Legislative Update – Dec. 8, 2017

The Legislature ended its interim committee meetings this week and is now off until the session starts on January 9.  The latest Bill Tracking Report, dated December 8, can be viewed here.

Of note, the following bills had action over the past week:

SB 204 – Land Acquisition Trust Fund (Senator Bradley): This bill would increase the annual appropriation from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) for spring restoration, protection, and management projects from $50 million to $75 million. Additionally, the bill requires $50 million to be appropriated from the LATF 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.  It was moved favorably by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources on December 7 and now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee, it’s last committee of reference.

CS/HB 317 – Local Tax Referenda (Representative Ingoglia): The bill requires any referendum to levy a discretionary sales surtax must be held during either a primary or a general election. Any such referendum held during a primary election must be approved by at least 60 percent of electors voting on the ballot question. A referendum held during a general election may be approved by only a majority of electors voting on the question. The bill was moved favorably by the House Ways and Means Committee on December 5 and is now in the House Government Accountability Committee, its last committee of reference.

CS/SB 324 – Impact Fees (Senator Young):  This strike-all amendment was moved favorably by the
Senate Community Affairs Committee, its first of three committees of reference, on December 5.   As amended, the bill:
1) Provides that collection of impact fees may not occur before the issuance of the building permit, rather than the issuance of the certificate of occupancy, for the property that is subject to the fee
2) Requires that the impact fee be reasonably connected to, or have a rational nexus with: 1) The need for additional capital facilities and the increased impact generated by the new residential or commercial construction; and 2) The expenditures of the funds collected and the benefits accruing to the new residential or commercial construction.
3) Requires the local government to specifically earmark funds collected by the impact fees for use in acquiring capital facilities to benefit the new residents.
4) Prohibits 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.

The bill moves next to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax.

HB 405 – Linear Facilities (Representative Williamson):  This bill provides that the exclusion from the definition of “development” in s. 163.3221 for work done on established rights-of-way applies to established rights-of-way and corridors and to rights-of-way and corridors to be established. It also provides that the exclusion for the creation of specified types of property rights applies to creation of distribution and transmission corridors.  It was moved favorably by the House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee on December 6 and is now in the House Commerce Committee, its last committee of reference. An identical bill, SB 494 (Senator Lee) was temporarily postponed by the Senate Community Affairs Committee on December 5.

HB 575 – Metropolitan Planning Organizations (Representative Beshears): This bill, which revises voting membership requirements and other provisions related to MPOs, was moved favorably by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee on December 6 and is now in the House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, its second of three committees of reference.