Vacation Rentals
HB 307
(Rep. Hutson) and SB 356 (Sen.Thrasher)

  • Summary:    Removes a preemption placed on local governments in 2011 that currently prevents cities and counties from regulating vacation rentals.  A vacation rental is defined as a home that is rented more than 3 times in a calendar year for periods of less than 30 days.
  • Status: SB 356 passed its first committee of reference and is scheduled to be heard in Senate Community Affairs on February 4.  HB 307 is also scheduled for hearing February 4.
  • Outlook:  While the bill passed its first committee in the House, both Republican and Democratic members expressed concerns over the bill and its on private property rights.  The bill sponsor committed to working on language that address property rights before the bill’s next committee stop. In contrast, SB 356 is now on second reading.

Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs)
SB 372 (Sen. Galvano) and HB 241 (Rep. Gaetz)

  • Summary:  SB 372 expands the number of counties that qualify as Dense Urban Land Areas, which exempts developments from the DRI review process.  Seven additional counties qualify as DULAs under the bill. The counties are: Brevard, Escambia, Lee, Manatee, Pasco, Sarasota, and Volusia.  In contrast, HB 241 actually eliminates the DULA definition for counties but retains it for cities. 
  • Status: SB 372 passed Senate Community Affairs unanimously and passed Senate TED on Feb 19 with one dissenting vote.
  • Outlook:  The Senate bill has two more committee stops (Appropriations and Rules) and FAC anticipates the bill passing the Senate

Transportation
HB 7005 (Rep. Artiles) and SB 7012 (Committee Bill –  Sen. Brandes Chair)

  • Summary: House bill is a revisit of last year’s transportation package.  Of significance to counties, HB 7005 prohibits counties and cities from installing red light cameras after June 2014.  It also reduces the citation from $158 to $83. It allows a local government by majority vote to increase the citation amount to cover administrative costs and any contractual commitments with camera vendors. SB 7012 includes various provisions for the Florida Department of Transportation and has few issues affecting counties directly.  The Senate bill does not include the red light camera provisions. It should be noted that SB 7012 does not represent the Senate’s primary transportation package. FAC anticipates a broader committee bill by Week 2 or 3.
  • Status: The bill has been referenced to House Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development.  For Friday, March7, the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) is scheduled to review the impact of a proposed amendment that would require local governments use 70% of any revenues in excess of $83.
  • Outlook:  Rep. Artiles has recently signaled that his camera repeal bill (HB 4009) will not move this year. He also indicated that there is strong interest to implement some of the recommendations of a recent OPPAGA study and then essentially have the legislature not address the issue for four years.  Rep. Artiles stated that there is an informal “agreement” among the current Speaker and the next two speaker designees to address the issue this year and not bring it up during the next 4 sessions.  

Red Light Cameras
SB 144 (Sen. Brandes) and HB 4009 (Rep. Artiles)

  • Summary: Repeals statutory authority for local governments to use red light cameras
  • Status: Senate has 3 committee references and has not been heard; the House bill has 2.
  • Outlook:  House will have two vehicles to address issue. Anticipate the compromise language in the transportation bill to move forward. Anticipate resistance in the Senate.
Transportation Concurrency

HB 7023 (Rep. Trujillo)

  • Summary:   Prohibits local governments from applying transportation concurrency, transportation concurrency impact fees, and transportation proportionate share for three years, beginning July 1, 2014.  The prohibition only applies to non-residential development of 6,000 SF and below.  A county may, however, apply any of the measures by simply majority vote. Bill also includes economic development provisions.
  • Status:  Introduced as a PCB. Passed first committee. Additional committee assignments pending.
  • Outlook:  Strong.  Similar bill passed last year with minimal opposition.  Currently, there is no Senate companion. HB 7023 passed the House Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee on March 6 and will be heard next in the Economic Affairs Committee.
Development Exactions

HB 1077 (Rep. Perry) and SB 1310 (Sen. Evers)

  • Summary:     Bill creates a new section of law that has the effect of eliminating the rational nexus test associated with the legal basis of impact fees
  • Status:  Bills have been referred to committees. Not on agendas.
  • Outlook:  Unknown.
Comprehensive Plan

HB 395 (Rep. Perry) and SB 1314 (Sen. Evers)

  • Summary:  Bill requires local governments to include a Property Rights Element in their comprehensive plans that set for the standards to guide local government’s decisions on plan amendments and development order and their impact on private property rights.
  • Status:  Bills have been referred to committees. Not on agendas.
  • Outlook:  Unknown
Flood Insurance

