings/Firesafety Systems (Watch) HB 411 (Clemons) and SB 738 (Perry) are public record exemptions for information relating to fire safety systems for any properties owned by the state or local governments. The bills also exempt any portion of a meeting relating directly to, or that would reveal information about, these systems. (Cook)

Other Bills of Interest

HB 755 (Williamson) and SB 988 (Perry) - Public Records Exemption ...

Other Bills of Interest HB 755 (Williamson) and SB 988 (Perry) - Public Records Exemption

PUBLIC SAFETY

Controlled Substances (Support)

CS/HB 21 (Boyd) and SB 8 (Benacquisto) are comprehensive proposals to address the opioid crisis in Florida. The bills propose a three-day limit on prescribed opioids, unless strict conditions are met for a seven-day supply, and require all healthcare professionals that prescribe or dispense medication to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. In addition, the bills create, and in some cases enhance, penalties for non-compliance. (Cook) ...

Controlled Substances (Support) CS/HB 21 (Boyd) and SB 8 (Benacquisto) are comprehensive proposals to address the opioid crisis in Florida. The bills propose a three-day limit on prescribed opioids, unless strict conditions are met for a seven-day supply, and require all healthcare professionals that prescribe or dispense medication to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. In addition, the bills create, and in some cases enhance, penalties for non-compliance. (Cook)

Safe Neighborhood Improvement Districts (Support)

HB 1407 (Williams), SB 1814 (Simmons) and HB 1405 (Williams) are comprehensive bills creating a Safe Neighborhood Improvement District Revolving Loan Trust Fund within the Department of Legal Affairs. The money in the trust fund is to be used to provide loans to a Safe Neighborhood Improvement District for crime prevention projects. The bills provide guidelines that must be met before a loan can be approved and require the district to submit an annual report to the Florida Legislature. (Branch) ...

Safe Neighborhood Improvement Districts (Support) HB 1407 (Williams), SB 1814 (Simmons) and HB 1405 (Williams) are comprehensive bills creating a Safe Neighborhood Improvement District Revolving Loan Trust Fund within the Department of Legal Affairs. The money in the trust fund is to be used to provide loans to a Safe Neighborhood Improvement District for crime prevention projects. The bills provide guidelines that must be met before a loan can be approved and require the district to submit an annual report to the Florida Legislature. (Branch)

Substance Abuse Services (Support)

HB 1069 (Hager) and SB 1418 (Rouson) define “treatment with housing overlay” as a program where treatment is provided for individuals who are living independently in a recovery residence while participating in substance abuse treatment services. The bills clarify that service providers that offer treatment with housing overlay may only do so through a certified recovery residence and if the property is managed by a certified recovery residence administrator. The bills specify that recovery residences must comply with the provisions of the Florida Fire Prevention Code which applies to one-family or two-family dwellings, public lodging establishments, rooming houses ...

Substance Abuse Services (Support) HB 1069 (Hager) and SB 1418 (Rouson) define “treatment with housing overlay” as a program where treatment is provided for individuals who are living independently in a recovery residence while participating in substance abuse treatment services. The bills clarify that service providers that offer treatment with housing overlay may only do so through a certified recovery residence and if the property is managed by a certified recovery residence administrator. The bills specify that recovery residences must comply with the provisions of the Florida Fire Prevention Code which applies to one-family or two-family dwellings, public lodging establishments, rooming houses or other housing facilities. Finally, the bills clarify that recovery residence operators, owners, employees or volunteers may not benefit from patient referrals. (Cook)

Regulation of Public Smoking (Support)

SB 562 (Mayfield) and HB 627 (Altman) authorize municipalities to restrict smoking within the boundaries of public parks. (Cook) ...

Regulation of Public Smoking (Support) SB 562 (Mayfield) and HB 627 (Altman) authorize municipalities to restrict smoking within the boundaries of public parks. (Cook)

Office of Drug Control (Support)

HB 865 (Abruzzo) and SB 1068 (Rader) establishes the Office of Drug Control within the Executive Office of the Governor to coordinate drug control efforts, enlist the help of the public and private sectors in these efforts, and to make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature relating to the implementation of the state’s drug control strategy. The bills require the Office of Drug Control to submit a report with recommendations to the Governor and Legislature by December 1 of each year. (Cook) ...

Office of Drug Control (Support) HB 865 (Abruzzo) and SB 1068 (Rader) establishes the Office of Drug Control within the Executive Office of the Governor to coordinate drug control efforts, enlist the help of the public and private sectors in these efforts, and to make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature relating to the implementation of the state’s drug control strategy. The bills require the Office of Drug Control to submit a report with recommendations to the Governor and Legislature by December 1 of each year. (Cook)

Texting While Driving (Support)

CS/SB 90 (Perry) and HB 33 (Toledo) allow law enforcement officers to issue texting-while-driving citations as a primary action. CS/SB 90 was amended to require police officers to inform drivers stopped for texting that they can decline searches of their devices. Under current law, these citations are authorized only as a secondary action when the driver is detained for a suspected violation of another incident. (Branch) ...

Texting While Driving (Support) CS/SB 90 (Perry) and HB 33 (Toledo) allow law enforcement officers to issue texting-while-driving citations as a primary action. CS/SB 90 was amended to require police officers to inform drivers stopped for texting that they can decline searches of their devices. Under current law, these citations are authorized only as a secondary action when the driver is detained for a suspected violation of another incident. (Branch)

Concealed Weapons or Firearms in Courthouses (Watch)

SB 134 (Steube) creates a process by which concealed weapons licensees can temporarily surrender a firearm to security or management personnel upon arrival at a courthouse. The bill specifically defines courthouse as “a building in which trials and hearings are conducted on a regular basis,” and would preempt any local ordinance in conflict with this definition. If a building is used primarily for purposes other than the conduct of hearings, trials and housing judicial chambers, the definition only applies to the portion that is primarily used for hearings, trials and judicial chambers. (Cook) ...

Concealed Weapons or Firearms in Courthouses (Watch) SB 134 (Steube) creates a process by which concealed weapons licensees can temporarily surrender a firearm to security or management personnel upon arrival at a courthouse. The bill specifically defines courthouse as “a building in which trials and hearings are conducted on a regular basis,” and would preempt any local ordinance in conflict with this definition. If a building is used primarily for purposes other than the conduct of hearings, trials and housing judicial chambers, the definition only applies to the portion that is primarily used for hearings, trials and judicial chambers. (Cook)

Medical Marijuana Retail Facilities (Watch)

HB 1053 (DuBose) and SB 1336 (Thurston) create medical marijuana retail facilities (MMRF) and allow for licensed MMRFs to dispense and deliver medical marijuana acquired from licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTC). The bills specify that licensed MMTCs may contract with up to 10 MMRFs per license for the dispensing and delivery of medical marijuana, and that MMRFs cannot be owned by anyone with a significant interest in a MMTC.  The bills authorize cities to ban MMRFs, or if they choose not to do so, any adopted regulations cannot be more restrictive than what is currently in place ...

Medical Marijuana Retail Facilities (Watch) HB 1053 (DuBose) and SB 1336 (Thurston) create medical marijuana retail facilities (MMRF) and allow for licensed MMRFs to dispense and deliver medical marijuana acquired from licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTC). The bills specify that licensed MMTCs may contract with up to 10 MMRFs per license for the dispensing and delivery of medical marijuana, and that MMRFs cannot be owned by anyone with a significant interest in a MMTC.  The bills authorize cities to ban MMRFs, or if they choose not to do so, any adopted regulations cannot be more restrictive than what is currently in place for pharmacies. (Cook)

Smoking Marijuana for Medical Use (Watch)

SB 726 (Farmer) amends current law to allow qualifying patients to smoke medical marijuana.  Current law prohibits doctors from prescribing “smokeable” medical marijuana. (Cook) ...

Smoking Marijuana for Medical Use (Watch) SB 726 (Farmer) amends current law to allow qualifying patients to smoke medical marijuana.  Current law prohibits doctors from prescribing “smokeable” medical marijuana. (Cook)

Substance Abuse Treatment (Watch)

HB 1025 (Duran) and SB 1468 (Rouson) authorize the Agency for Health Care Administration to seek federal approval for a waiver to increase the availability of federal Medicaid funding to provide programs that improve the quality of, and access to, treatment for individuals with a substance abuse disorder served by the Medicaid program. The bills also contain similar language to HB 865 and SB 1068, creating the Office of Drug Control within the Executive Office of the Governor. This new agency would be responsible for all matters relating to research, coordination and execution of drug control within the ...

Substance Abuse Treatment (Watch) HB 1025 (Duran) and SB 1468 (Rouson) authorize the Agency for Health Care Administration to seek federal approval for a waiver to increase the availability of federal Medicaid funding to provide programs that improve the quality of, and access to, treatment for individuals with a substance abuse disorder served by the Medicaid program. The bills also contain similar language to HB 865 and SB 1068, creating the Office of Drug Control within the Executive Office of the Governor. This new agency would be responsible for all matters relating to research, coordination and execution of drug control within the state. (Cook)

E911 Systems (Watch)

SB 190 (Steube) requires the Department of Management Services (DMS) to develop and implement a plan to require that emergency dispatchers be able to transfer an emergency call from one E911 system to another E911 system within the state. The bill requires DMS to have implemented the plan by January 1, 2019 and to establish a date by which all E911 systems must have this capability. (Cook) ...

