Legislative Update – March 31 2017

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has scheduled public hearings in early April in Miami, Boca Raton and Pensacola.  Click here for more information.

The latest Bill Tracking report dated March 31 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.  The following discussion highlights those bills which have had action 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.

Of note over the past week:

Growth Management:

Vacation Rentals:  HB 425 (Representative La Rosa), which would prohibit local governments from regulating, restricting or prohibiting vacation rentals based solely on their classification, use or occupancy, was reported favorably by the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee on March 28.  It now moves to the House Commerce Committee, its last committee of reference.  CS/SB 188 (Senator Steube), the Senate companion bill, is on the April 3 agenda of the Senate Community Affairs Committee.  This bill originally prohibited local governments from regulating vacation rentals based only on their classification, use or occupancy.  The amended bill states that a local law, ordinance or regulation may regulate activities that arise when a property is used as a vacation rental provided that the regulation applies uniformly to all residential properties.  However, local governments may not prohibit vacation rentals or regulate the duration or frequency of rentals.  This bill does not apply to a local law, ordinance or regulation adopted on or before June 1, 2011 unless they are being amended to be less restrictive.   Two bills that would allow local governments to regulate vacation rentals, HB 6003 (Representative Richardson) and SB 1516 (Senator Rader),  have not been heard in committee.

Private Property RightsSB 940 (Senator Perry) would require local governments to address the protection of private property rights in their comprehensive plans.  The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Community Affairs Committee, its first committee of reference, on April 3.  A similar bill, HB 1309 (Representative Perry), has not yet been heard in committee.

Subdivided Lands:  HB 1241 (Representative Eagle) was reported favorably by the House Agriculture & Property Rights Subcommittee on March 28.  The bill establishes priorities for use by certain entities when awarding grants or financial assistance for “legacy” communities.  A legacy community is defined as “lands under a recorded plat which were registered as subdivided lands on or before July 1, 1985 under former chapter 498 or former chapter 478.”  Each state agency and each public or private entity or corporation that administers a dedicated grant program or trust fund and receives legislative appropriations to fund grants or to provide financial assistance for community development or redevelopment, environmental protection or preservation, local improvements, concurrency, or management and development of real  property in this state, shall award a portion of those grants or trust funds to entities with a legacy community that have filed an application.  The bill now moves to the House Appropriations Committee, its second of three committees of reference.  SB 1696 (Senator Steube), a similar bill, has not yet been heard in committee.

 Annexation Procedures for Municipalities:  SB 1488 (Senator Clemons) 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.  The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Community Affairs Committee, its first of three committees of reference, on April 3.  An identical bill, HB 1087 (Representative Silvers) is in the House Agriculture and Property Rights Subcommittee, its second committee of reference.

Linear Facilities:  SB 1048 (Senator Lee) has moved through committees and has been placed on the Senate Special Order Calendar for April 4.  The bill amends paragraphs 380.04(b) and (h), F.S., which contain the exemptions from “development”.  The bills provide that the exemption for work done on established rights-of-way applies also to rights-of way and corridors to be established. They also provide that the exemption for the creation of specified types of property rights applies to creation of distribution and transmission corridors. The bills make the same changes to s. 163.3221, F.S., which provides definitions for use in the Florida Local Government Development Agreement Act, which provides for agreements between local governments and developers.   An identical bill, HB 1055 (Representative Ingram) is in the House Commerce Committee, its last committee of reference.

Utilities:  CS/CS/SB 596 (Senator Hutson), which prohibits FDOT and local governments from regulating collocation of small wireless facilities in public rights-of ways, was reported favorably by the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee on March 27.  As amended by the committee, the definition of “authority utility pole” was amended to exclude utility poles within the ROA in a retirement community that is deed-restricted for older persons, has more than 5,000 residents and has underground utilities for electric transmission or distribution.   The bill now moves to the Senate Rules Committee, its last committee of reference.  CS/HB 687 (Representative La Rosa), which is substantively similar to CS/CS/SB 596, is now in the House Commerce Committee, its last committee of reference.

Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal System Inspections:  CS/CS/HB 285 (Representative Fine) was reported favorably by the House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee on March 27.  The strike-all amendment, offered by the bill sponsor, deleted the proposed mandatory inspection of septic tanks near impaired water bodies and now just 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 amended 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, 2017. The bill now moves to the House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee, its second of three committees of reference.  SB 1748 (Senator Stewart), a bill similar to HB 285 as originally filed, has not yet been heard in committee.