HB 879 (Rep. Hooper)

  • Summary:   HB 879 creates laws governing the sale of insurance policies, contracts, or endorsements providing flood coverage. It also creates a “Standard” policy and a “Preferred” policy.  Under the standard policy, coverage is identical to the NFIP. In contrast, the preferred policy provides additional coverage than the standard NFIP in three areas: the definition of “flood,” additional living expenses, and replacement cost for personal property. The preferred policy also has an expanded definition of “flood” so that losses from water intrusion originating outside a structure that are not considered a flood loss under a standard flood policy under the NFIP are considered a covered loss.  Additional living expenses are also required to be covered under the preferred policy created by HB 879. These expenses are not covered under an NFIP standard flood policy. Finally, the preferred flood policy pays replacement cost for personal property or contents losses caused by a flood, whereas a standard flood policy under the NFIP pays only actual cash value for such losses
  • Status:  The bill passed unanimously out of the House Insurance and Banking Committee on March 6.  It will be heard next in the House Government Operations Subcommittee.  Outlook: Similar to Senate.  A lot of interest in creating more options to reduce flood insurance rates.   Members continue to focus on whether proposal will actually create lower rates.   
Flood Insurance

SB 542 (Sen. Brandes) and HB 581 (Rep. Ahern)

  • Summary: Creates laws governing the sale of private flood insurance policies, contracts and endorsements by authorized insurers. The bill requires insurers that write flood coverage to provide coverage for “flood” as currently defined by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The bill also permits insurers to expand flood coverage to include water intrusion originating from outside the structure
  • Status:  SB 542 passed its first two committees but questions have arisen regarding which companies – namely, surplus lines – will be regulated by OIR and how much actual coverage can and should be provided.  The bill passed its last committee of reference (Appropriations) on February 20. However, because the bill has had substantive revisions since it was originally heard in the Banking and Insurance Committee, SB 542 has been re-referenced to that Committee at the request of Senator Latvala.
  • Outlook: Fairly good in the Senate if those issues can be adequately addressed.  The House position is unclear 

Springs Revival Act
HB 49 (Rep. Stewart) and SB 76 (Sen. Soto)

  • Summary:  Requiring water management districts to identify certain springs, develop certain plans, and submit certain reports to the Governor and the Legislature; authorizing the districts to adopt rules and issue order.
  • Status:

08/27/13     SENATE Referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Community Affairs; Appropriations; Rules

10/07/13   HOUSE Referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Rulemaking Oversight & Repeal Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee 

10/07/13   HOUSE Now in Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee

•   Outlook:  Unknown – although facing longer odds as session continues without a committee hearing the bill.

Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act
HB 71 (Rep. Rodriguez)  

  • Summary:  Creates "Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act"; directs DEP to establish online hydraulic fracturing chemical registry; requires service providers, vendors, & owners or operators of wells on which hydraulic fracturing treatments are performed to disclose certain information; provides exceptions; authorizes DEP to adopt rules.
  • Status:

10/07/13  HOUSE Referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

01/14/14  HOUSE Favorable with CS by Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; 8 Yeas, 4 Nays

01/22/14  HOUSE Committee Substitute Text (C1) Filed

02/11/14   HOUSE On Agenda of Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, Meeting cancelled.

 •   Outlook:   Unlikely – There is no Senate companion as of yet, and considerable opposition. 

Note: A related bill filed in the House by Rep. Rodrigues (HB 157) provides an exemption from public records requirements for “trade secrets” contained within hydraulic fracturing operations.  The bill was referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Government Operations Subcommittee; and the State Affairs Committee.  It passed out of ANR (by a vote of 8-4) and is now in the Government Operations Subcommittee. 

Agricultural Lands  

HB 575 (Rep. Albritton) and SB 312 (Sen. Simpson)

  • Summary:  Providing that participation in certain dispersed water storage programs does not change a land’s agricultural classification for assessment purposes; redefining the term “agricultural production” to include storage; expanding the exemption for certain farm equipment from the sales and use tax imposed under ch. 212, F.S., to include repairs of such equipment and trailers that are used for certain purposes. Amendment adopted on the House bill includes a process by which the property appraiser may grant an agricultural classification even if the application was not timely filed.  The amendment also provides for a tax exemption on the sales price below $20,000 of a trailer weighing 12,000 pounds or less, and stakes used by a farmer to support plants, used in agricultural production.  The amendment also provides for the establishment of baseline conditions including the extent of wetlands and other surface waters upon implementation of DACS best management practices. 
  • Status:

