Post-Session Update: May 12 2017

The 2017 Legislative Session ended on May 8.  A total of 3,052 bills were filed including 13 concurrent resolutions, 89 single chamber resolutions, 1,606 general bills, 70 local bills, 43 joint resolutions, 21 memorials and 1,210 appropriation projects.  Of those, only 249 bills passed both chambers.

A Bill Tracking Report dated May 12 can be viewed here, which will give you the status of all the bills that APA Florida was tracking for members.  You can also view a list of all the enrolled bills (bills that have passed the Legislature) here.

Enrolled bills 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 and scroll down to click on “2017 Bill Actions”.

Of interest are also those bills that did not pass including the following:

  • prohibiting local governments from adopting or imposing a new regulation, unless expressly authorized by general law, on a business, profession and occupation except under certain circumstances (HB 17 and SB 1158)
  • implementing the medical marijuana constitutional amendment (SB 1388, SB 1666, SB 406, SB 614, and HB 1397)
  • creating a task force on affordable housing and directing task force to develop recommendations by January 1, 2018 (SB 854)
  • terminating existing CRAs by September 20, 2037 (HB 13 and SB 1770)
  • amending the Rural Economic Development Initiative and expanding the definition of a “rural area of opportunity (HB 333 and SB 600)
  • requiring local governments to address private property rights in local comprehensive plans (HB 1309 and SB 940)
  • requiring that all local government stormwater management plans and programs incorporate best management practices adopted by the Department of Environmental Protection and prohibiting the adoption or enforcement of more stringent water quality standards for stormwater discharges unless the more stringent standards were adopted before January 1, 2017 (SB 1378 and HB 751)
  • prohibiting local governments from restricting use of, prohibiting, or regulating vacation rentals based solely on classification, use, or occupancy (HB 425 and SB 188), and allowing local governments to do so (SB 1516 and HB 6003)
  • moving VISIT Florida under DEO and adding requirements to increase transparency and accountability (HB 9)
  • abolishing Enterprise Florida and a number of other economic development programs (SB 7005)
  • requiring greater financial disclosure and ethical training for local officers and employees and requiring registration of persons who want to lobby certain local governmental entities (HB 7021 and HB 7023)
  • creating the Florida High-Speed Passenger Rail Safety Act whose purpose includes encouraging the creation of safe and cost-effective transportation options, including high-speed rail (SB 386 and HB 269)
  • amending s.57.111 F.S. to require the award of attorney fees and costs up to $50,000 to the prevailing party in any administrative proceeding challenging a state permit or other action which has the effect of permitting the development of land (SB 996 and HB 997)
  • providing 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 (HB 897 and SB 1444)
  • removing the pilot project status from the Energy Economic Zone program (SB 1090 and HB 887)
  • authorizing the Division of Emergency Management to administer, subject to appropriation, a matching grant fund for local governments to implement flood hazard risk mitigation policies and projects (HB 613 and SB 112)
  • amending annexation procedures for municipalities (HB 1087 and SB 1488)
  • creating a process to promote the shared use of public school playground facilities (HB 1131 and SB 984)
  • providing criteria for public participation at public meetings (SB 1514)
  • amending requirements related to charter schools (HB 251, SB 696, SB 538, and SB 796)
  • revising the calculation of school district’s class size categorical allocation reduction to school average when maximum class size requirements are not met (HB 591 and SB 808)
  • restricting local governments ability to increase taxes, and requiring any local referendums raising taxes to be held during the general elections and to gain 60 percent of the vote to pass (HB 7063); requiring referendum on a local government discretionary sales surtax to be held during a general election and require the approval of a majority of the voters voting on the ballot questions to pass (HB 139 and SB 278)
  • adding a number of requirements to increase fiscal transparency of local governments, including requiring additional public meetings and expanding public notice requirements for local option tax increases (other than property taxes) and new long-term, tax supported debt issuances (HB 7065)
  • adding the distribution or transmission of electricity to the definition of what is not considered to be development in s. 163.3221(4)(b). and s.380.04(3) (HB 1055 and SB 1048)
  • amending current laws related to the operation of autonomous vehicles (CS/HB 725 and SB 1066)

The following paragraphs discuss the major bills passed by the Legislature that APA Florida tracked.  A more detailed synopsis of these bills can be read here.  However, you are encouraged to read the actual bill language.

Growth Management:
Utilities: HB 687ER (Rep. La Rosa) was passed on April 28 after the Senate substituted it for CS/CS/CS/SB 596.  The bill creates the Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act, which establishes a process by which wireless providers – including persons who provide wireless services and persons who build or install wireless communication transmission equipment, facilities, and support structures – may place certain “small wireless facilities” on, under, within, or adjacent to certain utility poles or wireless support structures within public rights of-way that are under the jurisdiction and control of an “authority” (i.e., a county or municipality). The bill provides that an authority may not prohibit, regulate, or charge for the collocation of small wireless facilities in the public rights-of-way, except as specified in the bill.  The bill does preserve local government authority to enforce historic preservation zoning regulations in effect or pending on April 1 2017,  and provides that the applicable codes under which an authority will review a collocation application include historic preservation zoning regulations that are consistent with: the preservation of local zoning authority under 47 U.S.C s. 332(c)(7); the requirements for facility modifications under 47 U.S.C. s. 1455(a); or the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended; and the regulations adopted to implement these laws.  Applicable codes also include adopted objective design standards related to replacement utility poles, ground mounted equipment and small wireless facilities.  The proposed effective date of the bill is July 1, 2017.

