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Legislative Bill Summaries

The 2021 regular Legislative Session commences on March 2 and will adjourn on April 30. Below are summaries of all the bills with municipal impact that have been filed to date.   

If you have any questions on a specific bill, please contact the lobbyist tracking the bill. This is indicated by the last name in parenthesis following each bill summary. Links to the House and Senate are located at the bottom of the page.

 

01 - RADAR BILLS

Attorney General Designation of Matters of Great Governmental Concern (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/HB 1053 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 102 (Burgess) will have the effect of limiting or prohibiting various civil actions and class action matters by local governments including recent class actions involving opioids, PFAS and predatory lending. CS/HB 1053 authorizes the attorney general to unilaterally declare any conduct or harm that adversely affects the interests of citizens of at least five counties in the state a “matter of great governmental concern.” It requires local governments to notify the attorney general of the commencement of “any civil action” and authorizes the attorney general to determine the local government civil action involves ...

CS/HB 1053 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 102 (Burgess) will have the effect of limiting or prohibiting various civil actions and class action matters by local governments including recent class actions involving opioids, PFAS and predatory lending. CS/HB 1053 authorizes the attorney general to unilaterally declare any conduct or harm that adversely affects the interests of citizens of at least five counties in the state a “matter of great governmental concern.” It requires local governments to notify the attorney general of the commencement of “any civil action” and authorizes the attorney general to determine the local government civil action involves a matter of great governmental concern. CS/HB 1053 authorizes the attorney general, within one year of publishing notice of a determination that a matter is of great governmental concern, to file a civil action on behalf of the citizens of the state on the matter. The attorney general’s determination operates to stay any civil action of a local government on the same matter. The bill requires any funds recovered by the attorney general be deposited into the General Revenue Fund and requires a state court to dismiss as moot a local government civil action that is based on the same matter as the attorney general’s action and resolved by settlement or judgment of that action. CS/SB 102 authorizes the Legislature by concurrent resolution to declare any circumstance that has caused economic or similar harm to governmental entities in 15 or more counties to be a matter of great governmental concern. Upon such a declaration, the attorney general would have sole authority to file a civil action on behalf of the affected governmental entities. The bills authorize the attorney general to intervene in any pending civil proceeding in federal or state court (including pending appeals) and dismiss, consolidate, settle or take any action he or she believes to be in the public interest. A declaration by the attorney general that a matter is of great governmental concern will operate to abate or stay any pending civil action unless and until the attorney general takes an action in the proceeding. The bills require governmental entities that are parties to any action that has been declared a matter of great governmental interest to notify the attorney general of the existence of the action and provide that any settlement or resolution of a proceeding by a governmental entity after the attorney general’s declaration and without the attorney general’s consent is void. The declaration of a matter of great governmental concern is not “final agency action” subject to review under the Administrative Procedure Act. The bills provide a process by which governmental entities may apply to a court to recover attorney fees and costs incurred prior to the attorney general’s declaration, but they fail to identify a source of funding, responsible party or conditions for obtaining such recovery. (O’Hara)

Building Design (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/CS/HB 55 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 284 (Perry) preempt local governments from adopting zoning and development regulations that require specific building design elements for single- and two-family dwellings unless certain conditions are met. The bills define the term “building design elements” to mean exterior color, type or style of exterior cladding; style or material of roof structures or porches; exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows or doors; and number, type and layout of rooms. The bills were amended to exempt historic districts, Community Redevelopment Agencies and planned unit developments created before July 1, 2021. CS/CS/HB ...

CS/CS/HB 55 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 284 (Perry) preempt local governments from adopting zoning and development regulations that require specific building design elements for single- and two-family dwellings unless certain conditions are met. The bills define the term “building design elements” to mean exterior color, type or style of exterior cladding; style or material of roof structures or porches; exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows or doors; and number, type and layout of rooms. The bills were amended to exempt historic districts, Community Redevelopment Agencies and planned unit developments created before July 1, 2021. CS/CS/HB 55 was further amended to exempt planned unit developments or master planned communities in perpetuity, as well as local governments with design review boards or architectural review boards established before July 1, 2021. CS/CS/HB 55 passed the House (89-24). This language was amended onto CS/CS/CS/SB 1146 (Brodeur). (Taggart)

COVID-19 Civil Liability Protection (Support)

CS/HB 7 (McClure) and CS/SB 72 (Brandes) provide heightened legal protections against liability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to certain business entities, educational institutions, governmental entities and religious institutions. The legislation defines governmental entity to include municipalities. The legislation requires the plaintiff to make a detailed account to their claim and submit an affidavit signed by a physician collaborating the belief that the plaintiff’s COVID-19-related damages, injury or death occurred as a result as stated. If the plaintiff fails to do either, the court must dismiss the action without prejudice. The court must also determine whether ...

CS/HB 7 (McClure) and CS/SB 72 (Brandes) provide heightened legal protections against liability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to certain business entities, educational institutions, governmental entities and religious institutions. The legislation defines governmental entity to include municipalities. The legislation requires the plaintiff to make a detailed account to their claim and submit an affidavit signed by a physician collaborating the belief that the plaintiff’s COVID-19-related damages, injury or death occurred as a result as stated. If the plaintiff fails to do either, the court must dismiss the action without prejudice. The court must also determine whether the business or government entity made a good faith effort to substantially comply with the authoritative or controlling government health standards or guidance at the time the cause of action occurred. The burden of proof lies with the plaintiff to prove that the business or government entity did not make a good faith effort. If the business or government entity is found to have made a good faith effort, they are immune from civil liability. If the court finds that a good faith effort was not made, the plaintiff may proceed with the action. The plaintiff must prove gross negligence (a higher standard than negligence). The bills increase the standard of evidence needed on a COVID-19-related claim. If the plaintiff fails to prove these heightened requirements, the business or government entity is not liable for any act or omission relating to a COVID-19-related claim. The civil action for a COVID-19-related action must be commenced within one year of the alleged incident. The bills will apply retroactively but will not apply to civil suits commenced before the effective date of the act. CS/SB 72 passed the House and Senate and was approved by the governor. The bill is effective upon becoming law (March 29, 2021). Chapter No. 2021-001.  (Cruz)

Emergency Powers of a Local Government (Oppose)

CS/CS/SB 2006 (Burgess) is a comprehensive bill that amends the State Emergency Management Act to address the threat posed by pandemics or other public health emergencies and imposes restrictions on the scope, duration and impact of local government emergency orders. ...

CS/CS/SB 2006 (Burgess) is a comprehensive bill that amends the State Emergency Management Act to address the threat posed by pandemics or other public health emergencies and imposes restrictions on the scope, duration and impact of local government emergency orders. The bill defines a local government “significant emergency order” as an order or ordinance issued or enacted by a political subdivision (city or county) in response to an emergency that limits the rights or liberties of individuals or businesses within the political subdivision. The bill specifically excludes hurricane or other weather-related orders from the definition of significant emergency order, which leaves all other types of emergencies or disasters subject to the restrictions and parameters of the bill. The bill requires that any significant emergency order issued by a local government must be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling public health or safety purpose; must be limited in duration, applicability, and scope to reduce any infringement on individual liberty to the greatest extent possible. Under the provisions of the bill, a significant emergency order automatically expires seven days after issuance and may be extended, as necessary, in seven-day increments but only for a total duration of 42 days. If a significant emergency order expires, the local government cannot issue a “substantially similar” order. If the governor determines that a significant emergency order unnecessarily restricts an individual's rights or liberties, the governor can invalidate the order adopted by the local government. Additionally, the bill provides that an order issued by a local government that imposes a curfew restricting travel or movement must allow persons to travel to their places of employment and to return to their residences after their work has concluded. CS/CS/SB 2006 also requires all emergency orders issued by local governments to be posted to a dedicated website accessible through a conspicuous link on the local government’s webpage.     Any state agency or political subdivision that accepts assistance in aid of for emergency prevention, management, mitigation, preparedness, response or recovery must submit to the Legislature, in advance, a detailed spending plan for the money. When this pre-submission of the agency’s plan is not possible, a state agency or political subdivision must nonetheless submit the plan no later than 30 days after the initiation of any expenditures and for each additional 30 days of the emergency as long as funds continue to be disbursed. For emergency response activities, including emergency response that includes emergency protective measures or debris removal, the bill requires that the agency or political subdivision must submit to the Legislature a report of all expenditures in aggregate categories incurred in the emergency response no later than 30 days after the expenditure is incurred. The entity must also submit a copy of any project worksheet submitted to Federal Emergency Management Agency within seven days of when the document is submitted to FEMA. The bill also prohibits governmental entities and private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination and imposes fines of up to $5,000 per incident for any violation. CS/CS/SB 2006 passed the Senate (27-9) and the House (76-40). The bill was approved by the governor. (Dudley)

Home-based Businesses (CS/HB 403 Oppose – Preemption; CS/SB 266 Neutral)

CS/HB 403 (Giallombardo) and CS/CS/SB 266 (Perry) preempt the regulation of home-based businesses. The bills provide that local governments may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation or policy or take any action to license or otherwise regulate a home-based business in a manner that is different from other businesses in a local government’s jurisdiction. The bills authorize business owners to challenge local government actions and authorize the prevailing party to recover specified attorney fees and costs. Local governments may regulate a home-based business for issues related to noise, vibration, heat, smoke, dust, glare, fumes, odors as long ...

CS/HB 403 (Giallombardo) and CS/CS/SB 266 (Perry) preempt the regulation of home-based businesses. The bills provide that local governments may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation or policy or take any action to license or otherwise regulate a home-based business in a manner that is different from other businesses in a local government’s jurisdiction. The bills authorize business owners to challenge local government actions and authorize the prevailing party to recover specified attorney fees and costs. Local governments may regulate a home-based business for issues related to noise, vibration, heat, smoke, dust, glare, fumes, odors as long as these regulations are not more stringent than those applied to a home where no business takes place. CS/HB 403 passed the House (77-41), where compromise language was stripped from the bill, then passed the Senate (19-18). The bill will take effect July 1, 2021, if signed by the governor. (Cruz)

Impact Fees (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/CS/HB 337 (DiCeglie) and CS/CS/CS/SB 750 (Gruters) are comprehensive impact fee bills. The bills restrict what are allowable expenditures of impact fees revenue and cap by how much impact fees can be raised on a yearly basis. Impact fees are collected by local governments to fund local infrastructure to meet the demands of population growth. The bills also ease the restrictions on expenditure of impact fees revenue to allow for the purchase of fire department vehicles, emergency medical service vehicles, sheriff’s office vehicles, police department vehicles and the equipment necessary to outfit the vehicles for their official use. ...

CS/CS/CS/HB 337 (DiCeglie) and CS/CS/CS/SB 750 (Gruters) are comprehensive impact fee bills. The bills restrict what are allowable expenditures of impact fees revenue and cap by how much impact fees can be raised on a yearly basis. Impact fees are collected by local governments to fund local infrastructure to meet the demands of population growth. The bills also ease the restrictions on expenditure of impact fees revenue to allow for the purchase of fire department vehicles, emergency medical service vehicles, sheriff’s office vehicles, police department vehicles and the equipment necessary to outfit the vehicles for their official use. As amended, the bills will require, within 12 months before the adoption of an impact fee increase, a local government to: conduct a demonstrated-need study justifying the increase and expressly demonstrating the extraordinary circumstances necessitating the need to exceed the limitations, hold at least two publicly noticed workshops dedicated to the extraordinary circumstances necessitating the need to exceed the limitations and approve the impact fee ordinance by at least a two-thirds vote of the governing body. CS/CS/CS/HB 337 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill is effective upon becoming law. (Cruz)

Reclaimed Water (Oppose – Mandate) 

CS/SB 64 (Albritton) requires certain domestic wastewater utilities to submit a plan to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by November 2021 for eliminating nonbeneficial surface water discharges (e.g., treated effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water) by January 2032. It requires DEP to approve such plans if a plan meets the following conditions: The plan will result in eliminating the surface water discharge, the plan will result in meeting statutory requirements relating to ocean outfalls, or the plan does not provide for the complete elimination of the surface water discharge but affirmatively demonstrates that specified conditions are present. ...

CS/SB 64 (Albritton) requires certain domestic wastewater utilities to submit a plan to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by November 2021 for eliminating nonbeneficial surface water discharges (e.g., treated effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water) by January 2032. It requires DEP to approve such plans if a plan meets the following conditions: The plan will result in eliminating the surface water discharge, the plan will result in meeting statutory requirements relating to ocean outfalls, or the plan does not provide for the complete elimination of the surface water discharge but affirmatively demonstrates that specified conditions are present. The conditions are: The discharge is associated with an indirect potable reuse project, the discharge is a wet weather discharge in accordance with a permit, the discharge is into a stormwater system for subsequent withdrawal for irrigation purposes, the utility has a reuse system that achieves 90% reuse of reclaimed water, or the discharge provides direct ecological or public water supply benefits. A utility that fails to timely submit an approved plan may not discharge to surface waters after January 2028. Violations of the bill’s requirements are subject to administrative and civil penalties. The bill requires DEP to submit an annual report to the governor and Legislature detailing implementation status. The bill exempts the following domestic wastewater facilities from its requirements: facilities located in a fiscally constrained county, facilities located in a municipality that is entirely within a rural area of opportunity and facilities located in a municipality having less than $10,000 in total annual revenue. The bill authorizes DEP to establish a potable reuse technical advisory committee, provide that potable reuse projects are eligible for alternative water supply funding and provide that potable reuse projects are eligible for expedited permitting and priority state funding. In addition, the bill requires local governments to offer a 25% density or intensity bonus to developers if 75% of a development will have graywater systems installed or a 30% bonus if 100% of a development will have graywater systems installed. The bonus is in addition to any other bonus that may be in effect on July 1, 2021. (O'Hara)

Relief from Burdens on Real Property Rights (Oppose)

HB 1101 (Persons-Mulicka) and SB 1380 (Rodrigues) amend the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act to facilitate private property owner to bring a lawsuit against a government entity. Under current law, with a few exceptions, a property owner must file an application with a government entity before being able to initiate a Bert Harris Act lawsuit. These bills authorize the filing of a Bert Harris Act lawsuit based upon the adoption of an ordinance, resolution, regulation, rule or policy. (Cruz) ...

HB 1101 (Persons-Mulicka) and SB 1380 (Rodrigues) amend the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act to facilitate private property owner to bring a lawsuit against a government entity. Under current law, with a few exceptions, a property owner must file an application with a government entity before being able to initiate a Bert Harris Act lawsuit. These bills authorize the filing of a Bert Harris Act lawsuit based upon the adoption of an ordinance, resolution, regulation, rule or policy. (Cruz)

Sales and Use Tax (Support)

CS/CS/SB 50 (Gruters) requires retailers with no physical presence in Florida to collect Florida's sales tax on sales of taxable items delivered to purchasers in Florida if the retailer makes a substantial number of sales into Florida or provides for the taxation of sales facilitated through a marketplace provider. The bill also deletes a provision that exempts an out-of-state dealer that makes retail sales into Florida from collecting and remitting any local option surtax. The bill temporarily diverts the increased collections in sales tax, due to this bill, to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund until it is replenished ...

CS/CS/SB 50 (Gruters) requires retailers with no physical presence in Florida to collect Florida's sales tax on sales of taxable items delivered to purchasers in Florida if the retailer makes a substantial number of sales into Florida or provides for the taxation of sales facilitated through a marketplace provider. The bill also deletes a provision that exempts an out-of-state dealer that makes retail sales into Florida from collecting and remitting any local option surtax. The bill temporarily diverts the increased collections in sales tax, due to this bill, to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund until it is replenished to pre-pandemic levels. The bill reduces the business rent tax from 5.5% to 2% once the Trust Fund reaches its pre-pandemic balance. CS/CS/SB 50 passed the House (93-24) and the Senate (27-12) and was signed by the governor on April 19, 2021. Effective July 1, 2021, except as otherwise provided. Chapter No. 2021-002. (Hughes)

Sovereign Immunity (Oppose)

HB 1129 (Fernandez-Barquin) and SB 1678 (Diaz) increase the statutory limits on liability for tort claims against government entities. Current law sets the statutory limits at $200,000 per claim and $300,000 per incident. The bills seek to increase these limits to $500,000 per claim and $1 million per incident. The legislation would tie these limits to a consumer price index so they would automatically increase with inflation every year. The bills set limitations of liability to take effect on the date a final judgment is entered and therefore could apply retroactively to pending claims. (Cruz) ...

HB 1129 (Fernandez-Barquin) and SB 1678 (Diaz) increase the statutory limits on liability for tort claims against government entities. Current law sets the statutory limits at $200,000 per claim and $300,000 per incident. The bills seek to increase these limits to $500,000 per claim and $1 million per incident. The legislation would tie these limits to a consumer price index so they would automatically increase with inflation every year. The bills set limitations of liability to take effect on the date a final judgment is entered and therefore could apply retroactively to pending claims. (Cruz)

Vacation Rentals (CS/CS/SB 522 Watch – CS/HB 219 Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/SB 522 (Diaz) and CS/HB 219 (Fischer) change current law relating to vacation rentals, also known as short-term rentals (STRs). The bills would: ...

CS/CS/SB 522 (Diaz) and CS/HB 219 (Fischer) change current law relating to vacation rentals, also known as short-term rentals (STRs). The bills would: •Clarify the definition of an advertising platform to capture online marketplaces. •Preempt to the state the regulation of advertising platforms. •Allow a “grandfathered” city to amend its short-term rental regulations if the amendment makes the regulation less restrictive. •Require the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to maintain vacation rental property license information in an accessible electronic format. •Require advertising platforms to verify a property’s license number prior to publishing its advertisement on its platform and every quarter thereafter. •Require advertising platforms to quarterly provide the department with the physical address of the vacation rental properties that advertise on their platforms. •Impose a duty on advertising platforms to collect and remit taxes in relation to the rental of a vacation rental property through its platform. •Establish requirements that advertising platforms adopt an anti-discrimination policy and inform their users of the public lodging discrimination prohibition found in current law. •Clarify that the provision of the bill shall not supersede any current or future community association-governing document.  •Require sexual predators to notify local law enforcement if they will be staying for 24 hours or more in a short-term rental. Preemption provisions included in CS/HB 219 only: •Preempt to the state the regulation of STRs, including licensure and inspections. •Undo any local registration, inspection or licensing requirements specific to STRs adopted since 2014. •Require that any ordinances (noise, parking, trash, etc.), must be applied uniformly to all residential properties, regardless of how the property is being used. CS/CS/SB 522 was significantly amended to remove the majority of the preemptions in the bill that still remain in the House version of the bill. SB 522 also specifies that advertising platforms must comply with any applicable merchant business tax receipts on short-term rentals. (Taggart)

02 - PREEMPTIONS

Attorney General Designation of Matters of Great Governmental Concern (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/HB 1053 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 102 (Burgess) will have the effect of limiting or prohibiting various civil actions and class action matters by local governments including recent class actions involving opioids, PFAS and predatory lending. CS/HB 1053 authorizes the attorney general to unilaterally declare any conduct or harm that adversely affects the interests of citizens of at least five counties in the state a “matter of great governmental concern.” It requires local governments to notify the attorney general of the commencement of “any civil action” and authorizes the attorney general to determine the local government civil action involves ...

CS/HB 1053 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 102 (Burgess) will have the effect of limiting or prohibiting various civil actions and class action matters by local governments including recent class actions involving opioids, PFAS and predatory lending. CS/HB 1053 authorizes the attorney general to unilaterally declare any conduct or harm that adversely affects the interests of citizens of at least five counties in the state a “matter of great governmental concern.” It requires local governments to notify the attorney general of the commencement of “any civil action” and authorizes the attorney general to determine the local government civil action involves a matter of great governmental concern. CS/HB 1053 authorizes the attorney general, within one year of publishing notice of a determination that a matter is of great governmental concern, to file a civil action on behalf of the citizens of the state on the matter. The attorney general’s determination operates to stay any civil action of a local government on the same matter. The bill requires any funds recovered by the attorney general be deposited into the General Revenue Fund and requires a state court to dismiss as moot a local government civil action that is based on the same matter as the attorney general’s action and resolved by settlement or judgment of that action. CS/SB 102 authorizes the Legislature by concurrent resolution to declare any circumstance that has caused economic or similar harm to governmental entities in 15 or more counties to be a matter of great governmental concern. Upon such a declaration, the attorney general would have sole authority to file a civil action on behalf of the affected governmental entities. The bills authorize the attorney general to intervene in any pending civil proceeding in federal or state court (including pending appeals) and dismiss, consolidate, settle or take any action he or she believes to be in the public interest. A declaration by the attorney general that a matter is of great governmental concern will operate to abate or stay any pending civil action unless and until the attorney general takes an action in the proceeding. The bills require governmental entities that are parties to any action that has been declared a matter of great governmental interest to notify the attorney general of the existence of the action and provide that any settlement or resolution of a proceeding by a governmental entity after the attorney general’s declaration and without the attorney general’s consent is void. The declaration of a matter of great governmental concern is not “final agency action” subject to review under the Administrative Procedure Act. The bills provide a process by which governmental entities may apply to a court to recover attorney fees and costs incurred prior to the attorney general’s declaration, but they fail to identify a source of funding, responsible party or conditions for obtaining such recovery. (O’Hara)

Elections (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 656 (Brandes) makes various changes to elections procedures including voter registration, voter identification and polling locations. In addition, the bill expressly preempts a local government from imposing any limitation on contributions to a political committee or electioneering communications organization or limitation on any expenditures for an electioneering organization or an independent expenditure. (O’Hara) ...

SB 656 (Brandes) makes various changes to elections procedures including voter registration, voter identification and polling locations. In addition, the bill expressly preempts a local government from imposing any limitation on contributions to a political committee or electioneering communications organization or limitation on any expenditures for an electioneering organization or an independent expenditure. (O’Hara)

Express Preemption of Fuel Retailers and Related Transportation Infrastructure (Oppose – Preemption) 

CS/CS/HB 839 (Fabricio) prohibits a local government from banning (or taking action that results in a de facto ban) gas stations or related transportation infrastructure necessary to provide fuel to gas stations. In addition, the bill prohibits a local government from requiring gas stations to install particular types of fueling infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations. The bill clarifies that it does not preempt a local government from adopting and implementing requirements relating to the siting, development or redevelopment of gas stations or related transportation infrastructure as long as the requirements do not amount to a de ...

CS/CS/HB 839 (Fabricio) prohibits a local government from banning (or taking action that results in a de facto ban) gas stations or related transportation infrastructure necessary to provide fuel to gas stations. In addition, the bill prohibits a local government from requiring gas stations to install particular types of fueling infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations. The bill clarifies that it does not preempt a local government from adopting and implementing requirements relating to the siting, development or redevelopment of gas stations or related transportation infrastructure as long as the requirements do not amount to a de facto prohibition within zoning or land use classifications where such infrastructure is consistent with other allowable uses. (O'Hara)

Farming Operations (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/CS/SB 88 (Brodeur) amends the Florida Right to Farm Act, which is intended to protect reasonable agricultural activities from nuisance lawsuits. The Right to Farm Act specifies that no farm operation that has been in operation for one year or more and that was not a nuisance at the time of its establishment shall be a public or private nuisance if the farm operation conforms to generally accepted agricultural and management practices. The bill expands the definition of “farm operations” in the Act to add “agritourism activities” to the list of farm operations that receive legal protections in ...

