Legislative Update – April 28, 2017

There is one week left in the scheduled 2017 Legislative Session.  Tuesday, April 25, was the last day for regularly scheduled Senate committee meetings, and it is highly likely that House committee meetings have concluded as well.

The latest Bill Tracking Report, dated April 29, can be viewed here.  This report shows the bills that APA Florida is tracking, the status of each bill, and the committee in which each bill sits.

Enrolled bills (bills which have been passed by the Legislature) are sent to the Governor for his action. While the legislature is in session, the constitution allows a 7-day period following presentation of a bill to the Governor within which to sign or veto the bill. If the legislature adjourns sine die before an act is presented to the Governor or while an act is in the Governor’s possession, the Governor has 15 days from the date of presentation in which to take action. To follow the Governor’s actions on bills, go to www.flgov.com and scroll down to click on “2017 Bill Actions”.

The following discussion highlights major bill activity over the past week.  If you do not see a bill, its status likely did not change since the last report.  Refer to the Bill Tracking Report or to the website to review past updates.

Growth Management:

Utilities:  CS/CS/CS/SB 596 E1 (Sen. Hutson), which prohibits FDOT and local governments from regulating collocation of small wireless facilities in public rights-of ways, was passed by the Senate on April 28.  CS/CS/HB 687 (Rep.  La Rosa), a similar bill, was reported favorably by the House Commerce Committee on April 24 as a strike-all amendment which made it generally consistent with CS/CS/CS/SB 596 E 1, and passed by the House on April 28.  The bill has been received by the Senate and referred to three committees of reference.

Vacation Rentals:    CS/CS/CS/SB 188 (Sen. Steube) was reported favorably by the Senate Rules Committee, its last committee of reference, on April 25.   The bill had been amended through a strike-all amendment by the Senate Community Affairs Committee, its second of three committees of reference, on April 17.   All previously proposed language was deleted.  The amendment only included two changes to s. 509.032(7)(b), which currently provides that local governments may not prohibit vacation rentals or regulate their duration or frequency of rental; and that this prohibition does not apply to local laws, ordinances, or regulations adopted on or before June 1, 2011.  Language was added to provide that this includes when such law, ordinance or regulation:

  • is being amended to be less restrictive; or
  • reduces local regulatory burdens on vacation rentals owned, in whole or in part, by a person who is currently serving on active duty or temporary duty in a branch of the United States Armed Services or owned by a disabled veteran with a service-connected evaluation of such disability of 30 percent or more, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs

The Senate Rules Committee added two changes which:

  • amend s. 509.032(7)(c) to say that that paragraph (b) does not apply to any local law ordinance or regulation governing vacation rentals if the local law, ordinance or regulation is required to be approved by the state planning agency pursuant to an area of critical state concern designation. (The amendment sponsor indicated that this was intended to apply to Monroe County.)
  • add new language that would allow a municipality to submit an ordinance adopted by the governing body of the municipality prior to the effective date of ch. 2011-119, Laws of Florida, (June 2, 2011), for ratification of the electors at a referendum. If the ordinance is approved by at least two-thirds of the electors voting in the referendum, the effective date of the ordinance is the date of its initial adoption by the governing body of the municipality. (According to the amendment sponsor, this is intended to help the community of Redington Beach.)

CS/HB 425 E 1  (Rep. La Rosa), also dealing with vacation rentals, was passed by the House on April 28.  This bill states that a local law, ordinance, or regulation may regulate activities that arise when a property is used as a vacation rental, provided such regulation applies uniformly to all residential properties without regard to whether the property is used as a vacation rental as defined in s. 509.242 or long-term rental subject to the provisions of part II of chapter 83 or whether a property owner chooses not to rent the property.  A vacation rental owner must submit a copy of the vacation rental license, the certificate of registration, and emergency contact information to the local jurisdiction for information purposes only.  Like CS/CS/CS/SB 188, the bill also provides that the regulatory restriction does not apply to a law, ordinance, or regulation adopted on or before June 1, 2011, including when they are

  • being amended to be less restrictive; or
  • reducing local regulatory burdens on vacation rentals owned, in whole or in part, by a person who is currently serving on active duty or temporary duty in a branch of the United States Armed Services or owned by a disabled veteran with a service-connected evaluation of such disability of 30 percent or more, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems (OSTDS):  CS/CS/CS/HB 285 E1 (Rep. Fine) was amended on the House floor on April 18 and passed by the House on April 20.  The bill requires that sellers statewide must provide buyers with a disclosure that the property contains an onsite sewage treatment and disposal system.  The bill includes specific language that must be included in the disclosure. The bill also requires the Department of Health to identify all onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems in the state and submit a report on the number and location to the Governor, Senate President and House Speaker by January 1, 2019.    The floor amendment clarified that the Department of Health can only use existing data sources when compiling this report – they are prohibited from visiting a property to get information for  this purpose.   It was received by the Senate and referred to three committees of reference on April 25.

