1000 Friends of Florida

2017 Florida Legislative Session

Updated February 20, 2017

Useful Links:  Florida House  *  Florida Senate  *  Find Your Legislators

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Professional certification credits for planners (AICP CM), Certified Floodplain Managers, and Certified Environmental Health Professionals Approved.  Credits sought for Florida Attorneys

Senate and House Referrals: passed, did not pass

Growth Management/Planning Legislation

URGENT!  ACTION NEEDED!  SB 996 Keith — Administrative Proceedings
This legislation punishes concerned citizens and non-profit organizations for challenging development decisions that impact Florida’s environment and quality of life.  It stymies public participation in government by forcing Floridians who unsuccessfully challenge development decisions to pay the attorney fees and costs of real estate developers up to $50,000. Shockingly, Senator Perry’s bill requires citizens to pay developer’s legal tabs even if the case is settled under mutually agreed upon terms. The sole intent of this legislation is to threaten, penalize and muzzle concerned Floridians who look to the courts as the last recourse for opposing bad developments and protecting Florida’s environment and quality of life.  “Senator Perry’s bill disarms David while giving Goliath an even bigger club. From the perspective of a not-for-profit that fights to protect communities from the worst development projects, this is the nuclear option,” says 1000 Friends President Ryan Smart. Florida’s growth management laws are already stacked in favor of developers. Senator Perry’s choice to “go nuclear” could be the last nail in the coffin for public interest legal challenges in Florida.  ACTION NEEDED: Call or write Senator Perry at 352-264-4040 (perry.keith.web@flsenate.gov) and ask him to stand with Florida’s citizens by withdrawing Senate Bill 996.

SB 422 Lee — Municipal Conversion of Independent Special Districts
Requires an area within an independent special district to meet minimum population criteria already in statute to be eligible for municipal conversion. Essentially closes a loophole in statute that allowed conversion of certain developments to cities. This provision had been used by the new city of Westlake in Palm Beach County.
Senate Referrals:  Community Affairs; Ethics and Elections; Rules

HJR 121 Gonzalez — Legislative Review of Judicial Ruling Declaring a Legislative Act Void
Proposes constitutional amendment referendum which would allow legislature by two-thirds majority to overturn judicial ruling voiding a legislative act.
House Referrals:  Civil Justice and Claims Subcommittee; Rules and Policy Committee; Judiciary Committee

 

Transportation Legislation

SB 250 Artiles / HB 777 (Willhite) — High-occupancy Toll Lanes and Express Lanes
Prohibits the Department of Transportation from establishing tolled express lanes.
Senate Referrals: Transportation; Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations

SB 308 Artiles — Expressway Authorities
Transfers expressway authorities formed under the Florida Expressway Authority Act to the Florida Turnpike Enterprise.
Senate Referrals:  Transportation; Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations

SB 752 (Flores)/ HB 315 (Duran) — Financing of Fixed-guideway Public Transit Projects
Raises to 25% of total cost Florida Department of Transportation funding for fixed guideway transit projects which are not federally funded.

SB 340 Brandes/Galvano/Simpson/Artiles / HB 221 Sprowls/Grant — Transportation Network Companies
Provides state-wide standards for transportation network companies (such as Uber or Lyft) and preempts local governments from regulating or imposing fees on such services.
Senate Referrals:  Banking and Insurance; Judiciary; Rules
House Referrals:  Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee; Government Accountability Committee

SB 386 Mayfield / HB 269 Magar/Grall — High-speed Passenger Rail
Requires a railroad company operating a high-speed passenger rail system to be solely responsible for all rail corridor improvements or upgrades relating to its operation and safety, essentially ensuring costs are not shifted to local governments.
Senate Referrals:  Transportation; Community Affairs; Appropriations
House Referrals:  Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee; Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee; Government Accountability Committee

SB 432 Baxley / HB 541 Stone — Vulnerable Road Users
Sets minimum penalties for moving violations that result in the injury or death of vulnerable road users, a group that includes people walking or bicycling
Senate Referrals:  Transportation; Criminal Justice; Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice; Appropriations

SB 408 Passidomo — Highway Safety
Provides additional protections for bicycle operators from motor vehicle operators. Changes include new citation recording requirements for rule violations that result in bodily injury to bicycle operator and allowance for multiple bicycle operators to pass through intersections with stop signs as a group, rather than one by one.
Senate Referrals:  Transportation; Criminal Justice; Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice; Appropriations

SB 144 Garcia / HB 47 Stark/Slosberg / HB 69 Slosberg/Baez/Duran/McGhee/Smith — Use of Wireless Communications Devises while Driving
Revises penalties for violations of Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law including making texting while driving a primary offense (i.e., one for which a law enforcement officer may stop a vehicle and issue a citation).
Senate Referrals: Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities; Transportation; Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations
House Referrals HB 47: Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee; Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee; Government Accountability Committee
House Referrals HB 69: Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee; Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee; Government Accountability Committee

Conservation Legislation 

Note: Funding from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund comes from the 1/3 of documentary stamp taxes set aside by the Water and Land Conservation Amendment in 2014. 