CS/CS/CS/SB 88 (Brodeur) amends the Florida Right to Farm Act, which is intended to protect reasonable agricultural activities from nuisance lawsuits. The Right to Farm Act specifies that no farm operation that has been in operation for one year or more and that was not a nuisance at the time of its establishment shall be a public or private nuisance if the farm operation conforms to generally accepted agricultural and management practices. The bill expands the definition of “farm operations” in the Act to add “agritourism activities” to the list of farm operations that receive legal protections in nuisance suits, and it adds the generation of fumes and particle emissions to the list of conditions or activities that constitute farm operations under the Act. The “established date of operation” for an agritourism activity is the date the specific agritourism activity commenced, which may be different from the established date for the underlying farm operation. In addition, the bill provides limitations on liability from nuisance, trespass or tort actions that may be filed relating to farming or agritourism activities. It specifies that a farm may not be held liable for operations alleged to cause harm outside of the farm unless the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the claim arises out of conduct that does not comply with state and federal environmental laws, regulations or best management practices. The bill further provides that a nuisance action may not be filed unless the property affected by the activity is located within one-half mile of the activity. The bill limits compensatory damages in a private nuisance action to the reduction in fair market value of the affected property. It prohibits the recovery of punitive damages for nuisance actions under specified conditions. Finally, the bill requires payment of attorney fees and costs by plaintiffs who fail to prevail in a nuisance action. (O'Hara)

Home-based Businesses (CS/HB 403 Oppose – Preemption; CS/SB 266 Neutral)

CS/HB 403 (Giallombardo) and CS/CS/SB 266 (Perry) preempt the regulation of home-based businesses. The bills provide that local governments may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation or policy or take any action to license or otherwise regulate a home-based business in a manner that is different from other businesses in a local government’s jurisdiction. The bills authorize business owners to challenge local government actions and authorize the prevailing party to recover specified attorney fees and costs. Local governments may regulate a home-based business for issues related to noise, vibration, heat, smoke, dust, glare, fumes, odors as long ...

CS/HB 403 (Giallombardo) and CS/CS/SB 266 (Perry) preempt the regulation of home-based businesses. The bills provide that local governments may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation or policy or take any action to license or otherwise regulate a home-based business in a manner that is different from other businesses in a local government’s jurisdiction. The bills authorize business owners to challenge local government actions and authorize the prevailing party to recover specified attorney fees and costs. Local governments may regulate a home-based business for issues related to noise, vibration, heat, smoke, dust, glare, fumes, odors as long as these regulations are not more stringent than those applied to a home where no business takes place. CS/HB 403 passed the House (77-41), where compromise language was stripped from the bill, then passed the Senate (19-18). The bill will take effect July 1, 2021, if signed by the governor. (Cruz)

Impact Fees (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/CS/HB 337 (DiCeglie) and CS/CS/CS/SB 750 (Gruters) are comprehensive impact fee bills. The bills restrict what are allowable expenditures of impact fees revenue and cap by how much impact fees can be raised on a yearly basis. Impact fees are collected by local governments to fund local infrastructure to meet the demands of population growth. The bills also ease the restrictions on expenditure of impact fees revenue to allow for the purchase of fire department vehicles, emergency medical service vehicles, sheriff’s office vehicles, police department vehicles and the equipment necessary to outfit the vehicles for their official use. ...

CS/CS/CS/HB 337 (DiCeglie) and CS/CS/CS/SB 750 (Gruters) are comprehensive impact fee bills. The bills restrict what are allowable expenditures of impact fees revenue and cap by how much impact fees can be raised on a yearly basis. Impact fees are collected by local governments to fund local infrastructure to meet the demands of population growth. The bills also ease the restrictions on expenditure of impact fees revenue to allow for the purchase of fire department vehicles, emergency medical service vehicles, sheriff’s office vehicles, police department vehicles and the equipment necessary to outfit the vehicles for their official use. As amended, the bills will require, within 12 months before the adoption of an impact fee increase, a local government to: conduct a demonstrated-need study justifying the increase and expressly demonstrating the extraordinary circumstances necessitating the need to exceed the limitations, hold at least two publicly noticed workshops dedicated to the extraordinary circumstances necessitating the need to exceed the limitations and approve the impact fee ordinance by at least a two-thirds vote of the governing body. CS/CS/CS/HB 337 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill is effective upon becoming law. (Cruz)

Law Enforcement Equipment (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 187 (McCurdy) and SB 878 (Thurston) prohibit law enforcement agencies from purchasing certain surplus military equipment. The bills also prohibit law enforcement agencies from using tear gas and kinetic impact munitions on an assembly or protest unless the gathering has been declared unlawful. (Taggart) ...

HB 187 (McCurdy) and SB 878 (Thurston) prohibit law enforcement agencies from purchasing certain surplus military equipment. The bills also prohibit law enforcement agencies from using tear gas and kinetic impact munitions on an assembly or protest unless the gathering has been declared unlawful. (Taggart)

Local Licensing (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 115 (Fabricio) provides that an individual with a valid active local license may work in any local government jurisdiction without having to obtain additional local licensing, take additional examinations or pay additional local licensing fees. The bill explicitly states that this multi-jurisdictional approval does not impede a local government's ability to collect business taxes from businesses operating within the local government's boundaries. Local governments' disciplinary jurisdiction for licenses within their jurisdictions is also retained. The bill details the process for a local government to execute its disciplinary jurisdiction. (Cruz) ...

HB 115 (Fabricio) provides that an individual with a valid active local license may work in any local government jurisdiction without having to obtain additional local licensing, take additional examinations or pay additional local licensing fees. The bill explicitly states that this multi-jurisdictional approval does not impede a local government's ability to collect business taxes from businesses operating within the local government's boundaries. Local governments' disciplinary jurisdiction for licenses within their jurisdictions is also retained. The bill details the process for a local government to execute its disciplinary jurisdiction. (Cruz)

Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/SB 268 (Perry) and HB 735 (Harding) expressly preempt the licensing of occupations to the state. The bills define occupation to include a paid job, work, trade, employment or profession and define licensing to include any training, education, test, certification, registration, procedure or license that are required for a person to perform an occupation. The bills provide limited exceptions for specified local licenses and any local government licensing of occupations that was expressly authorized by general law. The bills will prohibit a local government from requiring a person to obtain a license for a job scope that does ...

CS/SB 268 (Perry) and HB 735 (Harding) expressly preempt the licensing of occupations to the state. The bills define occupation to include a paid job, work, trade, employment or profession and define licensing to include any training, education, test, certification, registration, procedure or license that are required for a person to perform an occupation. The bills provide limited exceptions for specified local licenses and any local government licensing of occupations that was expressly authorized by general law. The bills will prohibit a local government from requiring a person to obtain a license for a job scope that does not substantially correspond to the job scope of certain contractor categories set forth in Chapter 489, Florida Statutes. In addition, the bills will authorize local governments to issue journeyman licenses in specified trades. HB 735 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill's effective date is July 1, 2021. (Cruz)

Preemption Over Restriction of Utility Services (Oppose – Preemption) 

CS/CS/HB 919 (Tomkow) prohibits a local government from taking any action that restricts or prohibits, or has the effect of restricting or prohibiting, the types or fuel sources of energy production that may be used, delivered, converted or supplied by various electric or gas utilities, transmission companies or dealers. The prohibition is retroactive in nature. The bill does not prohibit a governmental entity from adopting regulations or policies governing an electric or natural gas utility that it owns or operates and directly controls. (O'Hara) ...

CS/CS/HB 919 (Tomkow) prohibits a local government from taking any action that restricts or prohibits, or has the effect of restricting or prohibiting, the types or fuel sources of energy production that may be used, delivered, converted or supplied by various electric or gas utilities, transmission companies or dealers. The prohibition is retroactive in nature. The bill does not prohibit a governmental entity from adopting regulations or policies governing an electric or natural gas utility that it owns or operates and directly controls. (O'Hara)

Prohibited Governmental Transactions with Technology Companies and for Chinese Products (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 439 (Fine) and SB 810 (Gruters) prohibit an agency or local governmental entity from purchasing or entering into a contract for any good made in or that contains at least 25% or more parts that were produced in China. The bills also prohibit a local governmental entity from purchasing any good or service made, sold or provided by Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple or Alphabet, Inc. (Taggart) ...

HB 439 (Fine) and SB 810 (Gruters) prohibit an agency or local governmental entity from purchasing or entering into a contract for any good made in or that contains at least 25% or more parts that were produced in China. The bills also prohibit a local governmental entity from purchasing any good or service made, sold or provided by Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple or Alphabet, Inc. (Taggart)

Public Records (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/SB 400 (Rodrigues) and CS/HB 913 (McClure) prohibit a city, after receiving a public record request, from filing an action for declaratory judgement against the individual or entity making the request. The bills would prevent cities from seeking clarification from the courts as to whether a record is exempt, or exempt and confidential. CS/HB 913 was substituted to CS/SB 400. CS/SB 400 passed the Senate (39-0) and the House (113-0). (Taggart)  ...

CS/SB 400 (Rodrigues) and CS/HB 913 (McClure) prohibit a city, after receiving a public record request, from filing an action for declaratory judgement against the individual or entity making the request. The bills would prevent cities from seeking clarification from the courts as to whether a record is exempt, or exempt and confidential. CS/HB 913 was substituted to CS/SB 400. CS/SB 400 passed the Senate (39-0) and the House (113-0). (Taggart)

Public Safety Emergency Communications Systems (Oppose – Preemption) 

HB 587 (Snyder) and SB 1902 (Rodrigues) revise requirements for minimum radio signal strength for fire department communications; require the state fire marshal to adopt minimum radio coverage design criteria for public safety emergency communications systems and minimum standards for interior radio coverage and signal strength in buildings; require a local jurisdiction's public safety emergency communications system be certified as meeting or exceeding certain criteria before new and existing buildings are required to install or to be assessed for two-way radio communications enhancement systems; require local jurisdictions to produce radio coverage heatmaps and prohibit local jurisdictions from withholding ...

HB 587 (Snyder) and SB 1902 (Rodrigues) revise requirements for minimum radio signal strength for fire department communications; require the state fire marshal to adopt minimum radio coverage design criteria for public safety emergency communications systems and minimum standards for interior radio coverage and signal strength in buildings; require a local jurisdiction's public safety emergency communications system be certified as meeting or exceeding certain criteria before new and existing buildings are required to install or to be assessed for two-way radio communications enhancement systems; require local jurisdictions to produce radio coverage heatmaps and prohibit local jurisdictions from withholding certificates of occupancy under certain circumstances. (Taggart)

Renewable Energy (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1960 (Bean) provides a process for siting solar facilities and restricts local governments’ authority to prohibit or impose requirements on such facilities. It defines “solar facilities” to mean a production facility that converts solar energy to electricity that is consumed primarily off-site via a transmission system. The term includes modules, mounting systems, collection systems and associated components as well as accessory buildings, grid interconnection equipment and energy storage equipment. The bill provides that solar facilities shall be a permitted use by right in all agricultural land use categories of the applicable local government comprehensive plan and all ...

SB 1960 (Bean) provides a process for siting solar facilities and restricts local governments’ authority to prohibit or impose requirements on such facilities. It defines “solar facilities” to mean a production facility that converts solar energy to electricity that is consumed primarily off-site via a transmission system. The term includes modules, mounting systems, collection systems and associated components as well as accessory buildings, grid interconnection equipment and energy storage equipment. The bill provides that solar facilities shall be a permitted use by right in all agricultural land use categories of the applicable local government comprehensive plan and all agricultural zoning districts within unincorporated areas. It provides that solar facilities must comply with the same setback, landscaping, buffering, fencing or berm requirements applicable to other uses that do not produce food or fiber in that comprehensive plan category or zoning district. The bill specifies that agricultural land leased for a solar facility shall maintain its agricultural tax exemptions. For solar facilities greater than 75 megawatts in capacity, the bill allows an applicant the option to apply for certification under the state’s Power Plant Siting Act. (O’Hara)

Solar Electrical Generating Facilities (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1008 (Hutson) and HB 761 (Overdorf) provide that solar facilities (including solar farms and related buildings, transmission lines and substations) are a permitted (as-of-right) use in local government comprehensive agricultural land use categories and certain agricultural zoning districts within unincorporated areas. The bills require solar facilities to comply with minimal criteria such as setbacks and buffering applicable to similar uses within the agricultural district. The bills authorize counties to adopt ordinances specifying buffer and landscaping requirements for solar facilities if the requirements do not exceed requirements for other permitted uses within an agricultural district. The bills also ...

SB 1008 (Hutson) and HB 761 (Overdorf) provide that solar facilities (including solar farms and related buildings, transmission lines and substations) are a permitted (as-of-right) use in local government comprehensive agricultural land use categories and certain agricultural zoning districts within unincorporated areas. The bills require solar facilities to comply with minimal criteria such as setbacks and buffering applicable to similar uses within the agricultural district. The bills authorize counties to adopt ordinances specifying buffer and landscaping requirements for solar facilities if the requirements do not exceed requirements for other permitted uses within an agricultural district. The bills also include solar facilities with capacities of less than 150 megawatts within the current definition of “electrical power plant” in the Power Plant Siting Act and allow such solar facilities the option of whether to use the Act’s certification process for siting the facilities. (O’Hara)

Tobacco and Nicotine Products (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/SB 1080 (Hutson) and CS/CS/HB 987 (Toledo), as originally filed, were the “Tobacco 21” bills that increased the legal smoking age to 21 to comply with federal law. The bills were amended to include a preemption on the regulation of the marketing, sale or delivery of tobacco or nicotine products. CS/CS/HB 987 was substituted to CS/CS/SB 1080. CS/CS/SB 1080 passed the Senate (29-9) and the House (103-13). (Taggart) ...

CS/CS/SB 1080 (Hutson) and CS/CS/HB 987 (Toledo), as originally filed, were the “Tobacco 21” bills that increased the legal smoking age to 21 to comply with federal law. The bills were amended to include a preemption on the regulation of the marketing, sale or delivery of tobacco or nicotine products. CS/CS/HB 987 was substituted to CS/CS/SB 1080. CS/CS/SB 1080 passed the Senate (29-9) and the House (103-13). (Taggart)

Transportation (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/HB 57 (Andrade) and CS/CS/CS/SB 1194 (Hooper) contain various transportation-related provisions. Of particular importance to municipalities with seaports, provisions from CS/CS/CS SB 426 and CS/CS/CS/HB 267 were amended onto the bills. The bills now prohibit local governments from restricting or regulating maritime commerce in seaports including, but not limited to, regulating or restricting a vessel's type or size; source or type of cargo; or number, origin or nationality of passengers, as well as environmental or health records of a particular vessel. CS/CS/HB 57 was substituted for CS/CS/CS/SB 1194. CS/CS/CS/SB 1194 passed the Senate (39-0) and the House (87-26). ...

CS/CS/HB 57 (Andrade) and CS/CS/CS/SB 1194 (Hooper) contain various transportation-related provisions. Of particular importance to municipalities with seaports, provisions from CS/CS/CS SB 426 and CS/CS/CS/HB 267 were amended onto the bills. The bills now prohibit local governments from restricting or regulating maritime commerce in seaports including, but not limited to, regulating or restricting a vessel's type or size; source or type of cargo; or number, origin or nationality of passengers, as well as environmental or health records of a particular vessel. CS/CS/HB 57 was substituted for CS/CS/CS/SB 1194. CS/CS/CS/SB 1194 passed the Senate (39-0) and the House (87-26). (Taggart)

Tree Pruning, Trimming or Removal on Residential Property (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1396 (Gruters) and HB 1167 (Snyder) expand the current law preemption of local government regulations pertaining to “dangerous” trees on residential property. The bills expand the definition of “residential property” to include manufactured or modular homes, mobile home parks, duplexes, triplexes, quadruplexes, condominium units or cooperative units. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1396 (Gruters) and HB 1167 (Snyder) expand the current law preemption of local government regulations pertaining to “dangerous” trees on residential property. The bills expand the definition of “residential property” to include manufactured or modular homes, mobile home parks, duplexes, triplexes, quadruplexes, condominium units or cooperative units. (O’Hara)

Vacation Rentals (CS/CS/SB 522 Watch – CS/HB 219 Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/SB 522 (Diaz) and CS/HB 219 (Fischer) change current law relating to vacation rentals, also known as short-term rentals (STRs). The bills would: ...

CS/CS/SB 522 (Diaz) and CS/HB 219 (Fischer) change current law relating to vacation rentals, also known as short-term rentals (STRs). The bills would: •Clarify the definition of an advertising platform to capture online marketplaces. •Preempt to the state the regulation of advertising platforms. •Allow a “grandfathered” city to amend its short-term rental regulations if the amendment makes the regulation less restrictive. •Require the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to maintain vacation rental property license information in an accessible electronic format. •Require advertising platforms to verify a property’s license number prior to publishing its advertisement on its platform and every quarter thereafter. •Require advertising platforms to quarterly provide the department with the physical address of the vacation rental properties that advertise on their platforms. •Impose a duty on advertising platforms to collect and remit taxes in relation to the rental of a vacation rental property through its platform. •Establish requirements that advertising platforms adopt an anti-discrimination policy and inform their users of the public lodging discrimination prohibition found in current law. •Clarify that the provision of the bill shall not supersede any current or future community association-governing document.  •Require sexual predators to notify local law enforcement if they will be staying for 24 hours or more in a short-term rental. Preemption provisions included in CS/HB 219 only: •Preempt to the state the regulation of STRs, including licensure and inspections. •Undo any local registration, inspection or licensing requirements specific to STRs adopted since 2014. •Require that any ordinances (noise, parking, trash, etc.), must be applied uniformly to all residential properties, regardless of how the property is being used. CS/CS/SB 522 was significantly amended to remove the majority of the preemptions in the bill that still remain in the House version of the bill. SB 522 also specifies that advertising platforms must comply with any applicable merchant business tax receipts on short-term rentals. (Taggart)

03 - MANDATES

Building Design (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/CS/HB 55 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 284 (Perry) preempt local governments from adopting zoning and development regulations that require specific building design elements for single- and two-family dwellings unless certain conditions are met. The bills define the term “building design elements” to mean exterior color, type or style of exterior cladding; style or material of roof structures or porches; exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows or doors; and number, type and layout of rooms. The bills were amended to exempt historic districts, Community Redevelopment Agencies and planned unit developments created before July 1, 2021. CS/CS/HB ...

CS/CS/HB 55 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 284 (Perry) preempt local governments from adopting zoning and development regulations that require specific building design elements for single- and two-family dwellings unless certain conditions are met. The bills define the term “building design elements” to mean exterior color, type or style of exterior cladding; style or material of roof structures or porches; exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows or doors; and number, type and layout of rooms. The bills were amended to exempt historic districts, Community Redevelopment Agencies and planned unit developments created before July 1, 2021. CS/CS/HB 55 was further amended to exempt planned unit developments or master planned communities in perpetuity, as well as local governments with design review boards or architectural review boards established before July 1, 2021. CS/CS/HB 55 passed the House (89-24). This language was amended onto CS/CS/CS/SB 1146 (Brodeur). (Taggart)

Body Camera Recordings by Law Enforcement Officers (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 732 (Bracy) increases the amount of time a law enforcement agency must retain body camera recordings from 90 days to 365 days. (Taggart) ...

SB 732 (Bracy) increases the amount of time a law enforcement agency must retain body camera recordings from 90 days to 365 days. (Taggart)

Concealed Carry of Firearms by First Responders (Oppose – Mandate)

HB 877 (Bell) authorizes first responders (EMTs and paramedics) to carry a concealed firearm while performing his or her duties. The bill requires the first responder to hold a valid concealed carry license and complete an extensive training program. The bill also requires the first responder to complete a psychological evaluation prior to receiving approval to carry a firearm while on duty. The bill mandates that the employment agency must fund the trainings required under the bill but does not designate a funding source. (Taggart) ...

HB 877 (Bell) authorizes first responders (EMTs and paramedics) to carry a concealed firearm while performing his or her duties. The bill requires the first responder to hold a valid concealed carry license and complete an extensive training program. The bill also requires the first responder to complete a psychological evaluation prior to receiving approval to carry a firearm while on duty. The bill mandates that the employment agency must fund the trainings required under the bill but does not designate a funding source. (Taggart)

Fiduciary Duty of Care for Appointed Public Officers and Executive Officers (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/CS/HB 573 (Beltran) and CS/SB 758 (Diaz) create a new statute establishing standards and mandatory five hours of training for the fiduciary duty of care for appointed local public officers and executive officers of local government entities. In addition, the bills impose restrictions on legal representation by government attorneys. The fiduciary duty and training requirements apply to appointed officials of various local boards and committees, including code enforcement boards, planning and zoning boards, land use boards, community redevelopment agency boards and pension boards. CS/SB 758 was amended to remove pension and retirement boards from the bill. CS/HB 573 ...

CS/CS/HB 573 (Beltran) and CS/SB 758 (Diaz) create a new statute establishing standards and mandatory five hours of training for the fiduciary duty of care for appointed local public officers and executive officers of local government entities. In addition, the bills impose restrictions on legal representation by government attorneys. The fiduciary duty and training requirements apply to appointed officials of various local boards and committees, including code enforcement boards, planning and zoning boards, land use boards, community redevelopment agency boards and pension boards. CS/SB 758 was amended to remove pension and retirement boards from the bill. CS/HB 573 was amended to remove certain municipal boards from the bill, such as code enforcement, planning and zoning, CRA and pension boards. The bills provide that each appointed public official and executive officer has a fiduciary duty of care to the governmental entity served and has a duty to act in accordance with laws and terms governing the office or employment, act with the care and competence normally exercised by private business professionals, act only within the scope of authority and refrain from conduct likely to damage the economic interests of the governmental entity. Further, such persons must become reasonably informed in connection with any decision-making function and keep reasonably informed concerning the performance of a governmental entity’s officers, agents and employees. The bills impose training requirements on appointed public officers and executive officers that require completion of at least five hours of board governance training per term served. The bills specify the minimum content of such training programs, including board governance best practices and fiduciary duty of care and liabilities imposed by the new law. The bills provide that all legal counsel employed by a governmental entity must represent the legal interest and position of the governing body of the governmental entity and not the interest of any individual or employee of the governmental entity. (O’Hara)

Law Enforcement Officer Body and Vehicle Dash Cameras (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 452 (Bracy) and HB 569 (Chambliss) require law enforcement agencies to require officers to wear body cameras and use vehicle dash cameras while on duty. The bills do not provide a funding source for law enforcement agencies to comply with the bill. (Taggart) ...

SB 452 (Bracy) and HB 569 (Chambliss) require law enforcement agencies to require officers to wear body cameras and use vehicle dash cameras while on duty. The bills do not provide a funding source for law enforcement agencies to comply with the bill. (Taggart)

Local Government Fiscal Transparency (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 154 (Diaz) amends multiple provisions related to local government financial transparency. The bill expands public notice and public hearing requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes and taxes adopted by referendum and new long-term tax-supported debt issuances. Each local government is required to prominently post on its website the voting records on any action taken by its governing board related to tax increases and new tax-supported debt issuances. The bill imposes requirements on county property appraisers and local governments relating to Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices, millage rate history and the amount of tax ...

