Legislative Bill Summaries

The following content is current as of Friday, November 17, 2017. It will be updated again in the near future. If you have any questions on a specific bill, please contact the lobbyist tracking the bill. This is indicated by the last name in parenthesis following each bill summary. Links to the House and Senate are located at the bottom of the page.

 

BUILDING CODES/CONSTRUCTION

Florida Building Commission (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 299 (McClain) revises the membership of the Florida Building Commission from 27 members to 11. This bill also deletes the ability of the Florida League of Cities (FLC) and the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) to recommend a list of candidates for consideration to the commission. Under current law, FLC and FAC have a joint representative on the FBC. (Branch) ...

Florida Building Commission (Oppose – Preemption) HB 299 (McClain) revises the membership of the Florida Building Commission from 27 members to 11. This bill also deletes the ability of the Florida League of Cities (FLC) and the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) to recommend a list of candidates for consideration to the commission. Under current law, FLC and FAC have a joint representative on the FBC. (Branch)

Public Financing of Construction Projects (Oppose)

SB 542 (Rodriguez, J.) requires contractors to conduct a Sea-Level Impact Projection (SLIP) study on state-funded buildings within the coastal building zone. Coastal building zone is not defined in the bill. State-funded buildings subject to this requirement would include construction projects of a municipality, county or any other public agency that is using state-appropriated funds for the project. The bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop guidelines for conducting a SLIP study. In addition, DEP must also approve and publish a copy of all SLIP studies for at least 10 years. (Branch) ...

Public Financing of Construction Projects (Oppose) SB 542 (Rodriguez, J.) requires contractors to conduct a Sea-Level Impact Projection (SLIP) study on state-funded buildings within the coastal building zone. Coastal building zone is not defined in the bill. State-funded buildings subject to this requirement would include construction projects of a municipality, county or any other public agency that is using state-appropriated funds for the project. The bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop guidelines for conducting a SLIP study. In addition, DEP must also approve and publish a copy of all SLIP studies for at least 10 years. (Branch)

Electrical Contractors (Watch)

SB 446 (Gibson) and HB 295 (Mercado) allow a city or county to require an electric journeyman to be present on an industrial or commercial new construction site when electrical work in excess of 77 volts is being performed in order to supervise or perform such work.  Under current law, they may only be required on a worksite with a facility of 50,000 gross square feet or more. (Branch) ...

Electrical Contractors (Watch) SB 446 (Gibson) and HB 295 (Mercado) allow a city or county to require an electric journeyman to be present on an industrial or commercial new construction site when electrical work in excess of 77 volts is being performed in order to supervise or perform such work.  Under current law, they may only be required on a worksite with a facility of 50,000 gross square feet or more. (Branch)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 106 (Campbell) - Fire Safety  ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 106 (Campbell) - Fire Safety  HB 437 (Lee, L.) - Building Standards for Health Care Facilities

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Community Redevelopment Agencies (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 17 (Raburn) and SB 432 (Lee) increase audit, ethics, reporting and accountability measures for community redevelopment agencies (CRAs). The bills require CRAs to annually submit additional reporting information to the state, including performance data for each CRA plan, number of projects started, total number of projects completed, commercial property vacancy rates, amount expended on affordable housing, etc. The bills require CRA procurement to comport with city and county procurement procedures. Of specific concern to cities, HB 17 outlines a process by which CRAs can be phased out, unless reauthorized by a super majority vote of the body ...

Community Redevelopment Agencies (Oppose – Preemption) HB 17 (Raburn) and SB 432 (Lee) increase audit, ethics, reporting and accountability measures for community redevelopment agencies (CRAs). The bills require CRAs to annually submit additional reporting information to the state, including performance data for each CRA plan, number of projects started, total number of projects completed, commercial property vacancy rates, amount expended on affordable housing, etc. The bills require CRA procurement to comport with city and county procurement procedures. Of specific concern to cities, HB 17 outlines a process by which CRAs can be phased out, unless reauthorized by a super majority vote of the body that created the CRA. Additionally, HB 17 prohibits the creation of a new CRA unless authorized by a special act of the Legislature. SB 432 differs from HB 17 in that it does not provide for the phase out of existing CRAs or require legislative approval of new CRAs. SB 432 contains additional provisions that would cap administrative spending at 18 percent. In addition, SB 432 prohibits tax increment expenditures on festivals, street parties, grants to promote tourism, and grants to socially beneficial programs. SB 432 would also change CRA board composition by requiring the appointment of two non-elected members. Lastly, SB 432 would require CRAs to create lobbyist registrations for individuals who lobby the CRA. (Cruz)

Economic Development and Tourism Promotion Accountability (Oppose)

HB 3 (Grant, M.) creates several new transparency and accountability provisions applicable to economic development agencies and tourism-promotion agencies. The bill authorizes the attorney general to audit certain aspects of these agencies and requires them to file an annual disclosure. The bill would implement several limitations on these agencies, including but not limited to: requiring board members to serve without compensation, limitations on per diem and travel expenses, limits on the amount of public compensation certain persons can receive, prohibitions on performance bonuses and severance pay, as well as numerous spending limitations and requirements. The bill clarifies that ...

Economic Development and Tourism Promotion Accountability (Oppose) HB 3 (Grant, M.) creates several new transparency and accountability provisions applicable to economic development agencies and tourism-promotion agencies. The bill authorizes the attorney general to audit certain aspects of these agencies and requires them to file an annual disclosure. The bill would implement several limitations on these agencies, including but not limited to: requiring board members to serve without compensation, limitations on per diem and travel expenses, limits on the amount of public compensation certain persons can receive, prohibitions on performance bonuses and severance pay, as well as numerous spending limitations and requirements. The bill clarifies that if a municipality does not have an economic development agency, then the provisions apply to municipal officers or employees assigned to promote the general business interests, industrial interests or related responsibilities of the municipality. (Cook)

Film and Television Production (Support)

HB 341 (Silvers) establishes the Florida Motion Picture Capital Corporation (FMPCC) to encourage the use of the state as a site for movies and television shows. The corporation would provide financing to productions that are estimated to generate the greatest economic impact to the state. The FMPCC would be funded by a combination of federal, state and local dollars and would be governed by a board of directors serving three-year terms. The bill contains several accountability measures relating to the use of these funds for film and television production. (Cook) ...

Film and Television Production (Support) HB 341 (Silvers) establishes the Florida Motion Picture Capital Corporation (FMPCC) to encourage the use of the state as a site for movies and television shows. The corporation would provide financing to productions that are estimated to generate the greatest economic impact to the state. The FMPCC would be funded by a combination of federal, state and local dollars and would be governed by a board of directors serving three-year terms. The bill contains several accountability measures relating to the use of these funds for film and television production. (Cook)

Sports Franchise Facilities (Oppose)

HB 13 (Avila) and SB 352 (Garcia) prohibit a sports franchise from constructing, reconstructing, renovating or improving a facility on public land. The bills also require a lease of a facility on public land to be at fair market value. The bills would require contracts or agreements entered into or renewed after July 1, 2018, between a governmental entity and a sports franchise, to include provisions requiring the sports franchise to pay any outstanding debt incurred by the governmental entity if the franchise permanently discontinues use of the facility. Finally, the bills clarify that the sale of any ...

Sports Franchise Facilities (Oppose) HB 13 (Avila) and SB 352 (Garcia) prohibit a sports franchise from constructing, reconstructing, renovating or improving a facility on public land. The bills also require a lease of a facility on public land to be at fair market value. The bills would require contracts or agreements entered into or renewed after July 1, 2018, between a governmental entity and a sports franchise, to include provisions requiring the sports franchise to pay any outstanding debt incurred by the governmental entity if the franchise permanently discontinues use of the facility. Finally, the bills clarify that the sale of any public lands to a sports franchise for the construction, renovation or improvement of a facility must be at fair market value. (Cook)

Rural Economic Development Initiative (Watch)

SB 170 (Grimsley) revises the intent and direction of the current Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) by expanding the definition of “rural area of opportunity” and including specific goals for qualifying projects. Specific goals include job creation, improving community infrastructure and access to healthcare, and the development and growth of a skilled workforce. The bill amends the membership of the REDI Board of Directors, and requires submission of an annual report to the Legislature that includes descriptions of all project operations and any major accomplishments. (Cook) ...

Rural Economic Development Initiative (Watch) SB 170 (Grimsley) revises the intent and direction of the current Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) by expanding the definition of “rural area of opportunity” and including specific goals for qualifying projects. Specific goals include job creation, improving community infrastructure and access to healthcare, and the development and growth of a skilled workforce. The bill amends the membership of the REDI Board of Directors, and requires submission of an annual report to the Legislature that includes descriptions of all project operations and any major accomplishments. (Cook)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 182 (Rodriguez) - Small Business Roadway Construction Mitigation Grant Program ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 182 (Rodriguez) - Small Business Roadway Construction Mitigation Grant Program SB 544 (Brandes) - Procurement Procedures  HB 6005 (Avila) - Sports Development

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Prioritizing Public Utility Power Restoration (Watch)

HB 245 (Harrison) requires the state comprehensive emergency-management plan developed by the Department of Emergency Management to include guidelines for restoring electrical service with prioritization of critical end-use facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes. (Branch) ...

Prioritizing Public Utility Power Restoration (Watch) HB 245 (Harrison) requires the state comprehensive emergency-management plan developed by the Department of Emergency Management to include guidelines for restoring electrical service with prioritization of critical end-use facilities, including hospitals and nursing homes. (Branch)

Post-hurricane Relief for Residents of Health Care Facilities (Watch)

SB 372 (Garcia) and HB 327 (Richardson) require the Florida Public Service Commission, in the event of an emergency, to prioritize the restoration of services to critical medical facilities with at least 50 residents, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The bills also require the Agency for Health Care Administration to conduct annual inspections to ensure that facilities have an operational emergency power source and sufficient fuel supply for at least four days of a power outage. In addition, the emergency power source must provide enough energy to maintain an ambient air temperature of 81 degrees or ...

Post-hurricane Relief for Residents of Health Care Facilities (Watch) SB 372 (Garcia) and HB 327 (Richardson) require the Florida Public Service Commission, in the event of an emergency, to prioritize the restoration of services to critical medical facilities with at least 50 residents, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The bills also require the Agency for Health Care Administration to conduct annual inspections to ensure that facilities have an operational emergency power source and sufficient fuel supply for at least four days of a power outage. In addition, the emergency power source must provide enough energy to maintain an ambient air temperature of 81 degrees or less, and allow for refrigeration of critical items. SB 284 (Book) is similar to SB 372, but it requires every facility to maintain a fully operational emergency power source and a supply of fuel for at least five days during a power outage.  SB 558 (Campbell) is also similar to SB 372 (Garcia), but provides a deadline of January 1, 2019, for health care facilities to adhere to the operational generator and supply of fuel criteria. (Branch)

ETHICS

Repeal of Local Government Advisory Council (Support)

HB 6003 (White) and SB 614 (Montford) repeal the Participant Local Government Advisory Council. The six-member council was created by the Legislature in 2008, following an unanticipated liquidity crisis in Florida PRIME for the purpose of regularly reviewing the administration of Florida PRIME, and making recommendations regarding its administration. (Hughes) ...