E911 Systems (Watch) SB 190 (Steube) requires the Department of Management Services (DMS) to develop and implement a plan to require that emergency dispatchers be able to transfer an emergency call from one E911 system to another E911 system within the state. The bill requires DMS to have implemented the plan by January 1, 2019 and to establish a date by which all E911 systems must have this capability. (Cook)

Juvenile Civil Citation and Diversion Programs (Watch)

HB 489 (Pritchett) and SB 644 (Bracy) require counties and cities to create civil citation programs for juveniles alleged to have committed a violation that would be treated as a misdemeanor offense if committed by an adult. The bills allow an officer making contact with a juvenile who admits to commission of a second or third misdemeanor offense to issue a civil citation in lieu of arrest at the officer’s discretion. (Cook) ...

Juvenile Civil Citation and Diversion Programs (Watch) HB 489 (Pritchett) and SB 644 (Bracy) require counties and cities to create civil citation programs for juveniles alleged to have committed a violation that would be treated as a misdemeanor offense if committed by an adult. The bills allow an officer making contact with a juvenile who admits to commission of a second or third misdemeanor offense to issue a civil citation in lieu of arrest at the officer’s discretion. (Cook)

Training Exemption for Law Enforcement Officers (Watch)

HB 333 (Burgess) and SB 470 (Stargel) create an exemption from law enforcement basic recruit training for certain members of special operations forces who are seeking employment at a law enforcement agency. The bills specify that a person seeking the training exemption must have served for a minimum of five years in the special operations forces. The bills direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to adopt rules that establish criteria and procedures to determine if the applicant is exempt from the basic training requirements. (Cook) ...

Training Exemption for Law Enforcement Officers (Watch) HB 333 (Burgess) and SB 470 (Stargel) create an exemption from law enforcement basic recruit training for certain members of special operations forces who are seeking employment at a law enforcement agency. The bills specify that a person seeking the training exemption must have served for a minimum of five years in the special operations forces. The bills direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to adopt rules that establish criteria and procedures to determine if the applicant is exempt from the basic training requirements. (Cook)

Fireworks (Watch)

CS/SB 198 (Steube) and HB 6037 (Grant, J.) amend current law to prohibit the sale of fireworks to any person under 18 years of age. The bills repeal the required testing and approval of sparklers by the Division of the State Fire Marshal and the registration of sparkler distributors, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The bills do not alter a city’s authority to adopt more stringent regulations than the state minimum standards for the supervised, public outdoor display of fireworks. The bills maintain permitting requirements for authorized fireworks dealers and limit the number of permits cities can issue to ...

Fireworks (Watch) CS/SB 198 (Steube) and HB 6037 (Grant, J.) amend current law to prohibit the sale of fireworks to any person under 18 years of age. The bills repeal the required testing and approval of sparklers by the Division of the State Fire Marshal and the registration of sparkler distributors, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The bills do not alter a city’s authority to adopt more stringent regulations than the state minimum standards for the supervised, public outdoor display of fireworks. The bills maintain permitting requirements for authorized fireworks dealers and limit the number of permits cities can issue to authorized fireworks dealers. Finally, the bills authorize the state fire marshal to adopt rules governing fireworks under Chapter 791, Florida Statutes. (Cook)

Searches by Law Enforcement Officers (Watch)

HB 233 (Jones) and SB 262 (Farmer) prohibit a law enforcement officer from searching individuals or their property without first informing them of their lawful right to decline the search request, unless the law enforcement officer is carrying a valid search warrant or the search is based upon another legally sufficient justification. (Cook) ...

Searches by Law Enforcement Officers (Watch) HB 233 (Jones) and SB 262 (Farmer) prohibit a law enforcement officer from searching individuals or their property without first informing them of their lawful right to decline the search request, unless the law enforcement officer is carrying a valid search warrant or the search is based upon another legally sufficient justification. (Cook)

Law Enforcement Activities for Opioids in Small Counties (Watch)

HB 253 (Daniels) authorizes a $10 surcharge, collected by the clerk of the court, on a defendant’s bail if that person was charged with specified drug or alcohol-related offenses. The fee would be deposited in to the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund and be used to provide grants to law enforcement agencies in counties with a population of 50,000 or fewer to fund drug enforcement activities within those counties. (Cook) ...

Law Enforcement Activities for Opioids in Small Counties (Watch) HB 253 (Daniels) authorizes a $10 surcharge, collected by the clerk of the court, on a defendant’s bail if that person was charged with specified drug or alcohol-related offenses. The fee would be deposited in to the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund and be used to provide grants to law enforcement agencies in counties with a population of 50,000 or fewer to fund drug enforcement activities within those counties. (Cook)

Law Enforcement Practices (Watch) 

HB 397 (Stark) and SB 592 (Bracy) require law enforcement officers who conduct a traffic stop and subsequently issue a traffic citation to note the race of the person to whom the citation is issued. The bills require law enforcement agencies to collect and submit this information to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). The bills require the DHSMV to submit a report to the governor, speaker of the House, and president of the Senate each year showing separate statewide totals for sheriffs offices, police departments, and state law enforcement agencies. The bills also add ...

Law Enforcement Practices (Watch)  HB 397 (Stark) and SB 592 (Bracy) require law enforcement officers who conduct a traffic stop and subsequently issue a traffic citation to note the race of the person to whom the citation is issued. The bills require law enforcement agencies to collect and submit this information to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). The bills require the DHSMV to submit a report to the governor, speaker of the House, and president of the Senate each year showing separate statewide totals for sheriffs offices, police departments, and state law enforcement agencies. The bills also add new language prohibiting racial profiling by law enforcement. (Cook)

Mental Illness Training for Law Enforcement Officers (Watch)

HB 781 (DuBose) and SB 1440 (Powell) require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to establish continued employment training relating to mental illness. The bills specify that completion of the training component may count toward the required 40 hours of instruction for continued employment as a law enforcement officer. (Cook) ...

Mental Illness Training for Law Enforcement Officers (Watch) HB 781 (DuBose) and SB 1440 (Powell) require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to establish continued employment training relating to mental illness. The bills specify that completion of the training component may count toward the required 40 hours of instruction for continued employment as a law enforcement officer. (Cook)

Tobacco Products (Watch)

HB 797 (Altman) and SB 994 (Mayfield) amend the definition of “tobacco products” to add all recreational nicotine products, including, but not limited to, hookah and waterpipe tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems and their components, e-liquid, dissolvable tobacco, nicotine gel, smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco and loose tobacco leaves. Additionally, the bills put in place product placement requirements for retailers that sell electronic nicotine delivery systems or e-liquid. (Cook) ...

Tobacco Products (Watch) HB 797 (Altman) and SB 994 (Mayfield) amend the definition of “tobacco products” to add all recreational nicotine products, including, but not limited to, hookah and waterpipe tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems and their components, e-liquid, dissolvable tobacco, nicotine gel, smokeless tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco and loose tobacco leaves. Additionally, the bills put in place product placement requirements for retailers that sell electronic nicotine delivery systems or e-liquid. (Cook)

Emergency Medical Services (Watch)

HB 285 (Pigman) and SB 488 (Grimsley) exempt, under specified conditions, a governmental entity that maintains a fire rescue infrastructure and provides first responders from needing a certificate of public convenience and necessity to provide advanced life support nontransport services. (Cook) ...

Emergency Medical Services (Watch) HB 285 (Pigman) and SB 488 (Grimsley) exempt, under specified conditions, a governmental entity that maintains a fire rescue infrastructure and provides first responders from needing a certificate of public convenience and necessity to provide advanced life support nontransport services. (Cook)

Mental Health & Substance Abuse (Watch)

SB 202 (Steube) revises the duties of a law enforcement officer with respect to transporting a person for involuntary admission to a hospital or licensed facility. The law enforcement officer may detain the person for his or her own protection in an appropriate detention facility, until the person can be transported to such facility. A person may not be held against his or her will by a law enforcement officer for more than 72 hours without being transported to a hospital or licensed facility. The 72-hour limit may be exceeded if a petition for involuntary assessment has been ...

Mental Health & Substance Abuse (Watch) SB 202 (Steube) revises the duties of a law enforcement officer with respect to transporting a person for involuntary admission to a hospital or licensed facility. The law enforcement officer may detain the person for his or her own protection in an appropriate detention facility, until the person can be transported to such facility. A person may not be held against his or her will by a law enforcement officer for more than 72 hours without being transported to a hospital or licensed facility. The 72-hour limit may be exceeded if a petition for involuntary assessment has been timely filed. (Branch)

Florida Fire Prevention Code (Watch)

SB 746 (Bean) and HB 529 (Diaz) are comprehensive bills outlining the process by which a resident in an apartment building may place combustible waste and refuse in an exit corridor. The bills require the apartment’s management staff to have written policies and procedures to ensure compliance. The bills allow local fire officials the option to approve alternative storage containers that meet the required safety conditions. (Branch) ...

Florida Fire Prevention Code (Watch) SB 746 (Bean) and HB 529 (Diaz) are comprehensive bills outlining the process by which a resident in an apartment building may place combustible waste and refuse in an exit corridor. The bills require the apartment’s management staff to have written policies and procedures to ensure compliance. The bills allow local fire officials the option to approve alternative storage containers that meet the required safety conditions. (Branch)

Other Bills of Interest 

HB 55 (White) and SB 152 (Steube) - Sale of Firearms ...