CS/SB 1748 (Sen. Stewart) also deals with OSTDS and is very similar to CS/CS/CS/HB 285 E1.  It is in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

Vessels:  CS/CS/HB 7043 ER (Rep. Raschein), was passed by the House on April 25 and by the Senate on April 27 after substituting it for CS/CS/SB 1338.  The bill provides, among other things, that local governments may enact and enforce regulations to require vessel owners or operators to provide proof of properly disposed of sewage in marked boundaries of a permitted mooring field and designated no discharge zones.  Before such a regulation can be adopted, the local government must provide adequate pumpout services and the regulation must be approved by the FWCC.  A local government is not prohibited from enacting or enforcing pumpout requirements for live-aboard vessels with in any area of its jurisdiction.    The legislative staff analysis of the bill can be read here.

Local Regulation Preemption:  CS/HB 17 (Rep. Fine) would preempt the regulation of businesses, professions and occupations to the state.  It has been in the House Commerce Committee, its last committee of reference, since March 17 and has not yet been heard. There was no Senate companion bill.

Economic Development/Redevelopment:

Community Redevelopment Agencies: CS/CS/CS/HB 13 E 1 (Rep. Rayburn) was passed by the House on April 26.  The bill would do the following:

  • Include a number of requirements intended to increase the transparency and accountability of CRAs, including independent audits
  • Terminate CRAs in existence on October 1, 2017 on the expiration date in the CRA charter or by September 30 2037, whichever is earlier unless the governing body approves its continued existence by a supermajority vote (defined as majority plus one). CRAs with outstanding bonds that do not mature until after the earlier of the two dates above can remain in existence until the date the bonds mature
  • Require that, after October 1, 2017, a new CRA can only be created through a special act of the Legislature
  • Require that the money in a redevelopment trust fund, after October 1, 2017, can be spent only pursuant to an annual adopted budget and only for the purposes listed in s.163.387(6).

Three floor amendments were approved, including language which adds expenses that are necessary to exercise the powers granted under s. 163.370, as delegated pursuant to s. 163.358, are an item that can be covered in the annual CRA budget.  The bill has been received by the Senate and referred to two committees of reference.

CS/SB 1770 (Sen. Lee), which also deals with CRAs, was temporarily postponed by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development on April 18.  The bill originally failed in a committee vote; that vote was reconsidered and the bill was reported as pending reconsideration.


Medical Marijuana:

Medical Use of Marijuana:  CS/HB 1397 (Rep. Rodrigues), is the House bill developed to implement the medical marijuana constitutional amendment.  It was placed on the Special Order Calendar on April 28.  CS/CS/SB 406 (Sen. Bradley) was reported favorably after several amendments by the Senate Appropriations Committee, its last committee of reference, on April 25.

Public Notice/Meetings:

Public Meetings:  SB  914 (Sen. Baxley) was scheduled on the Senate Calendar on Third Reading on April 28, but had not been heard when this update went out.  The bill creates s. 286.011(1)(a), F.S., codifying judicial interpretation and application of the terms: de facto meeting, discussion, meeting, official act, and public business. The bill also specifies that members of a board may participate in fact-finding exercises or excursion to research public business, and may participate in meetings with a member of the Legislature if:
–  The board provides reasonable notice;
–  A vote, official act, or an agreement regarding a future action does not occur;
–  There is no discussion of public business that occurs; and
–  Appropriate records, minutes, audio recordings, or video recordings made/retained as a public record

Finally, the bill provides that, if there is a gathering of two or more board members where no official acts are taken and no public business is discussed, then no public notice or access is required.   The bill now moves to the Senate Rules Committee, its last committee of reference.  HB 919 (Rep. Roth), an identical bill, has not been heard in committee.

CS/HB 843 (Rep. Donalds) also deals with this issue.  It would authorize two members of any board or commission  with a total membership of at least five members to meet in private and discuss public business without providing notice of such meeting or recording the meeting. Such meetings are exempt from open meetings requirements if:

-The members do not adopt a resolution or rule to take any other formal action, or agree to do so at a future meeting, at such meeting. A resolution or rule adopted, or any other formal action taken, in violation of this prohibition is void.