Repeal of Local Government Advisory Council (Support) HB 6003 (White) and SB 614 (Montford) repeal the Participant Local Government Advisory Council. The six-member council was created by the Legislature in 2008, following an unanticipated liquidity crisis in Florida PRIME for the purpose of regularly reviewing the administration of Florida PRIME, and making recommendations regarding its administration. (Hughes)

Government Accountability (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/HB 11 (Metz) and CS/SB 354 (Stargel) require local governments to establish and maintain internal controls, and require municipalities to maintain specified budget documents on the government’s website for a designated time. The bills define “abuse,” “fraud” and “waste” to be used in the establishment and maintenance of the internal controls. The bills expand the definition of “local governments” to include tourist development councils and county tourism promotion agencies and expand the auditor general’s authority for audits to include those entities. The bills prohibit a board or commission from requiring an advance copy of testimony or comments from ...

Government Accountability (Oppose – Mandate) CS/HB 11 (Metz) and CS/SB 354 (Stargel) require local governments to establish and maintain internal controls, and require municipalities to maintain specified budget documents on the government’s website for a designated time. The bills define “abuse,” “fraud” and “waste” to be used in the establishment and maintenance of the internal controls. The bills expand the definition of “local governments” to include tourist development councils and county tourism promotion agencies and expand the auditor general’s authority for audits to include those entities. The bills prohibit a board or commission from requiring an advance copy of testimony or comments from a member of the public as a precondition to being given the opportunity to be heard at a public meeting. The bills require an independent certified public accountant to determine whether the local government’s annual financial report is in agreement with the audited financial statements. If the report and statement are not in agreement, the accountant shall specify and explain the significant differences. If an audit report includes a recommendation that was included in a previous financial audit report but remains unaddressed, the governing body of the audited entity must indicate, during a regularly scheduled public meeting, the intended corrective action and explain its decision to not take corrective action. The bills change the composition of the audit committee to include at least one member of the governing body and prohibit city employees from serving on the committee. The bills also add additional requirements to the selection of an external auditor. The bills require certain public entities, including municipalities, to report public officer and employee travel information in the “statewide travel management system” which is to be required by the Department of Management Services. (Hughes)

Local Government Ethics Reform (Watch)

HB 7003 (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee; Metz) revises provisions in the state Ethics Code regarding financial disclosure, conflicting employment and contractual relationships, voting conflicts, and the regulation of persons who lobby before local governments. The bill would require elected municipal mayors and governing board officers of municipalities with $10 million or more in revenues as defined in the bill to file the full public disclosure of financial interests (Form 6), rather than the current requirement to file the lesser detailed financial disclosure (Form 1). The bill modifies current law on voting conflicts. If an elected official ...

Local Government Ethics Reform (Watch) HB 7003 (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee; Metz) revises provisions in the state Ethics Code regarding financial disclosure, conflicting employment and contractual relationships, voting conflicts, and the regulation of persons who lobby before local governments. The bill would require elected municipal mayors and governing board officers of municipalities with $10 million or more in revenues as defined in the bill to file the full public disclosure of financial interests (Form 6), rather than the current requirement to file the lesser detailed financial disclosure (Form 1). The bill modifies current law on voting conflicts. If an elected official has a conflict on a matter, current law requires the official to disclose the conflict and prohibits the official from voting on it. The official may still participate in any discussion on the matter prior to the vote. The bill would prohibit a public officer from participating in any discussion on a matter without first disclosing the existence of the conflict. The bill modifies the current law restriction on conflicting employment or contractual relationships by providing that if a public officer or employee of an agency holds a material interest in a business entity other than a publicly traded entity, or is an officer, director or member who manages such an entity, the contractual relationships held by the business entity would be deemed to be held by the public officer or employee. The bill also establishes a statewide registration and reporting process for persons who “lobby” local governmental entities, as defined in the bill. It preempts to the state local-government lobbyist registration requirements and prohibits the imposition of any registration fees by local governments, but authorizes local governments to impose other regulations on lobbying activities, such as compensation and similar disclosure requirements (O’Hara)

State Ethics Reform (Watch)

HB 7007 (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee; Sullivan) prohibits the use of an elected official’s (including municipal) name, image or symbols of office in a public service announcement while the official is a candidate for reelection or election to another public office, if such announcement is paid for with public funds or donated media. The term “public service announcement” is defined as any message that “promotes or announces an issue of public importance, concern, or welfare.” In addition, the bill amends various provisions relating to public officer and employee conduct regarding solicitation and negotiating of conflicting relationships. ...

State Ethics Reform (Watch) HB 7007 (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee; Sullivan) prohibits the use of an elected official’s (including municipal) name, image or symbols of office in a public service announcement while the official is a candidate for reelection or election to another public office, if such announcement is paid for with public funds or donated media. The term “public service announcement” is defined as any message that “promotes or announces an issue of public importance, concern, or welfare.” In addition, the bill amends various provisions relating to public officer and employee conduct regarding solicitation and negotiating of conflicting relationships. Specifically, the bill would prohibit any public officer or employee from soliciting any employment or contractual relationship from entities with which they are prohibited from entering into conflicting relationships under the state Code of Ethics. The bill also amends various provisions relating to executive branch lobbyist registration. It clarifies that the current lobbyist registration process for the executive branch does not require an officer or employee of a political subdivision, including a municipality, to register if the officer or employee is acting in the normal course of his or her duties.  (O’Hara)

Other Bills of Interest

HB 5 (Metz) - State Officer Post-Service Lobbying Restrictions ...

Other Bills of Interest HB 5 (Metz) - State Officer Post-Service Lobbying Restrictions HB 7005 (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee; Metz) - Local Gov’t Lobbyist Registration System Trust Fund HB 707 (Jenne) – Campaign Finance HB 709 (Drake) – Voting Systems

FINANCE & TAXATION

Local Government Fiscal Transparency (Oppose – Mandate)

HB 7 (Burton) amends multiple provisions related to local government financial transparency. The bill expands public notice and public hearing requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes and new long-term tax-supported debt issuances. The language requires each local government to prominently post on its website the voting records on any action taken by its governing board related to tax increases and new tax-supported debt issuance. The bill imposes requirements on county property appraisers and local governments relating to TRIM notices, millage rate history and the amount of tax levied by each taxing authority on each ...

Local Government Fiscal Transparency (Oppose – Mandate) HB 7 (Burton) amends multiple provisions related to local government financial transparency. The bill expands public notice and public hearing requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes and new long-term tax-supported debt issuances. The language requires each local government to prominently post on its website the voting records on any action taken by its governing board related to tax increases and new tax-supported debt issuance. The bill imposes requirements on county property appraisers and local governments relating to TRIM notices, millage rate history and the amount of tax levied by each taxing authority on each parcel. Additionally, local governments are required to conduct a debt affordability analysis prior to approving the issuance of new long-term tax-supported debt. The analysis would, at a minimum, calculate a debt affordability ratio to gauge the effects of the new debt issuance on the government’s debt service to revenue profile. The debt affordability ratio is the annual debt service for outstanding tax-supported debt divided by total annual revenues available to pay debt service on outstanding debt. The bill requires the local government annual audit reports to include information regarding compliance with the requirements of this newly created section of law. Failure to comply could ultimately result in the withholding of state-shared revenues.   The bill revises the local government reporting requirements for economic development incentives. It requires each municipality to report to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research whether the incentive was provided directly to an individual business or by another entity on behalf of the local government and the source of dollars obligated for the incentive (including local, state and federal). The bill also revises the statutory classes of economic development incentives. (Hughes)

Homestead Exemption Implementation (Support)

HB 593 (Porter) and SB 772 (Grimsley) require the Legislature to appropriate monies beginning FY 2019-2020 if Amendment 1 is approved by voters, to offset reductions in ad valorem tax revenue experienced by local governments within a Rural Area of Opportunity that result from the additional homestead exemption required by Amendment 1. Qualifying local governments must apply annually to the Department of Revenue to participate in the distribution of the appropriation and provide documentation supporting their estimated reduction in ad valorem tax revenue. (Hughes) ...

Homestead Exemption Implementation (Support) HB 593 (Porter) and SB 772 (Grimsley) require the Legislature to appropriate monies beginning FY 2019-2020 if Amendment 1 is approved by voters, to offset reductions in ad valorem tax revenue experienced by local governments within a Rural Area of Opportunity that result from the additional homestead exemption required by Amendment 1. Qualifying local governments must apply annually to the Department of Revenue to participate in the distribution of the appropriation and provide documentation supporting their estimated reduction in ad valorem tax revenue. (Hughes)

Sales Tax on Commercial Leases (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 60 (Hukill) reduces the sales tax rate on commercial leases from 5.8 to 5.0 percent. The estimated impact on municipalities is not yet known. (Hughes) ...

Sales Tax on Commercial Leases (Oppose – Mandate) SB 60 (Hukill) reduces the sales tax rate on commercial leases from 5.8 to 5.0 percent. The estimated impact on municipalities is not yet known. (Hughes)

Tax on Commercial Leases (Oppose – Mandate)

HB 409 (Ahern) exempts a portion of the rent or license fee that is subject to sales tax on commercial real property. Beginning January 1, 2019, the exemption would have been $10,000 and would have increased annually until the sales tax on commercial leases was repealed on January 1, 2028. (Hughes) ...

Tax on Commercial Leases (Oppose – Mandate) HB 409 (Ahern) exempts a portion of the rent or license fee that is subject to sales tax on commercial real property. Beginning January 1, 2019, the exemption would have been $10,000 and would have increased annually until the sales tax on commercial leases was repealed on January 1, 2028. (Hughes)

Property Tax Exemption and Assessment: Manufacturing Equipment (Oppose – Mandate)

SJR 136 (Stuebe) proposes an amendment to the state constitution authorizing the Legislature to exempt certain manufacturing equipment from the tangible personal property tax or to allow manufacturing equipment to be assessed at less than just market value pursuant to an accelerated depreciation method established by general law. This proposed amendment requires 60 percent approval for passage. (Hughes) ...

Property Tax Exemption and Assessment: Manufacturing Equipment (Oppose – Mandate) SJR 136 (Stuebe) proposes an amendment to the state constitution authorizing the Legislature to exempt certain manufacturing equipment from the tangible personal property tax or to allow manufacturing equipment to be assessed at less than just market value pursuant to an accelerated depreciation method established by general law. This proposed amendment requires 60 percent approval for passage. (Hughes)

Sales Tax Holiday (Watch)

SB 686 (Perry) creates a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday. Between July 27- August 5, 2018, sales tax cannot be collected on specified items, including certain clothing, personal computers and school supplies. (Hughes) ...

Sales Tax Holiday (Watch) SB 686 (Perry) creates a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday. Between July 27- August 5, 2018, sales tax cannot be collected on specified items, including certain clothing, personal computers and school supplies. (Hughes)

Millage Limitation/Local Tax Referenda (Watch)

CS/SB 272 (Brandes) and CS/HB 317 (Ingoglia) amend when a local government may put a ballot question before the voters for a local discretionary surtax. CS/SB 272 requires that a referendum to adopt or amend the local discretionary surtax that is held at any date other than a general election, as defined by Section 97.021, Florida Statutes, would require 60 percent of voter approval for passage. A referendum held at a general election would require a majority for passage. CS/HB 317 requires that a referendum to adopt or amend the local discretionary surtax that is held at a ...