Other Bills of Interest  HB 55 (White) and SB 152 (Steube) - Sale of Firearms SB 92 (Book) and HB 115 (Slosberg) - Children in Motor Vehicles  HB 125 (Payne) - Deaths Resulting from Drug Overdoses  SB 148 (Steube) and HB 39 (Eagle) - Weapons and Firearms  HB 165 (McClain) and SB 310 (Steube) - Threats to Kill or Do Bodily Injury SB 196 (Stewart) and HB 219 (Smith) - Gun Safety  HB 309 (Antone) and SB 394 (Bracy) - Fire Safety SB 334 (Bracy) and HB 677 (DuBose) - Firearm Purchases SB 418 (Bracy) - Criminal Justice Data Collection  SB 556 (Stewart) - Emergency Medical Air Transportation Services HB 729 (Willhite) and SB 1026 (Book) - Text-to-911 Services HB 739 (Fant) and SB 1242 (Steube) - Carrying of weapons and firearms SB 876 (Bean) and HB 539 (Cortes) - Alarm Confirmation SB 970 (Brandes) and HB 1261 (Silvers) - Alcohol and Drug-related Overdoses SB 986 (Montford) - Medical Use of Marijuana in Schools SB 1048 (Baxley) - Firearms HB 1061 (Moraitis) and SB 1432 (Farmer) - Community Association Fire and Life Safety Systems SB 1134 (Rouson) and HB 6049 (Jones) - Medical Marijuana Growers HB 1159 (Santiago) - Controlled Substances HB 1203 (Smith) and SB 1602 (Bracy) - Cannabis SB 1256 (Brandes) - Search of the Content of Communications Devices HB 1295 (Brown) and SB 1796 (Rouson) - Emergency Medical Services HB 6013 (Byrd) - Return of Property

RETIREMENT & PENSION

Special Risk Class (Watch)

HB 379 (Willhite) and SB 606 (Stuebe) adds 911 public safety telecommunicators to the special risk class of the Florida Retirement System. The bills require that their retirement benefits be calculated with the provisions of the regular class members. (Hughes) ...

Special Risk Class (Watch) HB 379 (Willhite) and SB 606 (Stuebe) adds 911 public safety telecommunicators to the special risk class of the Florida Retirement System. The bills require that their retirement benefits be calculated with the provisions of the regular class members. (Hughes)

Florida Retirement System (Watch) 

SB 722 (Garcia) and HB 665 (Clemons) specify the minimum amount of the factor used to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment of benefits for a retiree or a beneficiary of the Florida Retirement System retiring on or after July 1, 2011, with service credit earned before July 1, 2011. The bills state the factor calculated may not be a product of less than two. (Hughes)  ...

Florida Retirement System (Watch)  SB 722 (Garcia) and HB 665 (Clemons) specify the minimum amount of the factor used to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment of benefits for a retiree or a beneficiary of the Florida Retirement System retiring on or after July 1, 2011, with service credit earned before July 1, 2011. The bills state the factor calculated may not be a product of less than two. (Hughes)

Other Bills of Interest 

HB 615 (Raschein)- Florida Retirement System Special Risk Class: Pilots and Registered Nurses ...

Other Bills of Interest  HB 615 (Raschein)- Florida Retirement System Special Risk Class: Pilots and Registered Nurses HB 493 (Diaz)- Florida Retirement System Special Risk: Florida State Hospital Employees SB 406 (Stuebe) and HB 251 (Clemons, C.)- Reemployment After Retirement

TORT LIABILITY

Liens on Property (Support)

SB 904 (Powell) and HB 599 (Altman) provide that liens placed on property after a final judgment of foreclosure but prior to judicial sale are not discharged by Florida’s lis pendens statute. In some instances, years can pass between a final judgment of foreclosure on a property and the time property is sold in a judicial sale. During this period, cities are often faced with placing code enforcement liens on the property while it sits vacant, waiting to be sold. This legislation would clarify that a city could place liens on the property for code violations that occurred ...

Liens on Property (Support) SB 904 (Powell) and HB 599 (Altman) provide that liens placed on property after a final judgment of foreclosure but prior to judicial sale are not discharged by Florida’s lis pendens statute. In some instances, years can pass between a final judgment of foreclosure on a property and the time property is sold in a judicial sale. During this period, cities are often faced with placing code enforcement liens on the property while it sits vacant, waiting to be sold. This legislation would clarify that a city could place liens on the property for code violations that occurred between the final judgment and foreclosure sale. (Cruz)

Duty to Provide Emergency Assistance (Watch) 

SB 516 (Mayfield) requires a person at the scene of an emergency to render aid to an endangered person who is in imminent danger, in certain circumstances. The bill establishes a criminal penalty for those who do not render aid. The bill also provides immunity from liability for individuals who provide reasonable assistance. (Cruz) ...

Duty to Provide Emergency Assistance (Watch)  SB 516 (Mayfield) requires a person at the scene of an emergency to render aid to an endangered person who is in imminent danger, in certain circumstances. The bill establishes a criminal penalty for those who do not render aid. The bill also provides immunity from liability for individuals who provide reasonable assistance. (Cruz)

Sovereign Immunity (Oppose)

HB 1131 (Jenne) and SB 1812 (Rader) substantially amend the waiver of sovereign immunity for governments, including cities. Under current law, the state has waived sovereign immunity in tort actions up to $200,000 for individual actions and up to $300,000 for all actions arising out of the same incidence or occurrence. The bills increase the waiver of sovereign immunity for municipalities and other political subdivisions by allowing a local government to purchase insurance or self-insure up to $5 million to pay a claim judgment by any one person or $7.5 million to cover the total claims or judgments ...

Sovereign Immunity (Oppose) HB 1131 (Jenne) and SB 1812 (Rader) substantially amend the waiver of sovereign immunity for governments, including cities. Under current law, the state has waived sovereign immunity in tort actions up to $200,000 for individual actions and up to $300,000 for all actions arising out of the same incidence or occurrence. The bills increase the waiver of sovereign immunity for municipalities and other political subdivisions by allowing a local government to purchase insurance or self-insure up to $5 million to pay a claim judgment by any one person or $7.5 million to cover the total claims or judgments arising out of the same incident or occurrence. The bills require insurance purchased pay for covered liabilities up to the policy limits without a legislative claims bill. (Cruz)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 66 (Rouson) - Prohibited Discrimination ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 66 (Rouson) - Prohibited Discrimination HB 137 (Gonzalez) - Federal and State Court Rulings SB 698 (Book) - Prohibited Discrimination HB 345 (Goodson) - Duty to Provide Emergency Assistance HB 347 (Diamond) - Prohibited Discrimination HB 1381 (McClure) - Worker’s Compensation Ratemaking

TRANSPORTATION

Drones (Support) 

HB 624 (Young) and HB 471 (Yarborough) allow police departments to use drones to gather evidence at a crime or traffic crash scene. Use of drones for this purpose is prohibited under current law. The bill also prohibits a person from operating a drone over a “fixed-site facility.” A “fixed-site facility” is defined as a property enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is designed to excluded intruders or is marked with signs indicating entry is forbidden, such as a state correctional institution and county detention facility. (Branch)  ...

Drones (Support)  HB 624 (Young) and HB 471 (Yarborough) allow police departments to use drones to gather evidence at a crime or traffic crash scene. Use of drones for this purpose is prohibited under current law. The bill also prohibits a person from operating a drone over a “fixed-site facility.” A “fixed-site facility” is defined as a property enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is designed to excluded intruders or is marked with signs indicating entry is forbidden, such as a state correctional institution and county detention facility. (Branch)

Exemptions from Toll Payment (Support)

SB 336 (Grimsley), SB 356 (Young) and HB 141 (Harrison) exempt a law enforcement officer operating an official vehicle (marked or unmarked) on law enforcement business from paying the toll at a toll facility. Under current law, only a marked official vehicle is exempt from paying a toll. CS/HB 141 was amended to defined the term “official law enforcement business.” ...

Exemptions from Toll Payment (Support) SB 336 (Grimsley), SB 356 (Young) and HB 141 (Harrison) exempt a law enforcement officer operating an official vehicle (marked or unmarked) on law enforcement business from paying the toll at a toll facility. Under current law, only a marked official vehicle is exempt from paying a toll. CS/HB 141 was amended to defined the term “official law enforcement business.” SB 818 (Powell) and HB 649 (McGhee) are similar to SB 336, but these bills also exempt a person operating a motor vehicle from paying any toll at a facility located in a county subject to a mandatory evacuation order during a state of emergency declared by the governor until the evacuation order is lifted. (Branch)

Smart City Grant Program (Support) 

HB 633 (Fischer) and SB 852 (Brandes) create a Florida Smart City Grant Program within the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The purpose of this program is to provide incentives for municipalities and other regions of the state to develop innovative smart mobility solutions to local transportation challenges. The bills require FDOT to issue a request for proposals for the grant awards and submit a quarterly report to the Legislature. Finally, the bills authorize FDOT to award a Florida Smart City Challenge Grant to maximum of three recipients. Each award may not exceed $6 million. (Branch)  ...