SB 154 (Diaz) amends multiple provisions related to local government financial transparency. The bill expands public notice and public hearing requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes and taxes adopted by referendum and new long-term tax-supported debt issuances. Each local government is required to prominently post on its website the voting records on any action taken by its governing board related to tax increases and new tax-supported debt issuances. The bill imposes requirements on county property appraisers and local governments relating to Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices, millage rate history and the amount of tax levied by each taxing authority on each parcel. Additionally, local governments will be required to conduct a debt affordability analysis prior to approving the issuance of new long-term tax-supported debt. The bill requires the local government annual audit reports to include information regarding compliance with the requirements of this newly created section of law. Failure to comply would result in the withholding of state-shared revenues. The bill revises the local government reporting requirements for economic development incentives. It requires each municipality to report to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research whether the incentive is provided directly to an individual business or by another entity on behalf of the local government and the source of dollars obligated for the incentive (including local, state and federal). (Hughes)

Preemption of Firearms and Ammunition (Oppose – Mandate)

HB 1409 (Byrd) and SB 1884 (Rodrigues) expand the scope of when an individual or organization may file suit against a municipality for violating the state preemption on firearms and ammunition to include any local policies that are written or unwritten. Current law awards the prevailing plaintiff attorney fees. The bills would consider the plaintiff the prevailing party even if the local government voluntarily changes their ordinance or policy, written or unwritten. HB 1409 was substituted for SB 1884. SB 1884 passed the Senate (24-16) and passed the House (78-39). (Taggart) ...

HB 1409 (Byrd) and SB 1884 (Rodrigues) expand the scope of when an individual or organization may file suit against a municipality for violating the state preemption on firearms and ammunition to include any local policies that are written or unwritten. Current law awards the prevailing plaintiff attorney fees. The bills would consider the plaintiff the prevailing party even if the local government voluntarily changes their ordinance or policy, written or unwritten. HB 1409 was substituted for SB 1884. SB 1884 passed the Senate (24-16) and passed the House (78-39). (Taggart)

Reclaimed Water (Oppose – Mandate) 

CS/SB 64 (Albritton) requires certain domestic wastewater utilities to submit a plan to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by November 2021 for eliminating nonbeneficial surface water discharges (e.g., treated effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water) by January 2032. It requires DEP to approve such plans if a plan meets the following conditions: The plan will result in eliminating the surface water discharge, the plan will result in meeting statutory requirements relating to ocean outfalls, or the plan does not provide for the complete elimination of the surface water discharge but affirmatively demonstrates that specified conditions are present. ...

CS/SB 64 (Albritton) requires certain domestic wastewater utilities to submit a plan to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by November 2021 for eliminating nonbeneficial surface water discharges (e.g., treated effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water) by January 2032. It requires DEP to approve such plans if a plan meets the following conditions: The plan will result in eliminating the surface water discharge, the plan will result in meeting statutory requirements relating to ocean outfalls, or the plan does not provide for the complete elimination of the surface water discharge but affirmatively demonstrates that specified conditions are present. The conditions are: The discharge is associated with an indirect potable reuse project, the discharge is a wet weather discharge in accordance with a permit, the discharge is into a stormwater system for subsequent withdrawal for irrigation purposes, the utility has a reuse system that achieves 90% reuse of reclaimed water, or the discharge provides direct ecological or public water supply benefits. A utility that fails to timely submit an approved plan may not discharge to surface waters after January 2028. Violations of the bill’s requirements are subject to administrative and civil penalties. The bill requires DEP to submit an annual report to the governor and Legislature detailing implementation status. The bill exempts the following domestic wastewater facilities from its requirements: facilities located in a fiscally constrained county, facilities located in a municipality that is entirely within a rural area of opportunity and facilities located in a municipality having less than $10,000 in total annual revenue. The bill authorizes DEP to establish a potable reuse technical advisory committee, provide that potable reuse projects are eligible for alternative water supply funding and provide that potable reuse projects are eligible for expedited permitting and priority state funding. In addition, the bill requires local governments to offer a 25% density or intensity bonus to developers if 75% of a development will have graywater systems installed or a 30% bonus if 100% of a development will have graywater systems installed. The bonus is in addition to any other bonus that may be in effect on July 1, 2021. (O'Hara)

Renewable Energy (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 208 (Brandes) and HB 775 (Omphroy) allows the owner of a business or a contracted third party to install, maintain and operate a renewable energy source device on or about the structure in which the business operates or on any property the business leases. The bill provides the business owner or third party may sell the electricity that is generated from the device to another business immediately adjacent to or within the same parcel as the business and such sales shall not be considered or regulated as retail sales of electricity. The bill provides that if the ...

SB 208 (Brandes) and HB 775 (Omphroy) allows the owner of a business or a contracted third party to install, maintain and operate a renewable energy source device on or about the structure in which the business operates or on any property the business leases. The bill provides the business owner or third party may sell the electricity that is generated from the device to another business immediately adjacent to or within the same parcel as the business and such sales shall not be considered or regulated as retail sales of electricity. The bill provides that if the energy-producing business or its customers require additional related services from a utility, such as backup generation capacity or transmission services, the utility may recover the full cost of providing those services. The bill authorizes a utility to enter a contract with a business to install, maintain or operate any type of renewable energy source device on or about the structure from which the business operates and to sell the electricity to an adjacent business and the bill provides that such electricity sales shall not be considered or regulated as retail sales of electricity. The bill specifies that if the Public Service Commission determines that the level of reduction in electricity purchases by customers using renewable energy source devices is significant enough to adversely impact the rates that other customers pay in the rate territory, the Commission may approve a utility’s requests to recover its costs of providing the electricity needed by all customers, including customers using a renewable energy source device. The bill provides for methodology of such cost recovery, a process for customers to challenge the cost recovery and authorized rulemaking by the Commission. The bill may have a negative fiscal impact on municipal revenues, including potential impacts to municipal electric franchise revenues and municipal public service utility taxes. (O’Hara)

Tolling and Extension of Permits and Other Authorizations During States of Emergency (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/HB 859 (Grant) and CS/CS/SB 912 (Albritton) add development permits and development agreements authorized by state law, including those authorized under the Florida Local Government Agreement Act or issued by local government or other governmental agency, to the list of permits and authorizations that are tolled and extended during a state of emergency for a natural emergency. The bills would apply to any declaration of a state of emergency issued by the governor for a natural emergency dating back to March 1, 2020. CS/CS/SB 912 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The ...

CS/HB 859 (Grant) and CS/CS/SB 912 (Albritton) add development permits and development agreements authorized by state law, including those authorized under the Florida Local Government Agreement Act or issued by local government or other governmental agency, to the list of permits and authorizations that are tolled and extended during a state of emergency for a natural emergency. The bills would apply to any declaration of a state of emergency issued by the governor for a natural emergency dating back to March 1, 2020. CS/CS/SB 912 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill is effective upon becoming law. (Cruz)

Waste Management (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)

CS/CS/SB 694 (Rodrigues) requires a local government that “displaces” a private waste company to provide a three-year notice period to the company and pay the displaced company an amount equal to the company’s preceding 18 months’ gross receipts at the end of the notice period. The term “displacement” as used in the bill refers to circumstances in which a local government decides to move from a non-contracted or non-franchise system of waste services to either providing the waste service itself or by contracting or franchising with one or more private waste companies. The bill also defines “storm generated ...

CS/CS/SB 694 (Rodrigues) requires a local government that “displaces” a private waste company to provide a three-year notice period to the company and pay the displaced company an amount equal to the company’s preceding 18 months’ gross receipts at the end of the notice period. The term “displacement” as used in the bill refers to circumstances in which a local government decides to move from a non-contracted or non-franchise system of waste services to either providing the waste service itself or by contracting or franchising with one or more private waste companies. The bill also defines “storm generated yard trash” and clarifies that private waste company providing regular residential solid waste service is not responsible for collecting certain storm-generated yard trash unless specified in a contract or agreement with a local government. In addition, the bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection to update its 2010 report on retail plastic bags and submit the updated report and recommendations to the Legislature by December 2021. (O'Hara)

BUILDING CODES/CONSTRUCTION

Application for and Issuance of Building Permits (Watch) 

CS/CS/HB 1059 (Robinson) and CS/CS/SB 1788 (Boyd) require local government to post certain building permit information on their websites, including the status of each application. The bills also require the local government to reduce the permit fee by a specified amount every 10 days if they failed to issue a building permit for a single-family residential dwelling within the time frame already established by current law. The bills prohibit the local government from requiring an applicant to provide a copy of their contract with or between a contractor as a condition of the application for a building permit. ...

CS/CS/HB 1059 (Robinson) and CS/CS/SB 1788 (Boyd) require local government to post certain building permit information on their websites, including the status of each application. The bills also require the local government to reduce the permit fee by a specified amount every 10 days if they failed to issue a building permit for a single-family residential dwelling within the time frame already established by current law. The bills prohibit the local government from requiring an applicant to provide a copy of their contract with or between a contractor as a condition of the application for a building permit. CS/CS/SB 1788 was substituted to CS/CS/HB 1059. CS/CS/HB 1059 passed the House (113-0) and the Senate (38-0). (Taggart)

Building Design (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/CS/HB 55 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 284 (Perry) preempt local governments from adopting zoning and development regulations that require specific building design elements for single- and two-family dwellings unless certain conditions are met. The bills define the term “building design elements” to mean exterior color, type or style of exterior cladding; style or material of roof structures or porches; exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows or doors; and number, type and layout of rooms. The bills were amended to exempt historic districts, Community Redevelopment Agencies and planned unit developments created before July 1, 2021. CS/CS/HB ...

CS/CS/HB 55 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 284 (Perry) preempt local governments from adopting zoning and development regulations that require specific building design elements for single- and two-family dwellings unless certain conditions are met. The bills define the term “building design elements” to mean exterior color, type or style of exterior cladding; style or material of roof structures or porches; exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows or doors; and number, type and layout of rooms. The bills were amended to exempt historic districts, Community Redevelopment Agencies and planned unit developments created before July 1, 2021. CS/CS/HB 55 was further amended to exempt planned unit developments or master planned communities in perpetuity, as well as local governments with design review boards or architectural review boards established before July 1, 2021. CS/CS/HB 55 passed the House (89-24). This language was amended onto CS/CS/CS/SB 1146 (Brodeur). (Taggart)

Building Inspections (Watch) 

CS/CS/HB 667 (Mooney) and CS/CS/CS/SB 1382 (Perry) require counties and local enforcement agencies that issue building permits to allow requests for inspections to be submitted electronically. The bills also authorize these agencies to perform inspections virtually at their discretion. CS/CS/CS/SB 1382 was substituted to CS/CS/HB 667. CS/CS/HB 667 passed the House (118-0) and the Senate (39-0). (Taggart) ...

CS/CS/HB 667 (Mooney) and CS/CS/CS/SB 1382 (Perry) require counties and local enforcement agencies that issue building permits to allow requests for inspections to be submitted electronically. The bills also authorize these agencies to perform inspections virtually at their discretion. CS/CS/CS/SB 1382 was substituted to CS/CS/HB 667. CS/CS/HB 667 passed the House (118-0) and the Senate (39-0). (Taggart)

Fees for the Enforcement of Florida Building Code (Watch)

HB 1017 (Rayner) and SB 1648 (Powell) authorize local governments the ability to waive the fees associated with enforcing the Florida Building Code for development, construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing. (Taggart) ...

HB 1017 (Rayner) and SB 1648 (Powell) authorize local governments the ability to waive the fees associated with enforcing the Florida Building Code for development, construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing. (Taggart)

Florida Building Code (Watch)

CS/CS/HB 401 (Fetterhoff) and CS/CS/CS/SB 1146 (Brodeur) allow for substantially affected people to submit a petition to the Florida Building Commission for a nonbinding advisory opinion if a local government adopts a regulation or policy without following the process established in the Florida Building Code. The bills define a “substantially affected person” and the process for submitting the petition. The bills define the process for how the Commission must consider petitions, the length of time before the Commission must issue its nonbinding advisory opinion and where the opinion must be published. The bills allow for the Commission to ...

CS/CS/HB 401 (Fetterhoff) and CS/CS/CS/SB 1146 (Brodeur) allow for substantially affected people to submit a petition to the Florida Building Commission for a nonbinding advisory opinion if a local government adopts a regulation or policy without following the process established in the Florida Building Code. The bills define a “substantially affected person” and the process for submitting the petition. The bills define the process for how the Commission must consider petitions, the length of time before the Commission must issue its nonbinding advisory opinion and where the opinion must be published. The bills allow for the Commission to make changes to the Florida Building Code to correct errors but only with a 75% vote of the Commission. A local government may not require a contract between a builder and an owner for the issuance of a building permit or as a requirement for the submission of a building permit application. CS/CS/CS/SB 1146 was substantially amended to allow private providers to perform in-person or virtual inspections and submit the completed inspection electronically. If an applicant chooses to use a private provider, the local government must reduce the permit fee by the amount of the cost savings to the local government for not having to perform the inspection. The bill was also amended to prohibit local governments from using preliminary maps issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for any law, ordinance, rule or other measure that has the effect of imposing land use changes. CS/CS/CS/SB 1146 was further amended to add the building design preemption language from CS/SB 284 (Perry); however, the amendment includes an exemption for cities with design review or architectural review boards. CS/CS/CS/SB 1146 was substituted for CS/CS/HB 401. CS/CS/HB 401 passed the House (118-0) and the Senate (38-1). (Taggart)

Public Works Projects (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/CS/HB 53 (DiCeglie) and CS/CS/CS/SB 1076 (Brodeur) require local governments to utilize competitive bidding processes when contracting city, town or county public works projects. The bills define a public works project to be any activity that exceeds $300,000 in value and is paid for with state-appropriated funds. The requirements do not apply to any project 100% funded by local funds. The bills also block a local government from training employees in designated programs with a restricted curriculum or from a single source and local ordinances that require programs such as apprenticeships. CS/CS/CS/HB 53 was amended to remove the ...

CS/CS/CS/HB 53 (DiCeglie) and CS/CS/CS/SB 1076 (Brodeur) require local governments to utilize competitive bidding processes when contracting city, town or county public works projects. The bills define a public works project to be any activity that exceeds $300,000 in value and is paid for with state-appropriated funds. The requirements do not apply to any project 100% funded by local funds. The bills also block a local government from training employees in designated programs with a restricted curriculum or from a single source and local ordinances that require programs such as apprenticeships. CS/CS/CS/HB 53 was amended to remove the preemption on training requirements. Both bills were amended to increase the monetary threshold to $1 million. CS/CS/CS/SB 1076 was substituted for CS/CS/CS/HB 53. CS/CS/CS/HB 53 passed the House (78-36) and the Senate (79-34). (Taggart)

Other Bills of Interest

HB 585 (DiCeglie) and SB 378 (Bradley) – Payment for Construction Services ...

HB 585 (DiCeglie) and SB 378 (Bradley) – Payment for Construction Services SB 998 (Brodeur) and HB 823 (Mariano) – Contractor Advising  HB 1577 (McClain) and SB 488 (Perry) – Building Construction Standards HB 6067 (Eskamani) – Repeal of Developer Incentive Requirements

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Enterprise Zone Boundaries (Support)

HB 285 (Chambliss) and SB 892 (Rodriguez) extend the date in which local governments are allowed to administer local incentive programs within the boundaries of an enterprise zone from December 31, 2020, to December 31, 2025. The bills also extend the date for contiguous multiphase projects from December 31, 2025, to December 31, 2030. (Taggart) ...

HB 285 (Chambliss) and SB 892 (Rodriguez) extend the date in which local governments are allowed to administer local incentive programs within the boundaries of an enterprise zone from December 31, 2020, to December 31, 2025. The bills also extend the date for contiguous multiphase projects from December 31, 2025, to December 31, 2030. (Taggart)

Florida Tourism Marketing (Support)

SB 778 (Hooper) and HB 675 (Plasencia) authorize the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation “Visit Florida” to carry forward unexpended state appropriations into succeeding fiscal years. The bills also remove the previous set sunset date of October 1, 2023, for Visit Florida. (Taggart)  ...

SB 778 (Hooper) and HB 675 (Plasencia) authorize the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation “Visit Florida” to carry forward unexpended state appropriations into succeeding fiscal years. The bills also remove the previous set sunset date of October 1, 2023, for Visit Florida. (Taggart)

Sports Facility Development (Watch)

HB 6011 (Beltran) repeals provisions relating to state funding for the purpose of constructing, reconstructing, renovating or improving facilities primarily used for sporting events. The bill repeals the Sports Development program in current law that provides an avenue for sports facilities to apply for a distribution from the state to fund the construction or improvements to a professional sports franchise facility. Since the program was enacted in 2014, no application has been approved by the Legislature. The bill also makes conforming changes to other statutes related to sports development program distributions and reporting requirements. (Taggart) ...

HB 6011 (Beltran) repeals provisions relating to state funding for the purpose of constructing, reconstructing, renovating or improving facilities primarily used for sporting events. The bill repeals the Sports Development program in current law that provides an avenue for sports facilities to apply for a distribution from the state to fund the construction or improvements to a professional sports franchise facility. Since the program was enacted in 2014, no application has been approved by the Legislature. The bill also makes conforming changes to other statutes related to sports development program distributions and reporting requirements. (Taggart)

Other Bills of Interest

HB 349 (Woodson) and SB 1374 (Farmer) – Small Business Website Development Grant Program  ...

HB 349 (Woodson) and SB 1374 (Farmer) – Small Business Website Development Grant Program  SB 704 (Gruters) and HB 757 (Trabulsy) – Film, Television and Digital Media Rebate Program HB 983 (Eskamani) – Agreement for Best Practices in Economic Development

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT

Emergency Powers of a Local Government (Oppose)

CS/CS/SB 2006 (Burgess) is a comprehensive bill that amends the State Emergency Management Act to address the threat posed by pandemics or other public health emergencies and imposes restrictions on the scope, duration and impact of local government emergency orders. ...

CS/CS/SB 2006 (Burgess) is a comprehensive bill that amends the State Emergency Management Act to address the threat posed by pandemics or other public health emergencies and imposes restrictions on the scope, duration and impact of local government emergency orders. The bill defines a local government “significant emergency order” as an order or ordinance issued or enacted by a political subdivision (city or county) in response to an emergency that limits the rights or liberties of individuals or businesses within the political subdivision. The bill specifically excludes hurricane or other weather-related orders from the definition of significant emergency order, which leaves all other types of emergencies or disasters subject to the restrictions and parameters of the bill. The bill requires that any significant emergency order issued by a local government must be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling public health or safety purpose; must be limited in duration, applicability, and scope to reduce any infringement on individual liberty to the greatest extent possible. Under the provisions of the bill, a significant emergency order automatically expires seven days after issuance and may be extended, as necessary, in seven-day increments but only for a total duration of 42 days. If a significant emergency order expires, the local government cannot issue a “substantially similar” order. If the governor determines that a significant emergency order unnecessarily restricts an individual's rights or liberties, the governor can invalidate the order adopted by the local government. Additionally, the bill provides that an order issued by a local government that imposes a curfew restricting travel or movement must allow persons to travel to their places of employment and to return to their residences after their work has concluded. CS/CS/SB 2006 also requires all emergency orders issued by local governments to be posted to a dedicated website accessible through a conspicuous link on the local government’s webpage.   Any state agency or political subdivision that accepts assistance in aid of for emergency prevention, management, mitigation, preparedness, response or recovery must submit to the Legislature, in advance, a detailed spending plan for the money. When this pre-submission of the agency’s plan is not possible, a state agency or political subdivision must nonetheless submit the plan no later than 30 days after the initiation of any expenditures and for each additional 30 days of the emergency as long as funds continue to be disbursed. For emergency response activities, including emergency response that includes emergency protective measures or debris removal, the bill requires that the agency or political subdivision must submit to the Legislature a report of all expenditures in aggregate categories incurred in the emergency response no later than 30 days after the expenditure is incurred. The entity must also submit a copy of any project worksheet submitted to Federal Emergency Management Agency within seven days of when the document is submitted to FEMA. The bill also prohibits governmental entities and private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination and imposes fines of up to $5,000 per incident for any violation. CS/CS/SB 2006 passed the Senate (27-9) and the House (76-40). The bill was approved by the governor. (Dudley)

ETHICS & ELECTIONS

Campaign Financing (Oppose)

CS/CS/SB 1890 (Rodrigues) imposes a $3,000 limit on contributions made to political committees sponsoring or opposing a constitutional amendment proposed by initiative. The limit will not apply once the Secretary of State has issued a certificate of ballot position and a designating number for a proposed constitutional amendment. In addition, the bill preempts local governments from enacting or adopting any limitation or restriction involving campaign or committee contributions and expenditures or establishing contribution limits different from those established in the Florida Election Code. Lastly, the bill amends current law provisions relating to the distribution of surplus funds by ...

CS/CS/SB 1890 (Rodrigues) imposes a $3,000 limit on contributions made to political committees sponsoring or opposing a constitutional amendment proposed by initiative. The limit will not apply once the Secretary of State has issued a certificate of ballot position and a designating number for a proposed constitutional amendment. In addition, the bill preempts local governments from enacting or adopting any limitation or restriction involving campaign or committee contributions and expenditures or establishing contribution limits different from those established in the Florida Election Code. Lastly, the bill amends current law provisions relating to the distribution of surplus funds by candidates. (O'Hara)

Election Administration (Watch)

CS/CS/CS/SB 90 (Baxley) revises multiple provisions of the Florida Elections Code relating to voter registration, third-party voter registration, county commission terms, ballots, voting systems, vote-by-mail ballots, canvassing boards, voter signatures and secure drop boxes. It provides that in any civil action in which a state or county agency or officer is a party, the action may not be settled if the settlement conflicts with any provision of the Florida Election Code unless notification is given to the Legislature and the Attorney General of the commencement of settlement negotiations, a proposed settlement is reported to the legislature and the ...

