Legislative Update – February 24 2017

The 2017 session begins in eleven days on March 7.  The latest bill tracking report as of February, 24 2017 can be viewed here.  Of note, the following bills have been filed or had action since the last report.
CS/HB 17Relating to Local Regulation Preemption (Representative Fine):  This bill would prohibit local governments from adopting or imposing a new regulation on a business, profession and occupation after January 1, 2017 unless the new regulation is expressly authorized by general law.  Regulations adopted before this date would expire on January 1, 2020.  Regulations that are adopted pursuant to general law authorization could not be modified in the future to impose any additional regulations. The pre-meeting staff report can be read here.

The bill was amended by the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee, its first of two committees, on February 22. The amendments were not substantive and did not change the prohibition. The amendments did however change the January 1 dates to July 1.  The bill was moved favorably with a vote of 9-6 and now will go to the House Commerce Committee.  There is no companion bill in the Senate as of yet.

CS/HB 221Relating to Transportation Network Companies (TNC) (Representative Sprowls): This bill creates a regulatory framework for transportation network companies defined as an entity that uses a digital network to connect a rider to a driver who provides prearranged rides. It preempts to the state the regulation of TNCs.

A strike-all amendment was submitted by Representative Sprowls and considered by the House Government Accountability Committee on February 21.  The amendment, similar to the original version, clarified that a TNC does not include an entity which arranges nonemergency medical transportation for individuals who qualify for Medicaid or Medicare pursuant to a contract with the state or a managed care organization.  It also adds a requirement for the Department of Financial Services to direct a TNC to submit a report to be used to verify the TNC is in compliance with the TNC driver requirements. It also states that a TNC that contract with a governmental entity to provide paratransit services must comply with all laws related to individuals with disabilities.

The amended bill was moved favorably by the committee, its last committee of reference.  A similar bill, SB 340 (Senator Brandes) has been assigned to three committees but has not yet been heard.
SB 464Relating to Natural Hazards (Representative J Clemens): This bill would create an interagency workgroup to share information, coordinate ongoing efforts and collaborate on initiatives relating to natural hazards, extreme heat, drought, wildfire, sea-level change, high tides, storm surge, saltwater intrusion, stormwater runoff, flash floods, inland flooding, and coastal flooding.  The workgroup would include representatives for each agency within the executive branch and water management districts, and the Public Service Commission. It would be coordinated by the DEM director.

The bill was moved favorably by the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee on February 21.  It now moves to the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

SB 596Relating to Utilities (Senator Hutson): This bill would add a new subsection to 337.401, F.S. dealing with the regulation of wireless infrastructure in the right-of-way.  The bill would prohibit the Department of Transportation and local government entities from prohibiting, regulating or charging for the collocation of small wireless facilities in the public right-of way except pursuant to certain requirements.  Among the requirements is that the placement of small wireless facilities cannot be limited by minimum separation distances or a maximum height limit.  However the height may be limited to no more than 10 feet above the tallest existing utility pole measured from grade in place within 500 feet of the proposed location of the facility.  If no utility pole within 500 feet, the height may be limited to no more than 60 feet.  A small wireless facility is defined as one where the antenna associated with the facility is located inside an enclosure of no more than 6 cubic feet or, if it has exposed elements, the antenna and exposed elements could fit in such an enclosure; and all other wireless equipment associated with the facility is cumulatively no more than 28 cubic feet in volume.

This bill has been referred to three committees.  An identical bill, HB 687 (Representative La Rosa), is in the House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee, its first committee of reference.

HB 887Relating to Designation of Energy Economic Zones (Representative Berman): This bill, filed on February 20, would amend s.377.809, F.S. to remove the pilot status of the energy economic zone program with the Department of Economic Opportunity and make it available to other local governments.  A similar bill, SB 1090 (Senator Clemens) was filed on February 21.

HB 897Relating to Public Notices by Local Governmental Entities (Representative Stark): This bill, filed on February 20, would amend chapter 50 F.S.  to state that the publication of a notice or advertisement on a publicly accessible website maintained by a county or municipality as authorized by s.50.0311 constitutes legal notice. It also includes requirements for how the notice on the publicly accessible website must be done.

SB 996Relating to Administrative Proceedings (Senator Perry): This bill, filed on February 16, would amend s.57.111, F.S. to include new language which would allow an award of attorney fees and costs against the party that does not prevail in administrative proceedings up to $50,000.  The bill specifically finds that certain persons may be unjustly affected by delay and expense caused by challenges to permits or other orders issued by governmental agencies as initiated through administrative proceedings. Because the financial consequences of delay on projects authorized by permits and orders are much greater than the consequences faced by plaintiffs in such proceedings, the standard for an award of attorney fees and costs should be different from the standard for an award in other proceedings.  Committee references for this bill have not been assigned.

CS/HB 7005Relating to Economic Programs (Careers & Competition Subcommittee): This bill originally proposed to transfer all duties relating to programs in Enterprise Florida and the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation (VISIT Florida) to the Department of Economic Opportunity.  The bill was amended by the Appropriations Committee to retain VISIT Florida, housing it under the Department of Economic Opportunity, with several transparency and financial requirements placed on it.  Additionally, its budget would be reduced to $25 million annually. The amended bill was moved favorably by the Appropriations Committee on February 21, its only committee of reference.

PIEC3Relating to Local Government Ethics Reform: This proposed committee bill was approved by the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee on February 14.  The bill makes numerous changes to Florida’s Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees (Code) as it relates to local government officers, employees, and lobbyists. Specifically, the bill creates or amends ethics provisions related to the following:

-requires elected municipal officers serving municipalities with $5 million or more in total revenue, and candidates for such offices, to file a full and public disclosure of their financial interests in lieu of the less detailed form of disclosure required under current law;
– requires elected special district governing board members to annually complete four hours of ethics training, a requirement that mirrors the current law applicable to constitutional officers and elected municipal officers;
– strengthens the law on voting conflicts of interest by requiring a local officers that must abstain from voting on a measure due to a voting conflict of interest to disclose the conflict prior to participating in the measure;
– adds school districts to the list of governmental entities that may withhold salary-related payments for failure to timely file disclosure of financial interests; requires a person who wishes to lobby certain local governmental entities to register as a lobbyist with the Commission on Ethics;
– expands the Commission on Ethics’ duty to render advisory opinions.

If you have any questions about a bill or would like one added to the bill tracking report, contact the Chapter Office at fapa@floridaplanning.org .