–  The members do not discuss an appropriation, a contract, or any other public business that involves the direct expenditure of public funds to a private vendor.
–  The meeting is not intended to frustrate or circumvent the purpose of the open meetings laws.

The bill provides for repeal of this public meeting exemption on October 2, 2022, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.  The bill was placed on the Special Order calendar for April 28.  A similar bill, SB 1004 (Sen. Baxley) was never heard in committee.


Maximum Class Size:  SB 808 (Sen. Mayfield) removes the exemptions for class size requirements and maintains class size compliance for each classroom but revises the method for calculating the penalty to be at the school average for any school that fails to comply with class size requirements. The bills repeal an increase in the penalty for failure to comply with the class size requirements and provides that a district may not have its class size categorical allocation reduced for the 2017-18 or 2018-19 fiscal years if it meets certain requirements.  The bill was to have been heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee, its third of four committees of reference, on April 25 but it was not considered.

A similar bill, CS/HB 591 (Rep. Massullo) was passed by the House on April 5 and has been referred to four committees of reference in the Senate.



Transportation Network Companies:  CS/HB 221 ER (Rep. Sprowls) was substituted for CS/CS/SB 340 (Sen. Brandes) on the Senate floor on April 18 and passed on April 19.  The bill creates statewide requirements for transportation network companies (TNCs). TNCs use smartphone technology to connect individuals who want to ride with private drivers for a fee. This bill also specifies that its provisions preempt any local ordinances or rules on TNCs, so that TNCs will be governed exclusively by state law. Therefore, local governments are prohibited from imposing taxes, licensing requirements, or other restrictions on TNCs.  The effective date proposed in the bill is July 1, 2017.  The bill has not yet been presented to the Governor for his action.


Water/Natural Resources:

Land Acquisition Trust Fund: CS/CS/CS/SB 234 E1 (Sen. Bradley) was passed by the Senate on April 13 and is in Messages to the House.  It requires $20 million to be appropriated from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund annually to the St. Johns River Water Management District for projects dedicated to the restoration of the St. Johns River and its tributaries or the Keystone Heights Lake Region.  The bill was amended on the floor to amend the allocation from $45 million to $20 million. An amendment to include a provision that would require the annual dedication of a minimum of 25% of the Land Acquisition Trust Fund each year, for acquiring conservation and recreation lands through the Florida Forever and Florida Communities Trust programs, was withdrawn on the bill’s second reading.



Unmanned AircraftCS/CS/SB 832 (Sen. Young), which vests the authority to regulate the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) with the state, was reported favorably after a strike-all amendment by the Senate Rules Committee, its last committee, on April 25.  The strike-all basically added concepts from SB 460 (Sen. Brandes), which deal with personal delivery devices, into the bill.  The amended language provides that the operation of personal delivery devices on sidewalks and crosswalks within county or municipal jurisdictions is authorized when such use is permissible under federal law; a county or municipality is not restricted from adopting regulations for the safe operation of these devices.  A personal delivery device is defined as a motorized device for use primarily on sidewalks and crosswalks at a maximum speed of 10 hours per hour, which weighs 80 pounds or   less excluding cargo, and is equipped with technology to allow for the operation of the device with or without the active control or monitoring of a natural person.

CS/HB 1027 E1 (Rep. Yarborough), similar to CS/CS/SB 832 before its latest amendment, was passed by the House on April 20.

Local Government Fiscal Transparency:  CS/HB 7065 E 1 (Rep. Burton) contains several elements with an overarching purpose to increase the fiscal transparency of local governments, and was passed by the House on April 25.  Among these, the bill requires additional public meetings and expands public notice requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes, and new long-term, tax-supported debt issuances. Local governments must conduct and consider a debt affordability analysis prior to approving the issuance of new, long-term tax-supported debt.  The bill requires specified fiscal information be readily available on local government websites. The bill revises the local government reporting requirements for economic development incentives. It requires each county and 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 local dollars, and any state or federal dollars obligated for the incentive. The bill also revises the classes of economic development incentives. It requires reporting on financial incentives; general assistance, services, and support; and business recruitment, retention, or expansion efforts.

There is no Senate companion bill, although CS/SB 880 (Sen. Stargel) and  CS/CS/CS/HB 479 E1 ( Rep. Metz) also contain requirements for local governments to maintain specified fiscal documents on their websites.