CS/CS/CS/SB 90 (Baxley) revises multiple provisions of the Florida Elections Code relating to voter registration, third-party voter registration, county commission terms, ballots, voting systems, vote-by-mail ballots, canvassing boards, voter signatures and secure drop boxes. It provides that in any civil action in which a state or county agency or officer is a party, the action may not be settled if the settlement conflicts with any provision of the Florida Election Code unless notification is given to the Legislature and the Attorney General of the commencement of settlement negotiations, a proposed settlement is reported to the legislature and the Attorney General, and notice is given to the Legislature and the Attorney General at least 10 days before the settlement becomes final. The bill prohibits the use of private funds for election-related expenses, voter education, voter outreach or registration programs. The donation and acceptance of space to be used as a polling room or an early voting site are exempted from this prohibition. The bill requires supervisors of elections to make live voter turnout data available on their websites on Election Day. It eliminates current law provisions addressing elective charter county or municipal office vacancies created by resignation and provides such offices shall be deemed vacant upon the effective date of the resignation submitted by the official in his or her letter of resignation. For persons seeking to qualify for office as a candidate of any political party, the bill requires such person to state in writing that he or she has been a member of that political party for 365 days before the beginning of qualification. If a person is seeking to qualify as a candidate with no party affiliation, the bill requires the person to state in writing that he or she has not been a member of any political party for 365 days before the beginning of the qualifying period. The bill expands the current no-solicitation zone from 100 to 150 feet and includes drop box locations as areas subject to the no-solicitation zone. It modifies the current law definition of solicitation to include engaging in any activity with the intent to influence or having the effect of influencing a voter, and it clarifies the term may not be construed to prohibit an employee of, or a volunteer with, the supervisor from providing nonpartisan assistance to voters within the no-solicitation zone. The bill modifies current law provisions relating to the canvassing of returns and the public inspection of ballots. It amends vote-by-mail procedures and provides that a vote-by-mail request covers only a one-year period. An existing vote-by-mail request submitted before July 1, 2021, is effective for elections held through the end of the 2022 calendar year. In addition, except as authorized for voters having a disability, overseas voters or local referenda, the bill prohibits a county, municipality or state agency from sending a vote-by-mail ballot to a voter unless the voter has requested a ballot. The bill amends provisions relating to the use of drop boxes for vote-by-mail ballots. It clarifies that drop boxes may be placed at the main Supervisor of Elections office, each permanent branch of such office and at each early voting site. It requires that drop boxes be located to provide all voters in the county with an equal opportunity to cast a ballot. Drop boxes located at early voting sites may be used only during early voting hours and must be monitored in-person by an employee of the Supervisor of Elections. It provides that drop boxes at early voting locations may be used only during early voting hours and must be monitored in person. (O'Hara)

Candidate Qualifying and Campaign Expenditures (Watch)

SB 1756 (Jones) and HB 1365 (Willhite) provide that no person may qualify for state, district, county or municipal office during an investigation by the Commission on Ethics in which the Commission has determined there is probable cause to believe the person has violated the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees or committed any other breach of the public trust within the jurisdiction of the Commission. In addition, the bills specify that no person who owes a fine for failure to file a campaign finance report during a previous campaign may qualify as a candidate until ...

SB 1756 (Jones) and HB 1365 (Willhite) provide that no person may qualify for state, district, county or municipal office during an investigation by the Commission on Ethics in which the Commission has determined there is probable cause to believe the person has violated the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees or committed any other breach of the public trust within the jurisdiction of the Commission. In addition, the bills specify that no person who owes a fine for failure to file a campaign finance report during a previous campaign may qualify as a candidate until the fine is paid. The bills prohibit candidate qualifying checks from containing information unrelated to the candidate’s current campaign. (O’Hara)

Elections (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 656 (Brandes) makes various changes to elections procedures including voter registration, voter identification and polling locations. In addition, the bill expressly preempts a local government from imposing any limitation on contributions to a political committee or electioneering communications organization or limitation on any expenditures for an electioneering organization or an independent expenditure. (O’Hara) ...

SB 656 (Brandes) makes various changes to elections procedures including voter registration, voter identification and polling locations. In addition, the bill expressly preempts a local government from imposing any limitation on contributions to a political committee or electioneering communications organization or limitation on any expenditures for an electioneering organization or an independent expenditure. (O’Hara)

Fiduciary Duty of Care for Appointed Public Officers and Executive Officers (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/CS/HB 573 (Beltran) and CS/SB 758 (Diaz) create a new statute establishing standards and mandatory five hours of training for the fiduciary duty of care for appointed local public officers and executive officers of local government entities. In addition, the bills impose restrictions on legal representation by government attorneys. The fiduciary duty and training requirements apply to appointed officials of various local boards and committees, including code enforcement boards, planning and zoning boards, land use boards, community redevelopment agency boards and pension boards. CS/SB 758 was amended to remove pension and retirement boards from the bill. CS/HB 573 ...

CS/CS/HB 573 (Beltran) and CS/SB 758 (Diaz) create a new statute establishing standards and mandatory five hours of training for the fiduciary duty of care for appointed local public officers and executive officers of local government entities. In addition, the bills impose restrictions on legal representation by government attorneys. The fiduciary duty and training requirements apply to appointed officials of various local boards and committees, including code enforcement boards, planning and zoning boards, land use boards, community redevelopment agency boards and pension boards. CS/SB 758 was amended to remove pension and retirement boards from the bill. CS/HB 573 was amended to remove certain municipal boards from the bill, such as code enforcement, planning and zoning, CRA and pension boards. The bills provide that each appointed public official and executive officer has a fiduciary duty of care to the governmental entity served and has a duty to act in accordance with laws and terms governing the office or employment, act with the care and competence normally exercised by private business professionals, act only within the scope of authority and refrain from conduct likely to damage the economic interests of the governmental entity. Further, such persons must become reasonably informed in connection with any decision-making function and keep reasonably informed concerning the performance of a governmental entity’s officers, agents and employees. The bills impose training requirements on appointed public officers and executive officers that require completion of at least five hours of board governance training per term served. The bills specify the minimum content of such training programs, including board governance best practices and fiduciary duty of care and liabilities imposed by the new law. The bills provide that all legal counsel employed by a governmental entity must represent the legal interest and position of the governing body of the governmental entity and not the interest of any individual or employee of the governmental entity. (O’Hara)

Government Accountability (Watch)

HB 1585 (Barnaby) creates the Florida Integrity Office and the position of Florida integrity officer within the Office of the Auditor General. The bill authorizes the integrity officer to investigate complaints alleging waste, fraud, abuse, misconduct or gross mismanagement in connection with the expenditure of public funds within state and local government. The bill directs the auditor general and the integrity officer to conduct random audits and inspections of appropriations projects appropriated in the prior year. The bill authorizes the auditor general and the Florida integrity officer to investigate or audit the financial activities of any local government. ...

HB 1585 (Barnaby) creates the Florida Integrity Office and the position of Florida integrity officer within the Office of the Auditor General. The bill authorizes the integrity officer to investigate complaints alleging waste, fraud, abuse, misconduct or gross mismanagement in connection with the expenditure of public funds within state and local government. The bill directs the auditor general and the integrity officer to conduct random audits and inspections of appropriations projects appropriated in the prior year. The bill authorizes the auditor general and the Florida integrity officer to investigate or audit the financial activities of any local government. The bill defines “fraud,” “waste,” “abuse” and “misconduct” and provides procedures for the inspector general to report on activities by public officials or agencies to the Florida integrity officer. The bill imposes personal liability for repayment of funds upon persons or officials responsible for determinations of fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement or misconduct in government. The bill authorizes the chief financial officer to commence investigations based on complaints or referral from any source. The bill specifies conditions for awards to employees under the Florida Whistleblower Act. The bill requires each public agency contract for services entered or amended after July 2020 to authorize the public agency to inspect specified records of the contractor. The bills prohibit the use of tax incentives to be paid to a state contractor or subcontractor for services provided or expenditures incurred pursuant to a state contract. HB 1585 passed the House (79-37) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (O’Hara)

Local Government Ethics Reform (Watch)

HB 853 (Sirois) amends provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees relating to conflicting business and contractual relationships, voting conflicts, annual ethics training and financial disclosure requirements. For purposes of conflicting relationships and whether an officer or employee has a material interest in a business entity, the bill specifies that contractual relationships held by a business entity will be deemed to be held by the officer or employee if the entity is not publicly traded or the officer or employee is an officer, director or member who manages such entity. The bill amends voting ...

HB 853 (Sirois) amends provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees relating to conflicting business and contractual relationships, voting conflicts, annual ethics training and financial disclosure requirements. For purposes of conflicting relationships and whether an officer or employee has a material interest in a business entity, the bill specifies that contractual relationships held by a business entity will be deemed to be held by the officer or employee if the entity is not publicly traded or the officer or employee is an officer, director or member who manages such entity. The bill amends voting conflict requirements to include special district and school board members and modifies participation requirements currently applicable only to appointed public officers to include elected county, municipal or other local public officers, special district or school board members. In addition to a prohibition on voting, such officer may not participate (i.e., discuss or debate) in the conflicted matter without first disclosing the nature of his or her interest. The bill expands persons required to file Form 6 (full) financial disclosure to include elected mayors and governing body members of municipalities having more than $10 million in total revenue. The Department of Financial Services is required to provide an annual report to the Commission on Ethics showing the total revenues for each municipality. A municipality’s failure to file its annual financial report with the Department creates a presumption the municipality has more than $10 million in annual revenues for purposes of the financial disclosure requirement. The bill lists the minimum course contents for public officer ethics training requirements and expands the class of officers required to complete annual ethics training to include special district and water management district board members. Persons required to complete annual ethics training must certify completion of the training on their financial disclosure forms as well as identify the name of the training provider. The failure to certify completion of ethics training or to identify the training provider is deemed a material error or omission. (O’Hara)

Prohibition of Public Funds for Lobbying (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 215 (Sabatini) prohibits a local government from using public funds to retain a lobbyist to represent the local government before the legislative or executive branch. It would permit a full-time employee of local government to register as a lobbyist and represent the local government before the legislative or executive branch. The bill would also prohibit any person, except a full-time employee, from accepting public funds for lobbying. It provides for the filing of complaints with the Florida Commission on Ethics and the filing of civil actions for injunctive relief, as well as sanctions and recovery of attorney ...

HB 215 (Sabatini) prohibits a local government from using public funds to retain a lobbyist to represent the local government before the legislative or executive branch. It would permit a full-time employee of local government to register as a lobbyist and represent the local government before the legislative or executive branch. The bill would also prohibit any person, except a full-time employee, from accepting public funds for lobbying. It provides for the filing of complaints with the Florida Commission on Ethics and the filing of civil actions for injunctive relief, as well as sanctions and recovery of attorney fees by prevailing parties. (O’Hara)

State Ethics Reform (Watch)

HB 7043 (Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) addresses public officer, public employee and third-party conduct regarding solicitation and negotiation of conflicting and potentially conflicting financial relationships, addresses post-service lobbying restrictions for certain state officers and revises executive branch lobbyist registration requirements. The bill prohibits public officers and employees from soliciting an employment or contractual relationship from entities from whom they are prohibited from entering into conflicting employment and contractual relationships. In addition, the bill requires public officers and employees to report or disclose particular solicitations and offers of employment or contractual relationships. The bill revises executive branch lobbying ...

HB 7043 (Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) addresses public officer, public employee and third-party conduct regarding solicitation and negotiation of conflicting and potentially conflicting financial relationships, addresses post-service lobbying restrictions for certain state officers and revises executive branch lobbyist registration requirements. The bill prohibits public officers and employees from soliciting an employment or contractual relationship from entities from whom they are prohibited from entering into conflicting employment and contractual relationships. In addition, the bill requires public officers and employees to report or disclose particular solicitations and offers of employment or contractual relationships. The bill revises executive branch lobbying registration provisions to require electronic registration and affirmative consent of the principal to be represented by a lobbyist. (O’Hara)

Other Bills of Interest

HB 61 (Roth) and SB 1238 (Roth) – Percentage of Elector Votes Required to Approve Constitutional Amendment or Revision ...

HB 61 (Roth) and SB 1238 (Roth) – Percentage of Elector Votes Required to Approve Constitutional Amendment or Revision

FINANCE & TAXATION

Constitutional Amendment: Property Assessed for Elevated Properties (Watch)

HJR 1377 (Chaney) proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution to authorize the Legislature to prohibit the consideration of improvements made to residential real property to improve the property's resistance to flood damage when determining assessed value of the property for the purposes of ad valorem taxation. HJR 1377 passed the House (118-0) and the Senate (40-0). (Hughes) ...

HJR 1377 (Chaney) proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution to authorize the Legislature to prohibit the consideration of improvements made to residential real property to improve the property's resistance to flood damage when determining assessed value of the property for the purposes of ad valorem taxation. HJR 1377 passed the House (118-0) and the Senate (40-0). (Hughes)

Implementing Bill: Property Assessed for Elevated Properties (Watch)

CS/CS/SB 1186 (Brandes) and CS/CS/HB 1379 (Chaney) implement SJR 1182 or HJR 1377 if approved by 60% of voters at the next general election. The bills specify that changes to elevate certain homestead and non-homestead residential property do not increase the assessed value of the property under specific circumstances. The bills require the property owners to provide certification. CS/CS/HB 1379 passed the House (118-0) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (Hughes) ...

CS/CS/SB 1186 (Brandes) and CS/CS/HB 1379 (Chaney) implement SJR 1182 or HJR 1377 if approved by 60% of voters at the next general election. The bills specify that changes to elevate certain homestead and non-homestead residential property do not increase the assessed value of the property under specific circumstances. The bills require the property owners to provide certification. CS/CS/HB 1379 passed the House (118-0) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (Hughes)

Government Property Tax Exemptions (Watch)

SB 1702 (Hutson) and HB 1555 (Harding) revise the types of lessees whose purposes and functions are deemed to be governmental, municipal, or public purposes. (Hughes) ...

SB 1702 (Hutson) and HB 1555 (Harding) revise the types of lessees whose purposes and functions are deemed to be governmental, municipal, or public purposes. (Hughes)

Local Government Fiscal Transparency (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 154 (Diaz) amends multiple provisions related to local government financial transparency. The bill expands public notice and public hearing requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes and taxes adopted by referendum and new long-term tax-supported debt issuances. Each local government is required to prominently post on its website the voting records on any action taken by its governing board related to tax increases and new tax-supported debt issuances. The bill imposes requirements on county property appraisers and local governments relating to Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices, millage rate history and the amount of tax ...

SB 154 (Diaz) amends multiple provisions related to local government financial transparency. The bill expands public notice and public hearing requirements for local option tax increases, other than property taxes and taxes adopted by referendum and new long-term tax-supported debt issuances. Each local government is required to prominently post on its website the voting records on any action taken by its governing board related to tax increases and new tax-supported debt issuances. The bill imposes requirements on county property appraisers and local governments relating to Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices, millage rate history and the amount of tax levied by each taxing authority on each parcel. Additionally, local governments will be required to conduct a debt affordability analysis prior to approving the issuance of new long-term tax-supported debt. The bill requires the local government annual audit reports to include information regarding compliance with the requirements of this newly created section of law. Failure to comply would result in the withholding of state-shared revenues. The bill revises the local government reporting requirements for economic development incentives. It requires each municipality to report to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research whether the incentive is provided directly to an individual business or by another entity on behalf of the local government and the source of dollars obligated for the incentive (including local, state and federal). (Hughes)

Nonprofit Property Tax Exemptions (Watch)

CS/CS/SB 1214 (Gruters) and CS/CS/HB 889 (Borrero) specify the conditions for retaining the ad valorem exemption of an exempt property. The bills require that revenue derived from the incidental use of the property must support the charitable, religious, scientific or literacy purpose that the property is used for. CS/CS/HB 889 passed the House (118-0) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (Hughes) ...

CS/CS/SB 1214 (Gruters) and CS/CS/HB 889 (Borrero) specify the conditions for retaining the ad valorem exemption of an exempt property. The bills require that revenue derived from the incidental use of the property must support the charitable, religious, scientific or literacy purpose that the property is used for. CS/CS/HB 889 passed the House (118-0) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (Hughes)

Property Tax Exemption for Affordable Housing and Government (Support)

SB 674 (Rodriguez) and HB 563 (Rodriguez) authorize counties and municipalities to adopt ordinances to grant ad valorem tax exemptions to property owners whose properties are used for the government or affordable housing. The property owner must have taken affirmative steps to prepare the property to provide affordable housing to persons or families that meet specified income limits to qualify for the affordable housing exemption. For the governmental exemption, a governmental or public purpose is served if a person provides a service that the state, any of its political subdivisions or any municipality, agency, special district, authority or ...

SB 674 (Rodriguez) and HB 563 (Rodriguez) authorize counties and municipalities to adopt ordinances to grant ad valorem tax exemptions to property owners whose properties are used for the government or affordable housing. The property owner must have taken affirmative steps to prepare the property to provide affordable housing to persons or families that meet specified income limits to qualify for the affordable housing exemption. For the governmental exemption, a governmental or public purpose is served if a person provides a service that the state, any of its political subdivisions or any municipality, agency, special district, authority or other public body corporate of the state could properly perform or serve and if the governmental or public purpose would otherwise be a valid purpose for the allocation of public funds. (Hughes)

Property Tax Exemption: Nonprofit Homes for the Aged (Watch)

CS/SB 1330 (Rodriguez) and CS/HB 571 (Smith, D.) expand the current exemption from ad valorem taxes for property used for nonprofit homes for the aged. CS/HB 571 passed the House (111-0) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (Hughes) ...

CS/SB 1330 (Rodriguez) and CS/HB 571 (Smith, D.) expand the current exemption from ad valorem taxes for property used for nonprofit homes for the aged. CS/HB 571 passed the House (111-0) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (Hughes)

Rental of Homestead Property (Watch)

SB 132 (Hutson) allows the rental of a portion of a dwelling, claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes, while the dwelling is physically occupied by the owner does not constitute the abandonment of the dwelling as a homestead. (Hughes) ...

SB 132 (Hutson) allows the rental of a portion of a dwelling, claimed to be a homestead for tax purposes, while the dwelling is physically occupied by the owner does not constitute the abandonment of the dwelling as a homestead. (Hughes)

Sales and Use Tax (Support)

CS/CS/SB 50 (Gruters) requires retailers with no physical presence in Florida to collect Florida's sales tax on sales of taxable items delivered to purchasers in Florida if the retailer makes a substantial number of sales into Florida or provides for the taxation of sales facilitated through a marketplace provider. The bill also deletes a provision that exempts an out-of-state dealer that makes retail sales into Florida from collecting and remitting any local option surtax. The bill temporarily diverts the increased collections in sales tax, due to this bill, to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund until it is replenished ...

CS/CS/SB 50 (Gruters) requires retailers with no physical presence in Florida to collect Florida's sales tax on sales of taxable items delivered to purchasers in Florida if the retailer makes a substantial number of sales into Florida or provides for the taxation of sales facilitated through a marketplace provider. The bill also deletes a provision that exempts an out-of-state dealer that makes retail sales into Florida from collecting and remitting any local option surtax. The bill temporarily diverts the increased collections in sales tax, due to this bill, to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund until it is replenished to pre-pandemic levels. The bill reduces the business rent tax from 5.5% to 2% once the Trust Fund reaches its pre-pandemic balance. CS/CS/SB 50 passed the House (93-24) and the Senate (27-12) and was signed by the governor on April 19, 2021. Effective July 1, 2021, except as otherwise provided. Chapter No. 2021-002. (Hughes)

Tangible Personal Property Tax Returns (Watch)

HB 1037 (Roth) and SB 1210 (Baxley) authorize property owners of assessed property who have not filed personal property tax returns to qualify for tax exemption without filing an initial return. (Hughes)  ...

HB 1037 (Roth) and SB 1210 (Baxley) authorize property owners of assessed property who have not filed personal property tax returns to qualify for tax exemption without filing an initial return. (Hughes)

Tax Administration (Watch)

CS/HB 1241 (Stevenson) makes various updates to the statutes administering numerous taxes. Of note, the bill requires, rather than authorize, tax collectors to accept late payments of prepaid property taxes through July 31 and deletes a late payment penalty. CS/HB 1241 passed the House (115-0) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (Hughes) ...

CS/HB 1241 (Stevenson) makes various updates to the statutes administering numerous taxes. Of note, the bill requires, rather than authorize, tax collectors to accept late payments of prepaid property taxes through July 31 and deletes a late payment penalty. CS/HB 1241 passed the House (115-0) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (Hughes)

Taxation (Watch)

HB 7061 (Ways and Means) is the tax packages for the 2021 Session. The bill includes a sales tax holiday for back-to-school, disaster preparedness and “recreation” purchases. The bill expands the current property tax discount from 50% to 100% for certain multifamily projects that provide affordable housing for low-income families. Other property tax changes in the bill include clarifying the application of an exemption from ad valorem taxation for portions of property used for charitable, religious, scientific or literary purposes; requiring the tax collector to accept late payments on the first installment of prepaid property taxes; repealing the ...

HB 7061 (Ways and Means) is the tax packages for the 2021 Session. The bill includes a sales tax holiday for back-to-school, disaster preparedness and “recreation” purchases. The bill expands the current property tax discount from 50% to 100% for certain multifamily projects that provide affordable housing for low-income families. Other property tax changes in the bill include clarifying the application of an exemption from ad valorem taxation for portions of property used for charitable, religious, scientific or literary purposes; requiring the tax collector to accept late payments on the first installment of prepaid property taxes; repealing the hospital community benefit reporting and creating two additional situations when a change in the ownership of homestead property would not result in the property being reassessed at just value. The bill also clarifies that when a property is damaged or destroyed by a calamity, ancillary improvements may also be repaired or replaced without the improvement being assessed at just value and that the assessment made for repaired or replaced property must be calculated based on the assessed value as of the January 1 immediately before the damage or destruction occurred. The bills also make a number of updates related to tax administration. The bill also implements HJR 1377, if approved by 60% of voters at the next general election, which will mean that changes to elevate certain homestead and non-homestead residential property do not increase the assessed value of the property under specific circumstances. HB 7061 passed the House (117-1) and the Senate (40-0) and is awaiting action by the governor. (Hughes)

Taxation of Property Used for Agriculture (Watch)

SB 516 (Rodriguez) and HB 927 (Tuck) specify the methodology for the assessment of the structures and equipment used in aquaculture. The bills allow the property owner to request removal of its agriculture classification if the tax assessed based on such methodology exceeds the tax assessed based on the value of the structures and equipment. (Hughes) ...

SB 516 (Rodriguez) and HB 927 (Tuck) specify the methodology for the assessment of the structures and equipment used in aquaculture. The bills allow the property owner to request removal of its agriculture classification if the tax assessed based on such methodology exceeds the tax assessed based on the value of the structures and equipment. (Hughes)

Transparency in Government Spending (Watch)

CS/SB 506 (Garcia) and CS/CS/HB 195 (Persons-Mulicka) require new reporting requirements for nongovernmental entities that receive a least 50 percent of their revenue from a governmental entity or expend at least $750,000 of government funds in any fiscal year. The bill provides that, before receiving funds from a governmental entity, a nongovernmental entity that received state funds in the previous year must submit to the governmental entity an attestation verifying that the nongovernmental entity has submitted the required report. Beginning January 15, 2022, a governmental entity may not expend, transfer or distribute funds to a nongovernmental entity until ...

CS/SB 506 (Garcia) and CS/CS/HB 195 (Persons-Mulicka) require new reporting requirements for nongovernmental entities that receive a least 50 percent of their revenue from a governmental entity or expend at least $750,000 of government funds in any fiscal year. The bill provides that, before receiving funds from a governmental entity, a nongovernmental entity that received state funds in the previous year must submit to the governmental entity an attestation verifying that the nongovernmental entity has submitted the required report. Beginning January 15, 2022, a governmental entity may not expend, transfer or distribute funds to a nongovernmental entity until the nongovernmental entity has complied with the reporting and posting requirements. CS/CS/HB 195 passed the House (119-0) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (Hughes)

Value of Timeshare Units (Watch)

HB 1007 (Killebrew) and CS/SB 1358 (Gruters) revise the method of determining the value of timeshare property by the county property appraiser. The bills require the county property appraiser to defer to the taxpayer for the determination of whether the number of resales is adequate. CS/SB 1358 died in committee. (Hughes) ...

HB 1007 (Killebrew) and CS/SB 1358 (Gruters) revise the method of determining the value of timeshare property by the county property appraiser. The bills require the county property appraiser to defer to the taxpayer for the determination of whether the number of resales is adequate. CS/SB 1358 died in committee. (Hughes)

Other Bills of Interest 

HB 81 (Casello) and SB 224 (Berman) – Sales and Use Tax Exemption ...

