Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety (Watch)

Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety (Watch)

HB 263 (Payne) amends the Underground Facility Damage Prevention & Safety Act and the procedure for issuing citations for non-criminal infractions under the act. The bill deletes current law procedures providing for citations to be issued by local or state law enforcement officers or code inspectors and providing for up to $500 in civil penalties for violations plus court costs. In its place, the bill creates a statewide Underground Facility Damage Prevention Review Panel to review complaints of alleged violations. The nine-member panel would be made up of industry stakeholders and one member of the public. The bill establishes a process for complaints of violations of the act to be reviewed and procedures for recommended penalties. It provides for civil penalties of up to $1,000 for an initial violation and as high as $50,000 under specified conditions. It authorizes the panel to recommend education and training for violators in lieu of civil penalties. The bill authorizes appeal of panel recommendations to the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings. (O’Hara)