Millage Limitation/Local Tax Referenda (Watch) CS/SB 272 (Brandes) and CS/HB 317 (Ingoglia) amend when a local government may put a ballot question before the voters for a local discretionary surtax. CS/SB 272 requires that a referendum to adopt or amend the local discretionary surtax that is held at any date other than a general election, as defined by Section 97.021, Florida Statutes, would require 60 percent of voter approval for passage. A referendum held at a general election would require a majority for passage. CS/HB 317 requires that a referendum to adopt or amend the local discretionary surtax that is held at a general election, as defined by Section 97.021, Florida Statutes, would require a simple majority of voter approval for passage. A referendum held at a primary election would require 60 percent voter approval for passage. (Hughes)

Local Business Tax (Watch)

HB 603 (Gonzalez) creates new exemptions from the local business tax for veterans, certain spouses of veterans and low-income people. The bill also exempts businesses with fewer than 100 people if an exempt individual owns a majority interest in the business. The bill also allows certain cities that impose a local business tax on merchants measured by gross receipts to continue to impose the tax. (Hughes) ...

Local Business Tax (Watch) HB 603 (Gonzalez) creates new exemptions from the local business tax for veterans, certain spouses of veterans and low-income people. The bill also exempts businesses with fewer than 100 people if an exempt individual owns a majority interest in the business. The bill also allows certain cities that impose a local business tax on merchants measured by gross receipts to continue to impose the tax. (Hughes)

Annual Sales Tax Holiday for Veterans (Watch)

HB 69 (McGhee) creates an annual sales tax holiday for veterans from November 1 through December 31. During which time the sales tax may not be collected on the retail sale of certain items to a veteran. For the purpose of this sales tax holiday, a veteran is a person who served in the active military, naval or air service and was honorably discharged or released, or who later received an upgraded honorable discharge or release. To be eligible for the sales tax holiday, a veteran must show proof of military status at the time he or she ...

Annual Sales Tax Holiday for Veterans (Watch) HB 69 (McGhee) creates an annual sales tax holiday for veterans from November 1 through December 31. During which time the sales tax may not be collected on the retail sale of certain items to a veteran. For the purpose of this sales tax holiday, a veteran is a person who served in the active military, naval or air service and was honorably discharged or released, or who later received an upgraded honorable discharge or release. To be eligible for the sales tax holiday, a veteran must show proof of military status at the time he or she purchases the items. (Hughes)

Homestead Exemption for Surviving Spouses of Deceased Disabled Veterans (Watch)

HB 527 (Magar) carries over certain ad valorem tax discounts to widows or widowers of certain deceased veterans as long as they do not remarry or sell the property. If the property is sold, the tax discount may be transferred to the new homestead. (Hughes) ...

Homestead Exemption for Surviving Spouses of Deceased Disabled Veterans (Watch) HB 527 (Magar) carries over certain ad valorem tax discounts to widows or widowers of certain deceased veterans as long as they do not remarry or sell the property. If the property is sold, the tax discount may be transferred to the new homestead. (Hughes)

Increase of Homestead Portability Timeframe (Watch)

SJR 452 (Brandes) and HJR 501 (Ahern) proposes an amendment to the state constitution to increase the period from two to three years when accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. This proposed amendment requires 60 percent approval for passage. (Hughes) ...

Increase of Homestead Portability Timeframe (Watch) SJR 452 (Brandes) and HJR 501 (Ahern) proposes an amendment to the state constitution to increase the period from two to three years when accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. This proposed amendment requires 60 percent approval for passage. (Hughes)

Implementation of Increase of Homestead Portability Timeframe (Watch)

SB 454 (Brandes) and HB 503 (Ahern) increase the period from two to three years when accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. This change only takes effect if SJR 452, HJR 501 or a similar amendment having the substantially same specific intent and purpose, is approved by the voters at the November 2018 general election. (Hughes) ...

Implementation of Increase of Homestead Portability Timeframe (Watch) SB 454 (Brandes) and HB 503 (Ahern) increase the period from two to three years when accrued Save-Our-Homes benefits may be transferred from a prior homestead to a new homestead. This change only takes effect if SJR 452, HJR 501 or a similar amendment having the substantially same specific intent and purpose, is approved by the voters at the November 2018 general election. (Hughes)

Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax (Watch)

SB 243 (Avila) and SB 688 (Garcia) require any county operating under home rule charter to use the proceeds of the Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax for the planning, development and expansion of fixed guideway rapid transits or bus systems. (Hughes)   ...

Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax (Watch) SB 243 (Avila) and SB 688 (Garcia) require any county operating under home rule charter to use the proceeds of the Charter County and Regional Transportation System Surtax for the planning, development and expansion of fixed guideway rapid transits or bus systems. (Hughes)

Homestead Waivers (Watch)

SB 512 (Young) and SB 421 (Berman) provide language that may be used to waive spousal homestead rights with respect to devise restrictions. (Hughes) ...

Homestead Waivers (Watch) SB 512 (Young) and SB 421 (Berman) provide language that may be used to waive spousal homestead rights with respect to devise restrictions. (Hughes)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 70 (Rodriguez, J.), HB 279 (Hagar), HB 359 (Nunez) and SB 538 (Garcia) - Divestment: Venezuela ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 70 (Rodriguez, J.), HB 279 (Hagar), HB 359 (Nunez) and SB 538 (Garcia) - Divestment: Venezuela SB 76 (Garcia) and HB 519 (Brown) - Small Business Saturday Sales Tax Holiday HB 163 (Cruz) and SB 56 (Book) - Sales Tax Exemption for Diapers and Incontinence Products SB 236 (Book) - Sales Tax Credit for Baby Changing Table in Restaurants SB 312 (Stuebe) - Excise Tax on Documents HB 571 (Hardemon)- Robot Tax Study HB 585 (Fine)- Tourist Development Tax SB 620 (Passidomo) - Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Exemption SB 650 (Baxley)- Administrative Review of Property Taxes SB 658 (Brandes) -Tourist Development Tax SB 766 (Bean)- Sales Tax Exemption: Aircraft Sales or Leases SB 816 (Powell)- Annual Veterans’ Sales Tax Holiday PCB WMC1 (Ways and Means)- Supermajority Vote for State Taxes or Fees

HOUSING

State Housing Trust Fund (Support)

HB 191 (Shaw) specifies that monies deposited in the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund may not be transferred or used for any other purpose. The bill also allows for the continuation of transfers of these trust fund monies to the following programs:  ...

State Housing Trust Fund (Support) HB 191 (Shaw) specifies that monies deposited in the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund may not be transferred or used for any other purpose. The bill also allows for the continuation of transfers of these trust fund monies to the following programs:  •Affordable Housing Catalyst Program: provides specialized technical support to local governments and community-based organizations to implement the HOME Investment Partnership Program, State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program and other affordable housing programs. •Training and Technical Assistance Program: provides community-based organizations, staff of state and local governments, and designated lead agencies of homeless assistance continuums of care with the necessary training and technical assistance to meet the needs of homeless persons, very-low-income persons, low-income persons and moderate-income persons for standard, affordable housing. •State Office on Homelessness/Council on Homelessness: provides programs that assist persons who are homeless or at risk for homelessness. (Branch)

Housing Assistance (Watch)

HB 301 (Cortes J.) creates a local government risk mitigation program through its local housing assistance plan for counties and municipalities participating in the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program. The program is intended to provide a mechanism for a landlord of affordable housing rentals units to offset out-of-pocket losses incurred from property damage or unpaid rent by tenants.  ...

Housing Assistance (Watch) HB 301 (Cortes J.) creates a local government risk mitigation program through its local housing assistance plan for counties and municipalities participating in the State Housing Initiatives Partnership program. The program is intended to provide a mechanism for a landlord of affordable housing rentals units to offset out-of-pocket losses incurred from property damage or unpaid rent by tenants.  This bill specifies that up to 10 percent of the funds used to reserve rental house for eligible persons may be set aside to fund the program, if the local government provides an equivalent percentage of local matching funds. The bill establishes amounts that may be awarded to a landlord under the program. It directs the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to develop guidelines to administer the program, including requirements for submission of claims to the appropriate local government. A local government is required to review a properly submitted claim within two days. (Branch)

IMMIGRATION

Federal Immigration Enforcement/Sanctuary Policies (Watch) 

HB 9 (Metz) and SB 308 (Bean) relate to state and local government enforcement of federal immigration laws. The bills provide several definitions, including “sanctuary policy,” which means a law, policy, practice, procedure or custom adopted or permitted by a state entity, law enforcement agency or local governmental entity that contravenes the federal immigration laws, or that knowingly prohibits or impedes a law enforcement agency from communicating or cooperating with a federal immigration agency with respect to federal immigration enforcement. The bills also define “sanctuary policymaker” to mean a state or local elected official, or an appointed official ...

Federal Immigration Enforcement/Sanctuary Policies (Watch)  HB 9 (Metz) and SB 308 (Bean) relate to state and local government enforcement of federal immigration laws. The bills provide several definitions, including “sanctuary policy,” which means a law, policy, practice, procedure or custom adopted or permitted by a state entity, law enforcement agency or local governmental entity that contravenes the federal immigration laws, or that knowingly prohibits or impedes a law enforcement agency from communicating or cooperating with a federal immigration agency with respect to federal immigration enforcement. The bills also define “sanctuary policymaker” to mean a state or local elected official, or an appointed official of a local governmental entity governing body, who has voted for, allowed to be implemented or voted against, the repeal or prohibition of a sanctuary policy. The bills prohibit the adoption or effectiveness of a sanctuary policy, and require cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The bills require a state or local government official to promptly report a known or probable violation of this law to the attorney general or the state attorney having jurisdiction over the local governmental entity. Failure to properly report may lead to an individual being suspended or removed from office. The attorney general or a state attorney may initiate proceedings in court to enjoin a state entity, law enforcement agency or local governmental entity from violating the law. A court shall enjoin any unlawful policy and order an entity to pay a civil penalty of at least $1,000, but not more than $5,000 for each day that the policy was found to be in effect before the injunction was granted. A sanctuary policymaker may be suspended or removed from office. The bills provide for a civil cause of action against any state or local governmental entity or law enforcement agency determined to have a sanctuary policy under specified circumstances for personal injury or wrongful death by persons injured by an illegal alien. The bills also restrict state grant funding for five years for any governmental entity that has violated the law. (Cruz)

INSURANCE

Workers' Compensation Benefits for First Responders/Mental or Nervous Injury (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)

HB 227 (Willhite) and SB 376 (Book) provide that a mental or nervous injury suffered by a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic is compensable under the workers’ compensation law if the mental or nervous injury was shown to meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder.  ...

Workers' Compensation Benefits for First Responders/Mental or Nervous Injury (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate) HB 227 (Willhite) and SB 376 (Book) provide that a mental or nervous injury suffered by a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic is compensable under the workers’ compensation law if the mental or nervous injury was shown to meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder.  SB 126 (Torres) and HB 629 (Asencio) provide that a mental or nervous injury suffered by a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic is compensable under the workers’ compensation law if the mental or nervous injury was demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence. (Cruz)

Workers Compensation (Watch)

PCB COM 18-01 (House Commerce Committee) makes numerous changes to the state’s workers’ compensation laws, primarily in response to recent court decisions. The legislation requires a good faith effort by claimants and their attorneys to resolve disputes prior to filing petitions for benefits. The bill specifies that injured workers may receive up to 260 weeks of temporary total disability or temporary partial disability. The bill substantially revises attorney fees provisions. It caps the maximum hourly rate that may be applied by a judge of compensation claims to $150 per hour. The bill also mandates a specified notice regarding ...