Administrative Proceedings:  HB 997 (Representative Killebrew) amends the Florida Equal Access to Justice Act to require attorney fee-shifting from a non-prevailing party to the prevailing party in administrative proceedings in which a petitioner challenges an agency permit or license granted to a third party unless the challenge was substantially justified or special circumstances exist which would make the award unjust. The bill provides that such fee-shifting should occur because the financial consequences of the delay on projects authorized by permits and other orders are much greater than the consequences faced by plaintiffs in such proceedings. The bill was to have been heard in the House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee, its first committee of reference, on March 28 but was temporarily postponed.  A similar bill, SB 996 (Senator Perry) is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 4.


Economic Development/Redevelopment:

Community Redevelopment Agencies: SB 1770 (Senator Lee) was scheduled to be heard by the Senate Community Affairs Committee on March 22 but the committee ran out of time.  It is now scheduled to be heard by the committee on April 3.   It should be noted that Senator Lee has filed three amendments to the bill.  The current bill language states 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; one of the filed amendments would allow  the governing body to approve a CRA’s continued existence by a supermajority vote.

CS/HB 13 (Representative Raburn) is a similar bill but does not currently include the option to retain an existing CRA through supermajority vote of the local municipality.  This bill is in the House Ways & Means Committee, its second of three committees of reference.

Rural Economic Development Initiative:  CS/HB 333 (Representative Clemons) was reported favorably by   the House Agriculture & Property Rights Subcommittee on March 28.  The bill makes several changes to the REDI program including:
· Revising the legislative intent of the REDI program to focus on job creation, improved community infrastructure, the development and expansion of a skilled workforce, and improved access to healthcare;
· Revising the REDI membership to include specified agency and organization heads, as well as five appointed private sector members;
· Revising the definition of rural area of opportunity (RAO) to focus on rural communities with specific disadvantages such as economic distress, low labor force, low educational attainment, high unemployment, high infant mortality, and high diabetes and obesity;
· Removing the limit on the number of RAOs that REDI may recommend to the Governor; and
· Specifying reporting requirements of REDI.

The committee amended the bill to remove a provision requiring the REDI program and RAOs be included in the Economic Programs Evaluation performed by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research and the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA).  It also revised the REDI membership of the original bill by removing the President of Enterprise Florida, Inc., and also by replacing the Secretary of Health Care Administration with the State Surgeon General. The bill now moves to the House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee, its second of three committees of reference.  A similar bill, SB 600 (Senator Grimsley), is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Agriculture Committee, its second of three committees of reference, on April 3.

Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation:  HB 9 E1 (Representative Renner), which moves VISIT Florida under DEO and modifies current law to provide greater accountability and oversight of Visit Florida, has been received by the Senate and referred to three committees.

Economic Programs:  CS/CS/HB 7005 eliminates Enterprise Florida and provides that all duties, functions, records, pending issues, existing contracts, administrative authority, administrative rules, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, and other public funds relating to the programs in Enterprise Florida are transferred by a type two transfer to DEO. The bill provides that VISIT Florida may enter into an agreement with DEO to continue any existing program, activity, duty, or function necessary for operation of the foundation and that any funds held in trust for the corporation may be used for the purpose for which the funds were received. The bill was passed by the House on March 10.  It has been received by the Senate and referred to two committees of reference.

Hazard Mitigation:

Natural Hazards:  CS/HB 181 (Representative Jacobs) was passed by the House on March 30.  This bill creates 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 and an annual report would be submitted to the Governor and Legislature.  SB 464 (Senator Clemons), the companion bill, is in the Senate Rules Committee, its last committee of reference.   The two bills are similar except that the Senate bill does not include House language that earmarks funding from the Grants and Donations Trust Fund for the upcoming fiscal year to implement the bill.


Medical Marijuana:

Medical Use of Marijuana:  HB 1397 (Representative Rodrigues) is the first of seven bills related to medical marijuana to be heard in committee. It was reported favorably by the House Health Quality Subcommittee on March 28 and now moves to the House Appropriations Committee, its second of three committees of reference.  A legislative staff analysis of the bill can be read here.  A second bill, SB 406 (Senator Bradley), will be heard by the Senate Health Policy Committee on April 3.


