Legislative Update – March 3 2017
Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC):
This commission meets every 20 years to examine the state constitution, hold public hearings throughout the state and recommend changes to be placed the ballot. Any amendments proposed by this body are automatically placed on the next General Election ballot. The CRC is composed of the Attorney General, 15 members selected by the Governor, 9 members selected by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, 9 members selected by the President of the Senate, and 3 members selected by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The CRC must be formally established with 30 days of the convening of the 2017 session. Governor Scott recently announced that Sarasota businessman Carlos Beruff will chair the CRC. It was also announced that Jeff Woodburn, who served as Governor Scott’s Policy Director, left to become the CRC executive director as of March 2. More information about the CRC can be found here and here.
The 2017 Legislative Session will start on Tuesday, March 7. There were no interim committee meetings this past week so there were no actions taken on any filed bills. The latest bill tracking report as of March 3, 2017, can be viewed here. Of note, the following bills were filed since the last legislative update or are scheduled as of today to have action taken next week.
HB 13 – Community Redevelopment Agencies (Representative Raburn): This bill makes a number of changes to c. 163 F.S. with respect to community redevelopment agencies (CRAs) , including the automatic termination of CRAs. Among the amendments, this bill would require that:
- any CRA in existence on July 1, 2017 would terminate on the expiration date provided in the CRA’s charter or on September 20, 2037, whichever is earlier
- a CRA may not initiate any new projects or issue any new debt on or after October 1, 2017
- no new CRAs may be created on or after July 1, 2017
- beginning October 2014, a CRA that has reported no revenues, expenditures or debt for 3 consecutive years shall be declared in active by DEO and is only authorized to expend funds from the redevelopment rust fund to service outstanding debt
- beginning July 1, 2017, CRA moneys may only be expended pursuant to an annual budget adopted the CRA board and for specific purposes
- CRAs must comply with specified ethics training, purchasing requirements, and reporting/auditing provisions
HB 425 – Vacation Rentals (Representative La Rosa): This bill would provide that local laws, ordinances, & regulations adopted after certain date may not restrict use of, prohibit, or regulate vacation rentals based solely on classification, use, or occupancy. It is the companion bill to SB 188 (Senator Steube); neither bill has been heard yet.
SB 442 – Advanced Well Stimulation Treatment (Senator Young): This bill, which would ban fracking in the state, will be heard in the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee on March 7. This is the first of three committees of reference.
SB 464 – Natural Hazards (Senator 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 will be heard by the Senate Community Affairs Committee, its second of four committees of reference, on March 6. The House companion bill, HB 181, has not been heard in committee yet.
SB 596 – Utilities (Senator Hutson): This bill will be heard by the Senate Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee on March 7. This bill adds 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.
An identical bill, HB 687 (Representative La Rosa), is in the House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee, its first committee of reference.
SB 914 – Public Meetings (Senator Baxley): This bill, to be heard by the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee on March 7, specifies conditions under which members of board or commission of state agency or authority or of agency or authority of county, municipal corporation, or political subdivision may participate in fact-finding exercises or excursions. It also provides that as long as no official acts are taken and any public business is not discussed, any gathering of two or more members of the same board or commission should not be construed to require public notice or public access to that gathering.
HB 919 (Representative Roth), an identical bill, is waiting to be heard in the House Oversight, Transparency and Administration Subcommittee, its first of three committees of reference.
HB 1055 – Linear Facilities (Representative Ingram): This bill, filed on February 27, adds the distribution or transmission of electricity to the definition of what is not considered to be development in s. 163.3221(4)(b). It also amends the location of where the work can occur to include both established or to be established rights-of-way and corridors. It makes similar changes to s.380.04(3). An identical bill, SB 1048 (Senator Lee) was filed on February 20. Neither bill has been assigned to committees yet.
HB 1083 – Small Food Retailers (Representative Lee): This bill, filed on February 28, establishes a three-year Healthy Food Assistance Program with in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The purpose of the program is to provide a process for small food retailers to receive assistance for projects that increase the availability and sales of fresh and nutritious food, including fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and seafood in low-income and moderate-income communities. The program would end on June 30 2020 unless reenacted by the Legislature. There is no companion bill filed in the Senate as of yet.
HB 1087 – Annexation Procedures for Municipalities (Representative Silvers): This bill revises circumstances under which a municipality is prohibited from annexing certain lands in contiguous, compact, or unincorporated areas without getting consent from specified landowners. It also specifies that if the area to be annexed does not have any registered electors that own property in the area to be annexed, a vote of electors in area to be annexed is not required. An identical bill, SB 1488 (Senator Clemens), was filed on March 2. Neither bill has been assigned to any committees of reference yet.