HB 81 (Casello) and SB 224 (Berman) – Sales and Use Tax Exemption SB 302 (Taddeo) and HB 637 (Tant)  – Small Business Saturday Sales Tax Holiday SB 598 (Perry) – Back-to-school Sales Tax Holiday HJR 85 (Rizzo) and SJR 156 (Diaz) – Joint Resolution: Homestead Assessment Limitation for School Levies HB 87 (Rizzo) and SJR 158 (Diaz) – Homestead Assessment Limitation for School Levies HB 597 (Woodson) and SB 1256 (Polsky) – Homestead Exemption for Seniors 65 and Older SB 734 (Gruters) – Sales Tax Holiday for Disaster Preparedness Supplies  HB 749 (Mooney) – Small County Discretionary Sales Surtaxes HB 1125 (Fischer) and SB 1390 (Gruters) – Capital Investment Tax Credit HB 1209 (Fetterhoff) and SB 1408 (Burgess) – Department of Financial Services HB 1429 (Avila) and SB 2008 (Diaz) – Tourist and Convention Development Taxes HB 6047 (Altman) and SB 842 (Baxley) – Aircraft Sales and Lease Tax SB 58 (Rodriquez) – Hospitals' Community Benefit Reporting SB 806 (Book) – Tax Exemption for Diapers and Incontinence Products SB 986 (Hutson) – Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans SB 1254 (Bean) and HB 1519 (Duggan) – Ad Valorem Assessments HB 649 (Fernandez-Barquin) and SB 996 (Garcia) – Petition for Objection to Assessment HB 5001 (Appropriations) and SB 2500 (Appropriations) – General Appropriations Act HB 5003 (Appropriations) and SB 2502 (Appropriations) – Implementing the 2021-2022 GAA

LAND USE & COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING

Ancillary Property Rights (Watch) 

CS/HB 1139 (Smith) and CS/SB 1520 (Boyd) provide that a utility easement is an interest in real property and subject to certain actions unless otherwise provided in the instrument creating the easement. These bills revise rights that are not affected or extinguished by marketable record titles and require persons with certain interests in land that may be extinguished by this act to file a specified notice to preserve their interests. (Cruz) ...

CS/HB 1139 (Smith) and CS/SB 1520 (Boyd) provide that a utility easement is an interest in real property and subject to certain actions unless otherwise provided in the instrument creating the easement. These bills revise rights that are not affected or extinguished by marketable record titles and require persons with certain interests in land that may be extinguished by this act to file a specified notice to preserve their interests. (Cruz)

Governmental Actions Affecting Private Property Rights (Oppose) 

CS/CS/HB 421 (Tuck) and CS/SB 1876 (Albritton) amend current law to provide procedures and remedies to landowners whose property is inordinately burdened by a local government regulation. Of concern to cities, the bills amend the term “action of a governmental entity” to now include the passing of an ordinance or regulation that diminishes a property owners property value, even if that ordinance or regulation is not applied to the property. This change will allow a property owner to initiate a Bert Harris claim without applying for a permit and being denied by a government entity. The bill allows ...

CS/CS/HB 421 (Tuck) and CS/SB 1876 (Albritton) amend current law to provide procedures and remedies to landowners whose property is inordinately burdened by a local government regulation. Of concern to cities, the bills amend the term “action of a governmental entity” to now include the passing of an ordinance or regulation that diminishes a property owners property value, even if that ordinance or regulation is not applied to the property. This change will allow a property owner to initiate a Bert Harris claim without applying for a permit and being denied by a government entity. The bill allows a property owner to retain the ability to bring a Bert Harris lawsuit even if they sell their interest in the property in question. The bill amends the attorney fee provisions of the Harris Act to favor property owners. Lastly, the bill shortens the time frame governments will have to respond to Harris claims from 150 days to 90 days. CS/CS/HB 421 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill is effective October 1, 2021. (Cruz)

Growth Management-1 (Watch)

CS/CS/CS/SB 496 (Perry) and CS/CS/CS/HB 59 (McClain) are comprehensive growth management bills. The legislation requires local governments to create and include a private property rights element in their comprehensive plans. The bills say the consent of certain property owners is not required for development agreement changes under certain circumstances. Under certain circumstances the legislation authorizes developers to exchange approved land uses, subject to demonstrating that the exchange will not increase impacts to public facilities. The bills require the Department of Transportation to afford a right of first refusal to previous property owners under specified circumstances. The bills were ...

CS/CS/CS/SB 496 (Perry) and CS/CS/CS/HB 59 (McClain) are comprehensive growth management bills. The legislation requires local governments to create and include a private property rights element in their comprehensive plans. The bills say the consent of certain property owners is not required for development agreement changes under certain circumstances. Under certain circumstances the legislation authorizes developers to exchange approved land uses, subject to demonstrating that the exchange will not increase impacts to public facilities. The bills require the Department of Transportation to afford a right of first refusal to previous property owners under specified circumstances. The bills were amended to provide that, in certain situations, a city or county will have additional time to amend their comprehensive plan to comply with the requirements of the legislation. As amended, a city or county can now wait until the next time they amend their comprehensive plan or until their seven-year review of their comprehensive plan is due to comply with the new private property element. CS/CS/CS/HB 59 was substituted for CS/CS/CS/SB 496. CS/CS/CS/HB 59 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. If signed by the governor, the bill is effective July 1, 2021. (Cruz)

Home-based Businesses (CS/HB 403 Oppose – Preemption; CS/SB 266 Neutral)

CS/HB 403 (Giallombardo) and CS/CS/SB 266 (Perry) preempt the regulation of home-based businesses. The bills provide that local governments may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation or policy or take any action to license or otherwise regulate a home-based business in a manner that is different from other businesses in a local government’s jurisdiction. The bills authorize business owners to challenge local government actions and authorize the prevailing party to recover specified attorney fees and costs. Local governments may regulate a home-based business for issues related to noise, vibration, heat, smoke, dust, glare, fumes, odors as long ...

CS/HB 403 (Giallombardo) and CS/CS/SB 266 (Perry) preempt the regulation of home-based businesses. The bills provide that local governments may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation or policy or take any action to license or otherwise regulate a home-based business in a manner that is different from other businesses in a local government’s jurisdiction. The bills authorize business owners to challenge local government actions and authorize the prevailing party to recover specified attorney fees and costs. Local governments may regulate a home-based business for issues related to noise, vibration, heat, smoke, dust, glare, fumes, odors as long as these regulations are not more stringent than those applied to a home where no business takes place. CS/HB 403 passed the House (77-41), where compromise language was stripped from the bill, then passed the Senate (19-18). The bill will take effect July 1, 2021, if signed by the governor. (Cruz)

Impact Fees (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/CS/HB 337 (DiCeglie) and CS/CS/CS/SB 750 (Gruters) are comprehensive impact fee bills. The bills restrict what are allowable expenditures of impact fees revenue and cap by how much impact fees can be raised on a yearly basis. Impact fees are collected by local governments to fund local infrastructure to meet the demands of population growth. The bills also ease the restrictions on expenditure of impact fees revenue to allow for the purchase of fire department vehicles, emergency medical service vehicles, sheriff’s office vehicles, police department vehicles and the equipment necessary to outfit the vehicles for their official use. ...

CS/CS/CS/HB 337 (DiCeglie) and CS/CS/CS/SB 750 (Gruters) are comprehensive impact fee bills. The bills restrict what are allowable expenditures of impact fees revenue and cap by how much impact fees can be raised on a yearly basis. Impact fees are collected by local governments to fund local infrastructure to meet the demands of population growth. The bills also ease the restrictions on expenditure of impact fees revenue to allow for the purchase of fire department vehicles, emergency medical service vehicles, sheriff’s office vehicles, police department vehicles and the equipment necessary to outfit the vehicles for their official use. As amended, the bills will require, within 12 months before the adoption of an impact fee increase, a local government to: conduct a demonstrated-need study justifying the increase and expressly demonstrating the extraordinary circumstances necessitating the need to exceed the limitations, hold at least two publicly noticed workshops dedicated to the extraordinary circumstances necessitating the need to exceed the limitations and approve the impact fee ordinance by at least a two-thirds vote of the governing body. CS/CS/CS/HB 337 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill is effective upon becoming law. (Cruz)

Relief from Burdens on Real Property Rights (Oppose)

HB 1101 (Persons-Mulicka) and SB 1380 (Rodrigues) amend the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act to facilitate private property owner to bring a lawsuit against a government entity. Under current law, with a few exceptions, a property owner must file an application with a government entity before being able to initiate a Bert Harris Act lawsuit. These bills authorize the filing of a Bert Harris Act lawsuit based upon the adoption of an ordinance, resolution, regulation, rule or policy. (Cruz) ...

HB 1101 (Persons-Mulicka) and SB 1380 (Rodrigues) amend the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act to facilitate private property owner to bring a lawsuit against a government entity. Under current law, with a few exceptions, a property owner must file an application with a government entity before being able to initiate a Bert Harris Act lawsuit. These bills authorize the filing of a Bert Harris Act lawsuit based upon the adoption of an ordinance, resolution, regulation, rule or policy. (Cruz)

Small Scale Development Amendments (Watch)

HB 487 (Duggan) and CS/CS/SB 1274 (Perry) increase the acreage thresholds for adopting comprehensive plan amendments using a small-scale development amendment. HB 487 passed the House and Senate. If approved by the governor, the bill is effective July 1, 2021. (Cruz) ...

HB 487 (Duggan) and CS/CS/SB 1274 (Perry) increase the acreage thresholds for adopting comprehensive plan amendments using a small-scale development amendment. HB 487 passed the House and Senate. If approved by the governor, the bill is effective July 1, 2021. (Cruz)

Special District Accountability (Watch) 

CS/CS/CS/HB 1103 (Maggard) and SB 1624 (Albritton) require certain independent special districts that levy a non-ad valorem special assessment to contract with an independent entity to conduct performance audits. These bills also require the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to conduct performance audits of certain classifications of independent special districts and report the performance audits by a specified date. CS/CS/CS/HB 1103 passed the House and Senate. If approved by the governor, the bill is effective October 1, 2021. (Cruz) ...

CS/CS/CS/HB 1103 (Maggard) and SB 1624 (Albritton) require certain independent special districts that levy a non-ad valorem special assessment to contract with an independent entity to conduct performance audits. These bills also require the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability to conduct performance audits of certain classifications of independent special districts and report the performance audits by a specified date. CS/CS/CS/HB 1103 passed the House and Senate. If approved by the governor, the bill is effective October 1, 2021. (Cruz)

OTHER

Abandoned Residential Property (Support) 

HB 1393 (Davis) and SB 1808 (Powell) revise the indication criteria for an “abandoned residential property” to make the process for abating nuisance properties easier and less costly to local governments. The bills revise the process for a local government to notify a mortgagee or mortgage servicer of a nuisance residential property and directs them to abate the nuisance until ownership of the property has been transferred through the foreclosure process. If the local government steps in to abate the nuisance property, the bills allow the local government to recover the costs of abatement by placing a lien ...

HB 1393 (Davis) and SB 1808 (Powell) revise the indication criteria for an “abandoned residential property” to make the process for abating nuisance properties easier and less costly to local governments. The bills revise the process for a local government to notify a mortgagee or mortgage servicer of a nuisance residential property and directs them to abate the nuisance until ownership of the property has been transferred through the foreclosure process. If the local government steps in to abate the nuisance property, the bills allow the local government to recover the costs of abatement by placing a lien on the property, which may not be foreclosed. The bills specify that the local government may request reimbursement for the cost of abatement from the mortgagee or mortgage servicer, which must be paid within 20 days. (Taggart)

Attorney General Designation of Matters of Great Governmental Concern (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/HB 1053 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 102 (Burgess) will have the effect of limiting or prohibiting various civil actions and class action matters by local governments including recent class actions involving opioids, PFAS and predatory lending. CS/HB 1053 authorizes the attorney general to unilaterally declare any conduct or harm that adversely affects the interests of citizens of at least five counties in the state a “matter of great governmental concern.” It requires local governments to notify the attorney general of the commencement of “any civil action” and authorizes the attorney general to determine the local government civil action involves ...

CS/HB 1053 (Overdorf) and CS/SB 102 (Burgess) will have the effect of limiting or prohibiting various civil actions and class action matters by local governments including recent class actions involving opioids, PFAS and predatory lending. CS/HB 1053 authorizes the attorney general to unilaterally declare any conduct or harm that adversely affects the interests of citizens of at least five counties in the state a “matter of great governmental concern.” It requires local governments to notify the attorney general of the commencement of “any civil action” and authorizes the attorney general to determine the local government civil action involves a matter of great governmental concern. CS/HB 1053 authorizes the attorney general, within one year of publishing notice of a determination that a matter is of great governmental concern, to file a civil action on behalf of the citizens of the state on the matter. The attorney general’s determination operates to stay any civil action of a local government on the same matter. The bill requires any funds recovered by the attorney general be deposited into the General Revenue Fund and requires a state court to dismiss as moot a local government civil action that is based on the same matter as the attorney general’s action and resolved by settlement or judgment of that action. CS/SB 102 authorizes the Legislature by concurrent resolution to declare any circumstance that has caused economic or similar harm to governmental entities in 15 or more counties to be a matter of great governmental concern. Upon such a declaration, the attorney general would have sole authority to file a civil action on behalf of the affected governmental entities. The bills authorize the attorney general to intervene in any pending civil proceeding in federal or state court (including pending appeals) and dismiss, consolidate, settle or take any action he or she believes to be in the public interest. A declaration by the attorney general that a matter is of great governmental concern will operate to abate or stay any pending civil action unless and until the attorney general takes an action in the proceeding. The bills require governmental entities that are parties to any action that has been declared a matter of great governmental interest to notify the attorney general of the existence of the action and provide that any settlement or resolution of a proceeding by a governmental entity after the attorney general’s declaration and without the attorney general’s consent is void. The declaration of a matter of great governmental concern is not “final agency action” subject to review under the Administrative Procedure Act. The bills provide a process by which governmental entities may apply to a court to recover attorney fees and costs incurred prior to the attorney general’s declaration, but they fail to identify a source of funding, responsible party or conditions for obtaining such recovery. (O’Hara)

Cottage Food Operations (Watch)

CS/HB 663 (Salzman) and CS/SB 1294 (Brodeur) deal with the regulation of “cottage food” operations, which encompass any person or entity that produces or packages certain foods at their residence intended to be sold. The bills increase the current sales cap on cottage food operations from $50,000 to $250,000. The bills restrict local governments from regulating cottage food operations. The bills were amended to specify that they must comply with all local home-based business ordinances. CS/SB 1294 was substituted to CS/HB 663. CS/HB 663 passed the House (91-24) and the Senate (30-10). (Taggart) ...

CS/HB 663 (Salzman) and CS/SB 1294 (Brodeur) deal with the regulation of “cottage food” operations, which encompass any person or entity that produces or packages certain foods at their residence intended to be sold. The bills increase the current sales cap on cottage food operations from $50,000 to $250,000. The bills restrict local governments from regulating cottage food operations. The bills were amended to specify that they must comply with all local home-based business ordinances. CS/SB 1294 was substituted to CS/HB 663. CS/HB 663 passed the House (91-24) and the Senate (30-10). (Taggart)

County and Municipal Code Enforcement (Watch)

CS/SB 60 (Bradley) and CS/CS/CS/HB 883 (Overdorf) would prohibit code enforcement officers from investigating and enforcing a potential code violation if the complaint is received anonymously. The bill requires any person who reports a violation of a code or ordinance to provide their name and address to the local government before any enforcement proceedings occur. The bills were amended to still allow for enforcement of anonymous complaints if they pose an imminent threat to public health, safety or welfare or imminent destruction of habitat or sensitive resources. Nothing in the bills prohibit a code enforcement officer from proactively ...

CS/SB 60 (Bradley) and CS/CS/CS/HB 883 (Overdorf) would prohibit code enforcement officers from investigating and enforcing a potential code violation if the complaint is received anonymously. The bill requires any person who reports a violation of a code or ordinance to provide their name and address to the local government before any enforcement proceedings occur. The bills were amended to still allow for enforcement of anonymous complaints if they pose an imminent threat to public health, safety or welfare or imminent destruction of habitat or sensitive resources. Nothing in the bills prohibit a code enforcement officer from proactively enforcing a code violation. CS/CS/CS/HB 883 was substituted to CS/SB 60. CS/SB 60 passed the Senate (27-11) and the House (81-35). (Taggart)

Deprivation of Rights by Public Officers and Employees (Watch)

HB 261 (Rayner), SB 670 (Jones) and SB 1982 (Powell) create a new lawsuit against an officer, employee or agent of a political subdivision of the state for when they are acting under color of law and deprive someone's rights under the U.S. and state constitutions. The bills provide claims may not be used as defense against liability and specifies circumstances under which an officer, employee or agent is immune. (Cruz) ...

HB 261 (Rayner), SB 670 (Jones) and SB 1982 (Powell) create a new lawsuit against an officer, employee or agent of a political subdivision of the state for when they are acting under color of law and deprive someone's rights under the U.S. and state constitutions. The bills provide claims may not be used as defense against liability and specifies circumstances under which an officer, employee or agent is immune. (Cruz)

Legal Notices (Support)

CS/HB 35 (Fine) allows a governmental agency the option to publish legally required advertisements and notices on a publicly accessible website if the online publication results in a cost savings to the local government. The bill also requires a governmental agency to publish a notice at least once a year in a newspaper of general circulation that the resident or property owner may receive legally required notices or advertisements via first class mail or email by registration of his or her name, address and email address with the local governmental agency. ...

CS/HB 35 (Fine) allows a governmental agency the option to publish legally required advertisements and notices on a publicly accessible website if the online publication results in a cost savings to the local government. The bill also requires a governmental agency to publish a notice at least once a year in a newspaper of general circulation that the resident or property owner may receive legally required notices or advertisements via first class mail or email by registration of his or her name, address and email address with the local governmental agency. CS/CS/SB 402 (Rodrigues) is similar to CS/HB 35 as it gives local governments the option to publish legally required notices on a website, but the bill specifies that the website must be owned by a newspaper of general circulation. The bill allows for the newspaper to charge a fee for the online publication of legal notices, but it clarifies that the rate may be no higher than the rate for printed notices. The bill also specifies that if a local government chooses to publish their legal notices on the newspaper's website in lieu of purchasing a printed ad, the local government must purchase an ad once per week in the print edition of the newspaper stating that not all legal notices are appearing in print and that additional legal notices may be found on the statewide website managed by the Florida Press Association. CS/CS/SB 402 was amended onto CS/HB 35. CS/HB 35 passed the House (105-9) and the Senate (39-0). (Taggart)

Local Licensing (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 115 (Fabricio) provides that an individual with a valid active local license may work in any local government jurisdiction without having to obtain additional local licensing, take additional examinations or pay additional local licensing fees. The bill explicitly states that this multi-jurisdictional approval does not impede a local government's ability to collect business taxes from businesses operating within the local government's boundaries. Local governments' disciplinary jurisdiction for licenses within their jurisdictions is also retained. The bill details the process for a local government to execute its disciplinary jurisdiction. (Cruz) ...

HB 115 (Fabricio) provides that an individual with a valid active local license may work in any local government jurisdiction without having to obtain additional local licensing, take additional examinations or pay additional local licensing fees. The bill explicitly states that this multi-jurisdictional approval does not impede a local government's ability to collect business taxes from businesses operating within the local government's boundaries. Local governments' disciplinary jurisdiction for licenses within their jurisdictions is also retained. The bill details the process for a local government to execute its disciplinary jurisdiction. (Cruz)

Naming Highways (Watch) 

SB 646 (Taddeo) and HB 813 (Chambliss) require counties and municipalities to rename their respective portions of Dixie Highway, Old Dixie Highway, North Dixie Highway or South Dixie Highway as “Harriet Tubman Highway.” (Taggart) ...

SB 646 (Taddeo) and HB 813 (Chambliss) require counties and municipalities to rename their respective portions of Dixie Highway, Old Dixie Highway, North Dixie Highway or South Dixie Highway as “Harriet Tubman Highway.” (Taggart)

OGSR/Unsolicited Proposals (Watch)

SB 7050 (Community Affairs) amends a provision relating to an exemption from public records requirements for unsolicited proposals related to public-private partnerships. The bill removes the scheduled repeal of the exemption. SB 7050 passed the Senate (39-1) but was not considered by the House. (Cruz) ...

SB 7050 (Community Affairs) amends a provision relating to an exemption from public records requirements for unsolicited proposals related to public-private partnerships. The bill removes the scheduled repeal of the exemption. SB 7050 passed the Senate (39-1) but was not considered by the House. (Cruz)

Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/SB 268 (Perry) and HB 735 (Harding) expressly preempt the licensing of occupations to the state. The bills define occupation to include a paid job, work, trade, employment or profession and define licensing to include any training, education, test, certification, registration, procedure or license that are required for a person to perform an occupation. The bills provide limited exceptions for specified local licenses and any local government licensing of occupations that was expressly authorized by general law. The bills will prohibit a local government from requiring a person to obtain a license for a job scope that does ...

CS/SB 268 (Perry) and HB 735 (Harding) expressly preempt the licensing of occupations to the state. The bills define occupation to include a paid job, work, trade, employment or profession and define licensing to include any training, education, test, certification, registration, procedure or license that are required for a person to perform an occupation. The bills provide limited exceptions for specified local licenses and any local government licensing of occupations that was expressly authorized by general law. The bills will prohibit a local government from requiring a person to obtain a license for a job scope that does not substantially correspond to the job scope of certain contractor categories set forth in Chapter 489, Florida Statutes. In addition, the bills will authorize local governments to issue journeyman licenses in specified trades. HB 735 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill's effective date is July 1, 2021. (Cruz)

Prohibited Governmental Transactions with Technology Companies and for Chinese Products (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 439 (Fine) and SB 810 (Gruters) prohibit an agency or local governmental entity from purchasing or entering into a contract for any good made in or that contains at least 25% or more parts that were produced in China. The bills also prohibit a local governmental entity from purchasing any good or service made, sold or provided by Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple or Alphabet, Inc. (Taggart) ...

HB 439 (Fine) and SB 810 (Gruters) prohibit an agency or local governmental entity from purchasing or entering into a contract for any good made in or that contains at least 25% or more parts that were produced in China. The bills also prohibit a local governmental entity from purchasing any good or service made, sold or provided by Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple or Alphabet, Inc. (Taggart)

Regional Planning Councils (Oppose)

CS/SB 62 (Bradley) eliminates the role of regional planning councils in the state. This bill will authorize local governments to recommend areas of critical state concern to the state land planning agency. The bill allows local governments to enter into agreements to create regional planning entities pursuant to Chapter 163, Florida Statutes, to replace current regional planning councils. (Cruz)  ...

CS/SB 62 (Bradley) eliminates the role of regional planning councils in the state. This bill will authorize local governments to recommend areas of critical state concern to the state land planning agency. The bill allows local governments to enter into agreements to create regional planning entities pursuant to Chapter 163, Florida Statutes, to replace current regional planning councils. (Cruz)

Retail Sale of Domestic Dogs and Cats (Watch)

HB 45 (Killebrew) and SB 1138 (Brodeur) prohibit a for-profit business from selling domestic cats and dogs. The bills do not prohibit a city or county from adopting an ordinance on the sale of animals that is more stringent than the bill. (Taggart) ...