Schools:

Shared Use of Public School Playground Facilities:  HB 1131 (Representative Drake) 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 help 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.  The bill was reported favorably by the House PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee on March 28 and is scheduled to be heard by the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee, its second of three committees of reference, on April 3.  SB 984 (Senator Bean), an identical bill, is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Education Committee, the first of three committees of reference, on April 3.

Maximum Class Size:   In 2003, the Florida Legislature enacted chapter 2003-391, Laws of Florida, which implements the provisions of the class-size amendment and defines the progress that districts must make in reducing class size. Compliance with class size reduction requirements is calculated at the classroom level for traditional public schools and at the school level for charter schools, district-operated schools of choice and schools participating in the Principal Autonomy Pilot Program Initiative. CS/HB 591 (Representative Massullo) 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 bill repeals 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 has moved through committee and has been placed on the House Special Order Calendar for April 4.


Transportation:

High-Speed Rail:  HB 269 (Representative Magar) creates the Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act, and assigns various regulatory duties to the Department of Transportation (DOT) related to high speed passenger rail operations. The bill also establishes certain safety requirements applicable to high speed passenger rail and allocates responsibility for specified maintenance, repair, improvement and upgrade costs.  The bill was temporarily postponed on March 28 by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee.  Three amendments to the bill, including a strike all amendment, were filed on March 27.  CS/SB 386 (Senator Mayfield) is in the Senate Community Affairs Committee, its second of three committees of reference.

Transportation Network Companies:  CS/CS/SB 340 (Senator Brandes) creates statewide requirements for transportation network companies (TNCs).  The bill specifies that its provisions preempt any local ordinances or rules on TNCs, so that TNCs will be governed exclusively by state law. Local governments are prohibited from imposing taxes, licensing requirements or other restrictions on TNCs.  The bill was reported favorably by the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 28 and now moves to the Senate Rules Committee, its last committee of reference.  A similar bill, CS/HB 221 (Representative Sprowls) has moved through committees; it was temporarily postponed on Second Reading on March 29 but has been placed on the House Special Order Calendar for April 4.

 

Water/Natural Resources:

Aquifer Replenishment:  CS/SB 1438 (Senator Broxson) authorizes the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to place additional conditions on permits for underground injection intended to protect, augment, or replenish the state’s ground water resources. These conditions can include the establishment of a zone of discharge for ground water standards and associated institutional controls to promote the conservation, reclamation, and sustainability of the state’s ground water resources. Examples of institutional controls would include property interests, use restrictions and access controls, and well construction limitations. DEP is also required to develop rules establishing voluntary facility classifications and associated operator licensing requirements for treatment facilities that provide treatment for reclaimed water, stormwater, and other water resources as a means of promoting the availability of sufficient water for existing and future reasonable-beneficial uses and natural systems.

The bill was reported favorably by the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee  on March 28 and now moves to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources, its second of three committees of reference.  A similar bill, HB 755 (Representative Albritton) is in the House Appropriations Committee, its second of three committees of reference.

 

Miscellaneous:

Unmanned Aircraft:  CS/HB 1027 (Representative Yarborough) vests the authority to regulate the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) with the state.  However, this would not limit the authority of a local government to enact or enforce local ordinances relating to nuisances, voyeurism, harassment, reckless endangerment, property damage, or other illegal acts arising from the use of unmanned aircraft systems if such laws or ordinances are not specifically related to the use of an unmanned aircraft system for those illegal acts. The bill was reported favorably by the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee on March 28 and now moves to the House Government Accountability Committee, its last committee of reference.  CS/SB 832 (Senator Young), a similar bill, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Transportation Committee, its second of four committees of reference, on April 4.

Local Government Ethics Reform:  CS/HB 7021 E1  (Representative Metz) was passed by the House on March 30. 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.  The legislative staff analysis of the bill can be read here.

Regulated Professions and Occupations:  SB 802 (Senator Passidomo) addresses licensing, registration, and regulatory requirements for various professions and occupations.   Among these changes, the bill amends s.481.219 to require that a business organization may not engage practice of architecture unless its qualifying agent is a registered architect.  The bill is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee, its second of three committees of reference, on April 4.  SB 1396 (Senator Brandes) and HB 7047 (Representative Beshears), are two related bills and are both in their second of three committees of reference.