Smart City Grant Program (Support)  HB 633 (Fischer) and SB 852 (Brandes) create a Florida Smart City Grant Program within the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The purpose of this program is to provide incentives for municipalities and other regions of the state to develop innovative smart mobility solutions to local transportation challenges. The bills require FDOT to issue a request for proposals for the grant awards and submit a quarterly report to the Legislature. Finally, the bills authorize FDOT to award a Florida Smart City Challenge Grant to maximum of three recipients. Each award may not exceed $6 million. (Branch)

Operation of Vehicles (Support)

SB 116 (Baxley) and CS/HB 117 (Stone) include authorized emergency, sanitation, utility service worker and wrecker operator in the definition of “vulnerable road user”. The bills also require drivers to reduce their speed and/or vacate the lane closest to the worker when possible.  ...

Operation of Vehicles (Support) SB 116 (Baxley) and CS/HB 117 (Stone) include authorized emergency, sanitation, utility service worker and wrecker operator in the definition of “vulnerable road user”. The bills also require drivers to reduce their speed and/or vacate the lane closest to the worker when possible.  CS/HB 117 was amended to specify when a vehicle must vacate the lane that a bicycle or pedestrian traveling in the same direction is in. The bill requires the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to provide an educational awareness campaign on bicycle and pedestrian safety. (Branch)

Electric Vehicles (Support) 

CS/HB 384 (Brandes) and HB 981 (Olszewski) require the Florida Transportation Commission (FTC) to prepare a report for the governor and the Legislature listing all sources of revenue for transportation infrastructure and maintenance projects when the commission determines that electric vehicles make up 2 percent or more of the total number of vehicles registered in the state. ...

Electric Vehicles (Support)  CS/HB 384 (Brandes) and HB 981 (Olszewski) require the Florida Transportation Commission (FTC) to prepare a report for the governor and the Legislature listing all sources of revenue for transportation infrastructure and maintenance projects when the commission determines that electric vehicles make up 2 percent or more of the total number of vehicles registered in the state. The report should assess the effect of projected electric vehicle use in this state on future revenue from existing taxes, fees and surcharges related to nonelectric, automobiles, trucks, etc. In addition, in consultation with the Division of Emergency Management (DEM), the report should also assess transportation infrastructure with respect to emergency evacuations and electric vehicles, including the availability of electric vehicle charging stations. The bills require each Metropolitan Planning Organization to consider infrastructure and technological improvements necessary to accommodate the increased use of autonomous technology and electric vehicles. In committee, CS/SB 384 was amended to allow the FTC to begin reporting before the 2 percent threshold is reached. The amendment also included “hybrid vehicles” in the definition of electric vehicles. (Branch)

Red Light Cameras (Oppose – Preemption) 

HB 6001 (Avila), SB 548 (Campbell) and SB 176 (Hutson) preempt the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, counties and municipalities from installing and maintaining red light cameras effective July 1, 2021. The Revenue Estimating Conference met on September 22, 2017, and estimated that the bills have a recurring annual impact of $76.8 million to local government revenues. (Branch) ...

Red Light Cameras (Oppose – Preemption)  HB 6001 (Avila), SB 548 (Campbell) and SB 176 (Hutson) preempt the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, counties and municipalities from installing and maintaining red light cameras effective July 1, 2021. The Revenue Estimating Conference met on September 22, 2017, and estimated that the bills have a recurring annual impact of $76.8 million to local government revenues. (Branch)

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (Opposed – Preemption) 

SB 1082 (Simmons) revises the penalties for the unlawful parking of a vehicle in an electric vehicle charging station. Under current law, local governments can charge a fine not exceeding $250. SB 1082 would limit the fine to $30. (Branch) ...

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (Opposed – Preemption)  SB 1082 (Simmons) revises the penalties for the unlawful parking of a vehicle in an electric vehicle charging station. Under current law, local governments can charge a fine not exceeding $250. SB 1082 would limit the fine to $30. (Branch)

Dockless Bicycle Sharing (Opposed – Preemption) 

HB 1033 (Toledo) and SB 1304 (Young) preempt local governments from regulating dockless bicycles and bicycle-sharing companies. The bills require a bicycle-sharing company to maintain a certain level of insurance. The bills define equipment requirements for each dockless bicycle. (Branch) ...

Dockless Bicycle Sharing (Opposed – Preemption)  HB 1033 (Toledo) and SB 1304 (Young) preempt local governments from regulating dockless bicycles and bicycle-sharing companies. The bills require a bicycle-sharing company to maintain a certain level of insurance. The bills define equipment requirements for each dockless bicycle. (Branch)

Autonomous Vehicle (Watch)

HB 353 (Fischer) and SB 712 (Brandes) would allow a person to operate an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode on all roads in this state, without requiring the person to be physically present in the vehicle. The bill specifies that autonomous vehicles registered in Florida must meet federal applicable standards and regulations.  ...

Autonomous Vehicle (Watch) HB 353 (Fischer) and SB 712 (Brandes) would allow a person to operate an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode on all roads in this state, without requiring the person to be physically present in the vehicle. The bill specifies that autonomous vehicles registered in Florida must meet federal applicable standards and regulations.  In addition, the bills require autonomous vehicles to have a safety system to alert the driver when autonomous technology failure is detected while in autonomous mode. When the alert is given, the system must be capable of bringing the vehicle to a complete stop or allow the driver to regain control. The bills also specify requirements for reporting vehicle accidents. (Branch)

High-speed Passenger Rail (Watch) 

CS/HB 572 (Mayfield) and HB 525 (Grall) provide guidelines for the creation of safe and cost-effective transportation options for residents and visitors of this state, including a high-speed rail system. The bills also enhance the safety requirements of high-speed passenger rail in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. In addition, CS/HB 572 requires the Florida Division of Emergency Management to offer training to local emergency officials on responding to an accident involving rail passengers or hazardous materials. (Branch)  ...

High-speed Passenger Rail (Watch)  CS/HB 572 (Mayfield) and HB 525 (Grall) provide guidelines for the creation of safe and cost-effective transportation options for residents and visitors of this state, including a high-speed rail system. The bills also enhance the safety requirements of high-speed passenger rail in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. In addition, CS/HB 572 requires the Florida Division of Emergency Management to offer training to local emergency officials on responding to an accident involving rail passengers or hazardous materials. (Branch)

Natural Gas Fuel Taxes (Watch)

SB 926 (Broxson) and HB 647 (Raburn) delay the effective date of the natural gas fuel tax until January 1, 2024. In 2013, the Florida Legislature passed legislation to exempt these fuels from taxation beginning January 1, 2014, and ending January 1, 2019, to encourage the use of alternative fuel. The statewide receipts from the fees on alternative fuels historically amounts to less than $1 million annually. (Branch) ...

Natural Gas Fuel Taxes (Watch) SB 926 (Broxson) and HB 647 (Raburn) delay the effective date of the natural gas fuel tax until January 1, 2024. In 2013, the Florida Legislature passed legislation to exempt these fuels from taxation beginning January 1, 2014, and ending January 1, 2019, to encourage the use of alternative fuel. The statewide receipts from the fees on alternative fuels historically amounts to less than $1 million annually. (Branch)

Hazardous Walking Conditions (Watch) 

HB 188 (Steube) and HB 1299 (Raburn) revise the speed and road conditions criteria that determine a hazardous walking condition for public school students. The bills require the district school superintendent to request a review of the road if a written request is made by a parent of a student in the school district. The state or local government with jurisdiction over the road is required to inspect such conditions jointly with other local officials. In addition, the bills require the governmental entity with jurisdiction to report its determination in writing to the district school superintendent. (Branch)  ...

Hazardous Walking Conditions (Watch)  HB 188 (Steube) and HB 1299 (Raburn) revise the speed and road conditions criteria that determine a hazardous walking condition for public school students. The bills require the district school superintendent to request a review of the road if a written request is made by a parent of a student in the school district. The state or local government with jurisdiction over the road is required to inspect such conditions jointly with other local officials. In addition, the bills require the governmental entity with jurisdiction to report its determination in writing to the district school superintendent. (Branch)

Statewide Alternative Transportation Authority (Watch) 

CS/HB 535 (Avila) and SB 1200 (Young) create a Statewide Alternative Transportation Authority within the Department of Transportation that is solely responsible for the design and construction of alternative transportation systems. The bills define “alternative transportation system” as a system of infrastructure, appurtenances and technology designed to move the greatest number of people in the least amount of time. Beginning in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the bills reallocate $60 million in documentary stamp taxes currently allocated to the Florida Rail Enterprise. Of the $60 million, the bills allocate $25 million each to the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit ...

Statewide Alternative Transportation Authority (Watch)  CS/HB 535 (Avila) and SB 1200 (Young) create a Statewide Alternative Transportation Authority within the Department of Transportation that is solely responsible for the design and construction of alternative transportation systems. The bills define “alternative transportation system” as a system of infrastructure, appurtenances and technology designed to move the greatest number of people in the least amount of time. Beginning in the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the bills reallocate $60 million in documentary stamp taxes currently allocated to the Florida Rail Enterprise. Of the $60 million, the bills allocate $25 million each to the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority and Miami-Dade County. The remaining $10 million may be used in any county or counties. (Branch)

Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) (Watch) 

HB 575 (Beshears) and SB 1516 (Perry) revise the voting membership requirements for MPOs according to population. MPOs designated in an urbanized area with a population of 500,000 or fewer must consist of at least five, but not more than 11, apportioned members. MPOs designated in an urbanized area with a population of 500,000 or more must consist of at least five, but not more than 15, apportioned members. The bills prohibit an entire county commission from being members of the MPO governing board. The bills also prohibit an MPO from adopting a weighted voting structure. ...

Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) (Watch)  HB 575 (Beshears) and SB 1516 (Perry) revise the voting membership requirements for MPOs according to population. MPOs designated in an urbanized area with a population of 500,000 or fewer must consist of at least five, but not more than 11, apportioned members. MPOs designated in an urbanized area with a population of 500,000 or more must consist of at least five, but not more than 15, apportioned members. The bills prohibit an entire county commission from being members of the MPO governing board. The bills also prohibit an MPO from adopting a weighted voting structure. HB 807 (Diamond) and SB 984 (Brandes) require MPOs designated after July 1, 2018, to consist of at least five members, with the exact number determined on an equitable geographic-population ratio basis. The bills do not affect MPOs designated before July 1, 2018. (Branch)

Other Bills of Interest  

HB 215 (Payne) and SB 504 (Perry) – Autocycles ...

Other Bills of Interest   HB 215 (Payne) and SB 504 (Perry) – Autocycles SB 770 (Garcia) – Transportation Disadvantaged HB 951 (Fischer) and SB 1482 (Young) – Motor Vehicles and Railroad Trains SB 1188 (Rouson) – The Strategic Intermodal System SB 1350 (Perry) – Airports

UTILITIES & ENVIRONMENT

Coastal Management (Support)

SB 174 (Latvala) and HB 131 (Peters) revise criteria considered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in determining annual funding priorities for beach nourishment and inlet management projects, including the use of weighted tiers for such criteria. The bills require DEP to maintain active project lists, updated quarterly, to provide greater transparency and accountability, and also include provisions for improving sand management at inlets. In addition, the bills direct DEP to include in its comprehensive long-term management plan a strategic beach management plan, a critically eroded beaches report, and a statewide long-range budget plan (to include a ...

Coastal Management (Support) SB 174 (Latvala) and HB 131 (Peters) revise criteria considered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in determining annual funding priorities for beach nourishment and inlet management projects, including the use of weighted tiers for such criteria. The bills require DEP to maintain active project lists, updated quarterly, to provide greater transparency and accountability, and also include provisions for improving sand management at inlets. In addition, the bills direct DEP to include in its comprehensive long-term management plan a strategic beach management plan, a critically eroded beaches report, and a statewide long-range budget plan (to include a three-year work plan for beach and inlet projects). Last, the bills direct an annual appropriation of the lesser of 7.6 percent or $50 million from the state Land Acquisition Trust Fund for beach and inlet projects. (O’Hara)

Land Acquisition Trust Fund (Support)

CS/SB 370 (Bradley) and HB 1353 (Beshears) direct an annual appropriation of $100 million to the Florida Forever Trust Fund from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. SB 370 was amended to specify monies may not be used for state agency Executive direction and support services. (O’Hara) ...

Land Acquisition Trust Fund (Support) CS/SB 370 (Bradley) and HB 1353 (Beshears) direct an annual appropriation of $100 million to the Florida Forever Trust Fund from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. SB 370 was amended to specify monies may not be used for state agency Executive direction and support services. (O’Hara)

Wastewater Utilities (Support)

SB 244 (Brandes) and HB 837 (Edwards) provide incentives for wastewater utilities to follow industry best practices, improve their infrastructure and prevent sanitary sewer overflows and unauthorized discharge of pathogens. The bills create a voluntary incentive program for utilities to apply for and receive certification pursuant to standards created by the Environmental Regulation Commission. Specified incentives include permit extensions, a presumption of compliance with water quality standards for pathogens and a reduction in certain penalties. (O’Hara) ...

Wastewater Utilities (Support) SB 244 (Brandes) and HB 837 (Edwards) provide incentives for wastewater utilities to follow industry best practices, improve their infrastructure and prevent sanitary sewer overflows and unauthorized discharge of pathogens. The bills create a voluntary incentive program for utilities to apply for and receive certification pursuant to standards created by the Environmental Regulation Commission. Specified incentives include permit extensions, a presumption of compliance with water quality standards for pathogens and a reduction in certain penalties. (O’Hara)

Disposable Plastic Bags (Support)

SB 348 (J. Rodriguez) authorizes coastal municipalities with a population less than 100,000 to establish a pilot program to regulate or ban disposal plastic bags. (O’Hara) ...

Disposable Plastic Bags (Support) SB 348 (J. Rodriguez) authorizes coastal municipalities with a population less than 100,000 to establish a pilot program to regulate or ban disposal plastic bags. (O’Hara)

Disposable Plastic Bags & Auxiliary Containers (Support)

HB 6039 (Richardson) and SB 1014 (Stewart) remove the existing state preemption on local government regulation of auxiliary containers, wrappings or disposable plastic bags.  (O’Hara) ...

Disposable Plastic Bags & Auxiliary Containers (Support) HB 6039 (Richardson) and SB 1014 (Stewart) remove the existing state preemption on local government regulation of auxiliary containers, wrappings or disposable plastic bags.  (O’Hara)

Fracking Ban (Support)

HB 237 (Peters), SB 462 (Young), SB 834 (Farmer) and SB 828 (Farmer) address extreme well stimulation or “fracking.” HB 237 and SB 462 prohibit advanced well stimulation treatment in the state, and provide that a permit for drilling or operating a well does not authorize the performance of advance well stimulation treatments. SB 834 defines “extreme well stimulation” and prohibits the activity within the state. SB 828 proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution to ban extreme well stimulation.  (O’Hara) ...

Fracking Ban (Support) HB 237 (Peters), SB 462 (Young), SB 834 (Farmer) and SB 828 (Farmer) address extreme well stimulation or “fracking.” HB 237 and SB 462 prohibit advanced well stimulation treatment in the state, and provide that a permit for drilling or operating a well does not authorize the performance of advance well stimulation treatments. SB 834 defines “extreme well stimulation” and prohibits the activity within the state. SB 828 proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution to ban extreme well stimulation.  (O’Hara)

Offshore Drilling in Gulf of Mexico (Support)

SB 550 (Broxson) and HB 319 (Ponder) are legislative resolutions urging Congress to extend the current federal moratorium on oil drilling east of the Military Mission Line in the Gulf of Mexico. The resolutions state that the extension of the moratorium would support military training operations that require unconstrained access to the Gulf of Mexico, and that drilling east of the Military Mission Line could result in loss of range areas and possible relocation of aircraft and bases to other areas. (O’Hara) ...

Offshore Drilling in Gulf of Mexico (Support) SB 550 (Broxson) and HB 319 (Ponder) are legislative resolutions urging Congress to extend the current federal moratorium on oil drilling east of the Military Mission Line in the Gulf of Mexico. The resolutions state that the extension of the moratorium would support military training operations that require unconstrained access to the Gulf of Mexico, and that drilling east of the Military Mission Line could result in loss of range areas and possible relocation of aircraft and bases to other areas. (O’Hara)

Offshore Drilling (Support)

HB 1247 (Cruz) urges Congress to oppose the Presidential Executive Order lifting the moratorium prohibiting oil drilling off the coast of Florida. (O’Hara) ...

Offshore Drilling (Support) HB 1247 (Cruz) urges Congress to oppose the Presidential Executive Order lifting the moratorium prohibiting oil drilling off the coast of Florida. (O’Hara)

State Assumption of Federal Dredge & Fill Permit Authority (Support)

SB 1402 (Simmons) authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt rules to assume and implement the Section 404 dredge and fill permitting program pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act, in conjunction with DEP’s Environmental Resource Permitting program. The bill specifies that such rules shall not become effective until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approves of Florida’s assumption application. (O’Hara) ...

State Assumption of Federal Dredge & Fill Permit Authority (Support) SB 1402 (Simmons) authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt rules to assume and implement the Section 404 dredge and fill permitting program pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act, in conjunction with DEP’s Environmental Resource Permitting program. The bill specifies that such rules shall not become effective until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approves of Florida’s assumption application. (O’Hara)

Florida Water Infrastructure Needs Solutions Task Force (Support)

SB 1620 (Book) would establish a task force to evaluate funding mechanisms and strategies to ensure clean water for future generations. The bill specifies the structural composition of the task force, and would include the Florida League of Cities. SB 1620 also directs the task force to submit a report and recommendations to the Legislature by December 2019. (O’Hara) ...

Florida Water Infrastructure Needs Solutions Task Force (Support) SB 1620 (Book) would establish a task force to evaluate funding mechanisms and strategies to ensure clean water for future generations. The bill specifies the structural composition of the task force, and would include the Florida League of Cities. SB 1620 also directs the task force to submit a report and recommendations to the Legislature by December 2019. (O’Hara)

Utility Work Exemption from Development/Transmission Line Siting (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 494 (Lee, T.) and HB 405 (Williamson) amend the exemptions from current law “development” and revises statutory provisions applicable to transmission line and power plant siting. "Development,” as defined in state law, must comply with various state and local regulations, including local government comprehensive plans and development permits. There are various exemptions from the statutory definition of development, including an exemption for work by any utility engaged in transmission and distribution on established rights of way to construct pipes, cables, power lines, poles, etc. The bills specify this exemption also applies to rights of way and corridors ...

