1000 Friends of Florida

2016 Florida Legislative Session

Updated April 4, 2016

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Check out the March 23 Legislative Wrap Up PowerPoint

The 2016 Florida Legislative Session ended as schedule on March 11.  Here is information on some of the planning and conservation legislation tracked by 1000 Friends of Florida.  Any bills that have passed still require the Governor’s signature (unless otherwise noted) before they become law.   Additional information will be posted as soon as we have had a chance to review each bill in detail.

LEGISLATIVE WRAP UP:

Planning Legislation

PASSED  Airport Zoning — CS/SB 1508 2nd Engrossed (final)
During the last week of the session numerous general growth management amendments were added to this bill but they were subsequently removed. The version passed by the legislature substantially revises and updates Chapter 333, Florida Statutes, the Airport Zoning Law of 1945, containing airport zoning provisions relating to the management of airspace and land use at or near airports. The bill:
• Updates statutory definitions and terms in accordance with federal regulations as applied to public airports;
• Streamlines the current local airport protection zoning process to a simpler permitting model;
• Allows local governments and/or airport authorities to have stricter zoning/land use provisions than required by FDOT or FAA;
• If a public airport is without zoning or land use provisions then FDOT will administer the permitting process as provided in this Chapter;
• By July 1, 2017, any airport zoning regulations must comply with the provisions of this Chapter;
• Provides local governments the flexibility to structure and incorporate the airport protection zoning review process into existing local zoning review processes and repeals duplicative requirements for obtaining a variance;
• Makes other grammatical, editorial, and conforming changes; and
• All other growth management amendments from other bills are removed.
The bill is expected to have an indeterminate, but positive fiscal impact resulting from simplification and streamlining of state and local airport zoning processes.

FAILED  Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs) CS/SB 7000/Simpson.
This bill DIED in messages but its provisions also contained in  HB 1361which passed (Updated March 15).  This legislation provides that DRI-size projects, which currently are required to use “state coordinated review process,” do not require ANY state review if the appropriate land use is already in the approved comprehensive plan. We have argued, along with the Florida Association of Counties and Sierra Club, that state/regional resource issues as well as extra-jurisdictional impact mitigation will be lost. 1000 Friends of Florida opposed the bill as written and offered language to use the “expedited review process” instead, with DEO and the other agencies (1) confirming no adverse impacts to state/regional resources, and (2) that intergovernmental coordination agreements for impact mitigation are in place.

PASSED Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs) HB 1361/LaRosa (UPDATED APRIL 4)
This companion to SB 1190 PASSED and has been sent to the Governor.  It includes provisions from the failed CS/SB 7000/Simpson.  This DRI bill benefited from a strike all amendment that significantly improved the bill.  It clarified and addressed two of our major issues that (1) local governments must be involved in approving, or not, changes to existing DRIs that seek to reduce density, height or intensity, if consistent with the comp plan in effect when the DRI was approved, and (2) local governments may, for essentially built out DRIs, swap one approved land use for another if the applicant can demonstrate no net increase of impacts to public facilities that meets all applicable comp plan and land development code provisions. We felt it was crucial that local government elected officials be directly involved should any of these changes be proposed. Another strike-all amendment supported by 1000 Friends added a specific requirement that FDOT be consulted regarding any remaining transportation conditions associated with an existing DRI. Later changes included adding an amendment we did not oppose regarding a clean-up/conforming language allowing the state land planning agency to assume the plan amendment and LDR review authority for the Apalachicola Area of Critical State Concern (ACSC). This is the procedure currently used when land use changes are proposed in any other ACSC.  A non-controversial amendment dealing with authorization for counties to meet outside their jurisdictions to address intergovernmental issues with neighbors also passed. These amendments addressed our earlier concerns regarding local government authority to revise/amend existing DRIs, including coordination/mitigation with FDOT when certain state roads might be impacted. We thank Senator Diaz de la Portilla for addressing our concerns as well as withdrawing amendments that had not been reviewed and supported by stakeholders.