Workers Compensation (Watch) PCB COM 18-01 (House Commerce Committee) makes numerous changes to the state’s workers’ compensation laws, primarily in response to recent court decisions. The legislation requires a good faith effort by claimants and their attorneys to resolve disputes prior to filing petitions for benefits. The bill specifies that injured workers may receive up to 260 weeks of temporary total disability or temporary partial disability. The bill substantially revises attorney fees provisions. It caps the maximum hourly rate that may be applied by a judge of compensation claims to $150 per hour. The bill also mandates a specified notice regarding attorney fees be signed by the claimant that states the injured worker may be responsible for any remaining attorney fees. In addition, the bill removes the restriction for an injured worker to enter a fee agreement with an attorney. (Cruz)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 62 (Hukill) - Assignment of Property Issuance Benefits ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 62 (Hukill) - Assignment of Property Issuance Benefits HB 89 (Spano) and SB 604 (Steube) - Actions Against Contractors Without Required Insurance Coverage HB 97 (Santiago) - Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund SB 256 (Farmer) - Property Insurance SB 258 (Farmer) - Insurance Rates HB 465 (Santiago) - Insurance HB 483 (Yarborough) - Unfair Insurance Trade Practices SB 714 (Baxley) and HB 143 (Massullo, Jr.) - Patient’s Choice of Providers

LAND USE & COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING

Impact Fees (Oppose – Preemption) 

SB 324 (Young) prohibits local governments from collecting impact fees prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the property that is subject to the fee. (Cruz) ...

Impact Fees (Oppose – Preemption)  SB 324 (Young) prohibits local governments from collecting impact fees prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the property that is subject to the fee. (Cruz)

Private Property Comprehensive Plan Element (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate) 

HB 207 (McClain) and SB 362 (Perry) require local governments to adopt a new mandatory element in their comprehensive plans that addresses the protection of private property. (Cruz) ...

Private Property Comprehensive Plan Element (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)  HB 207 (McClain) and SB 362 (Perry) require local governments to adopt a new mandatory element in their comprehensive plans that addresses the protection of private property. (Cruz)

Regional Planning Council Meetings (Watch)

HB 611 (Geller) provides that under certain circumstances, a regional planning council (RPC) member may attend an RPC meeting via real-time videoconferencing and be counted for purposes of a quorum requirement. (Cruz) ...

Regional Planning Council Meetings (Watch) HB 611 (Geller) provides that under certain circumstances, a regional planning council (RPC) member may attend an RPC meeting via real-time videoconferencing and be counted for purposes of a quorum requirement. (Cruz)

Other Bills of Interest 

HB 337 (Cortes, J.) - Community Development Districts ...

Other Bills of Interest  HB 337 (Cortes, J.) - Community Development Districts SB 1046 (Passidomo) - Covenants and Restrictions of Property Owner Associations

OTHER

Agency Rulemaking (Support)

HB 83 (Spano) requires a state agency to provide a statement of estimated regulatory costs (SERC) prior to adopting, amending or repealing any rule (other than an emergency rule). The bill requires the agency’s published notice of its intended action to include an agency website address where the SERC can be viewed, and directs the Department of State to include agency website addresses for SERCs on the Florida Administrative Register website. The bill removes the fiscal impact threshold of $200,000 currently used to trigger requirements to prepare a SERC. The bill also specifies that if an agency’s repeal ...

Agency Rulemaking (Support) HB 83 (Spano) requires a state agency to provide a statement of estimated regulatory costs (SERC) prior to adopting, amending or repealing any rule (other than an emergency rule). The bill requires the agency’s published notice of its intended action to include an agency website address where the SERC can be viewed, and directs the Department of State to include agency website addresses for SERCs on the Florida Administrative Register website. The bill removes the fiscal impact threshold of $200,000 currently used to trigger requirements to prepare a SERC. The bill also specifies that if an agency’s repeal of a rule is challenged, the rule repeal is presumed correct. (O’Hara)

Parking Garages (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 378 (Steube) preempts a city from adopting an ordinance or rule that prohibits a driver from, or authorizes the issuance of a citation to a driver for, back-in parking a vehicle in a parking space located in a parking garage. The bill would void any such ordinance or rule in effect on July 1, 2018. (Cook) ...

Parking Garages (Oppose – Preemption) SB 378 (Steube) preempts a city from adopting an ordinance or rule that prohibits a driver from, or authorizes the issuance of a citation to a driver for, back-in parking a vehicle in a parking space located in a parking garage. The bill would void any such ordinance or rule in effect on July 1, 2018. (Cook)

Companion Animal Public-Private Partnership Act (Oppose –Unfunded Mandate)

HB 249 (Watson, B.) prohibits an animal shelter from euthanizing an animal, with certain exceptions, if a rescue organization has indicated it will take custody of the animal. The bill allows for a reasonable fee to be assessed to the rescue organization. (Cook) ...

Companion Animal Public-Private Partnership Act (Oppose –Unfunded Mandate) HB 249 (Watson, B.) prohibits an animal shelter from euthanizing an animal, with certain exceptions, if a rescue organization has indicated it will take custody of the animal. The bill allows for a reasonable fee to be assessed to the rescue organization. (Cook)

Municipal Conversion of Independent Special Districts (Watch)

SB 84 (Lee) adds a minimum population standard to existing criteria for converting an independent special district into a municipality. Specifically, it requires an independent special district wishing to convert to a municipality to have a minimum population of 1,500 people if the population of the county is less than 75,000 people or, if the county has more than 75,000 people, then the independent special district wishing to convert to a municipality must have a population of at least 5,000. Unlike the standards for incorporation of a new municipality, there is not currently a population requirement for the ...

Municipal Conversion of Independent Special Districts (Watch) SB 84 (Lee) adds a minimum population standard to existing criteria for converting an independent special district into a municipality. Specifically, it requires an independent special district wishing to convert to a municipality to have a minimum population of 1,500 people if the population of the county is less than 75,000 people or, if the county has more than 75,000 people, then the independent special district wishing to convert to a municipality must have a population of at least 5,000. Unlike the standards for incorporation of a new municipality, there is not currently a population requirement for the conversion of an independent special district. (Branch)

Animal Rescue Organizations (Watch)

SB 132 (Steube) and HB 153 (Porter) require the sterilization of all dogs and cats sold or released from animal rescue organizations and animal control agencies. The bills clarify that sterilization costs must be paid for by the prospective adopter. The bills also prohibit the importation of animals into the state by animal control agencies, except when animals are imported during an emergency or natural disaster. The bills create certain public records requirements and extend an existing monthly reporting requirement to animal rescue organizations. Finally, the bills create criminal penalties for any entities or individuals convicted of importing ...

Animal Rescue Organizations (Watch) SB 132 (Steube) and HB 153 (Porter) require the sterilization of all dogs and cats sold or released from animal rescue organizations and animal control agencies. The bills clarify that sterilization costs must be paid for by the prospective adopter. The bills also prohibit the importation of animals into the state by animal control agencies, except when animals are imported during an emergency or natural disaster. The bills create certain public records requirements and extend an existing monthly reporting requirement to animal rescue organizations. Finally, the bills create criminal penalties for any entities or individuals convicted of importing animals into the state under certain circumstances. (Cook)

Prohibition Against Contracting with Scrutinized Companies (Watch)

HB 545 (Fine) and SB 780 (Brandes) prohibit companies on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List from bidding on, submitting a proposal, or entering into or renewing a contract with an agency or local government entity for goods or services. If a company is on the Scrutinized Companies with Activities in the Iran Petroleum Energy Sector List or engaged in business operations in Cuba or Syria, the company cannot bid on, submit a proposal, or enter into or renew a contract over $1 million. The bills require contracts with state and local government entities to provide for ...

Prohibition Against Contracting with Scrutinized Companies (Watch) HB 545 (Fine) and SB 780 (Brandes) prohibit companies on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List from bidding on, submitting a proposal, or entering into or renewing a contract with an agency or local government entity for goods or services. If a company is on the Scrutinized Companies with Activities in the Iran Petroleum Energy Sector List or engaged in business operations in Cuba or Syria, the company cannot bid on, submit a proposal, or enter into or renew a contract over $1 million. The bills require contracts with state and local government entities to provide for the termination of the contract if the company is found to have been placed on the Scrutinized Companies that Boycott Israel List. (Cook)

Other Bills of Interest  

HB 15 (Beshears) and SB 526 (Brandes) - Deregulation of Professions and Occupations ...

Other Bills of Interest   HB 15 (Beshears) and SB 526 (Brandes) - Deregulation of Professions and Occupations SB 86 (Hukill) - Animal Hoarding SB 216 (Book) - Charter Schools HB 385 (Toledo) and SB 566 (Young) - Transient Occupants of Residential Property HB 395 (Magar) - Martin County HB 547 (Killebrew) – Reports Concerning Seized or Forfeited Property HB 625 (Cortes) – Community Associations SB 734 (Baxley) – Homeowners’ Associations

PERSONNEL

Firefighter Cancer Benefit (Oppose - Mandate)

SB 900 (Latvala, J.) and HB 695 (Latvala, C.) entitle firefighters that receive a diagnosis of cancer, at no cost to the firefighter, to coverage under a group health or self-insurance policy. The policy must use the same health care network as all other employees, be available to the fighter for at least 10 years after leaving employment, and have a cash payout of $25,000. If the firefighter participates in an employee-sponsored retirement plan, the plan must qualify the firefighter as totally and permanently disabled if he or she is prevented from rendering useful and effective service as ...

Firefighter Cancer Benefit (Oppose - Mandate) SB 900 (Latvala, J.) and HB 695 (Latvala, C.) entitle firefighters that receive a diagnosis of cancer, at no cost to the firefighter, to coverage under a group health or self-insurance policy. The policy must use the same health care network as all other employees, be available to the fighter for at least 10 years after leaving employment, and have a cash payout of $25,000. If the firefighter participates in an employee-sponsored retirement plan, the plan must qualify the firefighter as totally and permanently disabled if he or she is prevented from rendering useful and effective service as a firefighter and is likely to remain disabled continuously and permanently due to the diagnosis or treatment of cancer. The retirement plan must qualify the firefighter as “died in the line of duty” if he or she dies as a result of the cancer or treatment of cancer. If the firefighter did not participate in an employee-sponsored retirement plan, the employer must provide a disability retirement plan that provides at least 42 percent of annual salary, at no cost to the firefighter, until the firefighter’s death. The employer must provide a death benefit, for at least 10 years, to the firefighter’s beneficiary totaling at least 42 percent of the firefighter’s most recent annual salary. Additionally, firefighters who die as a result of cancer or cancer treatment are considered to have died in the manner described in section 112.191 (2)(a), F.S., for purposes of statutorily required death benefits. To qualify for these benefits, the firefighter must be employed by the employer for at least five continuous years, may not have used tobacco products in the preceding five years, and may not have been employed in any other position that is proven to create a higher risk for any cancer in the preceding years. For determining employer policies and the provision of benefits, a firefighter’s cancer diagnosis must be considered an “injury or illness incurred in the line of duty.” The bills also require the Division of State Fire Marshal within the Department of Financial Services to adopt rules to establish employer best practices for preventing or reducing the incidence of cancer among firefighters. (Hughes)

Discrimination in Employment Screening (Watch)

HB 51 (Jones), SB 102 (Bracy) and HB 433 (Henry) prohibit an employer from inquiring into or considering an applicant’s criminal history on an initial employment application, unless otherwise required by law. An employer could inquire into or consider an applicant’s criminal history only after the applicant’s qualifications had been screened and the employer had determined the applicant met the minimum employment requirements for the position. (Hughes) ...