Utility Work Exemption from Development/Transmission Line Siting (Oppose – Preemption) SB 494 (Lee, T.) and HB 405 (Williamson) amend the exemptions from current law “development” and revises statutory provisions applicable to transmission line and power plant siting. "Development,” as defined in state law, must comply with various state and local regulations, including local government comprehensive plans and development permits. There are various exemptions from the statutory definition of development, including an exemption for work by any utility engaged in transmission and distribution on established rights of way to construct pipes, cables, power lines, poles, etc. The bills specify this exemption also applies to rights of way and corridors yet to be established, and to the creation of distribution and transmission line corridors. The bills also specify the standard to be used in authorizing variances in a site certification under the Power Plant Siting Act and Transmission Line Siting Act. Finally, the bills provide that the Siting Acts cannot affect the Public Service Commission’s exclusive jurisdiction to require transmission lines to be located underground. (O’Hara)

Storm-generated Debris and Solid Waste (Oppose – Preemption) 

HB 879 (Toledo) and SB 1326 (Baxley) address the regulation and management of recovered materials, solid waste and storm-generated debris. The bills expand the statutory definition of “recovered materials” to include wood, asphalt and concrete. This change would eliminate the authority of local governments to regulate these materials as “solid waste” or to include them within franchise agreements. The bills also require local governments to suspend any exclusive contracts for the collection, hauling, staging or disposal of storm-generated debris or commercial or residential solid waste if the local government “reasonably” determines the contractor will not be able to ...

Storm-generated Debris and Solid Waste (Oppose – Preemption)  HB 879 (Toledo) and SB 1326 (Baxley) address the regulation and management of recovered materials, solid waste and storm-generated debris. The bills expand the statutory definition of “recovered materials” to include wood, asphalt and concrete. This change would eliminate the authority of local governments to regulate these materials as “solid waste” or to include them within franchise agreements. The bills also require local governments to suspend any exclusive contracts for the collection, hauling, staging or disposal of storm-generated debris or commercial or residential solid waste if the local government “reasonably” determines the contractor will not be able to provide the contracted level of service. After March 1, 2018, a local government is prohibited from entering a new exclusive contract, or from extending an existing exclusive contract, for the collection, hauling, staging or disposal of storm-generated debris.  (O’Hara)

Interruption of Solid Waste and Telecommunications Services (Oppose – Mandate)

HB 971 (Fine) and SB 1368 (Mayfield) prohibit a municipality or private company (the applicable solid waste service provider) from charging a customer for solid waste service that was not provided on a regularly scheduled service date if the service is not provided within three business days after the regular service date. The bills require the service provider to issue a credit or refund to such customers on a pro rata basis that corresponds with the number of service interruptions. Failure by a service provider to issue such credit or refund would require the service provider to pay ...

Interruption of Solid Waste and Telecommunications Services (Oppose – Mandate) HB 971 (Fine) and SB 1368 (Mayfield) prohibit a municipality or private company (the applicable solid waste service provider) from charging a customer for solid waste service that was not provided on a regularly scheduled service date if the service is not provided within three business days after the regular service date. The bills require the service provider to issue a credit or refund to such customers on a pro rata basis that corresponds with the number of service interruptions. Failure by a service provider to issue such credit or refund would require the service provider to pay a fine to the customer equal to 10 times the charge that was billed for the interrupted service. The bills impose similar requirements and fines on telecommunications, cable and video service providers when services are interrupted for reasons not attributable to willful or negligent acts by the customer. (O’Hara)

Tree Trimming & Removal (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 574 (Steube) and HB 521 (Edwards) preempt to the state the trimming, removal or harvesting of trees and timber on private property, and prohibit local governments from restricting these activities on private property. The bills also prohibit local governments from imposing mitigation requirements (including fees or tree planting) for the removal or harvesting of trees. Lastly, the bills prohibit a local government from prohibiting the burial of trees or vegetative debris on properties larger than 2.5 acres. (O’Hara) ...

Tree Trimming & Removal (Oppose – Preemption) SB 574 (Steube) and HB 521 (Edwards) preempt to the state the trimming, removal or harvesting of trees and timber on private property, and prohibit local governments from restricting these activities on private property. The bills also prohibit local governments from imposing mitigation requirements (including fees or tree planting) for the removal or harvesting of trees. Lastly, the bills prohibit a local government from prohibiting the burial of trees or vegetative debris on properties larger than 2.5 acres. (O’Hara)

Environmental Regulation (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1308 (Perry) and HB 1149 (Payne) amend current state laws that address water and wastewater permits, local government recycling and solid waste responsibilities, and projects exempt from state environmental permit requirements.   ...

Environmental Regulation (Oppose – Preemption) SB 1308 (Perry) and HB 1149 (Payne) amend current state laws that address water and wastewater permits, local government recycling and solid waste responsibilities, and projects exempt from state environmental permit requirements.   Recycling & Solid Waste: Residential recycling containers often contain amounts of solid waste or other materials that are non-recyclable. In some cases, these materials can “contaminate” the remaining recyclables in the container or the truckload. The bills attempt to address this issue by specifying that local governments and recyclable materials haulers are not required to recycle, collect or process “contaminated recyclable material,” which is defined as recyclable material containing 15 percent or more (by weight or volume) of comingled solid waste or nonrecyclable material. Fifteen percent is well below current statewide averages for residential recycling loads. This change in law could authorize significant numbers of recycling containers and truckloads to be rejected, leaving local governments on the hook to pay for disposal. The League opposes this section of the bills.   Water: The reuse of reclaimed water can reduce or eliminate harmful impacts to ground or surface water that would otherwise occur through permitted withdrawals from these sources.  The bills recognize the benefit of these impact offsets and provide additional incentives for reclaimed water use by directing the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop a uniform rule for incorporating offsets and credits into water use permits. The bills recognize that reuse of reclaimed water through aquifer recharge is a critical component of meeting the state’s existing and future water supply needs while sustaining natural systems, and direct DEP and the water management districts to streamline and coordinate their respective permit reviews for aquifer recharge projects. The League supports this section of the bills.  State Permit Exemptions: Current state law provides exemptions from state environmental permitting requirements for various projects. The bills clarify that local governments may not require a person to provide additional verification from the Department of Environmental Protection of entitlement to such an exemption. In addition, the bills modify an existing state permit exemption for the replacement and repair of existing docks and piers, by specifying the replacement or repair may be in “approximately the same location and no larger in size," and that no additional aquatic resources may be adversely impacted. The League has no position on this section of the bills. (O’Hara)

Energy Security & Disaster Resiliency Pilot Program (Watch)

HB 1133 (Raschein) creates an Energy Security and Disaster Resilience Pilot Program within state-designated Areas of Critical State Concern. The purpose of the program is to evaluate the effectiveness of distributed energy generation and energy storage technologies to provide for energy needs for “critical disaster resilience facilities” during a natural disaster or declared state of emergency, and to assess the benefits of grants for distributed energy generation and energy storage technologies throughout the state to improve energy security and enhance disaster preparedness. The bill establishes a grant program. The bill directs the Florida Solar Energy Center to study ...

Energy Security & Disaster Resiliency Pilot Program (Watch) HB 1133 (Raschein) creates an Energy Security and Disaster Resilience Pilot Program within state-designated Areas of Critical State Concern. The purpose of the program is to evaluate the effectiveness of distributed energy generation and energy storage technologies to provide for energy needs for “critical disaster resilience facilities” during a natural disaster or declared state of emergency, and to assess the benefits of grants for distributed energy generation and energy storage technologies throughout the state to improve energy security and enhance disaster preparedness. The bill establishes a grant program. The bill directs the Florida Solar Energy Center to study the benefits of using solar energy storage technologies and other renewable energy generation and storage technologies, and to make recommendations for expanding the pilot program statewide. The study will be provided to the governor and Legislature by October 2019. (O’Hara)

Storm Hardening/Electric Utilities (Watch)

SB 1166 (Rodgriguez, J.) modifies provisions of current law regarding petitions for a storm-recovery financing order by a public electric utility to the Public Service Commission. The bill requires, under specified conditions, an electric utility to provide a discount on any storm-recovery charge to a utility customer or group of utility customers that has underground electric distribution lines servicing their properties. In addition, the bill requires an electric utility to provide a discount on any storm-recovery charge to utility customers located within the jurisdiction of a local government that has adopted an ordinance prohibiting the planting of trees ...

Storm Hardening/Electric Utilities (Watch) SB 1166 (Rodgriguez, J.) modifies provisions of current law regarding petitions for a storm-recovery financing order by a public electric utility to the Public Service Commission. The bill requires, under specified conditions, an electric utility to provide a discount on any storm-recovery charge to a utility customer or group of utility customers that has underground electric distribution lines servicing their properties. In addition, the bill requires an electric utility to provide a discount on any storm-recovery charge to utility customers located within the jurisdiction of a local government that has adopted an ordinance prohibiting the planting of trees of a specified size and distance from an electric transmission or distribution line. (O’Hara)

Flood Hazard Mitigation/Florida Communities Trust (Watch)

SB 158 (Brandes) and HB 1097 (Stevenson) revise the permissible projects that may be funded by the Florida Communities Trust (FCT) to include flood mitigation projects. The bills specify the purpose of such projects is to improve a community’s classification under the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System and to assist local governments in implementing flood risk- reduction policies and projects consistent with their comprehensive plan, an approved local hazard mitigation plan or an adaptation action plan. The bills direct that funds for flood mitigation projects must be identified specifically and separately from total funds appropriated to ...