FAILED Impact Fees SB 660/Hays and HB 735/Costello
Would have authorized the use of impact fees, mobility fees, etc. to pay for capital facilities and provides an option to local governments to charge a discretionary surcharge fee on all deeds in lieu of impact fees – specifically provides that you can’t have both. 1000 Friends questioned the need for these bills as capital facilities can already be provided through impact fees. The second provision would amount to a capital facilities tax on existing and new development. Senate committee stops are Community Affairs, Finance & Tax and Fiscal Policy. No committee assignments have been made for the House.  1000 Friends testified in opposition based on two issues. First, that the optional surcharge fee be adopted via a public referendum instead of by ordinance, and second, that the surcharge not apply to existing development.

FAILED Coastal Planning CS/SB 584/Brandes and HB 929/Ahern 
CS/SB 584 DIED in Appropriations Committee; CS/HB 929 DIED on the calendar.Follow on to last year’s coastal planning bill by Brandes that provides funding to reduce local flood hazard risks with up to $50 million in matching funds for projects that are consistent with the Coastal Element of local comp plans.  The only objectionable provision was allowance for “grey infrastructure” that could be interpreted to include habitat-damaging coastal armoring projects.

Conservation Legislation

PASSED Florida Keys Stewardship Act CS/HB 447/Raschein
The  Florida Keys Stewardship Act provides funding for various Keys environmental projects including land acquisition, water quality improvements, reduction of development impacts to hurricane evacuation times, and alternative water supplies. This is a major financial contribution by the state to help fund the costs, shared with Monroe County, for protecting the Keys.

  • $5 million for 2016-2017 for all eligible Everglades related bond issues including water quality improvements and land acquisition related to takings claims.
  • Makes projects eligible for Everglades restoration bonds which are extended by 7 years.
  • Amendment clarifies there will be NO funding for road expansions.

1000 Friends worked with Sierra Club to address some language concerns and plans to support the bill.

FAILED HB 867/Jacobs and SB 1210/Bullard,
These more limited Keys Stewardship bills only provided for Land Authority purchases of properties that reduce impacts on hurricane evacuation clearance times.

FAILED State Parks (Died in Appropriations)  SB 570/Dean
This bill died in Senate Appropriations Committee and there was no House Companion.  It would have waived all state park entrance fees for one year beginning July 1, 2016.  Amended to include general revenue appropriation to make up for lost revenue. Unintended effect would be to escalate the call for state parks to become more self-sufficient by generating revenue from problematic uses such as cattle grazing, timbering or hunting.

PASSED Implementation of the Water and Land Conservation Amendment SB 1168 (Negron) and HB 989 (Harrell).
Passed Senate 40-0 AND passed House 117-1.  Originally only designated a minimum of the lesser of 25% or $200 million from funding made available by Amendment 1 to Everglades projects that implement the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.  Gives preference to projects that reduce harmful discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee to the St. Lucie or Caloosahatchee estuaries.  Amended to include a minimum of 7.6% or $50 million for springs restoration.  Also includes $5 million per year for Lake Apopka restoration.  Effective for the life of Amendment 1.  Does not bind future Legislatures to these amounts.

PASSED State Lands HB 1075 (Caldwell).
(SB 1290 (Simpson) was laid on table in favor of HB 1075 which passed).  They passed Senate 40-0, and passed House 106-10.  Bills were improved due to work by conservation community:
*  Provision allowing Florida Forever funds to be used for “pumps and pipes” was removed.
*  Duplicative review of state lands for surplus consideration was removed.
*  Allows conservation lands to be managed for solely recreational purposed (golf course, etc.) instead of for the purpose for which they were acquired or conservation purposes.
*  Allows conservation lands to be surplused if short term management goals are not being met or a management plan is not in place.
Provision was improved giving ARC oversight of surplus process when short term management goals are not being met.  It allows a person who owns land contiguous to state-owned lands to exchange all or a portion of the privately owned land for all or a portion of the state-owned lands, with the state retaining a permanent conservation easement over both lands, if certain criteria are met. Could result in more intensive uses of current conservation lands and loss of public access.
*  Provision was significantly improved to include ARC review of proposed land exchanges and a requirement that the BOT must determine that there is net positive conservation benefit.
Prioritizes projects that can be acquired in less than fee simple ownership, contribute to improving the quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater or contribute to improving the water quality and flow of springs.