Vessels: HB 7043 ER (Rep. Raschein), was passed on April 27 after the Senate substituted 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 within any area of its jurisdiction.  The effective date proposed in the bill is July 1, 2017.

Hazard Mitigation:
Natural Hazards: HB 181ER (Representative Jacobs) was passed on May 3 after the Senate substituted it for SB 464.  This bill creates an interagency workgroup to share information, coordinate ongoing efforts and collaborate on initiatives relating to natural hazards including, but not limited to, 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 Division of Emergency Management director.  The effective date of the bill would be July 1, 2017.

Transportation Network Companies:  HB 221ER (Rep. Sprowls) was signed into law on May 9. 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 in the bill is July 1, 2017.

Department of Transportation: HB 865ER (Rep. Williamson) was passed on May 5.  This bill is a comprehensive bill relating to the Department of Transportation (DOT). Among its provisions is the creation of the Florida Smart City Challenge Grant Program. DOT, in consultation with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), is required to develop, subject to appropriations, the Florida Smart City Challenge Grant program and establish grant award requirements for municipalities or regions for the purpose of receiving grant awards. Grant applications must demonstrate and document the adoption of emerging technologies and their impact on transportation systems and must address at least the following focus areas: autonomous vehicles, connected vehicles, sensor-based Infrastructure, collecting and using data, electric vehicles, including charging stations, and developing strategic models and partnerships. The proposed effective date of the bill is July 1, 2017.

Water/Natural Resources:
Water Resources: SB 10ER (Senator Bradley) was passed by the Legislature on May 2 and signed by the Governor on May 9.  The bill creates a new section 373.4598 dealing with water storage reservoirs.  It establishes options for providing additional water storage south of Lake Okeechobee, including the Everglades Agricultural Area reservoir project with the goal of providing a minimum of 240,000 acre-feet of water storage, and the C-51 reservoir project with the goal of providing 60,000 acre-feet of water storage.  It also establishes the Everglades Restoration Agricultural Community Training Program with the Department of Economic Opportunity to provide grants for employment programs that seek to match persons who complete such training programs to nonagricultural employment opportunities in areas of high agricultural employment, and to provide other training, educational, and information services necessary to stimulate the creation of jobs in the areas of agricultural unemployment.  The bill took effect upon becoming law.

Water Protection and Sustainability: HB 573ER (Rep. Burton) was passed on May 1.  In June 2016, Polk County and 15 municipalities within the county entered into an interlocal agreement to create a RWSA known as the Polk County Regional Water Cooperative (cooperative). This bill creates the “Heartland Headwaters Protection and Sustainability Act” and establishes legislative findings and intent. The bill also requires the cooperative to prepare an annual report identifying water resource projects within its jurisdiction for state funding consideration. The report must include certain information for each listed project. The bill requires the cooperative to coordinate with the appropriate water management district (WMD) to ensure the annual report is included in the WMD consolidated annual report. The proposed effective date of the bill is July 1, 2017.

Unmanned AircraftHB 1027ER (Rep. Yarborough), which vests the authority to regulate the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems (drones) with the state, was passed on May 5 after it was substituted for  SB 832 (Sen. Young).   It was amended on the Senate floor to basically add concepts from SB 460 (Sen. Brandes), which deal with personal delivery devices.  The bill creates a regulatory framework for the use of these devices as well as creating the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act which vests in the state the authority to regulate the ownership and operation of drones. It prohibits political subdivisions from enacting or enforcing ordinances or regulations relating to various aspects of the use of unmanned aircraft systems. However, the bill does not limit a local government’s authority regarding illegal acts arising from the use of unmanned aircraft systems if the ordinances do not specifically relate to unmanned aircraft systems.   The proposed effective date of the bill is July 1, 2017.

Public Works Projects: HB 599ER (Rep. Williamson) was passed on April 28 after being substituted for CS/CS/SB 534. The bill prohibits the state or a political subdivision, except when required by state or federal law, from requiring a contractor, subcontractor, or material supplier or carrier engaged in a public works project to pay employees a predetermined amount of wages or prescribe any wage rate; provide employees a specified type, amount, or rate of employee benefits; control, limit, or expand staffing; or recruit, train, or hire employees from a designated, restricted, or single source. In addition, the bill provides that the state or a political subdivision that contracts for a public works project may not prohibit a contractor, subcontractor, or material supplier or carrier from submitting a bid on the project if such individual is otherwise qualified to do the work described.  These prohibitions apply only to public works projects of which 50 percent or more of the cost will be paid from state-appropriated funds that were appropriated at the time of the competitive solicitation.  They also do not apply to contracts executed under chapter 337.