HB 1131 – Shared Use of Public School Playground Facilities (Representative Drake): This bill, filed on March 1, creates a new section in Chapter 1013 which directs the Department of Education to promote the shared use of playground facilities. The department shall provide technical assistance to school districts and provide short-term grants, as established in the General Appropriations Act, to hope open facilities for shared use. Additionally, a Shared Use Task Force would be created to identify barriers in creating shared use agreements and make recommendations to facilitate shared use in high-need communities. The task force is required to submit a report of its findings to the Senate President and House Speaker by June 30, 2018, upon which it will expire. This bill is the companion bill to SB 984 (Senator Bean), which has been referred to three committees of reference.
SB 1158 – Regulation of Commerce, Trade and Labor (Senator Passidomo): This bill, filed on February 23, is the Senate version of CS/HB 17 but is not a companion bill. HB 17 broadly prohibits local governments from adopting or imposing a new regulation on a business, profession and occupation after July 1, 2017 unless the new regulation is expressly authorized by general law. SB 1158 identifies certain aspects related to commerce, trade or labor that a county, municipality, or special district may not regulate unless otherwise authorized by special or general law:
- Banning the sale of a good or service;
- Imposing a penalty on the sale of a good or service;
- Requiring an employer to pay any or all of its employees a wage rate not otherwise required under a special, general, or federal law; or
- Adopting an ordinance, rule, or regulation on commerce, trade, or labor which: a) interferes with the regulation of commerce, trade, or labor outside the territorial boundaries of the municipality; or b) has an adverse impact on economic growth; private sector job creation or employment; private sector investment; business competitiveness, including impeding the ability of persons doing business in the municipality or state to compete with persons doing business in other areas of the state or in other domestic markets; productivity; or innovation within the municipality or outside its territorial boundaries.
The bill states that any ordinance, rule or regulation that violates these is null and void. The bill also provides a process for a local government to ask a municipality, county or special district to nullify a ordinance , rule or regulation. The bill provisions are retroactive back to January 1 2017.
SB 1158 has not yet been assigned to committees of reference. CS/HB 17 has one committee of reference left in which to be heard.
SB 1338 – Vessels (Senator Book): Among its provisions, this bill provides 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. A local government is not prohibited from enacting or enforcing pumpout requirements for live-aboard vessels with in any area of its jurisdiction. This bill is similar to HB 7043 (House Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee). Neither bill has been heard yet.
SB 1378 – Stormwater Management (Senator Perry): This bill requires that all local government stormwater management plans and programs incorporate the best management practices adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection and other local stormwater management measures adopted by rule pursuant to chapter 403. F.S. A county, municipality or political subdivision may not adopt or enforce more stringent water quality standards for stormwater discharges unless the more stringent standards were adopted before January 1, 2017. This bill is similar to HB 751 (Representative Clemons) that was filed on February 9. Neither bill has been heard in committee yet.
SB 1388 – Medical Cannabis (Senator Artiles): This bill is the fourth bill to be filed in the Senate dealing with medical marijuana. SB 1666 (Senator Braynon) was also filed this week. SB 406 (Senator Bradley) and SB 614 (Senator Brandes) have been assigned to three committees of reference but have not been heard yet.
SB 1394 – Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (Senator Hukill): This bill, filed on March 1, directs the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) to conduct a study of the district cost differential calculated by the Commissioner of Education for each school district and shall provide recommendations on whether the district cost differential should be eliminated, what should be included in the district cost differential formula, what the appropriate formula should be, and how allocations should be distributed among the school districts. OPPAGA shall submit a report with its findings and recommendations to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by January 1, 2018.
SB 1444 – Public Notices by Local Governmental Entities (Senator Stewart): This bill, filed on March 2, 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. It is similar to HB 897 (Representative Stark) which has been referred to three committees of reference.
SB 1496 – Neighborhood Improvement Districts (Senator Thurston): This bill provides that a city ordinance creating a neighborhood improvement district may authorize the district to borrow money, contract loans, and issue bonds, certificates, warrants, notes, or other evidence of indebtedness and may pledge the special assessment power of the district to pay such debts for the purpose of financing certain capital projects. It is identical to HB 943 (Representative Russell). Neither bill has been heard in committee yet.
SB 1514 – Public Meetings (Senator Rader): This bill specifies that a board or commission of any entity created by general or special law is subject to public meetings requirements and provides that a member of the public has the right to speak at a public meeting of a board or commission. The bill lays out specific requirements for notice and for allowing the public to speak. The bill has not been assigned to committees of reference and there is no House companion bill yet.
SB 1516 – Vacation Rentals (Senator Rader): This bill, which is the Senate companion bill to HB 6003 (Representative Richardson), authorizes local laws, ordinances, & regulations to prohibit vacation rentals or regulate duration & frequency of rental of vacation rentals. Neither bill has been heard in committee yet.
CS/HB 7005 – Economic Programs (House Careers and 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 bill will be heard by the House Rules and Policy Committee, its last committee of reference, on March 6.
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