SB 10 Bradley / HB 761 Altman – Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir Funding
Legislation to fund land acquisition in the Everglades Agricultural Area, south of Lake Okeechobee, for construction of a reservoir to help reduce discharges to coastal estuaries and send water south into Everglades National Park. SB 10 permits all costs associated with the reservoir, including the costs for land acquisition, construction, and operation and maintenance, to be funded out of the Florida Forever program – historically the primary source for statewide conservation land acquisition. The bill authorizes bonding of $1.2 billion to purchase land either through a willing seller, by executing the existing contract with U.S. Sugar or through other means.
Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation (Passed); Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources; Appropriations

SB 112 Brandes / HB 613 Ahern — Flood Hazard Mitigation
This bill would:

  • Subject to appropriation, allocates up to $50 million annually from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for flood hazard risk reduction policies and projects, including the acquisition of flood-prone property and development of green infrastructure to reduce the risk of flooding. Funds would be used for a matching grant program through the Division of Emergency Management.
  • Require an annual appropriation of a sum not to exceed $820,000 from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the Emergency Management, Preparedness, and Assistance Trust Fund for nonrecurring administrative costs of implementing the grant program.
  • Add Flood Mitigation Projects to the list of projects that the Florida Communities Trust program can fund, undertake, and coordinate.

Senate Referrals: Banking and Insurance; Community Affairs; Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations
House Referrals: Oversight, Transparency and Administration Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee; Government Accountability Committee

SB 234 Bradley — St. Johns River Restoration Funding
Requires an annual allocation of $35 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the St. Johns River Water Management District for projects dedicated to the restoration and enhancement of the St. Johns River and its tributaries or the Keystone Heights Lake Region.
Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources; Appropriations

SB 874 Young / HB 551 Stone — Indian River Lagoon and Caloosahatchee Septic Tank Remediation Funding
Requires an annual appropriation of $20 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to fund septic system upgrades or connection to central sewer when DEP finds that septic systems are contributing excess nutrient pollution to the Indian River Lagoon and the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie estuaries. The funds would also be used for muck dredging and storm-water improvements in the northern Indian River Lagoon. The bill requires the adoption of septic tank remediation plans for these areas.
House Referrals:  Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee; Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; Government Accountability Committee 

HB 285 Fine — Septic Tank Inspections
Requires septic system inspections at the time of sale for real estate transactions.
House Referrals: Agriculture & Property Rights Subcommittee; Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee; Commerce Committee

HB 413 Antone — Creates Water Oversight and Planning Board
Establishes the Water Oversight & Planning Board to oversee regional water supply and water quality planning, flood protection planning, and environmental restoration. The board would include two members appointed by the Governor, several industry-minded members, and one representative from an environmental organization.
House Referrals: Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee; Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; Government Accountability Committee

SB 532 Galvano —  Public Notification of Pollution Releases
Requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to publish a list of substances that would present an immediate and substantial risk to public health, safety, or welfare if released at specified quantities. If these substances are released into the environment, the owner or operator must report the release to DEP within 24 hours. If an owner or operator of an installation fails to comply with this law, they would be subject to up to $10,000 per day of civil penalties for each violation. The bill would also require to DEP to share each report under this law with the public within 24 hours.
Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources; Appropriations

SB 442 Young / HB 551 Miller — Advanced Well Stimulation (Fracking) Ban
This bill would ban “advanced well stimulation” techniques, including “fracking,” in Florida. It makes it clear that a permit for drilling or operating a well doesn’t authorize the performance of “advanced well stimulation treatments.”
Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources; Appropriations
House Referrals: Natural Resources and Public Lands Subcommittee; Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; Government Accountability Committee

SB 198 Stewart — Appointments and Procedures of the Environmental Regulation Commission
Establishes a deadline of 90 days for filling vacancies on the Environmental Regulation Commission (ERC). Requires a supermajority of the ERC to approve standards in rules relating to air pollution; water quality standards; regulation of consumptive usage of water; hazardous substance release notification; ambient air quality standards; emission standards for stationary sources; surface water quality standards; ground water classes, standards, and exemptions; and drinking water classes, standards, and exemptions.
Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Ethics and Elections; Rules

SB 90 Brandes — Renewable Energy Source Devices
Implements Amendment 4. Extends the value of renewable energy source devises from consideration when assessing the value of residential or commercial properties. This bill would also exempt renewable energy source devices from ad valorem taxation until December 31, 2037.
Senate Referrals: Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities (Passed); Community Affairs; Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax; Appropriations

SB 456 Rodriguez — Public Utilities
Exempts certain producers of renewable solar-based energy from being defined as a public utility. It would allow, for example, apartment complexes who produce solar power to sell power to their tenants without having to go through a utility.

SB 162 Rodriguez — Disposable Plastic Bags
Allows coastal communities with a population of fewer than 100,000 to implement pilot programs testing regulations or bans of disposable plastic bags. The pilot programs would take effect on or after January 1, 2018 and would end on or before June 30, 2020. The pilot regulations or bans cannot include new taxes or fees on the use or distribution of disposable plastic bags. Municipalities that implement such pilot programs would collect data on the impact of their regulations or ban and submit a report by April 1, 2020 with this information to the governing board of their municipality at a public hearing. They would also provide a copy of this report to the Department of Environmental Protection.
Senate Referrals: Environmental Preservation and Conservation; Community Affairs; Commerce and Tourism; Rules

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