HB 45 (Killebrew) and SB 1138 (Brodeur) prohibit a for-profit business from selling domestic cats and dogs. The bills do not prohibit a city or county from adopting an ordinance on the sale of animals that is more stringent than the bill. (Taggart)

Specialty Contracting Services (Watch)

SB 338 (Gruters) and CS/HB 1431 (McClure) revise the type of buildings for which individuals who are not required to obtain certain registrations or certifications may perform contracting services without a local license. The specialty contracting services specified include the construction, remodeling, repair or improvement of commercial or residential swimming pools, hot tubs or spas, or interactive water features. (Taggart) ...

SB 338 (Gruters) and CS/HB 1431 (McClure) revise the type of buildings for which individuals who are not required to obtain certain registrations or certifications may perform contracting services without a local license. The specialty contracting services specified include the construction, remodeling, repair or improvement of commercial or residential swimming pools, hot tubs or spas, or interactive water features. (Taggart)

Substance Abuse Services (Watch) 

CS/CS/HB 319 (Caruso) and CS/CS/SB 804 (Harrell) make several changes to the licensing and regulation of substance abuse programs, including recovery residences or “sober homes.” The bills authorize the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to suspend a service provider’s license for failing to pay, within 60 days of a date set by the DCF, administrative fines and accrued interest related to disciplinary action taken against the service provider. The bills also mandate that a service provider pay fines and accrued interest resulting from violations of patient referral prohibitions within 60 days of a date specified by the ...

CS/CS/HB 319 (Caruso) and CS/CS/SB 804 (Harrell) make several changes to the licensing and regulation of substance abuse programs, including recovery residences or “sober homes.” The bills authorize the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to suspend a service provider’s license for failing to pay, within 60 days of a date set by the DCF, administrative fines and accrued interest related to disciplinary action taken against the service provider. The bills also mandate that a service provider pay fines and accrued interest resulting from violations of patient referral prohibitions within 60 days of a date specified by the DCF. If a service provider fails to remit payment within 60 days, the bills require the DCF to immediately suspend the service provider’s license. The bills also prohibit local governments from reclassifying single-family and two-family dwellings used as a recovery residence for purposes of enforcing the Florida Building Code, including the installation of fire sprinklers. CS/CS/HB 319 was substituted to CS/CS/SB 804. CS/CS/SB 804 passed the Senate (40-0) and the House (115-0). (Taggart)

Supermajority Vote for Legislative Preemption (Support)

SB 540 (Farmer) proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution that would require any general law that preempts a subject of legislation to the state to pass by a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature. (O’Hara) ...

SB 540 (Farmer) proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution that would require any general law that preempts a subject of legislation to the state to pass by a two-thirds vote of each house of the Legislature. (O’Hara)

Technology Transparency (Watch)

HB 7013 (Commerce Committee) prohibits social media platforms from “deplatforming” statewide candidates and allows the Florida Elections Commission to fine a social media platform $100,000 per day for deplatforming statewide candidates and $10,000 per day for all other candidates. In addition, if a social media platform provides free advertisements for a candidate, it is an in-kind contribution and the candidate must be notified. ...

HB 7013 (Commerce Committee) prohibits social media platforms from “deplatforming” statewide candidates and allows the Florida Elections Commission to fine a social media platform $100,000 per day for deplatforming statewide candidates and $10,000 per day for all other candidates. In addition, if a social media platform provides free advertisements for a candidate, it is an in-kind contribution and the candidate must be notified. SB 520 (Burgess) would require social media websites to notify individual and business users within 30 days after suspending their account. The notice must state why the account was suspended or disabled. (Taggart)

Tethering of Domestic Dogs and Cats (Watch)

HB 177 (Slosberg) and CS/SB 650 (Taddeo) prohibit the unattended tethering of domestic dogs and cats. The bills also prohibit outdoor tethering of dogs and cats during severe weather. Several exemptions are listed in the bills that would allow dog and cat owners to tether their animals: during organized public events at which the animal is a participant; for agricultural and hunting purposes; while being treated by a veterinarian, groomed or boarded; during law enforcement training; and while being cared for as part of a rescue operation. (Taggart) ...

HB 177 (Slosberg) and CS/SB 650 (Taddeo) prohibit the unattended tethering of domestic dogs and cats. The bills also prohibit outdoor tethering of dogs and cats during severe weather. Several exemptions are listed in the bills that would allow dog and cat owners to tether their animals: during organized public events at which the animal is a participant; for agricultural and hunting purposes; while being treated by a veterinarian, groomed or boarded; during law enforcement training; and while being cared for as part of a rescue operation. (Taggart)

Tobacco and Nicotine Products (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/SB 1080 (Hutson) and CS/CS/HB 987 (Toledo), as originally filed, were the “Tobacco 21” bills that increased the legal smoking age to 21 to comply with federal law. The bills were amended to include a preemption on the regulation of the marketing, sale or delivery of tobacco or nicotine products. CS/CS/HB 987 was substituted to CS/CS/SB 1080. CS/CS/SB 1080 passed the Senate (29-9) and the House (103-13). (Taggart) ...

CS/CS/SB 1080 (Hutson) and CS/CS/HB 987 (Toledo), as originally filed, were the “Tobacco 21” bills that increased the legal smoking age to 21 to comply with federal law. The bills were amended to include a preemption on the regulation of the marketing, sale or delivery of tobacco or nicotine products. CS/CS/HB 987 was substituted to CS/CS/SB 1080. CS/CS/SB 1080 passed the Senate (29-9) and the House (103-13). (Taggart)

Tolling and Extension of Permits and Other Authorizations During States of Emergency (Oppose – Mandate)

CS/HB 859 (Grant) and CS/CS/SB 912 (Albritton) add development permits and development agreements authorized by state law, including those authorized under the Florida Local Government Agreement Act or issued by local government or other governmental agency, to the list of permits and authorizations that are tolled and extended during a state of emergency for a natural emergency. The bills would apply to any declaration of a state of emergency issued by the governor for a natural emergency dating back to March 1, 2020. CS/CS/SB 912 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The ...

CS/HB 859 (Grant) and CS/CS/SB 912 (Albritton) add development permits and development agreements authorized by state law, including those authorized under the Florida Local Government Agreement Act or issued by local government or other governmental agency, to the list of permits and authorizations that are tolled and extended during a state of emergency for a natural emergency. The bills would apply to any declaration of a state of emergency issued by the governor for a natural emergency dating back to March 1, 2020. CS/CS/SB 912 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill is effective upon becoming law. (Cruz)

Urban Agriculture (Support)

CS/SB 628 (Rouson) and CS/HB 1013 (Rayner) create the Florida Urban Agriculture Pilot Project and expressly approve five municipalities with populations greater than 250,000 authority to regulate urban agriculture under certain circumstances. Nonresidential farm buildings, fences or signs located on lands used for urban agriculture would not be exempt from the Florida Building Code or local governmental regulations. CS/SB 628 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill is effective July 1, 2021. (Cruz) ...

CS/SB 628 (Rouson) and CS/HB 1013 (Rayner) create the Florida Urban Agriculture Pilot Project and expressly approve five municipalities with populations greater than 250,000 authority to regulate urban agriculture under certain circumstances. Nonresidential farm buildings, fences or signs located on lands used for urban agriculture would not be exempt from the Florida Building Code or local governmental regulations. CS/SB 628 passed the House and Senate and is awaiting action by the governor. The bill is effective July 1, 2021. (Cruz)

Other Bills of Interest

SB 914 (Stewart) – Access to Clinics ...

SB 914 (Stewart) – Access to Clinics HB 855 (Morales) and SB 1176 (Stewart) – Barber Services SB 826 (Baxley) and HB 871 (Snyder) – Child Protection Teams HB 479 (Alexander) and SB 1628 (Alexander) – Compensation for Victims of Excessive Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officers  HB 1181 (Beltran), HB 1179 (Beltran) and SB 204 (Beltran) – Constitution Revision Commission SB 74 (Brandes) and HB 7005 (Burton) – COVID-19-related Claims Against Health Care Providers  HB 737 (DiCeglie), SB 46 (Hutson) and SB 142 (Brandes) – Craft Distilleries  HB 515 (Mariano) and SB 1040 (Brodeur) – Duties of the Attorney General  HB 6089 (Joseph), SB 1706 (Torres, Jr.) and SB 1928 (Taddeo) – Federal Immigration Enforcement HHS1 (PCB Bill) – Health Care Civil Liability  SB 344 (Diaz), HB 471 (Rizo), HB 717 (Clemons) and SB 1598 (Gruters) – Legislative Review of Occupational Regulations  HB 1357 (Altman) and SB 1796 (Wright) – Military Installations SB 686 (Brandes) and HB 1533 (McFarland) – Offers of Judgement HB 1083 (Shoaf) and SB 1570 (Rodriguez) – Quasi-public Entities  SB 76 (Boyd), SB 212 (Brandes) and HB 305 (Rommel) – Residential Property Insurance  HB 241 (Grall) and SB 582 (Rodrigues) – Parental Rights HB 254 (Stewart) – Education  HB 641 (Goff-Marcil) – Charter and Private Schools SB 904 (Daiz) and HB 6053 (Yarborough) – Doorstep Waste Containers SB 922 (Burgess) and HB 541 (Buchanan) – Veteran’s Preference in Employment SB 1028 (Hutson) and HB 51 (McClain) – Charter Schools HB 1029 (Barnaby) and SB 1320 (Hutson) – Purple Heart Recipient Parking Spaces SB 1030 (Polsky) and HB 763 (Diamond) – Repeal of the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program and Reversion of Program Funds HB 1153 (Casello) – Pub. Rec./Emergency Planning and Management HB 1325 (Truenow) and SB 1614 (Rodriguez) – Neighborhood Pod Learning Programs SB 1454 (Farmer) – Strategic Fuel Reserve SB 134 (Brandes) and SB 148 (Bradley) and SB 142 (Brandes) – Alcohol-To-Go SB 630 (Baxley) and HB 867 (Shoaf) – Community Associations SB 872 (Rodrigues) and HB 665 (McClure) – Homeowners' Association Rental Agreements SB 902 (Rodrigues) and HB 463 (Roach) – Community Association Pools SB 56 (Rodrigues) and HB 615 (Rodriguez) –  Community Association Assessment Notices  HB 1297 (Giallombardo) and SB 1900 (Boyd) – Cybersecurity  HB 6075 (Shoaf) and SB 1564 (Gainer) – Required Publication of Local Board Meeting Minutes HB 1455 (Roach) and SB 1958 (Rodrigues) – Regulation of Medical Marijuana  HB 1517 (Duggan) and SB 1966 (Diaz) – Department of Business and Professional Regulation SB 1948 (Bean) and HB 1463 (LaMarca) – Department of Economic Opportunity SB 7076 (Regulated Industries) and COM3 (Commerce Committee) – Gaming Enforcement SB 7078 (Regulated Industries) and COM4 (Commerce Committee) – Public Records Exemption for the Florida Gaming Control Commission SB 7080 (Regulated Industries) and COM5 (Commerce Committee) – Requirements for Par-Mutual Permitholders to Conduct Live Racing or Games

PERSONNEL

Combating Public Disorder (Oppose – Impact on Municipal Operations)

CS/HB 1 (Fernandez-Barquin) is aimed at curbing riots and violent protests. Of specific interest to municipalities are provisions that make it difficult to reduce municipal law enforcement funding, in certain cases waive the sovereign immunity of cities for damages arising from riots, and provisions that create specific law enforcement actions when responding to riots. ...

CS/HB 1 (Fernandez-Barquin) is aimed at curbing riots and violent protests. Of specific interest to municipalities are provisions that make it difficult to reduce municipal law enforcement funding, in certain cases waive the sovereign immunity of cities for damages arising from riots, and provisions that create specific law enforcement actions when responding to riots. The legislation creates a process for the state attorney or member of the governing body of a city to file a petition to the Administration Commission (comprised of the governor and Cabinet) within 30 days after the municipality posts its tentative budget if the budget contains a funding reduction to the operating budget of the municipal law enforcement agency. The governing body of the municipality has five working days to file a reply with the Executive Office of the governor and must deliver a copy of the reply to the petitioner. After receiving the petition, the Executive Office of the governor must provide for a budget hearing to discuss the petition and the reply. The Administration Commission then has 30 days to provide a report of findings and approve or modify the municipal budget. The report by the Commission is final. The bill also creates civil liability for damages caused during a riot. A governing body or a person authorized by the governing body that breaches the duty to respond appropriately to protect persons and properties during a riot based on the availability of adequate equipment and applicable laws is civilly liable for any damages arising from the riot. The bill waives sovereign immunity for any governing body found liable, which means cities would not be protected by statutory caps that normally limit the amount someone can recover when suing a government entity. The bill requires law enforcement officers to hold individuals committing crimes related to riots in jail until their first appearance. Law enforcement cannot simply give tickets to anyone cited for crimes related to riots. Lastly, the legislation increases criminal penalties for actions relating to violent protests or riots. CS/HB 1 passed the House (76-39) and the Senate (23-17) and was signed by the governor on April 19, 2021. Effective upon becoming law. Chapter No. 2021-006. (Hughes)

Cost-of-living Adjustment of Retirement Benefits (Watch)

HB 1023 (Skidmore) and SB 1310 (Polsky) specify the minimum factor used to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment for certain retirees and beneficiaries of the Florida Retirement System. (Hughes) ...

HB 1023 (Skidmore) and SB 1310 (Polsky) specify the minimum factor used to calculate the cost-of-living adjustment for certain retirees and beneficiaries of the Florida Retirement System. (Hughes)

Firefighters' Bill of Rights (Watch)

SB 970 (Hooper) and CS/CS/HB 313 (Busatta Cabrera) extend certain provisions of the Firefighters' Bill of Rights to questioning conducted under an informal inquiry. The bills specify that an informal inquiry does not include routine work-related discussions, such as safety sessions or normal operational fire debriefings. The bills require an informal inquiry of a firefighter to be of reasonable duration with permitted periods for rest and personnel necessities; and not subject the firefighter to offensive language or offer any incentive as an inducement to answer any questions. During an informal inquiry or interrogation, a firefighter may not be ...

SB 970 (Hooper) and CS/CS/HB 313 (Busatta Cabrera) extend certain provisions of the Firefighters' Bill of Rights to questioning conducted under an informal inquiry. The bills specify that an informal inquiry does not include routine work-related discussions, such as safety sessions or normal operational fire debriefings. The bills require an informal inquiry of a firefighter to be of reasonable duration with permitted periods for rest and personnel necessities; and not subject the firefighter to offensive language or offer any incentive as an inducement to answer any questions. During an informal inquiry or interrogation, a firefighter may not be threatened with a transfer, suspension, dismissal or other disciplinary action. CS/CS/HB 313 passed the House (116-1) and is awaiting action by the Senate. (Hughes)

Florida Retirement System (Watch)

HB 1327 (Alexander) and SB 1632 (Ausley) revise the definition of the term "continuous service" for purposes of the Florida Retirement System. The bills also revise an exception to the employment after retirement limitations for retired law enforcement officers who are reemployed with a covered employer. (Hughes) ...

HB 1327 (Alexander) and SB 1632 (Ausley) revise the definition of the term "continuous service" for purposes of the Florida Retirement System. The bills also revise an exception to the employment after retirement limitations for retired law enforcement officers who are reemployed with a covered employer. (Hughes)

Florida Retirement System Investment Plan (Watch)

SB 7016 (Governmental Oversight and Accountability) provides that the State Board Administration may not pay benefits to a member of the Florida Retirement System who has committed certain criminal offenses prior to retirement. Currently, the criminal forfeiture statute provides only that the Division of Retirement within the Department of Management Services may not pay benefits when the forfeiture provisions are triggered. Thus, the bill clarifies that the criminal forfeiture provisions in Section 121.091, Florida Statutes, apply equally to employees, whether a member of the investment plan or a member of the pension plan. ...

SB 7016 (Governmental Oversight and Accountability) provides that the State Board Administration may not pay benefits to a member of the Florida Retirement System who has committed certain criminal offenses prior to retirement. Currently, the criminal forfeiture statute provides only that the Division of Retirement within the Department of Management Services may not pay benefits when the forfeiture provisions are triggered. Thus, the bill clarifies that the criminal forfeiture provisions in Section 121.091, Florida Statutes, apply equally to employees, whether a member of the investment plan or a member of the pension plan. The bill provides that the State Board may develop one or more investment products to be offered in the investment plan, consistent with its fiduciary responsibilities. The bill also requires that the spouse of a member who does not designate his spouse as a primary beneficiary be notified and acknowledge any such designation. Should the spouse fail to affirmatively acknowledge the designation or if the spouse cannot be found, the member may request the acknowledgement requirement be waived by the State Board through an affidavit. (Hughes)

Florida Retirement System Reform (Watch)

CS/SB 84 (Rodrigues) closes the pension plan (defined benefit) to new enrollees, except for members of the Special Risk Class, and requires all new enrollees to participate in the investment plan (defined contribution) effective July 1, 2022. The bill does not impact the rights of any current Florida Retirement System enrollee to select participation in the pension plan or the investment plan. Changes included in the bill pertain only to FRS members initially enrolled in the system on or after July 1, 2022. ...

CS/SB 84 (Rodrigues) closes the pension plan (defined benefit) to new enrollees, except for members of the Special Risk Class, and requires all new enrollees to participate in the investment plan (defined contribution) effective July 1, 2022. The bill does not impact the rights of any current Florida Retirement System enrollee to select participation in the pension plan or the investment plan. Changes included in the bill pertain only to FRS members initially enrolled in the system on or after July 1, 2022. Beginning July 1, 2022, the bill increases the employer-paid assessment for administrative and educational services by one basis point. This assessment is expected to generate roughly $3.4 million annually for the State Board of Administration to offset additional costs associated with the increase in the number of members participating in the investment plan and an increase in the workload relating to educational services offered to FRS members. The bill takes effect July 1, 2021; however, most changes are applicable to public employees on or after July 1, 2022. CS/SB 84 passed the Senate (24-16) and is awaiting action by the House. (Hughes)

FRS Employer Contribution Rates (Watch)

SB 7018 (Governmental Oversight and Accountability) and HB 5007 (Appropriations) establish the contribution rates paid by employers participating in the Florida Retirement System beginning July 1, 2021. These rates are intended to fund the full normal cost and the amortization of the unfunded actuarial liability of the FRS. With these modifications to employer contribution rates, the FRS Trust Fund will receive roughly $373.5 million more in revenue on an annual basis beginning July 1, 2021. The public employers that will incur these additional costs are state agencies, state universities and colleges, school districts, counties, municipalities and other governmental ...

SB 7018 (Governmental Oversight and Accountability) and HB 5007 (Appropriations) establish the contribution rates paid by employers participating in the Florida Retirement System beginning July 1, 2021. These rates are intended to fund the full normal cost and the amortization of the unfunded actuarial liability of the FRS. With these modifications to employer contribution rates, the FRS Trust Fund will receive roughly $373.5 million more in revenue on an annual basis beginning July 1, 2021. The public employers that will incur these additional costs are state agencies, state universities and colleges, school districts, counties, municipalities and other governmental entities that participate in the FRS. HB 5007 was substituted for SB 7018. (Hughes)

FRS: Special Risk -1S (Watch)

SB 736 (Jones) adds 911 public safety telecommunicators to the special risk class of the Florida Retirement System and requires such members to have their retirement benefits calculated in accordance with provisions for Regular Class members. The bill specifies the required employer retirement contribution rates for the new membership subclass of 911 public safety telecommunicators. (Hughes)  ...

SB 736 (Jones) adds 911 public safety telecommunicators to the special risk class of the Florida Retirement System and requires such members to have their retirement benefits calculated in accordance with provisions for Regular Class members. The bill specifies the required employer retirement contribution rates for the new membership subclass of 911 public safety telecommunicators. (Hughes)

FRS: Special Risk Class (Watch)

SB 230 (Hutson) adds employees of water, sewer or other public works departments of participating employers who work in hazardous conditions to the Special Risk Class of the Florida Retirement System. (Hughes) ...

SB 230 (Hutson) adds employees of water, sewer or other public works departments of participating employers who work in hazardous conditions to the Special Risk Class of the Florida Retirement System. (Hughes)

Law Enforcement Officers' and Correctional Officers' Rights (Watch)

HB 6057 (Hardy) repeals the current section of law relating to the investigation process of law enforcement officers and correctional officers otherwise known as the "Police Bill of Rights." The bill also makes several procedural changes for the receipt, investigation and determination of complaints against a law enforcement officer or correctional officer. (Hughes) ...

HB 6057 (Hardy) repeals the current section of law relating to the investigation process of law enforcement officers and correctional officers otherwise known as the "Police Bill of Rights." The bill also makes several procedural changes for the receipt, investigation and determination of complaints against a law enforcement officer or correctional officer. (Hughes)

Medical Marijuana Public Employee Protection (Watch)

SB 692 (Polsky) and HB 335 (Duran) prohibit a public employer from taking adverse personnel action against an employee or a job applicant who is a qualified patient using medical marijuana. However, an employer may take appropriate adverse personnel action against any employee if the employer establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the lawful use of medical marijuana is impairing the employee's ability to perform his or her job responsibilities. The bills require an employer that has a drug testing policy to provide written notice of an employee's or job applicant's right to explain a positive ...

SB 692 (Polsky) and HB 335 (Duran) prohibit a public employer from taking adverse personnel action against an employee or a job applicant who is a qualified patient using medical marijuana. However, an employer may take appropriate adverse personnel action against any employee if the employer establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the lawful use of medical marijuana is impairing the employee's ability to perform his or her job responsibilities. The bills require an employer that has a drug testing policy to provide written notice of an employee's or job applicant's right to explain a positive marijuana test result within a specified time frame. (Hughes)

Prohibited Discrimination (Watch)

SB 476 (Bracy) and HB 179 (Brown) amend the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 to incorporate certain hairstyles as protected from discrimination. The bills prohibit employers from discriminating against an individual for having a protected hairstyle. (Hughes) ...

SB 476 (Bracy) and HB 179 (Brown) amend the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 to incorporate certain hairstyles as protected from discrimination. The bills prohibit employers from discriminating against an individual for having a protected hairstyle. (Hughes)

911 Public Safety Telecommunicators (Watch)

HB 1171 (Willhite) and SB 1224 (Jones) define "first responder" to include 911 public safety telecommunicators. The bills expand eligibility for certain workers' compensation benefits and revise criteria in the Special Risk Class of Florida Retirement System to include 911 public safety telecommunicators. The bills also specify the number of creditable years for full retirement eligibility for the member to be 25 years without penalty. However, upon his or her retirement, the member shall have his or her benefits calculated in accordance with the Regular Class benefit provisions. (Hughes) ...

HB 1171 (Willhite) and SB 1224 (Jones) define "first responder" to include 911 public safety telecommunicators. The bills expand eligibility for certain workers' compensation benefits and revise criteria in the Special Risk Class of Florida Retirement System to include 911 public safety telecommunicators. The bills also specify the number of creditable years for full retirement eligibility for the member to be 25 years without penalty. However, upon his or her retirement, the member shall have his or her benefits calculated in accordance with the Regular Class benefit provisions. (Hughes)

Wage and Employment Benefits (Support)

SB 304 (Taddeo) and HB 6031 (Smith, C.) repeal the preemption on political subdivisions' ability to establish a minimum wage other than the state or federal minimum wage. (Hughes) ...