Discrimination in Employment Screening (Watch) HB 51 (Jones), SB 102 (Bracy) and HB 433 (Henry) prohibit an employer from inquiring into or considering an applicant’s criminal history on an initial employment application, unless otherwise required by law. An employer could inquire into or consider an applicant’s criminal history only after the applicant’s qualifications had been screened and the employer had determined the applicant met the minimum employment requirements for the position. (Hughes)

Employment Discrimination: Emergency Evacuation Order (Watch)

HB 225 (Davis) prohibits an employer from taking retaliatory personnel action against an employee who has left a place of employment to evacuate under an emergency evacuation order. The bill provides an exemption for emergency personnel, individuals necessary for the restoration of vital services and individuals employed at nursing homes. (Hughes) ...

Employment Discrimination: Emergency Evacuation Order (Watch) HB 225 (Davis) prohibits an employer from taking retaliatory personnel action against an employee who has left a place of employment to evacuate under an emergency evacuation order. The bill provides an exemption for emergency personnel, individuals necessary for the restoration of vital services and individuals employed at nursing homes. (Hughes)

Discrimination in Labor and Employment (Watch)

HB 393 (Berman) and SB 594 (Stewart) prohibits an employer from providing less than favorable employment opportunities to an employee based on their sex. The bills also prohibit an employer paying an employee less than the employer pays another employee of the opposite sex with substantially the same job except when the employer can demonstrate the wage differential is based on specific factors. The bills provide for civil penalties for violations of this provision. Additionally, employers are prohibited from taking certain employment actions against employees and engaging in certain activities relating to employee wages and benefits. (Hughes) ...

Discrimination in Labor and Employment (Watch) HB 393 (Berman) and SB 594 (Stewart) prohibits an employer from providing less than favorable employment opportunities to an employee based on their sex. The bills also prohibit an employer paying an employee less than the employer pays another employee of the opposite sex with substantially the same job except when the employer can demonstrate the wage differential is based on specific factors. The bills provide for civil penalties for violations of this provision. Additionally, employers are prohibited from taking certain employment actions against employees and engaging in certain activities relating to employee wages and benefits. (Hughes)

PUBLIC RECORDS & PUBLIC MEETINGS

Public Meetings (Support)

HB 79 (Roth) and SB 192 (Baxley) exempt meetings between two members of any board or commission from certain public meetings and public records requirements. The bills specify that members of the same commission may participate in fact-finding excursions to research public business, and may participate in meetings with a member of the Legislature. The bills require that the board or commission provide reasonable notice and that appropriate records be taken and retained as public record. Finally, the bills provide that notice is not required when two or more members of a board are gathered if no official ...

Public Meetings (Support) HB 79 (Roth) and SB 192 (Baxley) exempt meetings between two members of any board or commission from certain public meetings and public records requirements. The bills specify that members of the same commission may participate in fact-finding excursions to research public business, and may participate in meetings with a member of the Legislature. The bills require that the board or commission provide reasonable notice and that appropriate records be taken and retained as public record. Finally, the bills provide that notice is not required when two or more members of a board are gathered if no official acts are taken and no public business is discussed. (Cook)

Public Meetings and Records (Support)

HB 439 (Donalds) and SB 560 (Steube) expand the public meeting requirements exemption that allows city officials to meet privately with their attorney to discuss pending litigation. The exemption is expanded to include “imminent” litigation. Litigation is considered imminent when the city has received notice of a claim or a party has threatened litigation before a court or administrative agency. The bills require a transcript of the meeting to be kept and released to the public within a reasonable time after the matter is resolved or the statute of limitations has expired. (Cook) ...

Public Meetings and Records (Support) HB 439 (Donalds) and SB 560 (Steube) expand the public meeting requirements exemption that allows city officials to meet privately with their attorney to discuss pending litigation. The exemption is expanded to include “imminent” litigation. Litigation is considered imminent when the city has received notice of a claim or a party has threatened litigation before a court or administrative agency. The bills require a transcript of the meeting to be kept and released to the public within a reasonable time after the matter is resolved or the statute of limitations has expired. (Cook)

Public Records/Trade Secrets (Watch)

HB 459 (Massullo) deletes several provisions that exempt agency contracts and other trade secrets from public records requirements.  ...

Public Records/Trade Secrets (Watch) HB 459 (Massullo) deletes several provisions that exempt agency contracts and other trade secrets from public records requirements.  HB 461 (Massullo) creates a public record exemption for trade secrets and a process by which requested records containing trade secrets could be released to the requestor.  The bill applies to all state agencies, counties and municipalities. (Cook)

Public Records (Watch)

HB 273 (Rodrigues) and SB 750 (Perry) prohibit an agency that receives a public records request from responding to the requ233est by filing a civil action against the individual or entity making the request. (Cook) ...

Public Records (Watch) HB 273 (Rodrigues) and SB 750 (Perry) prohibit an agency that receives a public records request from responding to the requ233est by filing a civil action against the individual or entity making the request. (Cook)

Public Records and Public Meetings/Firesafety Systems (Watch)

HB 411 (Clemons) and SB 738 (Perry) are public record exemptions for information relating to fire safety systems for any properties owned by the state or local governments. The bills also exempt any portion of a meeting relating directly to, or that would reveal information about, these systems. (Cook) ...

Public Records and Public Meetings/Firesafety Systems (Watch) HB 411 (Clemons) and SB 738 (Perry) are public record exemptions for information relating to fire safety systems for any properties owned by the state or local governments. The bills also exempt any portion of a meeting relating directly to, or that would reveal information about, these systems. (Cook)

Public Meetings (Watch)

HB 589 (Newton) would require meetings of any entities created by general or special law to be subject to the public meetings law. In addition, the bill requires agendas and other meeting materials of these entities to be made available at least three days prior the meeting. The bill requires the presiding officer to allot time for public comment as either the first or last item listed on the agenda. Each member of the public must be given at least three minutes to speak regarding any agenda item relating to the appointment of a public officer; zoning or ...

Public Meetings (Watch) HB 589 (Newton) would require meetings of any entities created by general or special law to be subject to the public meetings law. In addition, the bill requires agendas and other meeting materials of these entities to be made available at least three days prior the meeting. The bill requires the presiding officer to allot time for public comment as either the first or last item listed on the agenda. Each member of the public must be given at least three minutes to speak regarding any agenda item relating to the appointment of a public officer; zoning or land use regulations; the imposition of taxes, fees, and fines or other interests affecting the rights of residents and businesses within the jurisdiction of the entity. The bill also requires the board or commission of the entity to respond, either publicly at the meeting or through written correspondence, to any question made by a member of the public. If the response is in writing, it must be provided within 10 days after the meeting and be incorporated into the minutes of the meeting. (Cook)

PUBLIC SAFETY

Controlled Substances (Support)

HB 21 (Boyd) and SB 8 (Benacquisto) are comprehensive proposals to address the opioid crisis in Florida. The bills propose a three-day limit on prescribed opioids, unless strict conditions are met for a seven-day supply, and require all healthcare professionals that prescribe or dispense medication to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. In addition, the bills create, and in some cases enhance, penalties for non-compliance. (Cook) ...

Controlled Substances (Support) HB 21 (Boyd) and SB 8 (Benacquisto) are comprehensive proposals to address the opioid crisis in Florida. The bills propose a three-day limit on prescribed opioids, unless strict conditions are met for a seven-day supply, and require all healthcare professionals that prescribe or dispense medication to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. In addition, the bills create, and in some cases enhance, penalties for non-compliance. (Cook)

Regulation of Public Smoking (Support)

SB 562 (Mayfield) authorizes municipalities to restrict smoking within the boundaries of public parks. (Cook) ...

Regulation of Public Smoking (Support) SB 562 (Mayfield) authorizes municipalities to restrict smoking within the boundaries of public parks. (Cook)

Concealed Weapons or Firearms in Courthouses (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 134 (Steube) creates a process by which concealed weapons licensees can temporarily surrender a firearm to security or management personnel upon arrival at a courthouse. The bill specifically defines courthouse as “a building in which trials and hearings are conducted on a regular basis,” and would preempt any local ordinance in conflict with this definition. If a building is used primarily for purposes other than the conduct of hearings, trials and housing judicial chambers, the definition only applies to the portion that is primarily used for hearings, trials and judicial chambers. (Cook) ...

Concealed Weapons or Firearms in Courthouses (Oppose – Preemption) SB 134 (Steube) creates a process by which concealed weapons licensees can temporarily surrender a firearm to security or management personnel upon arrival at a courthouse. The bill specifically defines courthouse as “a building in which trials and hearings are conducted on a regular basis,” and would preempt any local ordinance in conflict with this definition. If a building is used primarily for purposes other than the conduct of hearings, trials and housing judicial chambers, the definition only applies to the portion that is primarily used for hearings, trials and judicial chambers. (Cook)

Smoking Marijuana for Medical Use (Watch)

SB 726 (Farmer) amends current law to allow qualifying patients to smoke medical marijuana.  Current law prohibits doctors from prescribing “smokeable” medical marijuana. (Cook) ...

Smoking Marijuana for Medical Use (Watch) SB 726 (Farmer) amends current law to allow qualifying patients to smoke medical marijuana.  Current law prohibits doctors from prescribing “smokeable” medical marijuana. (Cook)

E911 Systems (Watch)

SB 190 (Steube) requires the Department of Management Services (DMS) to develop and implement a plan to require that emergency dispatchers be able to transfer an emergency call from one E911 system to another E911 system within the state. The bill requires DMS to have implemented the plan by January 1, 2019 and to establish a date by which all E911 systems must have this capability. (Cook) ...

E911 Systems (Watch) SB 190 (Steube) requires the Department of Management Services (DMS) to develop and implement a plan to require that emergency dispatchers be able to transfer an emergency call from one E911 system to another E911 system within the state. The bill requires DMS to have implemented the plan by January 1, 2019 and to establish a date by which all E911 systems must have this capability. (Cook)

Juvenile Civil Citation and Diversion Programs (Watch)

HB 489 (Pritchett) and SB 644 (Bracy) require counties and cities to create civil citation programs for juveniles alleged to have committed a violation that would be treated as a misdemeanor offense if committed by an adult. The bills allow an officer making contact with a juvenile who admits to commission of a second or third misdemeanor offense to issue a civil citation in lieu of arrest at the officer’s discretion. (Cook) ...

