1000 Friends of Florida

2014 Florida Legislative Session

View the Webinar Broadcast and PowerPoint for 1000 Friends’ May 14 Webinar, 2014 Florida Legislative Wrap Up.  Here are links to charts on 2014 Conservation Appropriations and 2014 Water Appropriations

Updated May 14

Here is a brief wrap-up for the 2014 session. Of particular note is that none of the damaging growth management and environmental bills passed. This was due to a strong public outreach and lobbying effort by the entire conservation community and its members. By frequent email, written and telephone communication, it was clear that legislators were made very aware of the controversy associated with these bills. Well done!

LEGISLATION THAT FAILED:

HB 703/Patronis and SB 1464/Simpson died in the last week of session, and no damaging amendments were stripped out and put on other bills. Had they passed, these bills would have pre-empted local authority in agricultural lands to protect springs and wetlands and set stormwater runoff standards, prevented local governments from considering comprehensive plan amendments by anything other than a simple majority vote, allowed for 30 or even 50 year consumptive use permits, limit local jurisdiction over water drainage districts, and would have prevented local governments from ever reconsidering development approvals on former agricultural lands.

SB 372/Galvano and HB 241/Gaetz also died – these would have substantially expanded the exemptions to the Development of Regional Impact (DRI) program for large scale development. Eight additional counties and another 20 cities would have been included. Provisions would have inappropriately lowered both the population numbers and density thresholds for becoming a “dense urban land area”, and would have removed the current requirement that exemptions only be allowed when DRI scale projects are located within an urban development boundary.

HB 1977/Perry and SB 1310/Evers died. These bills dealing with development actions were supposed to incorporate the findings from the U.S. Supreme Court into Florida law regarding the Koontz wetlands case. It went beyond those findings and would have pre-empted local government from applying any controls that were more restrictive than state or federal permit requirements.

HB 395/Perry and SB 1314/Evers died. These bills would have required local governments to add a new element to their comprehensive plan known as the private property rights element. We argued with other groups that this was unnecessary as local governments have the authority now to adopt such an element at their option.

CS/CS/HB 1113/Edwards and SB 1160/Evers dealt with the land application of septic tank residuals. The bill initially called for a 3 year extension to allow the practice to continue.

LEGISLATION THAT PASSED

CS/HB 7023 and CS/CS/SB 1634/Detert dealing with rural economic development issues did pass minus an unnecessary transportation impact fee and proportionate share exemption that would have applied to any business of 6,000 square feet or less for a three year period.

One noncontroversial growth management bill did pass, SB 374/Detert and HB 189/Boyd. It added Long Boat Key to the list of communities allowed to retain a land use referendum process.

Initially controversial, but worked out and passed, was CS/CS/SB 1070/Simpson and CS/CS/HB 947/Ray. The final language recognizes that fuel terminals are deemed consistent with local comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances, but recognizes the authority of any local government that designated, prior to July 1, 2014, such terminals as nonconforming uses. Local governments retain the right to adopt ordinances related to landscaping and aesthetics.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

There was good news on the affordable housing front. The House and Senate agreed on a budget providing the State Housing Improvement Partnership (SHIP) with $100 million and the State Apartment Incentive Loan program (SAIL) with $67.7 million. This is full funding for SAIL and 75% funding for SHIP.

COASTAL INSURANCE

Regarding coastal insurance, CS/CS/SB 1672 passed making condominium units ineligible for coverage by Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. SB 542 also passed, and it provides incentives for private insurers to provide flood insurance that is an alternative to but comparable to policies under the National Flood Insurance Program. CS/HB 375 died – it would continue to allow Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to offer sinkhole coverage, but policy holders would have to choose from a list of 12 approved contractors for repairs.   See Charles Pattison’s March 2014 op ed which has run on the following sites:  Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, Property Casual 360.

THE BUDGET

For those interested in Conservation Budget Appropriations, Please check the following:
Conservation Appropriations Chart and Water Resources Appropriations Chart

Here are the conservation related budget amounts as we understand them. All of these numbers will be submitted to the Governor and he has line item veto authority.

Everglades/Lake Okeechobee/Indian River Lagoon ($259.6 Million)

Lake Okeechobee cleanup $19 Million

Water quality restoration $32 Million

C-44 $40 Million

C-111 $5 Million

C-43 $18 Million

Tamiami Trail bridge $90 Million

Picayune Strand $2 Million

Kissimmee River $5 Million

Lake Worth Lagoon $2.075 Million

Northern Everglades BMPs $3 Million

Indian River Lagoon (IRL) dredging $10 Million

IRL resource recovery pilot $1 Million

Water quality monitoring $4 Million

Alligator Alley tolls to SFWMD $8.6 Million

SFWMD support $2.7 Million

Dispersed water storage $13 Million

Loxahatchee/St. Lucie Initiative $4.153 Million

 Florida Forever ($57.5 Million)

sale of non conservation lands $40 Million

new general revenue dollars $10 Million

from state trust funds $7.5 Million (includes $5 Million for Rural/Family Lands)

Springs ($30 Million – Senate Springs bill failed in the House but projects funded anyway)

recurring funds $10 Million

non recurring funds $10 Million (DEP to present projects to LBC)

Member water projects ($86 Million as specified in budget proviso language in HB 5001)

We want to thank and acknowledge the work of the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association f, and refer you to its website for additional bills of interest at http://www.floridaplanning.org/legislative/index.asp

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