Flood Hazard Mitigation/Florida Communities Trust (Watch) SB 158 (Brandes) and HB 1097 (Stevenson) revise the permissible projects that may be funded by the Florida Communities Trust (FCT) to include flood mitigation projects. The bills specify the purpose of such projects is to improve a community’s classification under the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System and to assist local governments in implementing flood risk- reduction policies and projects consistent with their comprehensive plan, an approved local hazard mitigation plan or an adaptation action plan. The bills direct that funds for flood mitigation projects must be identified specifically and separately from total funds appropriated to the FCT. The maximum annual grant award to an applicant is limited to $5 million. The bills direct the Department of Environmental Protection to develop rules for grant applications, a prioritized ranking system for project awards and project reporting by applicants. (O’Hara)

Land Acquisition Trust Fund - SJR (Watch)

SB 204 (Bradley) directs an annual appropriation of $50 million to the St. Johns River Water Management District for projects dedicated to the restoration of the St. Johns River and the Keystone Heights Lake Region. The bill also increases the annual appropriation for springs restoration from $50 million to $75 million. (O’Hara) ...

Land Acquisition Trust Fund - SJR (Watch) SB 204 (Bradley) directs an annual appropriation of $50 million to the St. Johns River Water Management District for projects dedicated to the restoration of the St. Johns River and the Keystone Heights Lake Region. The bill also increases the annual appropriation for springs restoration from $50 million to $75 million. (O’Hara)

Land Acquisition Trust Fund - IRL (Watch)

HB 339 (Harrell) and SB 786 (Mayfield) direct an annual appropriation of $50 million for projects dedicated to the conservation and management of the Indian River Lagoon, including grants for projects that implement the updated Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. The bills specify that grants for sewer system connection projects require a minimum 50 percent local match. (O’Hara) ...

Land Acquisition Trust Fund - IRL (Watch) HB 339 (Harrell) and SB 786 (Mayfield) direct an annual appropriation of $50 million for projects dedicated to the conservation and management of the Indian River Lagoon, including grants for projects that implement the updated Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. The bills specify that grants for sewer system connection projects require a minimum 50 percent local match. (O’Hara)

Land Acquisition Trust Fund (Watch)

SB 1130 (Powell) recreates the state Land Acquisition Trust Fund within the Florida Department of State, without modification.  (O’Hara) ...

Land Acquisition Trust Fund (Watch) SB 1130 (Powell) recreates the state Land Acquisition Trust Fund within the Florida Department of State, without modification.  (O’Hara)

Public Utilities/Solar Producers (Watch)

SB 292 (Rodriguez, J.) exempts certain entities from the definition of “public utility” when the entity provides or sells renewable solar energy to users located on the site of a renewable energy production facility with a capacity of 2.5 megawatts or less. (O’Hara) ...

Public Utilities/Solar Producers (Watch) SB 292 (Rodriguez, J.) exempts certain entities from the definition of “public utility” when the entity provides or sells renewable solar energy to users located on the site of a renewable energy production facility with a capacity of 2.5 megawatts or less. (O’Hara)

Energy 2040 Task Force (Watch)

SB 1038 (Brandes) creates the Energy 2040 Task Force within the Public Service Commission to protect Florida’s electric energy needs over the next 20 years and determine how to best meet those needs while increasing competition and consumer choice. The task force is directed to make recommendations for policy and statutory changes on various topics, including but not limited to: population growth, electricity needs and fuel diversity; projections on the effects of allowing nonutility retail sales of renewable energy; the rights and obligations between a nonutility direct retail renewable energy producer and its customers, including need for regulatory ...

Energy 2040 Task Force (Watch) SB 1038 (Brandes) creates the Energy 2040 Task Force within the Public Service Commission to protect Florida’s electric energy needs over the next 20 years and determine how to best meet those needs while increasing competition and consumer choice. The task force is directed to make recommendations for policy and statutory changes on various topics, including but not limited to: population growth, electricity needs and fuel diversity; projections on the effects of allowing nonutility retail sales of renewable energy; the rights and obligations between a nonutility direct retail renewable energy producer and its customers, including need for regulatory oversight; the effects of nonutility direct retail renewable energy sales on regulated public utilities’ recovery of costs; the effects of nonutility direct retail renewable energy sales on a regulated public utility’s obligation to serve all customers within its service territory; projections on the effect of using “micro-grids”; emerging technologies; analysis of impacts of state and local taxes on electric supply; and the environmental impacts of electricity generation and transmission. The bill identifies task force members and authorizes creation of technical advisory committees by the task force. Task force appointments must be made by July 1, 2018, and its first meeting must be held by August 1, 2018. The task force must submit recommendations to the Legislature and governor by June 30, 2020. (O’Hara)

Energy Grid (Watch)

SB 1586 (Simmons) requires the Public Service Commission to hold a series of public hearings throughout the state to determine specified disaster-hardening standards that each electric utility may be able to achieve at a reasonable cost. The bill directs the commission to determine a disaster preparation and energy grid improvement plan for each electric utility to achieve the developed standards. The commission must issue an order requiring each utility to implement the plan and to specify the method of payment of the plan. The bill provides for 5-year progress reports on plan implementation by utilities to the governor ...

Energy Grid (Watch) SB 1586 (Simmons) requires the Public Service Commission to hold a series of public hearings throughout the state to determine specified disaster-hardening standards that each electric utility may be able to achieve at a reasonable cost. The bill directs the commission to determine a disaster preparation and energy grid improvement plan for each electric utility to achieve the developed standards. The commission must issue an order requiring each utility to implement the plan and to specify the method of payment of the plan. The bill provides for 5-year progress reports on plan implementation by utilities to the governor and Legislature. (O’Hara)

Onsite Sewage Treatment Systems (Watch)

SB 1664 (Simmons) would require the Department of Environmental Protection, as part of a basis management action plan, to develop onsite sewage treatment systems remediation plans and waste water treatment plant remediation plans, if the department determines that remediation is necessary to meet a total maximum daily load. The bill specifies what must be included in the plans, including priority ranking of projects for funding and implementation schedules. (O’Hara) ...

Onsite Sewage Treatment Systems (Watch) SB 1664 (Simmons) would require the Department of Environmental Protection, as part of a basis management action plan, to develop onsite sewage treatment systems remediation plans and waste water treatment plant remediation plans, if the department determines that remediation is necessary to meet a total maximum daily load. The bill specifies what must be included in the plans, including priority ranking of projects for funding and implementation schedules. (O’Hara)

Public Utility Environmental Remediation Costs (Watch)

SB 656 (Rodriguez, J.) allows a municipality to request a hearing by the Public Service Commission to determine whether a utility acted prudently in events causing environmental damage or acted prudently to remedy the damage.  If such a request is made, any proceedings on cost recovery for the utility resulting from the remediation of environmental damage are stayed until the Commission determines the prudence of the utility’s actions. If the Commission finds the utility failed to act prudently, the bill prohibits cost recovery by the utility for the environmental remediation. (O’Hara) ...

Public Utility Environmental Remediation Costs (Watch) SB 656 (Rodriguez, J.) allows a municipality to request a hearing by the Public Service Commission to determine whether a utility acted prudently in events causing environmental damage or acted prudently to remedy the damage.  If such a request is made, any proceedings on cost recovery for the utility resulting from the remediation of environmental damage are stayed until the Commission determines the prudence of the utility’s actions. If the Commission finds the utility failed to act prudently, the bill prohibits cost recovery by the utility for the environmental remediation. (O’Hara)

Public Records/Local Government Electric Utilities (Watch)

SB 7008 (Communications, Energy & Public Utilities Committee) would delete the sunset date of an existing exemption from the public records law for proprietary confidential business information held by a local government electric utility. (O’Hara) ...

Public Records/Local Government Electric Utilities (Watch) SB 7008 (Communications, Energy & Public Utilities Committee) would delete the sunset date of an existing exemption from the public records law for proprietary confidential business information held by a local government electric utility. (O’Hara)

Environmental Regulation Commission (Watch)

SB 316 (Stewart) and HB 203 (Willhite) require the governor to make appointments to the Environmental Regulation Commission (ERC), subject to Senate confirmation, within 90 days of a vacancy. The bills require a majority of four votes for any ERC approval or modification of a proposed rule pertaining to air quality standards or water quality standards. (O’Hara) ...

Environmental Regulation Commission (Watch) SB 316 (Stewart) and HB 203 (Willhite) require the governor to make appointments to the Environmental Regulation Commission (ERC), subject to Senate confirmation, within 90 days of a vacancy. The bills require a majority of four votes for any ERC approval or modification of a proposed rule pertaining to air quality standards or water quality standards. (O’Hara)

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Watch)

SB 740 (Stargel) and HB 553 (Raburn) are lengthy bills that address the various duties and authority of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The bills are of little interest to municipalities except for one provision that preempts the regulation of “seed” to the Department. The preemption relates to matters already regulated by the Department and does not appear affect municipal interests. (O’Hara) ...

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Watch) SB 740 (Stargel) and HB 553 (Raburn) are lengthy bills that address the various duties and authority of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The bills are of little interest to municipalities except for one provision that preempts the regulation of “seed” to the Department. The preemption relates to matters already regulated by the Department and does not appear affect municipal interests. (O’Hara)

County Ordinances in St. Lucie Watershed (Watch)

HB 641 (Lee, L.) specifies that county ordinances regulating transportation, composting or land application of sewage within the St. Lucie River watershed are not duplicative regulations.  (O’Hara) ...