FAILED Bear-resistant Garbage Recepticles SB 1674 (Sachs)
These bills died in Committee without a hearing.  Would have required FWC, by July 1, 2017, to designate certain garbage as bear-attracting garbage, and by July 1, 2018, to designate specific areas as high human-bear conflict areas.  Effective July 1, 2019, a person could not not deposit bear-attracting garbage into an outdoor garbage receptacle in a high-bear conflict area unless the receptacle is a bear-resistant garbage receptacle.
A person who violated this section may be fined up to $500.  They would have created the Bear Resistant Garbage Container Account which local governments may borrow from to purchase and distribute bear resistant garbage containers.  Prohibits permits to harvest saw palmetto berries on state lands identified as Florida Black Bear habitat.  Prohibits the sale of timbering rights to acorn produce trees in all state forests and parks identified as black bear habitat.  Adjusts burn schedules for state forests and state parks identified as bear habitat to allow for the regrowth of oak trees, palmettos and other berry producing plants.

FAILED Florida Black Bears SB 1096 (Soto) and HB 1055 (Pafford).
Both Bills died in Committee without a Hearing.  Would have created the Bear Resistant Garbage Container Account which local governments could borrow from to purchase and distribute bear resistant garbage containers.  Prohibited permits to harvest saw palmetto berries on state lands identified as Florida Black Bear habitat.  Prohibited the sale of timbering rights to acorn produce trees in all state forests and parks identified as black bear habitat.  Adjusted burn schedules for state forests and state parks identified as bear habitat to allow for the regrowth of oak trees, palmettos and other berry producing plants.

FAILED Oil and Gas Extraction SB 318 (Richter) and HB 191 (Rodrigues)
These bills died.  They would have established a regulatory scheme specific to “fracking” operations in the state of Florida.  They would have included increased penalties, a study by DEP and banned “fracking” until study was completed.  They were criticized by conservation organizations for two major flaws:
*  The definition of “fracking” in the legislation would not have covered matrix acidizing the most likely form of unconventional oil and natural gas extraction in Florida.
*  Preempted local governments from adopting ordinances or regulations to ban or otherwise regulate oil and natural gas exploration and extraction, including existing ordinances.

FAILED Land Application of Septage SB 658 (Evers) and HB 851 (Drake).
SB died in the Senate EPC without a Hearing, and HB died on the Second Reading Calendar in the House
Repealed the ban on the land application of septage which was passed in 2010 and set to go into effect January 1, 2016.  Would have been a significant move backwards on protecting water quality in springs, lakes and rivers.
With the failure of these bills, and no proviso language to delay the ban in the budget, the land application of septage is now banned in Florida!

Water Policy Legislation

FAILED Water Oversight and Planning SB 1400 (Gibson) and HB 1159 (Antone).
Both Bills died in Committee without receiving a hearing.  They would have created the Water Oversight and Planning Board as the statewide oversight board for issues affecting water supply planning, water quality, flood protection and natural system restoration. Board consists of a mix of appointees by the Governor, Speaker of the House, President of the Senate and industry and environmental representatives.  The Board would have been authorized to:  Review and monitor regional water supply plans; Develop 5 year, 10 year and 20 year forecasting plans to ensure the state has the appropriate quantities and qualities of water; Identify existing sources of potable water; Promote water conservation Promote use of reclaimed and reuse water; Assess the impacts of dredging activities on natural systems.
Every other year, beginning 2017, the Board would submit its findings.

 

PASSED AND SIGNED INTO LAW Water Policy — CS/CS/SB 552 (Dean) and CS/HB 7005 (Caldwell)
After failing to pass the previous two sessions, water policy legislation was among the first bills passed by both Chambers in 2016. It passed unanimously in the Senate and 110 – 2 in the House .  It has been signed into law by Governor.  Bills are an improvement over the final legislation considered at the end of the 2015 session, but significantly worse than legislation that passed the Senate unanimously in 2014.  Unfortunately, bills are flawed by loopholes, advantages for special interests and provisions to delay the protection and restoration of Florida’s waters. The Legislature adopted two amendments proposed by 1000 Friends. However, the most important amendments were not approved. 1000 Friends, as well as the vast majority of conservation organizations, opposed the bill. Effect on Florida’s waters of any legislation will be dependent on funding and implementation.