11/07/13  SENATE Referred to Agriculture; Community Affairs; Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax; Appropriations

12/09/13  SENATE Favorable by Agriculture; 6 Yeas, 0 Nays

01/08/14  SENATE Favorable with CS by Community Affairs; 9 Yeas, 0 Nays

01/13/14   SENATE Now in Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax

03/07/14   Bill to be Discussed During EDR`s Revenue Estimating Impact Conference,

(No Votes Will Be Taken)

01/27/14  HOUSE Referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Finance & Tax Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

03/04/14   HOUSE Favorable with amendment and CS by Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; 10 Yeas, 0 Nays

•    Outlook:   Very Likely - Sponsored by Committee Chairman, both of which are strong agricultural proponents. 

Brownfields

HB 325 (Rep. Stone) and SB 586 (Sen. Altman)

  • Summary:  Revises procedures for designation of brownfield areas by local governments; provides certain liability protection against property damages.
  • Status:

12/16/13   HOUSE Referred to Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee; Local & Federal Affairs Committee; Economic Affairs Committee

02/04/14   HOUSE Favorable with CS by Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee; 11 Yeas, 1 Nay

02/10/14   HOUSE Now in Local & Federal Affairs Committee

01/16/14   SENATE Referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Community Affairs; Judiciary

02/05/14   SENATE Favorable with CS by Environmental Preservation and Conservation; 7 Yeas, 0 Nays

03/05/14   SENATE Favorable by Community Affairs; 8 Yeas, 1 Nay

•   Outlook:   Likely – Bills have been revised and have a narrower focus than those that have been defeated in the recent past.  

Environmental Regulation

HB 703 (Rep. Patronis) and SB 1464 (Sen. Simpson)

  • Summary:  The bill, in its current form, comprises ten sections and 13 pages, although there is no way to predict the amendatory process.   Among other things, the bill provides for:
  • A prohibition on county authority to modify or amend any wetlands, springs, or stormwater regulations on agricultural lands;
  • A simple majority board approval of comprehensive plan elements;
  • A prohibition on the rescission of plan amendments approving other land uses on agricultural properties;
  • Consumptive use permits of up to 50 years for surface water storage projects, and 30 years for DRIs in RACEC areas;
  • Preemption of well construction criteria and standards;
  • Proof of insurance sufficient to satisfy mitigation bank financial responsibility requirements; 
  • A state plan for Implementing federal greenhouse gas regulations; and 
  • The creation of a Solid Waste Closure account to fund closures by permitted and insured facilities. 

Amendment filed to House bill removes section on federal greenhouse gas regulations, and adds provisions that exempt from local regulation those facilities (ditches, dikes, water control structures, canals, and pump stations) included within a water control plan that were issued an ERP, or CWA permit and were included in a plat.  This is §298 language from last year’s bill that was revised to address only the Ranger Drainage District in Orange County.  The amendment also automatically extends for two years any building permit, DEP or water management district wetlands permit which expires January 1, 2015.  

  • Status:

01/21/14   HOUSE Filed

02/03/14   HOUSE Referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Local & Federal Affairs Committee; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee

2/28/14     HOUSE Strike-all amendment filed

03/04/14   HOUSE Favorable with amendment and CS by Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; 10 Yeas, 2 Nays

02/28/14   SENATE Filed

03/05/14   SENATE Referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Community Affairs; Appropriations; Rules

•   Outlook:  Unknown – The Senate companion was filed late and has four committees of reference, and these permitting bills (now four sessions in a row) have historically been revised considerably throughout the committee process.   

 Water and Wastewater Utilities
HB 813 (Rep. Mayfield) and SB 1248 (Sen. Latvala)

  • Summary:  Designates act as "Ratepayer Representation Act"; prohibits county from providing water or sewer services in unincorporated areas covered by agreement with municipality; authorizes county to services when agreement expires or does not provide expiration date after referendum and reimbursement; specifies that corporate powers of municipality do not apply to unincorporated areas of county without county's express consent; limits amount of water & sewer utility rates, fees, charges, & surcharges that municipality may impose on consumers outside of municipality's boundaries; requires PSC approval of such rates, fees, charges, & surcharges; provides for expiration of surcharge unless PSC approves for repayment of bonds; authorizes ratepayers in unincorporated areas to petition PSC for determination whether rates, fees, & charges imposed by municipality are just & equitable; provides that PSC has regulatory authority over municipality that provides water or wastewater utility service in unincorporated areas of county; requires PSC approval before municipality purchases certain water or wastewater facilities.
  • Status:

02/05/14   HOUSE Filed

02/14/14   HOUSE Referred to Energy & Utilities Subcommittee; Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee; Regulatory Affairs Committee

02/25/14   SENATE Filed

02/28/14   SENATE Referred to Community Affairs; Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Rules

•   Outlook: Unlikely – A similar bill last session did not make it to its first committee of reference.  

