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Bill Summary Details

Statewide Flooding and Sea-level Rise Resilience (Support)

CS/CS/SB 1954 (Rodrigues) and CS/HB 7019 (Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee) establish the Resilient Florida Grant Program within the Department of Environmental Protection, subject to appropriation, to provide grants to local governments to fund the costs of community resilience planning and vulnerability assessments. The bills specify criteria and qualifications for grant applications under the program. The bills require a 50% match for grant funding, but CS/HB 7019 provides exceptions for certain fiscally constrained cities and counties.  The bills direct the Department to develop, by July 2022, a comprehensive statewide flood vulnerability and sea level rise dataset sufficient to conduct a statewide flood vulnerability and sea level rise assessment. The bills direct the Department to complete the statewide vulnerability assessment by July 2023 and use the state data set and incorporating local and regional analyses of vulnerabilities and risks. The Department must update the data set and assessment every three years. The bills direct the Department to develop, by December 2021, a Statewide Flooding and Sea-Level Rise Resilience Plan on a three-year planning horizon. The Plan must consist of ranked projects that address risks to coastal and inland communities and the total amount of funding proposed in the Plan may not exceed $100 million. The bills specify information and eligibility requirements for projects listed in the Plan. The bills require water management districts, by September 2021, to submit a list of proposed projects that address risks of flooding and sea level rise for inclusion in the Department’s Plan, which may include projects submitted by local governments. Projects in the water management districts’ submissions must have a minimum 50% cost share and be ranked according to a scoring system. The bills encourage local governments to participate in regional resilience coalitions for planning and coordinating intergovernmental solutions to address flooding and sea-level rise and authorize the Department to provide funding to such coalitions when funds are specifically appropriated. The bills establish the Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research and Innovation within the University of South Florida to coordinate efforts between academic and research institutions in the state. The bills also require the Office of Economic and Demographic Research to include information relating to inland and coastal flood control in its annual assessment of expenditures and funding needs including an analysis of any gap between estimated revenues and projected expenditures. CS/CS/SB 1954 was substituted for CS/HB 7019. CS/CS/SB 1954 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor.   (O’Hara)