SB 304 (Taddeo) and HB 6031 (Smith, C.) repeal the preemption on political subdivisions' ability to establish a minimum wage other than the state or federal minimum wage. (Hughes)

Other Bills of Interest

SB 384 (Rodriguez) and HB 581 (Joseph) – Unlawful Employment Practices  ...

SB 384 (Rodriguez) and HB 581 (Joseph) – Unlawful Employment Practices  SB 364 (Gruters) – Discrimination on the Basis of Personal Health Information  SB 78 (Rodrigues) and HB 947 (Plakon) – Dues and Uniform Assessments HB 107 (Thompson) and SB 256 (Stewart) – Discrimination in Labor and Employment  HB 121 (Garrison) and SB 228 (Bradley) – Notaries Public SB 360 (Hooper) and HB 415 (Botana) – Fire Prevention and Control SB 854 (Brandes) – Minimum Wage HB 1077 (Woodson) – Employee Wage and Salary History HB 1525 (Joseph) – Misconduct by Law Enforcement Officers SB 1866 (Bracy) – Misconduct By Law Enforcement Officer SB 1014 (Baxley) and HB 835 (Byrd) – Employee Organizations

PROCUREMENT

Contracts and Grants with Foreign Entities (Watch)

CS/CS/SB 2010 (Diaz) and CS/HB 7017 (Public Integrity & Elections Committee) require local governments that receive any grant or gift of $50,000 or more from any foreign government, agency or individual to disclose the grant or gift to the Department of Financial Services within 30 days of receipt. Anyone seeking a grant or contract from a local government for more than $50,000 would be required to disclose to the local government any contracts they may have with China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria or Venezuela. Any individual who fails to disclose a contract captured under the bills ...

CS/CS/SB 2010 (Diaz) and CS/HB 7017 (Public Integrity & Elections Committee) require local governments that receive any grant or gift of $50,000 or more from any foreign government, agency or individual to disclose the grant or gift to the Department of Financial Services within 30 days of receipt. Anyone seeking a grant or contract from a local government for more than $50,000 would be required to disclose to the local government any contracts they may have with China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria or Venezuela. Any individual who fails to disclose a contract captured under the bills would be liable for a civil violation with a fine of $5,000 and may be removed from their position by the governor. The bills also prohibit local governments from participating in any agreement from the countries listed above to establish a program to promote the language or culture of those countries. CS/CS/SB 2010 was substituted to CS/HB 7017. CS/HB 7017 passed the House (117-0) and the Senate (39-0). (Taggart)

Other Bills of Interest

HB 1079 (Mariano) and SB 1616 (Brodeur) – Agency Contracts for Commodities and Contractual Services  ...

HB 1079 (Mariano) and SB 1616 (Brodeur) – Agency Contracts for Commodities and Contractual Services  HB 1137 (Fabricio) and SB 1448 (Jones) – Information Technology Procurement

PUBLIC RECORDS & PUBLIC MEETINGS

Electronic Payment of Governmental Fees (Watch)

SB 298 (Taddeo) requires municipalities to provide an electronic payment option for any fee related to a public records request. (Taggart) ...

SB 298 (Taddeo) requires municipalities to provide an electronic payment option for any fee related to a public records request. (Taggart)

Local Government Meetings During Declared Emergencies (Support)

HB 1217 (Daley) and SB 1494 (Cruz) suspend the physical quorum requirement for local governmental bodies during a declared state of emergency. The bills would allow meetings of any board or commission to be held via telephone, real-time videoconferencing or similar real-time electronic or video communication for no more than six months from the start of the declared state of emergency, unless extended by the governor by executive order. (Taggart)  ...

HB 1217 (Daley) and SB 1494 (Cruz) suspend the physical quorum requirement for local governmental bodies during a declared state of emergency. The bills would allow meetings of any board or commission to be held via telephone, real-time videoconferencing or similar real-time electronic or video communication for no more than six months from the start of the declared state of emergency, unless extended by the governor by executive order. (Taggart)

Public Meeting Requirements for Law Enforcement Agencies (Watch)

SB 456 (Bracy) requires meetings between the chief executive officer of a municipality or its representative and the municipality’s governing body to discuss disciplinary procedures for a law enforcement officer to be subject to Florida’s public meeting requirements. (Taggart) ...

SB 456 (Bracy) requires meetings between the chief executive officer of a municipality or its representative and the municipality’s governing body to discuss disciplinary procedures for a law enforcement officer to be subject to Florida’s public meeting requirements. (Taggart)

Public Records (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/SB 400 (Rodrigues) and CS/HB 913 (McClure) prohibit a city, after receiving a public record request, from filing an action for declaratory judgement against the individual or entity making the request. The bills would prevent cities from seeking clarification from the courts as to whether a record is exempt, or exempt and confidential. CS/HB 913 was substituted to CS/SB 400. CS/SB 400 passed the Senate (39-0) and the House (113-0). (Taggart)  ...

CS/SB 400 (Rodrigues) and CS/HB 913 (McClure) prohibit a city, after receiving a public record request, from filing an action for declaratory judgement against the individual or entity making the request. The bills would prevent cities from seeking clarification from the courts as to whether a record is exempt, or exempt and confidential. CS/HB 913 was substituted to CS/SB 400. CS/SB 400 passed the Senate (39-0) and the House (113-0). (Taggart)

Public Records (Watch) 

CS/CS/HB 781 (Robinson) and CS/CS/CS/SB 844 (Hooper) authorize the clerk of circuit court to give access to information recorded in the official records of a county that is otherwise exempt from public records requirements to specified parties such as attorneys who are admitted to the Florida Bar, members in good standing, authorized title insurers, their affiliates, title insurance agents or title insurance agencies, financial institutions and their affiliates and entities that provide access to title information, tax information and document images for insurance companies, real estate and mortgage investors, attorneys and governmental agencies through a limited access licensing ...

CS/CS/HB 781 (Robinson) and CS/CS/CS/SB 844 (Hooper) authorize the clerk of circuit court to give access to information recorded in the official records of a county that is otherwise exempt from public records requirements to specified parties such as attorneys who are admitted to the Florida Bar, members in good standing, authorized title insurers, their affiliates, title insurance agents or title insurance agencies, financial institutions and their affiliates and entities that provide access to title information, tax information and document images for insurance companies, real estate and mortgage investors, attorneys and governmental agencies through a limited access licensing agreement. CS/CS/CS/SB 844 was substituted to CS/CS/HB 781. CS/CS/HB 781 passed the House (118-0) and the Senate (40-0). (Taggart)

Public Records Exemption for Members of the Legislature and the Cabinet (Watch)

CS/HB 1207 (Beltran) and CS/SB 1488 (Stargel) exempt from public records the home address, telephone numbers and the dates of birth of current members of the Legislature and Cabinet officers. The bills also exempt the information of their spouses and children. (Taggart) ...

CS/HB 1207 (Beltran) and CS/SB 1488 (Stargel) exempt from public records the home address, telephone numbers and the dates of birth of current members of the Legislature and Cabinet officers. The bills also exempt the information of their spouses and children. (Taggart)

Other Bills of Interest

SB 296 (Taddeo) – Public Records Relating to Redistricting ...

SB 296 (Taddeo) – Public Records Relating to Redistricting SB 972 (Rodriguez) and HB 1019 (Casello) – Administrative Entity Telecommunication Meetings SB 1286 (Rodriguez) – Records Retention for Emergency Communications HB 1355 (Arrington) and SB 1602 (Stewart) – Public Records exemption for County Attorneys and Assistant County Attorneys HB 7015 (Commerce Committee) and SB 1914 (Burgess) – Public Records Exemption for Social Media Investigations

PUBLIC SAFETY

Body Camera Recordings by Law Enforcement Officers (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 732 (Bracy) increases the amount of time a law enforcement agency must retain body camera recordings from 90 days to 365 days. (Taggart) ...

SB 732 (Bracy) increases the amount of time a law enforcement agency must retain body camera recordings from 90 days to 365 days. (Taggart)

Citizen Review Boards (Watch)

SB 450 (Bracy), SB 446 (Bracy) and HB 1147 (Benjamin) require each county to establish a citizens review board to independently investigate each law enforcement agency within the county. The bills would require one member of the citizens review board to participate in a law enforcement agency's investigative team for any complaints related to use of force, abuse of authority, discourtesy and discriminatory language. (Taggart) ...

SB 450 (Bracy), SB 446 (Bracy) and HB 1147 (Benjamin) require each county to establish a citizens review board to independently investigate each law enforcement agency within the county. The bills would require one member of the citizens review board to participate in a law enforcement agency's investigative team for any complaints related to use of force, abuse of authority, discourtesy and discriminatory language. (Taggart)

Concealed Carry of Firearms by First Responders (Oppose – Mandate)

HB 877 (Bell) authorizes first responders (EMTs and paramedics) to carry a concealed firearm while performing his or her duties. The bill requires the first responder to hold a valid concealed carry license and complete an extensive training program. The bill also requires the first responder to complete a psychological evaluation prior to receiving approval to carry a firearm while on duty. The bill mandates that the employment agency must fund the trainings required under the bill but does not designate a funding source. (Taggart) ...

HB 877 (Bell) authorizes first responders (EMTs and paramedics) to carry a concealed firearm while performing his or her duties. The bill requires the first responder to hold a valid concealed carry license and complete an extensive training program. The bill also requires the first responder to complete a psychological evaluation prior to receiving approval to carry a firearm while on duty. The bill mandates that the employment agency must fund the trainings required under the bill but does not designate a funding source. (Taggart)

Concealed Weapons and Firearms (Watch)

HB 213 (Andrade) preempts Cabinet members from adopting any regulations relating to firearms and ammunition. (Taggart) ...

HB 213 (Andrade) preempts Cabinet members from adopting any regulations relating to firearms and ammunition. (Taggart)

Drones (Support) 

SB 518 (Diaz) and CS/HB 433 (Andrade) allow police and fire departments to use drones for assessing damage after a natural disaster.  ...

SB 518 (Diaz) and CS/HB 433 (Andrade) allow police and fire departments to use drones for assessing damage after a natural disaster.  CS/CS/SB 44 (Wright) and CS/CS/HB 1049 (Giallombardo) allow police and fire departments to use drones to manage crowd control and traffic as well as gather evidence at a crime or traffic crash scene. The bills permit a state agency or political subdivision to operate drones for assessing damage after a natural disaster during a declared state of emergency. CS/CS/HB 1049 and CS/CS/SB 44 were amended to specify that law enforcement agencies may use drones only to provide an aerial perspective for crowds of 50 or more. The amendments also require law enforcement to create policies and procedures for use of the drone and storage of images and video collected. CS/CS/HB 1049 was further amended to clarify that cybersecurity measures must be adopted by Department of Management Services (DMS) for governmental agencies to ensure the data collected by the drones will be secure. Also, drones used for the purposes set forth in the bills must be purchased by an approved manufacturer. By January 1, 2023, all governmental agencies must discontinue the use of drones not produced by an approved manufacturer. DMS has until January 2, 2022, to establish this list. CS/CS/HB 1049 was substituted for CS/CS/SB 44. CS/CS/SB 44 passed the Senate (39-0) and the House (40-0). (Taggart)

Investigations of Officer-Involved Deaths (Watch)

SB 438 (Bracy) requires law enforcement agencies to have a written policy regarding the investigation of officer-involved deaths. The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to use at least two investigators who are not employed by the agency. Traffic-related, officer-involved deaths would be required to be investigated by a crash reconstruction unit not employed by the agency. Reports by the investigators must be provided to the state attorney in the judicial circuit where the officer-involved death occurred. (Taggart) ...

SB 438 (Bracy) requires law enforcement agencies to have a written policy regarding the investigation of officer-involved deaths. The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to use at least two investigators who are not employed by the agency. Traffic-related, officer-involved deaths would be required to be investigated by a crash reconstruction unit not employed by the agency. Reports by the investigators must be provided to the state attorney in the judicial circuit where the officer-involved death occurred. (Taggart)

Law Enforcement Agency Standards (Watch)

HB 647 (Davis) and SB 942 (Gibson) require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to adopt rules establishing minimum requirements for policies of law enforcement agencies relating to demilitarization, use of force, intelligence-led policing, officer qualifications and canine units. The bills also require FDLE to create a model document for law enforcement agencies relating to several law enforcement procedures. (Taggart) ...

HB 647 (Davis) and SB 942 (Gibson) require the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to adopt rules establishing minimum requirements for policies of law enforcement agencies relating to demilitarization, use of force, intelligence-led policing, officer qualifications and canine units. The bills also require FDLE to create a model document for law enforcement agencies relating to several law enforcement procedures. (Taggart)

Law Enforcement Equipment (Oppose – Preemption)

HB 187 (McCurdy) and SB 878 (Thurston) prohibit law enforcement agencies from purchasing certain surplus military equipment. The bills also prohibit law enforcement agencies from using tear gas and kinetic impact munitions on an assembly or protest unless the gathering has been declared unlawful. (Taggart) ...

HB 187 (McCurdy) and SB 878 (Thurston) prohibit law enforcement agencies from purchasing certain surplus military equipment. The bills also prohibit law enforcement agencies from using tear gas and kinetic impact munitions on an assembly or protest unless the gathering has been declared unlawful. (Taggart)

Law Enforcement Officers (Support)

HB 197 (Gregory) adds service as a law enforcement officer as grounds for increased criminal penalties for certain criminal offenses that occur due to a prejudice because of their service as a law enforcement officer. The bill also authorizes agencies to include crisis intervention training in the course curriculum for initial certification training. (Taggart)  ...

HB 197 (Gregory) adds service as a law enforcement officer as grounds for increased criminal penalties for certain criminal offenses that occur due to a prejudice because of their service as a law enforcement officer. The bill also authorizes agencies to include crisis intervention training in the course curriculum for initial certification training. (Taggart)

Law Enforcement Officer Body and Vehicle Dash Cameras (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 452 (Bracy) and HB 569 (Chambliss) require law enforcement agencies to require officers to wear body cameras and use vehicle dash cameras while on duty. The bills do not provide a funding source for law enforcement agencies to comply with the bill. (Taggart) ...

SB 452 (Bracy) and HB 569 (Chambliss) require law enforcement agencies to require officers to wear body cameras and use vehicle dash cameras while on duty. The bills do not provide a funding source for law enforcement agencies to comply with the bill. (Taggart)

Law Enforcement and Correctional Officer Practices (Watch)

HB 7051 (Judiciary Committee) makes several changes to the requirements for the operations and standards of law enforcement agencies including: ...

HB 7051 (Judiciary Committee) makes several changes to the requirements for the operations and standards of law enforcement agencies including: •Requires law enforcement officers to disclose if they are subject to a pending investigation or if they separated from their previous agency because of an investigation while applying to a new agency. •Requires a law enforcement agency to include the facts and reasons an applicant was separated from previous employment as part of a background check investigation of an applicant. •Requires a law enforcement agency to maintain an officer’s employment information for a minimum of five years following the date of the officer’s separation from the agency. •Requires the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission to develop basic skills training and each law enforcement agency to develop policies in the use of force. •Requires an independent review of a use of force incident involving death or the discharge of a firearm. The incidents must also be reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. •Prohibits children under age 7 from being arrested unless the violation of law is a forcible felony. The bill passed both chambers unanimously. (Taggart)

Law Enforcement Officer Use of Force (Watch)

HB 577 (Omphroy) requires law enforcement agencies to maintain a database tracking excessive use of force incidents. The bill provides for suspension of funding for local law enforcement agencies that fail to comply with data collection and reporting requirements. The bill also requires each law enforcement agency to annually review and revise its use of force policy and require each of its officers to attend a training class that reviews the policy. Also included in the bill is an annual reporting requirement to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and direction for the Department to maintain the reports ...

HB 577 (Omphroy) requires law enforcement agencies to maintain a database tracking excessive use of force incidents. The bill provides for suspension of funding for local law enforcement agencies that fail to comply with data collection and reporting requirements. The bill also requires each law enforcement agency to annually review and revise its use of force policy and require each of its officers to attend a training class that reviews the policy. Also included in the bill is an annual reporting requirement to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and direction for the Department to maintain the reports in a publicly accessible format. (Taggart)

Mental Illness Training for Law Enforcement Officers (Watch)

HB 879 (Hunschofsky) and CS/SB 1192 (Powell) require the Department of Law Enforcement to establish a continued employment training component relating to mental illness. The component may count toward a law enforcement officer's hours requirement for annual training. (Taggart) ...

HB 879 (Hunschofsky) and CS/SB 1192 (Powell) require the Department of Law Enforcement to establish a continued employment training component relating to mental illness. The component may count toward a law enforcement officer's hours requirement for annual training. (Taggart)

Minimum Qualifications for Law Enforcement or Correctional Officers (Watch)

HB 505 (McCurdy) and SB 992 (Powell) provide additional criminal history screening standards for law enforcement or correction officer applicants. The bills require applicants to pass psychological screening and provide names of prior law enforcement agency employers. (Taggart)  ...

HB 505 (McCurdy) and SB 992 (Powell) provide additional criminal history screening standards for law enforcement or correction officer applicants. The bills require applicants to pass psychological screening and provide names of prior law enforcement agency employers. (Taggart)

Officer Training for Initial Certification (Watch)

SB 464 (Bracy) requires the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission to establish and maintain standards for instruction of officers in implicit bias and de-escalation of conflict to minimize violence. The training would be required for all officers to obtain initial certification. (Taggart)  ...

SB 464 (Bracy) requires the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission to establish and maintain standards for instruction of officers in implicit bias and de-escalation of conflict to minimize violence. The training would be required for all officers to obtain initial certification. (Taggart)

Photographic Enforcement of School Zone Speed Limits (Watch)

HB 357 (Duran) and SB 1474 (Rodriguez) authorize a county or municipality to contract with vendor to install cameras in school speed zones to enforce speed limits. Within the first 30 days after such a camera or cameras are installed in a school speed zone, a motor vehicle operator found to have violated will be issued a warning and will not be liable for the civil penalty. (Taggart) ...

HB 357 (Duran) and SB 1474 (Rodriguez) authorize a county or municipality to contract with vendor to install cameras in school speed zones to enforce speed limits. Within the first 30 days after such a camera or cameras are installed in a school speed zone, a motor vehicle operator found to have violated will be issued a warning and will not be liable for the civil penalty. (Taggart)

Preemption of Firearms and Ammunition (Oppose – Mandate)

HB 1409 (Byrd) and SB 1884 (Rodrigues) expand the scope of when an individual or organization may file suit against a municipality for violating the state preemption on firearms and ammunition to include any local policies that are written or unwritten. Current law awards the prevailing plaintiff attorney fees. The bills would consider the plaintiff the prevailing party even if the local government voluntarily changes their ordinance or policy, written or unwritten. HB 1409 was substituted for SB 1884. SB 1884 passed the Senate (24-16) and passed the House (78-39). (Taggart) ...

HB 1409 (Byrd) and SB 1884 (Rodrigues) expand the scope of when an individual or organization may file suit against a municipality for violating the state preemption on firearms and ammunition to include any local policies that are written or unwritten. Current law awards the prevailing plaintiff attorney fees. The bills would consider the plaintiff the prevailing party even if the local government voluntarily changes their ordinance or policy, written or unwritten. HB 1409 was substituted for SB 1884. SB 1884 passed the Senate (24-16) and passed the House (78-39). (Taggart)

Public Safety Emergency Communications Systems (Oppose – Preemption) 

HB 587 (Snyder) and SB 1902 (Rodrigues) revise requirements for minimum radio signal strength for fire department communications; require the state fire marshal to adopt minimum radio coverage design criteria for public safety emergency communications systems and minimum standards for interior radio coverage and signal strength in buildings; require a local jurisdiction's public safety emergency communications system be certified as meeting or exceeding certain criteria before new and existing buildings are required to install or to be assessed for two-way radio communications enhancement systems; require local jurisdictions to produce radio coverage heatmaps and prohibit local jurisdictions from withholding ...

HB 587 (Snyder) and SB 1902 (Rodrigues) revise requirements for minimum radio signal strength for fire department communications; require the state fire marshal to adopt minimum radio coverage design criteria for public safety emergency communications systems and minimum standards for interior radio coverage and signal strength in buildings; require a local jurisdiction's public safety emergency communications system be certified as meeting or exceeding certain criteria before new and existing buildings are required to install or to be assessed for two-way radio communications enhancement systems; require local jurisdictions to produce radio coverage heatmaps and prohibit local jurisdictions from withholding certificates of occupancy under certain circumstances. (Taggart)

Repeal Preemption of Firearms and Ammunition (Support)

SB 672 (Taddeo) and HB 6033 (Daley) repeal the current statutory preemption prohibiting cities and counties from regulating firearms and ammunition. (Taggart) ...

SB 672 (Taddeo) and HB 6033 (Daley) repeal the current statutory preemption prohibiting cities and counties from regulating firearms and ammunition. (Taggart)

Safety of Religious Institutions (Watch) 

CS/SB 498 (Gruters) and CS/CS/HB 259 (Williamson) authorize an individual who is a licensed concealed weapons or firearms holder to carry their weapon or firearm on property of a church, synagogue or any other religious institution unless specifically prohibited by the religious institution. CS/SB 498 was substituted for CS/CS/HB 259. CS/CS/HB 259 passed the House (76-37) and the Senate (24-16). (Taggart) ...

CS/SB 498 (Gruters) and CS/CS/HB 259 (Williamson) authorize an individual who is a licensed concealed weapons or firearms holder to carry their weapon or firearm on property of a church, synagogue or any other religious institution unless specifically prohibited by the religious institution. CS/SB 498 was substituted for CS/CS/HB 259. CS/CS/HB 259 passed the House (76-37) and the Senate (24-16). (Taggart)

School Bus Safety (Watch)

HB 745 (Slosberg) and SB 1050 (Berman) authorize school districts to install cameras on school busses to aid in the enforcement of cars stopping while school busses are stopped. The bills authorize counties and municipalities to have traffic enforcement officers issue citations to those who violate the law. Notification of the citation must be sent by certified mail to the offender within 30 days, and the offender has 60 days after receiving the notification to pay the fine to the county or municipality that issued the citation or request a hearing to contest the citation. Both bills are ...

HB 745 (Slosberg) and SB 1050 (Berman) authorize school districts to install cameras on school busses to aid in the enforcement of cars stopping while school busses are stopped. The bills authorize counties and municipalities to have traffic enforcement officers issue citations to those who violate the law. Notification of the citation must be sent by certified mail to the offender within 30 days, and the offender has 60 days after receiving the notification to pay the fine to the county or municipality that issued the citation or request a hearing to contest the citation. Both bills are effective October 1, 2021. (Taggart)

Surrendered Newborn Infants (Watch)

CS/HB 133 (Harding) and CS/SB 122 (Baxley) authorize a hospital, emergency medical services station or a fire station that is staffed 24 hours per day to utilize a newborn safety device to accept surrendered newborn infants if the device meets certain requirements. The bills also extend the allowable age of relinquishment from 7 days to 30 days old. CS/HB 133 passed the House (116-0). (Taggart) ...