Juvenile Civil Citation and Diversion Programs (Watch) HB 489 (Pritchett) and SB 644 (Bracy) require counties and cities to create civil citation programs for juveniles alleged to have committed a violation that would be treated as a misdemeanor offense if committed by an adult. The bills allow an officer making contact with a juvenile who admits to commission of a second or third misdemeanor offense to issue a civil citation in lieu of arrest at the officer’s discretion. (Cook)

Training Exemption for Law Enforcement Officers (Watch)

HB 333 (Burgess) and SB 470 (Stargel) create an exemption from law enforcement basic recruit training for certain members of special operations forces who are seeking employment at a law enforcement agency. The bills specify that a person seeking the training exemption must have served for a minimum of five years in the special operations forces. The bills direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to adopt rules that establish criteria and procedures to determine if the applicant is exempt from the basic training requirements. (Cook) ...

Training Exemption for Law Enforcement Officers (Watch) HB 333 (Burgess) and SB 470 (Stargel) create an exemption from law enforcement basic recruit training for certain members of special operations forces who are seeking employment at a law enforcement agency. The bills specify that a person seeking the training exemption must have served for a minimum of five years in the special operations forces. The bills direct the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to adopt rules that establish criteria and procedures to determine if the applicant is exempt from the basic training requirements. (Cook)

Fireworks (Watch)

CS/SB 198 (Steube) amends current law to prohibit the sale of fireworks to any person under 18 years of age. The bill repeals the required testing and approval of sparklers by the Division of the State Fire Marshal and the registration of sparkler distributors, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The bill does not alter a city’s authority to adopt more stringent regulations than the state minimum standards for the supervised, public outdoor display of fireworks. The bill maintains permitting requirements for authorized fireworks dealers and limits the number of permits cities can issue to authorized fireworks dealers. Finally, the ...

Fireworks (Watch) CS/SB 198 (Steube) amends current law to prohibit the sale of fireworks to any person under 18 years of age. The bill repeals the required testing and approval of sparklers by the Division of the State Fire Marshal and the registration of sparkler distributors, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The bill does not alter a city’s authority to adopt more stringent regulations than the state minimum standards for the supervised, public outdoor display of fireworks. The bill maintains permitting requirements for authorized fireworks dealers and limits the number of permits cities can issue to authorized fireworks dealers. Finally, the bill authorizes the state fire marshal to adopt rules governing fireworks under Chapter 791, Florida Statutes.  (Cook)

Searches by Law Enforcement Officers (Watch)

HB 233 (Jones) and SB 262 (Farmer) prohibit a law enforcement officer from searching individuals or their property without first informing them of their lawful right to decline the search request, unless the law enforcement officer is carrying a valid search warrant or the search is based upon another legally sufficient justification. (Cook) ...

Searches by Law Enforcement Officers (Watch) HB 233 (Jones) and SB 262 (Farmer) prohibit a law enforcement officer from searching individuals or their property without first informing them of their lawful right to decline the search request, unless the law enforcement officer is carrying a valid search warrant or the search is based upon another legally sufficient justification. (Cook)

Law Enforcement Activities for Opioids in Small Counties (Watch)

HB 253 (Daniels) authorizes a $10 surcharge, collected by the clerk of the court, on a defendant’s bail if that person was charged with specified drug or alcohol-related offenses. The fee would be deposited in to the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund and be used to provide grants to law enforcement agencies in counties with a population of 50,000 or fewer to fund drug enforcement activities within those counties. (Cook) ...

Law Enforcement Activities for Opioids in Small Counties (Watch) HB 253 (Daniels) authorizes a $10 surcharge, collected by the clerk of the court, on a defendant’s bail if that person was charged with specified drug or alcohol-related offenses. The fee would be deposited in to the Department of Law Enforcement Operating Trust Fund and be used to provide grants to law enforcement agencies in counties with a population of 50,000 or fewer to fund drug enforcement activities within those counties. (Cook)

Law Enforcement Practices (Watch) 

HB 397 (Stark) and SB 592 (Bracy) require law enforcement officers who conduct a traffic stop and subsequently issue a traffic citation to note the race of the person to whom the citation is issued. The bills require law enforcement agencies to collect and submit this information to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). The bills require the DHSMV to submit a report to the governor, speaker of the House, and president of the Senate each year showing separate statewide totals for sheriffs offices, police departments, and state law enforcement agencies. The bills also add ...

Law Enforcement Practices (Watch)  HB 397 (Stark) and SB 592 (Bracy) require law enforcement officers who conduct a traffic stop and subsequently issue a traffic citation to note the race of the person to whom the citation is issued. The bills require law enforcement agencies to collect and submit this information to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). The bills require the DHSMV to submit a report to the governor, speaker of the House, and president of the Senate each year showing separate statewide totals for sheriffs offices, police departments, and state law enforcement agencies. The bills also add new language prohibiting racial profiling by law enforcement. (Cook)

Emergency Medical Services (Watch)

HB 285 (Pigman) and SB 488 (Grimsley) exempt, under specified conditions, a governmental entity that maintains a fire rescue infrastructure and provides first responders from needing a certificate of public convenience and necessity to provide advanced life support nontransport services. (Cook) ...

Emergency Medical Services (Watch) HB 285 (Pigman) and SB 488 (Grimsley) exempt, under specified conditions, a governmental entity that maintains a fire rescue infrastructure and provides first responders from needing a certificate of public convenience and necessity to provide advanced life support nontransport services. (Cook)

Texting While Driving (Watch)

SB 90 (Perry) and HB 121 (Slosberg) allows law enforcement officers to issue texting-while-driving citations as a primary action. SB 90 was amended to require police officers to inform drivers stopped for texting that they can decline searches of their devices. Under current law, these citations are authorized only as a secondary action when the driver is detained for a suspected violation of another incident. HB 121 also requires law enforcement agencies to adopt policies to prohibit racial profiling in the enforcement of the texting-while-driving prohibition. (Branch) ...

Texting While Driving (Watch) SB 90 (Perry) and HB 121 (Slosberg) allows law enforcement officers to issue texting-while-driving citations as a primary action. SB 90 was amended to require police officers to inform drivers stopped for texting that they can decline searches of their devices. Under current law, these citations are authorized only as a secondary action when the driver is detained for a suspected violation of another incident. HB 121 also requires law enforcement agencies to adopt policies to prohibit racial profiling in the enforcement of the texting-while-driving prohibition. (Branch)

Mental Health & Substance Abuse (Watch)

SB 202 (Steube) revises the duties of a law enforcement officer with respect to transporting a person for involuntary admission to a hospital or licensed facility. The law enforcement officer may detain the person for his or her own protection in an appropriate detention facility, including, but not limited to, a municipal or county jail, until the person can be transported to such facility. A person may not be held against his or her “will” by a law enforcement officer for more than 72 hours without being transported to a hospital or licensed facility. The 72-hour limit may ...

Mental Health & Substance Abuse (Watch) SB 202 (Steube) revises the duties of a law enforcement officer with respect to transporting a person for involuntary admission to a hospital or licensed facility. The law enforcement officer may detain the person for his or her own protection in an appropriate detention facility, including, but not limited to, a municipal or county jail, until the person can be transported to such facility. A person may not be held against his or her “will” by a law enforcement officer for more than 72 hours without being transported to a hospital or licensed facility. The 72-hour limit may be exceeded if a petition for involuntary assessment has been timely filed. (Branch)

Other Bills of Interest 

HB 55 (White) and SB 152 (Steube) - Sale of Firearms ...

Other Bills of Interest  HB 55 (White) and SB 152 (Steube) - Sale of Firearms SB 92 (Book) and HB 115 (Slosberg) - Children in Motor Vehicles  HB 125 (Payne) - Deaths Resulting from Drug Overdoses  SB 148 (Steube) - Weapons and Firearms  HB 165 (McClain) and SB 310 (Steube) – Threats to Kill or Do Bodily Injury SB 196 (Stewart) and HB 219 (Smith) - Gun Safety  HB 309 (Antone) and SB 394 (Bracy) - Fire Safety  SB 418 (Bracy) - Criminal Justice Data Collection  SB 556 (Stewart) – Emergency Medical Air Transportation Services HB 6013 (Byrd) – Return of Property

RETIREMENT & PENSION

Special Risk Class (Watch)

HB 379 (Willhite) and SB 606 (Stuebe) adds 911 public safety telecommunicators to the special risk class of the Florida Retirement System. The bills require that their retirement benefits be calculated with the provisions of the regular class members. (Hughes) ...

Special Risk Class (Watch) HB 379 (Willhite) and SB 606 (Stuebe) adds 911 public safety telecommunicators to the special risk class of the Florida Retirement System. The bills require that their retirement benefits be calculated with the provisions of the regular class members. (Hughes)

Florida Retirement System (Watch) 

SB 722 (Garcia) and HB 665 (Clemons) specify the minimum amount of the factor used to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment of benefits for a retiree or a beneficiary of the Florida Retirement System retiring on or after July 1, 2011, with service credit earned before July 1, 2011. The bills state the factor calculated may not be a product of less than two. (Hughes)  ...

Florida Retirement System (Watch)  SB 722 (Garcia) and HB 665 (Clemons) specify the minimum amount of the factor used to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment of benefits for a retiree or a beneficiary of the Florida Retirement System retiring on or after July 1, 2011, with service credit earned before July 1, 2011. The bills state the factor calculated may not be a product of less than two. (Hughes)

Other Bills of Interest 

HB 615 (Raschein)- Florida Retirement System Special Risk Class: Pilots and Registered Nurses ...

Other Bills of Interest  HB 615 (Raschein)- Florida Retirement System Special Risk Class: Pilots and Registered Nurses HB 493 (Diaz)- Florida Retirement System Special Risk: Florida State Hospital Employees SB 406 (Stuebe) and HB 251 (Clemons, C.)- Reemployment After Retirement

TORT LIABILITY

Duty to Provide Emergency Assistance (Watch) 

SB 516 (Mayfield) requires a person at the scene of an emergency to render aid to an endangered person who is in imminent danger, in certain circumstances. The bill establishes a criminal penalty for those who do not render aid. The bill also provides immunity from liability for individuals who provide reasonable assistance. (Cruz) ...

Duty to Provide Emergency Assistance (Watch)  SB 516 (Mayfield) requires a person at the scene of an emergency to render aid to an endangered person who is in imminent danger, in certain circumstances. The bill establishes a criminal penalty for those who do not render aid. The bill also provides immunity from liability for individuals who provide reasonable assistance. (Cruz)

Liens on Property (Support)

SB 904 (Powell) and HB 599 (Altman) provide that liens placed on property after a final judgment of foreclosure but prior to judicial sale are not discharged by Florida’s lis pendens statute. In some instances, years can pass between a final judgment of foreclosure on a property and the time property is sold in a judicial sale. During this period, cities are often faced with placing code enforcement liens on the property while it sits vacant, waiting to be sold. This legislation would clarify that a city could place liens on the property for code violations that occurred ...