Springs Protection

SB 1576 (Sen. Dean, Sen. Montford) 

  • Summary:  Designates act as "Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act";  Provides as follows:
  • Membership of the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) will be increased by one to include a DEP representative with expertise in water quality management, including dissolved oxygen and nutrient pollution.  The ARC will evaluate and rank projects eligible for springs funding.
  • The ARC will develop rules for evaluation and ranking projects, and for pilot projects designed to test nutrient reduction technologies.  A minimum of two pilot projects must be approved each cycle.  Minimum evaluation criteria is enumerated in the legislation (including MFL compliance, levels of impairment, presence of BMAPs, prioritization in regional water supply plans, cost and duration, matching funds, etc.). 
  • Funds would be allocated from Documentary Stamp revenues, and placed into the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust fund for restoration and protection of Outstanding Florida Springs, as defined. 
  • “Outstanding Florida Springs” are defined to include all first magnitude springs as well as DeLeon, Peacock, Rock, Wekiwa and Gemini Springs.  By July 1, 2015, DEP shall delineate springs protection zones, and water management districts shall establish MFLs for each of these springs.  By 2017, the DEP must develop BMAPs for each of the Outstanding Florida Springs (identifying load allocations for fertilizer, animal waste, septic tanks, wastewater treatment facilities, and stormwater) and districts must implement prevention and recovery strategies if sufficient water is not available to meet MFLs. 
  • Within six months of delineation of protection zones, each local government must: i) meet the minimum requirements of the Model Fertilizer Ordinance, including a requirement of 50% slow release nitrogen; ii) create or revise its stormwater management plan addressing point source and nonpoint sources; and iii) update comprehensive plans (after consulting with DEP, DOT and the WMDs).   Each wastewater treatment facility must meet 3 mg/L by July 2019 unless a variance is granted (or funding is not available).  
  • In developing BMAPs:  DEP, DOH and local governments shall identify septic tanks on single-family residential lots of less than one acre, as well as multi-family, industrial and commercial properties.  Within one year, local government must develop a plan for a) upgrades, b) connection to sewer systems, or c) no action – and submit it to DEP for approval.  Costs may not be imposed on the property owner. 
  • Local governments, water management districts, utilities and agricultural producers must submit project proposals to the ARC for funding up to 75%, with the exception of fiscally constrained counties and septic tank upgrades and connections, which are eligible for 100% funding.  The Legislature may use other funding sources for these projects.
  • Activities prohibited in protection zones include: new industrial wastewater disposal systems and RIBs (unless they meet 3 mg/L); septic tanks (unless system is on lot with less than one bedroom per acre, or meets 3 mg/L Nitrogen at boundary); and hazardous waste facilities.   A variance provision has been included, and no actions are required until funding becomes available. 
  • Status:   

02/28/14   SENATE Filed

03/05/14   SENATE Referred to Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Agriculture; Appropriations

•   Outlook:  Uncertain – A workshop on the Draft was held on 2/20/14 in the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee, with concerns raised by many stakeholder groups.  No action has been taken in the House, and Speaker Weatherford has publicly announced that major water legislation would likely take place next year under Speaker-Designate Crisafulli.  Further, the Governor’s office has recommended an appropriation of $55 million.      

Nonresidential Farm Buildings

HB 1147 (Rep. Smith) and SB 1342 (Sen. Dean)

  • Summary:  Exempts nonresidential farm buildings, farm fences, and farm signs that are located on lands used for bona fide agricultural purposes from any county or municipal assessment.
  • Status:

02/26/14   SENATE Filed

02/26/14   HOUSE Filed

03/04/14   SENATE Referred to Agriculture; Community Affairs; Appropriations

03/05/14   HOUSE Referred to Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee; Finance & Tax Subcommittee; State Affairs Committee 

•   Outlook:  Unknown. Bills were filed late and would appear to have a significant fiscal impact on local government.