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Bill Summary Details

Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety (Watch)

CS/HB 1095 (Fitizenhagen) and SB 1464 (Flores) provide for noncriminal infractions relating to the transportation of certain hazardous materials regulated by the United States Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and authorize the state fire marshal or fire chief of the county in which the infraction occurs to issue a citation to any excavator or member operator who commits such infraction. CS/HB 1095 was amended to include municipal fire chiefs within this grant of authority to issue citations (current law authorizes citations to also be issued by any local or state law enforcement operator, code inspector or code enforcement officer). The bills provide for enhanced civil penalties and provide that if the citation is issued by one of the locally specified officers, the civil penalty collected by the clerk of court shall be distributed to the government entity of the employee issuing the citation. The bills specify that certain incident reports relating to the excavation of underground utilities must be submitted to the state fire marshal and specified local officers and authorize the fire marshal and local officers to issue citations and civil penalties. The bills remove provisions relating to the Division of Administrative Hearings of certain incidents relating to underground facility excavation. The bills create an underground facility damage prevention review panel under the state fire marshal to review complaints of alleged violations of the Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act to identify issues with damage prevention and enforcement. The panel is directed to determine if any statutory changes are needed to make pipes or facilities that transport hazardous materials safer and more resilient. The bills direct that panel members be appointed by Sunshine State One-Call of Florida and specify membership requirements of the panel. (O’Hara)