Liens on Property (Support) SB 904 (Powell) and HB 599 (Altman) provide that liens placed on property after a final judgment of foreclosure but prior to judicial sale are not discharged by Florida’s lis pendens statute. In some instances, years can pass between a final judgment of foreclosure on a property and the time property is sold in a judicial sale. During this period, cities are often faced with placing code enforcement liens on the property while it sits vacant, waiting to be sold. This legislation would clarify that a city could place liens on the property for code violations that occurred between the final judgment and foreclosure sale. (Cruz)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 66 (Rouson) - Prohibited Discrimination ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 66 (Rouson) - Prohibited Discrimination HB 137 (Gonzalez) - Federal and State Court Rulings SB 698 (Book) - Prohibited Discrimination SB 804 (Passidomo) and HB 631 (Edwards) Possession of Real Property

TRANSPORTATION

Drones (Support) 

HB 624 (Young) and HB 471 (Yarborough) allow police departments to use drones to gather the collection of evidence at a crime or traffic crash scene. Use of drones for this purpose is prohibited under current law. The bill also prohibits a person from operating a drone over a “fixed-site facility.” A “fixed-site facility” is defined as a property enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is designed to excluded intruders or is marked with signs indicating entry is forbidden, such as a state correctional institution and county detention facility. (Branch)  ...

Drones (Support)  HB 624 (Young) and HB 471 (Yarborough) allow police departments to use drones to gather the collection of evidence at a crime or traffic crash scene. Use of drones for this purpose is prohibited under current law. The bill also prohibits a person from operating a drone over a “fixed-site facility.” A “fixed-site facility” is defined as a property enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is designed to excluded intruders or is marked with signs indicating entry is forbidden, such as a state correctional institution and county detention facility. (Branch)

Red Light Cameras (Oppose – Preemption) 

HB 6001 (Avila), SB 548 (Campbell) and SB 176 (Hutson) preempt the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, counties and municipalities from installing and maintaining red light cameras. The Revenue Estimating Conference met on September 22, 2017, and estimated that the bills have a recurring annual impact of $76.8 million to local government revenues. (Branch) ...

Red Light Cameras (Oppose – Preemption)  HB 6001 (Avila), SB 548 (Campbell) and SB 176 (Hutson) preempt the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, counties and municipalities from installing and maintaining red light cameras. The Revenue Estimating Conference met on September 22, 2017, and estimated that the bills have a recurring annual impact of $76.8 million to local government revenues. (Branch)

Operation of Vehicles (Watch)

SB 116 (Baxley) and HB 117 (Stone) include authorized emergency, sanitation, utility service worker and wrecker operator in the definition of “vulnerable road user” as defined in section 316.027, Florida Statutes. The bills also require drivers to reduce their speed and/or vacate the lane closest to the worker when possible. (Branch) ...

Operation of Vehicles (Watch) SB 116 (Baxley) and HB 117 (Stone) include authorized emergency, sanitation, utility service worker and wrecker operator in the definition of “vulnerable road user” as defined in section 316.027, Florida Statutes. The bills also require drivers to reduce their speed and/or vacate the lane closest to the worker when possible. (Branch)

Exemptions from Toll Payment (Watch)

SB 336 (Grimsley), SB 356 (Young) and HB 141 (Harrison) exempt a law enforcement officer operating an official vehicle (marked or unmarked) on law enforcement business from paying the toll at a toll facility. Under current law, only a marked official vehicle is exempt from paying a toll.  ...

Exemptions from Toll Payment (Watch) SB 336 (Grimsley), SB 356 (Young) and HB 141 (Harrison) exempt a law enforcement officer operating an official vehicle (marked or unmarked) on law enforcement business from paying the toll at a toll facility. Under current law, only a marked official vehicle is exempt from paying a toll.  SB 818 (Powell) and HB 649 (McGhee) are similar to SB 336, but these bills also exempt a person operating a motor vehicle from paying any toll at a facility located in a county subject to a mandatory evacuation order during a state of emergency declared by the governor until the evacuation order is lifted. (Branch)

Autonomous Vehicle (Watch)

HB 353 (Fischer) and SB 712 (Brandes) would allow a person to operate an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode on all roads in this state, without requiring the person to be physically present in the vehicle. The bill specifies that autonomous vehicles registered in Florida must meet federal applicable standards and regulations, regardless of whether a human operator is physically present in the vehicle.  ...

Autonomous Vehicle (Watch) HB 353 (Fischer) and SB 712 (Brandes) would allow a person to operate an autonomous vehicle in autonomous mode on all roads in this state, without requiring the person to be physically present in the vehicle. The bill specifies that autonomous vehicles registered in Florida must meet federal applicable standards and regulations, regardless of whether a human operator is physically present in the vehicle.  In addition, the bill requires the vehicle is to have a safety system to alert the driver when autonomous technology failure is detected while in autonomous mode. When the alert is given, the system must be capable of bringing the vehicle to a complete stop or allow the driver to regain control. The bill also specifies requirements for reporting vehicle accidents. (Branch)

Electric Vehicles (Watch) 

HB 384 (Brandes) requires the Florida Transportation Commission (FTC) to prepare for the governor and the Legislature a report listing all sources of revenue for transportation infrastructure and maintenance projects when the commission determines that electric vehicles make up 2 percent or more of the total number of vehicles registered in the state. ...

Electric Vehicles (Watch)  HB 384 (Brandes) requires the Florida Transportation Commission (FTC) to prepare for the governor and the Legislature a report listing all sources of revenue for transportation infrastructure and maintenance projects when the commission determines that electric vehicles make up 2 percent or more of the total number of vehicles registered in the state. The report should assess the effect of projected electric vehicle use in this state on future revenue from existing taxes, fees and surcharges related to nonelectric, automobiles, trucks, etc. In addition, in consultation with the Division of Emergency Management (DEM), the report should also assess transportation infrastructure with respect to emergency evacuations and electric vehicles, including the availability of electric vehicle charging stations. This bill requires each metropolitan planning organization to consider infrastructure and technological improvements necessary to accommodate the increased use of autonomous technology and electric vehicles. (Branch)

Airports and Seaports During a State of Emergency (Watch) 

HB 415 (Jenne) exempts an owner of a motor vehicle from certain charges or penalties for parking the vehicle at an airport or seaport located in an area that has been declared a state of emergency. The exemption would remain in effect until the state of emergency was terminated. (Branch)  ...

Airports and Seaports During a State of Emergency (Watch)  HB 415 (Jenne) exempts an owner of a motor vehicle from certain charges or penalties for parking the vehicle at an airport or seaport located in an area that has been declared a state of emergency. The exemption would remain in effect until the state of emergency was terminated. (Branch)

High-speed Passenger Rail (Watch) 

HB 572 (Mayfield) and HB 525 (Grall) provide guidelines for the creation of safe and cost-effective transportation options for residents and visitors of this state, including a high-speed rail system. The bills also enhance the safety requirements of high-speed passenger rail in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. In addition, HB 572 requires the Florida Division of Emergency Management to offer training to local emergency officials on responding to an accident involving rail passengers or hazardous materials. (Branch)  ...

High-speed Passenger Rail (Watch)  HB 572 (Mayfield) and HB 525 (Grall) provide guidelines for the creation of safe and cost-effective transportation options for residents and visitors of this state, including a high-speed rail system. The bills also enhance the safety requirements of high-speed passenger rail in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. In addition, HB 572 requires the Florida Division of Emergency Management to offer training to local emergency officials on responding to an accident involving rail passengers or hazardous materials. (Branch)

Smart City Grant Program (Watch) 

HB 633 (Fischer) and SB 852 (Brandes) create a Florida Smart City Grant Program within the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The purpose of this program is to provide incentives for municipalities and other regions of the state to develop innovative smart mobility solutions to local transportation challenges. The bills require FDOT to issue a request for proposals for the grant awards and submit a quarterly report to the Legislature. Finally, the bills authorize FDOT to award a Florida Smart City Challenge Grant to maximum of three recipients. Each award may not exceed $6 million. (Branch)  ...

Smart City Grant Program (Watch)  HB 633 (Fischer) and SB 852 (Brandes) create a Florida Smart City Grant Program within the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The purpose of this program is to provide incentives for municipalities and other regions of the state to develop innovative smart mobility solutions to local transportation challenges. The bills require FDOT to issue a request for proposals for the grant awards and submit a quarterly report to the Legislature. Finally, the bills authorize FDOT to award a Florida Smart City Challenge Grant to maximum of three recipients. Each award may not exceed $6 million. (Branch)

UTILITIES & ENVIRONMENT

Coastal Management (Support)

SB 174 (Latvala) and HB 131 (Peters) revise criteria considered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in determining annual funding priorities for beach nourishment and inlet management projects, including the use of weighted tiers for such criteria. The bills require DEP to maintain active project lists, updated quarterly, to provide greater transparency and accountability, and also include provisions for improving sand management at inlets. In addition, the bills direct DEP to include in its comprehensive long-term management plan a strategic beach management plan, a critically eroded beaches report, and a statewide long-range budget plan (to include a ...

Coastal Management (Support) SB 174 (Latvala) and HB 131 (Peters) revise criteria considered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in determining annual funding priorities for beach nourishment and inlet management projects, including the use of weighted tiers for such criteria. The bills require DEP to maintain active project lists, updated quarterly, to provide greater transparency and accountability, and also include provisions for improving sand management at inlets. In addition, the bills direct DEP to include in its comprehensive long-term management plan a strategic beach management plan, a critically eroded beaches report, and a statewide long-range budget plan (to include a three-year work plan for beach and inlet projects). Last, the bills direct an annual appropriation of the lesser of 7.6 percent or $50 million from the state Land Acquisition Trust Fund for beach and inlet projects. (O’Hara)

Land Acquisition Trust Fund (Support)

SB 370 (Bradley) directs an annual appropriation of $100 million to the Florida Forever Trust Fund from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. (O’Hara) ...

Land Acquisition Trust Fund (Support) SB 370 (Bradley) directs an annual appropriation of $100 million to the Florida Forever Trust Fund from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. (O’Hara)

Wastewater Utilities (Support)

SB 244 (Brandes) provides incentives for wastewater utilities to follow industry best practices, improve their infrastructure and prevent sanitary sewer overflows and unauthorized discharge of pathogens. The bill creates a voluntary incentive program for utilities to apply for and receive certification pursuant to standards created by the Environmental Regulation Commission. Specified incentives include permit extensions, a presumption of compliance with water quality standards for pathogens and a reduction in certain penalties. (O’Hara) ...

Wastewater Utilities (Support) SB 244 (Brandes) provides incentives for wastewater utilities to follow industry best practices, improve their infrastructure and prevent sanitary sewer overflows and unauthorized discharge of pathogens. The bill creates a voluntary incentive program for utilities to apply for and receive certification pursuant to standards created by the Environmental Regulation Commission. Specified incentives include permit extensions, a presumption of compliance with water quality standards for pathogens and a reduction in certain penalties. (O’Hara)

Disposable Plastic Bags (Support)

SB 348 (J. Rodriguez) authorizes coastal municipalities with a population less than 100,000 to establish a pilot program to regulate or ban disposal plastic bags. (O’Hara) ...

Disposable Plastic Bags (Support) SB 348 (J. Rodriguez) authorizes coastal municipalities with a population less than 100,000 to establish a pilot program to regulate or ban disposal plastic bags. (O’Hara)

Fracking Ban (Support)

HB 237 (Peters) and SB 462 (Young) prohibit advanced well stimulation treatment in the state, and provide that a permit for drilling or operating a well does not authorize the performance of advance well stimulation treatments.  (O’Hara) ...