  • OVERVIEW:
    Creates the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act
    Codifies the Central Florida Water Initiative
    Restructures NEEP
    Modifies water supply and resource planning.
    Requires annual assessment of water resources and conservation lands.
    Creates a pilot program for alternative water supply
    Revises consumptive use permitting
  • Notable Provisions
    Water Supply Planning & Development:
    Amends the definition of “water resource development” to add “self-suppliers” to entities that may receive technical and financial assistance for water supply development.
    Allows a WMD to unilaterally designate and develop an alternative water supply project in another WMD.
    Provides that public-private partnerships may enter into for groundwater recharge on private agricultural lands.
    Everglades, Lake Okeechobee & Estuaries:
    Makes the Basin Management Action Plan the primary pollution control planning tool for Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River and the St. Lucie River Watersheds
    Water Supply Planning & Development:
    Amends the definition of “water resource development” to add “self-suppliers” to entities that may receive technical and financial assistance for water supply development.
    Allows a WMD to unilaterally designate and develop an alternative water supply project in another WMD.
    Provides that public-private partnerships may enter into for groundwater recharge on private agricultural lands.
  • Everglades, Lake Okeechobee & Estuaries:
    Makes the Basin Management Action Plan the primary pollution control planning tool for Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River and the St. Lucie River Watersheds.
    Consumptive Use Permitting:
    Requires a WMD to notify DEP if a CUP application is denied based on the impact to a MFL. DEP can force the WMD to immediately update the regional water supply plan.
    Requires new, renewal or modified CUPs authorizing more than 100,000 gallons per day from a well within an inside diameter of eight inches more to be monitored by the permit holder. Allows WMDs to adopt or continue more stringent regulations.
    Prohibits the modification of a CUP allocation during the permit term because of documented water conservation or changes in agricultural conditions.
  • Outstanding Florida Springs (OFS):
    OFS: All 1st magnitude springs, plus six additional springs.
    If a MFL has not been adopted the WMD or DEP may use emergency rulemaking to adopt the MFL no later than July 1, 2017. Except in NW Florida which has a 2026 deadline.
    Sets deadlines for the assessment and the adoption of basin management action plans, and fertilizer ordinances
    Requires DEP, for Outstanding Florida Springs, to adopt uniform rules for the definition of “harmful to the water resources.”
    Provides for the creation of a septic tank remediation plan for OFS if certain conditions are met.
    Prohibits in priority focus areas of OFS:
    new domestic large domestic wastewater facilities which do not meet a 3 mg/L nitrogen standard,
    new septic tanks on lots of less than one acre after a remediation plan is approved,
    new hazardous waste disposal facilities
    Land application of wastewater biosolids not in accordance with a DEP approved plan.
    New agricultural operations that do not implement BMPs.

BUDGET

BudgetClick here for Gov. Scott’s veto list.

AMENDMENT 1 BUDGET IN MILLIONS

Everglades Restoration (incl. Land)  215.2
Debt Service  175.7
Salaries and Operating Expenses 187.7
Land Management/State Parks   139.6
Regulatory/Pollution Reduction 50.1
Springs Restoration 50
Conservation Easements (RFL) 35
Beach Projects 21.2
Florida Forever 15.2
Florida Communities Trust 10.4
Historic Preservation 2

TOTAL LATF
(Breakdown provided by Florida Conservation Voters)

Other appropriations of interest:

$81.8 million appropriated for local water projects.
$7.5 million for Caulkins Citrus Co. water farm.
$104.4 million for the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Program
$ 154.2 million Wastewater Revolving Loan Program
No funding was provided for removing septic tanks near the Indian River Lagoon in Sebastian, North Hutchinson Island, Old Palm City and Gold Gate. $12 million was requested.

 

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