County Ordinances in St. Lucie Watershed (Watch) HB 641 (Lee, L.) specifies that county ordinances regulating transportation, composting or land application of sewage within the St. Lucie River watershed are not duplicative regulations.  (O’Hara)

Wastewater Treatment Facilities (Watch)

SB 1100 (Thurston) prohibits the decommissioning of a wastewater treatment facility until a replacement facility of equal or greater capacity is in service for a period of two years.  (O’Hara) ...

Wastewater Treatment Facilities (Watch) SB 1100 (Thurston) prohibits the decommissioning of a wastewater treatment facility until a replacement facility of equal or greater capacity is in service for a period of two years.  (O’Hara)

Inland Protection Trust Fund (Watch)

SB 1438 (Grimsley) and HB 1075 (Raburn) authorize the Inland Protection Trust Fund to be used for the cleanup of drycleaning solvents under the Drycleaning Solvent Cleanup Program, administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. (O’Hara) ...

Inland Protection Trust Fund (Watch) SB 1438 (Grimsley) and HB 1075 (Raburn) authorize the Inland Protection Trust Fund to be used for the cleanup of drycleaning solvents under the Drycleaning Solvent Cleanup Program, administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. (O’Hara)

Water Management (Watch)

SB 1506 (Farmer) amends various current law provisions relating to Outstanding Florida Springs, water quality and consumptive use of water. The bill requires the state to reserve, by rule, sufficient water from use by permittees necessary to restore a minimum flow or level of an Outstanding Florida Spring. The bill would also require agricultural producers within specified areas around an Outstanding Florida Spring to implement best management practices necessary to achieve pollutant load reductions. The bill provides for increased accountability and measurement of agricultural best management practices. The bill also revises criteria for receiving priority funding consideration for ...

Water Management (Watch) SB 1506 (Farmer) amends various current law provisions relating to Outstanding Florida Springs, water quality and consumptive use of water. The bill requires the state to reserve, by rule, sufficient water from use by permittees necessary to restore a minimum flow or level of an Outstanding Florida Spring. The bill would also require agricultural producers within specified areas around an Outstanding Florida Spring to implement best management practices necessary to achieve pollutant load reductions. The bill provides for increased accountability and measurement of agricultural best management practices. The bill also revises criteria for receiving priority funding consideration for water projects, to include consideration of whether a project maximizes water conservation. (O’Hara)

Other Bills of Interest 

HB 83 (Spano) and SB 912 (Broxson) - Agency Rulemaking ...

Other Bills of Interest  HB 83 (Spano) and SB 912 (Broxson) - Agency Rulemaking SB 156 (Stewart) and HB 559 (Olszewski) - Relating to Black Bears SB 232 (Book) and HB 53 (Jacobs) - Relating to Coral Reefs SB 388 (Farmer) - Relating to Anchoring Limitation Areas SB 626 (Rodriguez) - Public Electric Utility Rates SB 664 (Young) and HB 469 (Harrison) - Salvage of Pleasure Vessels SB 670 (Bradley) - Ratification of Rules of St. Johns River Water Mgmt District SB 716 (Rodriguez, J.) - Nuclear Cost Recovery HB 791 (Diaz) and SB 1268 (Perry) - Regulatory Reform (State agency rules) SB 806 (Baxley) and HB 703 (Burgess) - Water Management District (WMD) Surplus Lands Disposal SB 808 (Baxley) and HB 705 (Burgess) - Pub. Rec./Water Management District Surplus Lands linked to SB 806 and HB 703 HB 941 (Moraitis) and SB 1410 (Rader) - Administrative Procedures SB 992 (Book) - C-51 Reservoir Project HB 1081 (Perez) and SB 1630 (Hutson) - Medically Essential Electric Utility Service SB 1118 (Perry) - Florida Lakewatch Program SB 1370 (Book) - Land Acquisition Trust Fund/Dept. of Agriculture SB 1622 (Flores) and HB 1173 (Raschein) - Lands Used for Governmental Purposes

VACATION RENTALS

Vacation Rental Requirements (Support)

SB 1640 (Simmons) is a comprehensive proposal providing more state oversight over short-term rentals, while also allowing for additional local regulation in certain circumstances. The bill requires vacation rentals to be licensed with the state and that certain licensing information be included in any advertisements or listings. The bill establishes penalties for failing to display this information. The bill defines “commercial vacation rental” as a property managed by one licensed agent under a single license for five or more vacation rental units or is part of five or more vacation rental units under common ownership, control or management. ...

Vacation Rental Requirements (Support) SB 1640 (Simmons) is a comprehensive proposal providing more state oversight over short-term rentals, while also allowing for additional local regulation in certain circumstances. The bill requires vacation rentals to be licensed with the state and that certain licensing information be included in any advertisements or listings. The bill establishes penalties for failing to display this information. The bill defines “commercial vacation rental” as a property managed by one licensed agent under a single license for five or more vacation rental units or is part of five or more vacation rental units under common ownership, control or management. The bill establishes higher regulatory standards for commercial vacation rentals than non-commercial vacation rentals. The bill defines “hosting platform” and requires state registration and the payment of a registration fee of no more than $1,000. The bill establishes biannual inspection requirements for commercial vacation rentals. The bill preserves ordinances in place prior to June 1, 2011, and allows for these ordinances to be amended if the amendment is less restrictive. The bill allows for local government regulations specific to vacation rentals that are in single-family residences, where the owner is not personally occupying at least a portion of the residence where vacation rental activities are occurring. Vacation rental owners are required to submit a copy of their vacation rental license, a copy of the certificate of registration with the Department of Revenue, and the owner’s emergency contact information to the city. The bill prohibits a city from charging a fee for the submission of this information and specifies that it is for informational purposes only. Finally, the bill requires hosting platforms to maintain records listing each transient public lodging establishment that it serves, the name of the operator, the transient public lodging establishment’s license number and physical address, each period of rental reserved through the platform, and the itemized amounts collected from the guest by the platform for the rental, taxes and all other charges. These records must be maintained by the hosting platform for a period of three years and must be transmitted to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) every three months in an electronic format. The bill authorizes DBPR to fine a hosting platform for failure to comply with these provisions. Fine amounts cannot exceed $1,000 per offense. (Cook)

Florida Vacation Rental Act (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1400 (Steube), titled the “Florida Vacation Rental Act,” preempts all regulation of vacation rentals to the state and nullifies any local regulations, including those adopted prior to June 1, 2011. The bill requires each vacation rental to obtain a license through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), requires an annual renewal and allows for multiple properties to be combined under one license. The bill caps license fees at no more than $1,000 per license and directs these fees to the Hospitality Education Program.   ...

Florida Vacation Rental Act (Oppose – Preemption) SB 1400 (Steube), titled the “Florida Vacation Rental Act,” preempts all regulation of vacation rentals to the state and nullifies any local regulations, including those adopted prior to June 1, 2011. The bill requires each vacation rental to obtain a license through the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), requires an annual renewal and allows for multiple properties to be combined under one license. The bill caps license fees at no more than $1,000 per license and directs these fees to the Hospitality Education Program.   The bill establishes fines for noncompliance and directs all revenue associated with fines to the Hotel and Restaurant Trust Fund. The bill clarifies that fines may not subsequently be used for payment to any entity performing required inspections under contract with the state, and that administrative fines may be used to support division programs. The bill authorizes DBPR to fine, suspend or revoke the license of any vacation rental for certain offenses, such as using the space for unauthorized gambling purposes, prostitution or illegally dealing in controlled substances.   The bill specifies that vacation rentals, like other transient rentals, are subject to Chapter 212, Florida Statutes, and exempt from Chapter 83 for tax purposes. Inspections of vacation rentals are preempted to the state, with DBPR having sole jurisdiction to conduct them, but inspections are not mandatory unless they are in response to an emergency or epidemiological condition. Finally, the bill prohibits DBPR from adopting any regulation governing design, construction, erection, alteration, modification or repair of any vacation rental. (Cook)

Vacation Rentals (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 773 (La Rosa) prohibits cities from establishing ordinances specific to short-term vacation rentals. Instead, the law would require that all residential properties be treated the same, regardless of whether the property is being used as a rental or not. The bill would allow cities with vacation rental ordinances in place prior to June 1, 2011, to amend their ordinance, as long as the amendment makes the regulation of vacation rentals less restrictive. (Cook) ...

Vacation Rentals (Oppose – Preemption) HB 773 (La Rosa) prohibits cities from establishing ordinances specific to short-term vacation rentals. Instead, the law would require that all residential properties be treated the same, regardless of whether the property is being used as a rental or not. The bill would allow cities with vacation rental ordinances in place prior to June 1, 2011, to amend their ordinance, as long as the amendment makes the regulation of vacation rentals less restrictive. (Cook)

Listings for Vacation Rental Property (Watch)

HB 789 (Stevenson) requires each person operating a short-term vacation rental to display a valid certificate of registration number in each rental listing or advertisement. The bill establishes a $50 per day fine for first-time violators. Repeat offenders are subject to a $100 per day fine for noncompliance. (Cook)  ...

Listings for Vacation Rental Property (Watch) HB 789 (Stevenson) requires each person operating a short-term vacation rental to display a valid certificate of registration number in each rental listing or advertisement. The bill establishes a $50 per day fine for first-time violators. Repeat offenders are subject to a $100 per day fine for noncompliance. (Cook)

Other Bills of Interest

SB 1624 (Rader) and HB 1243 (Abruzzo) – Public Lodging Safety Regulations ...

Other Bills of Interest SB 1624 (Rader) and HB 1243 (Abruzzo) – Public Lodging Safety Regulations

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