Fracking Ban (Support) HB 237 (Peters) and SB 462 (Young) prohibit advanced well stimulation treatment in the state, and provide that a permit for drilling or operating a well does not authorize the performance of advance well stimulation treatments.  (O’Hara)

Offshore Drilling in Gulf of Mexico (Support)

SB 550 (Broxson) and HB 319 (Ponder) are legislative resolutions requesting extension of the current federal moratorium on oil drilling east of the Military Mission Line in the Gulf of Mexico. The resolutions state that the extension of the moratorium would support military training operations that require unconstrained access to the Gulf of Mexico, and that drilling east of the Military Mission Line could result in loss of range areas and possible relocation of aircraft and bases to other areas. (O’Hara) ...

Offshore Drilling in Gulf of Mexico (Support) SB 550 (Broxson) and HB 319 (Ponder) are legislative resolutions requesting extension of the current federal moratorium on oil drilling east of the Military Mission Line in the Gulf of Mexico. The resolutions state that the extension of the moratorium would support military training operations that require unconstrained access to the Gulf of Mexico, and that drilling east of the Military Mission Line could result in loss of range areas and possible relocation of aircraft and bases to other areas. (O’Hara)

Utility Work Exemption from Development/Transmission Line Siting (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 494 (Lee, T.) and HB 405 (Williamson) amend the exemptions from current law “development” and revises statutory provisions applicable to transmission line and power plant siting.  "Development,” as defined in state law, must comply with various state and local regulations, including local government comprehensive plans and development permits. There are various exemptions from the statutory definition of development, including an exemption for work by any utility engaged in transmission and distribution on established rights of way to construct pipes, cables, power lines, poles, etc. The bills specify this exemption also applies to rights of way and corridors ...

Utility Work Exemption from Development/Transmission Line Siting (Oppose – Preemption) SB 494 (Lee, T.) and HB 405 (Williamson) amend the exemptions from current law “development” and revises statutory provisions applicable to transmission line and power plant siting.  "Development,” as defined in state law, must comply with various state and local regulations, including local government comprehensive plans and development permits. There are various exemptions from the statutory definition of development, including an exemption for work by any utility engaged in transmission and distribution on established rights of way to construct pipes, cables, power lines, poles, etc. The bills specify this exemption also applies to rights of way and corridors yet to be established, and to the creation of distribution and transmission line corridors. The bills also specify the standard to be used in authorizing variances in a site certification under the Power Plant Siting Act and Transmission Line Siting Act.  Finally, the bills provide that the Siting Acts cannot affect the Public Service Commission’s exclusive jurisdiction to require transmission lines to be located underground. (O’Hara)

Tree Trimming & Removal (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 574 (Steube) and HB 521 (Edwards) preempt to the state the trimming, removal or harvesting of trees and timber on private property, and prohibit local governments from restricting these activities on private property. The bills also prohibit local governments from imposing mitigation requirements (including fees or tree planting) for the removal or harvesting of trees. Lastly, the bills prohibit a local government from prohibiting the burial of trees or vegetative debris on properties larger than 2.5 acres. (O’Hara) ...

Tree Trimming & Removal (Oppose – Preemption) SB 574 (Steube) and HB 521 (Edwards) preempt to the state the trimming, removal or harvesting of trees and timber on private property, and prohibit local governments from restricting these activities on private property. The bills also prohibit local governments from imposing mitigation requirements (including fees or tree planting) for the removal or harvesting of trees. Lastly, the bills prohibit a local government from prohibiting the burial of trees or vegetative debris on properties larger than 2.5 acres. (O’Hara)

Flood Hazard Mitigation/Florida Communities Trust (Watch)

SB 158 (Brandes) revises the permissible projects that may be funded by the Florida Communities Trust (FCT) to include flood mitigation projects. The bill specifies the purpose of such projects is to improve a community’s classification under the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System and to assist local governments in implementing flood risk- reduction policies and projects consistent with their comprehensive plan, an approved local hazard mitigation plan or an adaptation action plan. The bill directs that funds for flood mitigation projects must be identified specifically and separately from total funds appropriated to the FCT. The maximum ...

Flood Hazard Mitigation/Florida Communities Trust (Watch) SB 158 (Brandes) revises the permissible projects that may be funded by the Florida Communities Trust (FCT) to include flood mitigation projects. The bill specifies the purpose of such projects is to improve a community’s classification under the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System and to assist local governments in implementing flood risk- reduction policies and projects consistent with their comprehensive plan, an approved local hazard mitigation plan or an adaptation action plan. The bill directs that funds for flood mitigation projects must be identified specifically and separately from total funds appropriated to the FCT. The maximum annual grant award to an applicant is limited to $5 million. The bill directs the Department of Environmental Protection to develop rules for grant applications, a prioritized ranking system for project awards and project reporting by applicants. (O’Hara)

Land Acquisition Trust Fund - SJR (Watch)

SB 204 (Bradley) directs an annual appropriation of $50 million to the St. Johns River Water Management District for projects dedicated to the restoration of the St. Johns River and the Keystone Heights Lake Region. The bill also increases the annual appropriation for springs restoration from $50 million to $75 million. (O’Hara) ...

Land Acquisition Trust Fund - SJR (Watch) SB 204 (Bradley) directs an annual appropriation of $50 million to the St. Johns River Water Management District for projects dedicated to the restoration of the St. Johns River and the Keystone Heights Lake Region. The bill also increases the annual appropriation for springs restoration from $50 million to $75 million. (O’Hara)

Land Acquisition Trust Fund - IRL (Watch)

SB 786 (Mayfield) and HB 339 (Harrell) would direct an annual appropriation of $50 million for projects dedicated to the conservation and management of the Indian River Lagoon, including grants for projects that implement the updated Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. The bills specify that grants for sewer system connection projects require a minimum 50 percent local match. (O’Hara) ...

Land Acquisition Trust Fund - IRL (Watch) SB 786 (Mayfield) and HB 339 (Harrell) would direct an annual appropriation of $50 million for projects dedicated to the conservation and management of the Indian River Lagoon, including grants for projects that implement the updated Indian River Lagoon Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. The bills specify that grants for sewer system connection projects require a minimum 50 percent local match. (O’Hara)

Public Utilities/Solar Producers (Watch)

SB 292 (Rodriguez, J.) exempts certain entities from the definition of “public utility” when such entity provides or sells renewable solar energy to users located on the site of a renewable energy production facility with a capacity of 2.5 megawatts or less. (O’Hara) ...

Public Utilities/Solar Producers (Watch) SB 292 (Rodriguez, J.) exempts certain entities from the definition of “public utility” when such entity provides or sells renewable solar energy to users located on the site of a renewable energy production facility with a capacity of 2.5 megawatts or less. (O’Hara)

Public Utility Environmental Remediation Costs (Watch)

SB 656 (Rodriguez, J.) allows a municipality to request a hearing by the Public Service Commission to determine whether a utility acted prudently in events causing environmental damage or acted prudently to remedy the damage. If such a request is made, any proceedings on cost recovery for the utility resulting from the remediation of environmental damage are stayed until the commission determines the prudence of the utility’s actions. If the commission finds the utility failed to act prudently, the bill prohibits cost recovery by the utility for the environmental remediation. (O’Hara) ...

Public Utility Environmental Remediation Costs (Watch) SB 656 (Rodriguez, J.) allows a municipality to request a hearing by the Public Service Commission to determine whether a utility acted prudently in events causing environmental damage or acted prudently to remedy the damage. If such a request is made, any proceedings on cost recovery for the utility resulting from the remediation of environmental damage are stayed until the commission determines the prudence of the utility’s actions. If the commission finds the utility failed to act prudently, the bill prohibits cost recovery by the utility for the environmental remediation. (O’Hara)

Public Records/Local Government Electric Utilities (Watch)

SB 7008 (Communications, Energy & Public Utilities Committee) deletes the sunset date of an existing exemption from the public records law for proprietary confidential business information held by a local government electric utility.  (O’Hara) ...

Public Records/Local Government Electric Utilities (Watch) SB 7008 (Communications, Energy & Public Utilities Committee) deletes the sunset date of an existing exemption from the public records law for proprietary confidential business information held by a local government electric utility.  (O’Hara)

Environmental Regulation Commission (Watch)

SB 316 (Stewart) and HB 203 (Willhite) require the governor to make appointments to the Environmental Regulation Commission (ERC), subject to Senate confirmation, within 90 days of a vacancy. The bills require a majority of four votes for any ERC approval or modification of a proposed rule pertaining to air quality standards or water quality standards. (O’Hara) ...

Environmental Regulation Commission (Watch) SB 316 (Stewart) and HB 203 (Willhite) require the governor to make appointments to the Environmental Regulation Commission (ERC), subject to Senate confirmation, within 90 days of a vacancy. The bills require a majority of four votes for any ERC approval or modification of a proposed rule pertaining to air quality standards or water quality standards. (O’Hara)

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Watch)

SB 740 (Stargel) and HB 553 (Raburn) are lengthy bills that address the various duties and authority of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  The bills are of little interest to municipalities except for one provision that preempts the regulation of “seed” to the Department. The preemption relates to matters already regulated by the Department and does not appear affect municipal interests.  (O’Hara) ...

Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (Watch) SB 740 (Stargel) and HB 553 (Raburn) are lengthy bills that address the various duties and authority of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.  The bills are of little interest to municipalities except for one provision that preempts the regulation of “seed” to the Department. The preemption relates to matters already regulated by the Department and does not appear affect municipal interests.  (O’Hara)

St. Lucie River Watershed Pollutant Control Program (Watch)

HB 641 (Lee Jr.) provides that county ordinances that regulate transportation, composting or land application of sewage within the St. Lucie Watershed are not duplicative regulations.  ...

St. Lucie River Watershed Pollutant Control Program (Watch) HB 641 (Lee Jr.) provides that county ordinances that regulate transportation, composting or land application of sewage within the St. Lucie Watershed are not duplicative regulations.

Little Wekiva River (Watch)

SB 464 (Bracy) would appropriate $ 5 million annually, and $15 million for FY 2017-18, from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for projects that benefit the Little Wekiva River.  (O’Hara) ...

Little Wekiva River (Watch) SB 464 (Bracy) would appropriate $ 5 million annually, and $15 million for FY 2017-18, from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for projects that benefit the Little Wekiva River.  (O’Hara)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 156 (Stewart) and HB 559 (Olszewski) - Relating to Black Bears ...

Other Bills of Interest  SB 156 (Stewart) and HB 559 (Olszewski) - Relating to Black Bears SB 232 (Book) and HB 53 (Jacobs) - Relating to Coral Reefs SB 388 (Farmer) - Relating to Anchoring Limitation Areas SB 626 (Rodriguez) - Public Electric Utility Rates SB 664 (Young) and HB 469 (Harrison) - Salvage of Pleasure Vessels SB 670 (Bradley) - Ratification of Rules of St. Johns River Water Mgmt District SB 716 (Rodriguez, J.) - Nuclear Cost Recovery SB 806 (Baxley) and HB 705 (Burgess) – Water Management District (WMD) Surplus Lands Disposal SB 808 (Baxley) and HB 703 (Burgess) – Public Records Exemption linked to SB 806

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