CS/HB 133 (Harding) and CS/SB 122 (Baxley) authorize a hospital, emergency medical services station or a fire station that is staffed 24 hours per day to utilize a newborn safety device to accept surrendered newborn infants if the device meets certain requirements. The bills also extend the allowable age of relinquishment from 7 days to 30 days old. CS/HB 133 passed the House (116-0). (Taggart)

Traffic and Pedestrian Safety (Watch)

CS/SB 1412 (Perry) and HB 1113 (Fine) require that crosswalks located at any place other than an intersection of a public street, highway or road be controlled by pedestrian and traffic signals that meet requirements of the Florida Department of Transportation Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The bills require signs listing the duties of pedestrians using the crosswalks. The bills also require a traffic engineering study to be conducted by a Florida licensed professional engineer who recommends the installation. The bills direct the Department of Transportation to submit a request to the federal government for authorization in ...

CS/SB 1412 (Perry) and HB 1113 (Fine) require that crosswalks located at any place other than an intersection of a public street, highway or road be controlled by pedestrian and traffic signals that meet requirements of the Florida Department of Transportation Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. The bills require signs listing the duties of pedestrians using the crosswalks. The bills also require a traffic engineering study to be conducted by a Florida licensed professional engineer who recommends the installation. The bills direct the Department of Transportation to submit a request to the federal government for authorization in replacing the yellow rectangular rapid flashing beacons with red beacons. If the federal government denies the request, the local governments must then remove all the yellow rectangular rapid flashing beacon traffic control devices from each crosswalk. HB 1113 passed the House (91-25) and is awaiting action by the Senate.(Taggart)

Traffic Infraction Detectors (Oppose – Preemption) 

HB 6009 (Sabatini) preempts cities, counties and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles from installing, maintaining or utilizing red light cameras effective July 1, 2024. (Taggart) ...

HB 6009 (Sabatini) preempts cities, counties and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles from installing, maintaining or utilizing red light cameras effective July 1, 2024. (Taggart)

Use of Wireless Communications Devices While Driving “Hands-Free” (Watch)

HB 91 (Slosberg) prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle while holding or touching a wireless communication device. This bill does provide several exceptions such as first responders performing in their official capacity or drivers accessing safety-related information including emergency, traffic or weather alerts. (Taggart) ...

HB 91 (Slosberg) prohibits a person from operating a motor vehicle while holding or touching a wireless communication device. This bill does provide several exceptions such as first responders performing in their official capacity or drivers accessing safety-related information including emergency, traffic or weather alerts. (Taggart)

Volunteer Ambulance Services (Watch)

CS/CS/CS/HB 805 (Caruso) and CS/SB 1084 (Pizzo) prohibit a county or municipal government from limiting or preventing a volunteer ambulance service from responding or providing emergency medical services or transport within its jurisdiction. The bills also prevent a county or municipal government from requiring a volunteer ambulance service to obtain a license or certificate or pay a fee to provide ambulance or air ambulance services within its jurisdiction. The bills do allow a county or municipal government the ability to impose, collect or enforce payment of any occupational license tax authorized by law. CS/CS/CS/HB 805 was amended to ...

CS/CS/CS/HB 805 (Caruso) and CS/SB 1084 (Pizzo) prohibit a county or municipal government from limiting or preventing a volunteer ambulance service from responding or providing emergency medical services or transport within its jurisdiction. The bills also prevent a county or municipal government from requiring a volunteer ambulance service to obtain a license or certificate or pay a fee to provide ambulance or air ambulance services within its jurisdiction. The bills do allow a county or municipal government the ability to impose, collect or enforce payment of any occupational license tax authorized by law. CS/CS/CS/HB 805 was amended to require the volunteer ambulance operator to complete a 16-hour emergency vehicle operator course. CS/CS/CS/SB 805 was further amended to add some accountability measures on the volunteer agency and clarify that if both the volunteer ambulance service and the local government Emergency Medical Services team arrives at the emergency scene at the same time and the patient is incapacitated, the local government is responsible for rescue services. CS/SB 1084 was substituted for CS/CS/CS/HB 805. CS/CS/CS/HB 805 passed the House (98-12) and the Senate (40-0). (Taggart)

Other Bills of Interest 

HB 229 (Salzman) and SB 178 (Cruz) – Hazardous Walking Conditions for K-12 Students ...

HB 229 (Salzman) and SB 178 (Cruz) – Hazardous Walking Conditions for K-12 Students HB 605 (Hunschofsky) and SB 950 (Book) – Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety HB 1199 (Altman) and SB 1440 (Jones)  – Photographic Enforcement of School Bus Safety HB 25 (Daley), HB 27 (Daley), SB 1170 (Book) and SB 1172 (Book) – Sales of Ammunition “Jamie’s Law” SB 144 (Brandes) – Searches of Cellular Phones and Other Electronic Devices HB 167 (Hunschofsky) and SB 428 (Polsky) – Sale, Transfer or Storage of Firearms SB 174 (Cruz) – School Safety Funding SB 206 (Pizzo) and HB 527 (Benjamin) – Visiting County and Municipal Detention Facilities HB 49 (Daley) and SB 218 (Pizzo) – Public Records Exemption for Animal Cruelty Reports HB 291 (Hinson), HB 293 (Hinson), HB 1361 (Benjamin), HB 1363 (Benjamin), SB 664 (Farmer), SB 666 (Farmer) and SB 668 (Farmer) – Recreational Marijuana Bills HB 1597 (Omphroy), HB 1599 (Omphroy), SB 1916 (Bracy) and SB 1918 (Bracy) – Legalization of Recreational Marijuana  SB 294 (Farmer) – Safe Storage of Loaded Firearms SB 330 (Farmer) – Sale and Delivery of Firearms HB 343 (Smith, C) and SB 710 (Brandes) – Availability of Marijuana for Adult Use SB 360 (Hooper) and HB 415 (Botana) – Fire Prevention and Control HB 371 (Brannan) and SB 1234 (Boyd) – False Reports of Crimes SB 388 (Wright) and HB 697 (Killebrew) – Injured Police Canines SB 454 (Bracy) – Law Enforcement Agency Data Reporting SB 458 (Bracy) and HB 513 (McCurdy) – Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officers SB 460 (Bracy) – Early Intervention Systems for Law Enforcement Officers SB 462 (Bracy) – Law Enforcement Officer Use of Force Deaths SB 480 (Bracy) and HB 277 (Thompson) – Statewide Police Misconduct Registry SB 560 (Farmer) – Repeal of Prohibition on Firearm Recordkeeping SB 562 (Thurston), SB 564 (Thurston) and HB 593 (Nixon) and HB 595 (Nixon) – Medical Marijuana Retail Facilities SB 730 (Bracy) – Strangulation by a Law Enforcement Officer SB 740 (Bracy) – Administration of Justice SB 808 (Gibson) and HB 875 (Driskell) – Intelligence-led Policing SB 836 (Jones) and HB 455 (Harding) – Gun Violence Reduction SB 868 (Powell) and HB 521 (Benjamin) – No-knock Warrants SB 890 (Hooper) – Law Enforcement Use of Electronic Databases SB 1148 (Rouson) and HB 1573 (DuBose) – Use of Force by Law Enforcement Officers  SB 1198 (Thurston) and HB 1441 (Joseph) – Duty of Law Enforcement Officers to Render Medical Assistance HB 1451 (Driskell) – Community Safety and Criminal Justice HB 1513 (Duran) and SB 1970 (Pizzo) – Law Enforcement and Correctional Officer Accreditation and Standards HB 1529 (Joseph) and SB 1990 (Powell) – Law Enforcement Officer Certification Revocation and Accountability HB 1531 (Hardy) – Local Law Enforcement Agencies SB 1818 (Burgess) – Law Enforcement Officer Training HB 6001 (Sabatini) – Licenses to Carry Concealed Weapons or Firearms HB 6083 (Sabatini) – Removing Firearm Regulations

SHORT-TERM RENTALS

Short-Term Rentals (Support)

HB 1481 (Goff-Marcil) and SB 1988 (Pizzo) prohibit local governments from prohibiting the siting of vacation rentals from their entire jurisdiction. The bills restore authority to local governments to adopt and apply zoning and land development regulations to vacation rentals. The bills maintain the June 1, 2011, grandfather date on local ordinances adopted prior to then and specify that those ordinances can be amended without penalty. The bills improve the state licensing process by requiring applicants to do the following: ...

HB 1481 (Goff-Marcil) and SB 1988 (Pizzo) prohibit local governments from prohibiting the siting of vacation rentals from their entire jurisdiction. The bills restore authority to local governments to adopt and apply zoning and land development regulations to vacation rentals. The bills maintain the June 1, 2011, grandfather date on local ordinances adopted prior to then and specify that those ordinances can be amended without penalty. The bills improve the state licensing process by requiring applicants to do the following: •Provide proof of inspection and compliance with local building, zoning and fire safety codes reflecting a change in use from a single-family or multi-family residence to a transient public lodging establishment. •Provide proof that the underlying homeowner’s insurance policy allows the home to be used as a vacation rental. •Provide a signed affidavit from the chief executive of the municipality confirming the operation of a vacation rental is allowed at that address.  •Provide proof that the commercial mortgage is not in conflict with any prohibitions related to commercial activity in single or multi-family residential zones. (Taggart)

Vacation Rentals (CS/CS/SB 522 Watch – CS/HB 219 Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/SB 522 (Diaz) and CS/HB 219 (Fischer) change current law relating to vacation rentals, also known as short-term rentals (STRs). The bills would: ...

CS/CS/SB 522 (Diaz) and CS/HB 219 (Fischer) change current law relating to vacation rentals, also known as short-term rentals (STRs). The bills would: •Clarify the definition of an advertising platform to capture online marketplaces. •Preempt to the state the regulation of advertising platforms. •Allow a “grandfathered” city to amend its short-term rental regulations if the amendment makes the regulation less restrictive. •Require the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to maintain vacation rental property license information in an accessible electronic format. •Require advertising platforms to verify a property’s license number prior to publishing its advertisement on its platform and every quarter thereafter. •Require advertising platforms to quarterly provide the department with the physical address of the vacation rental properties that advertise on their platforms. •Impose a duty on advertising platforms to collect and remit taxes in relation to the rental of a vacation rental property through its platform. •Establish requirements that advertising platforms adopt an anti-discrimination policy and inform their users of the public lodging discrimination prohibition found in current law. •Clarify that the provision of the bill shall not supersede any current or future community association-governing document.  •Require sexual predators to notify local law enforcement if they will be staying for 24 hours or more in a short-term rental. Preemption provisions included in CS/HB 219 only: •Preempt to the state the regulation of STRs, including licensure and inspections. •Undo any local registration, inspection or licensing requirements specific to STRs adopted since 2014. •Require that any ordinances (noise, parking, trash, etc.), must be applied uniformly to all residential properties, regardless of how the property is being used. CS/CS/SB 522 was significantly amended to remove the majority of the preemptions in the bill that still remain in the House version of the bill. SB 522 also specifies that advertising platforms must comply with any applicable merchant business tax receipts on short-term rentals. (Taggart)

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Broadband Internet (Support)

CS/SB 2004 (Burgess) requires the Florida Office of Broadband's strategic plan to include short-term and long-term goals for increasing the availability of and access to broadband internet service in this state. The bill requires the updated plan to be submitted to the governor, the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the Legislature by June 30, 2022, and updated biennially. The bill as amended appropriates $1.4 million in nonrecurring funds for fiscal year 2021-2022 for the purpose of commissioning a broadband feasibility study. (Hughes) ...

CS/SB 2004 (Burgess) requires the Florida Office of Broadband's strategic plan to include short-term and long-term goals for increasing the availability of and access to broadband internet service in this state. The bill requires the updated plan to be submitted to the governor, the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the Legislature by June 30, 2022, and updated biennially. The bill as amended appropriates $1.4 million in nonrecurring funds for fiscal year 2021-2022 for the purpose of commissioning a broadband feasibility study. (Hughes)

Broadband Internet Deployment (Support)

CS/HB 753 (Clemons) creates the Florida Broadband Opportunity Program within the Office of Broadband within the Department of Economic Opportunity to award grants to applicants who seek to expand broadband internet service to unserved areas of the state. The bill reallocates 50% of the revenues currently allocated to the M-CORES (Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance) program to the Office for purposes of administering the grant program. The bill authorizes certain entities, such as political subdivisions, to apply for grants that are to be used for the installation and deployment of infrastructure that supports broadband internet service. The ...

CS/HB 753 (Clemons) creates the Florida Broadband Opportunity Program within the Office of Broadband within the Department of Economic Opportunity to award grants to applicants who seek to expand broadband internet service to unserved areas of the state. The bill reallocates 50% of the revenues currently allocated to the M-CORES (Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance) program to the Office for purposes of administering the grant program. The bill authorizes certain entities, such as political subdivisions, to apply for grants that are to be used for the installation and deployment of infrastructure that supports broadband internet service. The bill only allows the Office to award grants to governmental entities if no broadband internet service providers are deployed in that area. The bill provides application requirements, the criteria for evaluating applications and that the grant award combined with other government funding may not fund more than 50% of the project's total costs. Additionally, the bill authorizes existing broadband Internet providers to challenge grant applications if service is already provided or is planned in the area at issue. (Hughes)

Broadband Internet Infrastructure (Watch)

CS/CS/HB 1239 (Tomkow) is the “Florida Broadband Deployment Act of 2021” and creates two programs intended to expand broadband service to those currently unserved. The bill requires municipal electric utilities, through July 1, 2024, to offer broadband providers a discounted rate of $1 per attachment per year for any new pole necessary to make broadband service available to an unserved or underserved consumer within the utility’s service territory. The bill provides the terms for these discounted attachments. The bill prohibits municipal electric utilities from raising their current pole attachment rates for broadband providers before July 31, 2022. The ...

CS/CS/HB 1239 (Tomkow) is the “Florida Broadband Deployment Act of 2021” and creates two programs intended to expand broadband service to those currently unserved. The bill requires municipal electric utilities, through July 1, 2024, to offer broadband providers a discounted rate of $1 per attachment per year for any new pole necessary to make broadband service available to an unserved or underserved consumer within the utility’s service territory. The bill provides the terms for these discounted attachments. The bill prohibits municipal electric utilities from raising their current pole attachment rates for broadband providers before July 31, 2022. The bill also provides safety and reliability standards for pole attachments and specifies each party’s responsibility for costs associated with replacement poles. The bill also creates a program within the Florida Office of Broadband to award grants, subject to appropriation, to applicants who seek to install or deploy infrastructure that expands broadband service to unserved areas. The bill specifies that political subdivisions are eligible for these grants only if other broadband internet service providers have not deployed service to an unserved area. The bill establishes a process by which an existing broadband provider may challenge a grant application on the grounds that the provider already offers or plans to offer service in the area at issue. The bill limits grant awards to 50% of the total cost of a project, but no more than $5 million per grant, and prohibits grant awards for projects that receive other federal funding. The bill also appropriates funds to develop geographic information system maps of broadband internet services availability consistent with standards from the Federal Communications Commission. The maps must be completed by June 30, 2022. CS/CS/HB 1239 passed the House (115-0) and the Senate (40-0). Effective July 1, 2021. (Hughes)

Broadband Internet Service (Support)

CS/CS/SB 1560 (Ausley) and HB 1339 (Goff-Marcil) expand the duties of the Florida Office of Broadband within the Department of Economic Opportunity. The bills expand the Office’s local technology planning teams’ duties to focus on rural, unserved and underserved areas. CS/CS/SB 1560 creates the Broadband Opportunity Program, administered by the Office, to award grants for the expansion of broadband Internet service in unserved and underserved areas of Florida. The program is subject to appropriation. (Hughes) ...

CS/CS/SB 1560 (Ausley) and HB 1339 (Goff-Marcil) expand the duties of the Florida Office of Broadband within the Department of Economic Opportunity. The bills expand the Office’s local technology planning teams’ duties to focus on rural, unserved and underserved areas. CS/CS/SB 1560 creates the Broadband Opportunity Program, administered by the Office, to award grants for the expansion of broadband Internet service in unserved and underserved areas of Florida. The program is subject to appropriation. (Hughes)

Communications Services (Support)

HB 6045 (Eskamani) repeals the Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act that relates primarily to the installation of small wireless facilities in public rights of way. (Hughes) ...

HB 6045 (Eskamani) repeals the Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act that relates primarily to the installation of small wireless facilities in public rights of way. (Hughes)

Utility and Communications Service Poles (Neutral)

CS/SB 1944 (Albritton) gives broad authority to the Public Service Commission to regulate and enforce rates, charges, terms and conditions of pole attachments. The bill defines "redundant pole" and requires that attaching entities remove their pole attachments from a redundant pole within 180 days of notice of the request by the pole owner. Under certain circumstances, the pole owner may transfer or relocate the pole attachment to a new pole at the noncompliant attaching entity's expense, unless the pole attachments are owned by an electric utility. The bill passed the House (114-3) and the Senate (37-2) and is ...

CS/SB 1944 (Albritton) gives broad authority to the Public Service Commission to regulate and enforce rates, charges, terms and conditions of pole attachments. The bill defines "redundant pole" and requires that attaching entities remove their pole attachments from a redundant pole within 180 days of notice of the request by the pole owner. Under certain circumstances, the pole owner may transfer or relocate the pole attachment to a new pole at the noncompliant attaching entity's expense, unless the pole attachments are owned by an electric utility. The bill passed the House (114-3) and the Senate (37-2) and is awaiting action by the governor. (Hughes)

Other Bills of Interest

HB 6091 (Eskamani) and SB 1790 (Torres) – Local government Communications Services  ...

HB 6091 (Eskamani) and SB 1790 (Torres) – Local government Communications Services

TORT LIABILITY

COVID-19 Civil Liability Protection (Support)

CS/HB 7 (McClure) and CS/SB 72 (Brandes) provide heightened legal protections against liability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to certain business entities, educational institutions, governmental entities and religious institutions. The legislation defines governmental entity to include municipalities. The legislation requires the plaintiff to make a detailed account to their claim and submit an affidavit signed by a physician collaborating the belief that the plaintiff’s COVID-19-related damages, injury or death occurred as a result as stated. If the plaintiff fails to do either, the court must dismiss the action without prejudice. The court must also determine whether ...

CS/HB 7 (McClure) and CS/SB 72 (Brandes) provide heightened legal protections against liability as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to certain business entities, educational institutions, governmental entities and religious institutions. The legislation defines governmental entity to include municipalities. The legislation requires the plaintiff to make a detailed account to their claim and submit an affidavit signed by a physician collaborating the belief that the plaintiff’s COVID-19-related damages, injury or death occurred as a result as stated. If the plaintiff fails to do either, the court must dismiss the action without prejudice. The court must also determine whether the business or government entity made a good faith effort to substantially comply with the authoritative or controlling government health standards or guidance at the time the cause of action occurred. The burden of proof lies with the plaintiff to prove that the business or government entity did not make a good faith effort. If the business or government entity is found to have made a good faith effort, they are immune from civil liability. If the court finds that a good faith effort was not made, the plaintiff may proceed with the action. The plaintiff must prove gross negligence (a higher standard than negligence). The bills increase the standard of evidence needed on a COVID-19-related claim. If the plaintiff fails to prove these heightened requirements, the business or government entity is not liable for any act or omission relating to a COVID-19-related claim. The civil action for a COVID-19-related action must be commenced within one year of the alleged incident. The bills will apply retroactively but will not apply to civil suits commenced before the effective date of the act. CS/SB 72 passed the House and Senate and was approved by the governor. The bill is effective upon becoming law (March 29, 2021). Chapter No. 2021-001.  (Cruz)

Sovereign Immunity (Oppose)

HB 1129 (Fernandez-Barquin) and SB 1678 (Diaz) increase the statutory limits on liability for tort claims against government entities. Current law sets the statutory limits at $200,000 per claim and $300,000 per incident. The bills seek to increase these limits to $500,000 per claim and $1 million per incident. The legislation would tie these limits to a consumer price index so they would automatically increase with inflation every year. The bills set limitations of liability to take effect on the date a final judgment is entered and therefore could apply retroactively to pending claims. (Cruz) ...

HB 1129 (Fernandez-Barquin) and SB 1678 (Diaz) increase the statutory limits on liability for tort claims against government entities. Current law sets the statutory limits at $200,000 per claim and $300,000 per incident. The bills seek to increase these limits to $500,000 per claim and $1 million per incident. The legislation would tie these limits to a consumer price index so they would automatically increase with inflation every year. The bills set limitations of liability to take effect on the date a final judgment is entered and therefore could apply retroactively to pending claims. (Cruz)

TRANSPORTATION

Automatic License Plate Reader Systems (Watch)

HB 1039 (Plakon) and SB 1230 (Rodriguez) require the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to establish an automatic license reader system under the newly created Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Program. Additionally, a county or municipality in coordination with the Department may authorize by contract or interlocal agreement the installation of automatic license plate reader systems on streets and highways under its jurisdiction. (Taggart) ...

HB 1039 (Plakon) and SB 1230 (Rodriguez) require the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to establish an automatic license reader system under the newly created Uninsured Vehicle Enforcement Program. Additionally, a county or municipality in coordination with the Department may authorize by contract or interlocal agreement the installation of automatic license plate reader systems on streets and highways under its jurisdiction. (Taggart)

Electric Vehicle (Support)

CS/SB 138 (Brandes) and HB 817 (Toledo) create the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program to provide financial assistance to municipalities and other entities for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The bills authorize the Department of Transportation to develop and publish criteria for the grant application. The bills also authorize the Department of Transportation to establish by rule the maximum weight and speed of a personal delivery device. (Taggart) ...

CS/SB 138 (Brandes) and HB 817 (Toledo) create the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program to provide financial assistance to municipalities and other entities for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The bills authorize the Department of Transportation to develop and publish criteria for the grant application. The bills also authorize the Department of Transportation to establish by rule the maximum weight and speed of a personal delivery device. (Taggart)

Electric Vehicles Fees (Support)

SB 1276 (Hooper) requires the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to publish notice when electric and hybrid vehicles make up 5% or more of the total number of vehicles registered in this state. The fees for electric and hybrid vehicles begin after the Department publishes such notice. These fees will be adjusted at certain rates based on the Consumer Price Index. The bill also requires that proceeds of certain fees be deposited into the State Transportation Trust Fund. (Taggart) ...

SB 1276 (Hooper) requires the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to publish notice when electric and hybrid vehicles make up 5% or more of the total number of vehicles registered in this state. The fees for electric and hybrid vehicles begin after the Department publishes such notice. These fees will be adjusted at certain rates based on the Consumer Price Index. The bill also requires that proceeds of certain fees be deposited into the State Transportation Trust Fund. (Taggart)

Fees/Electric Vehicle (Support) 

CS/CS/SB 140 (Brandes) and HB 819 (Learned) create additional fees and a licensing tax for electric and hybrid vehicles. Sixty-four percent of the proceeds from these additional fees and taxes is deposited into the State Transportation Trust Fund, and 36% of the proceeds goes to the county where the vehicle was registered. Until June 30, 2024 the funds going to the county must be used to provide publicly available infrastructure for charging electric vehicles. Starting July 1, 2024, the funds shall be distributed to Board of County Commissioners and municipalities within the county in proportion to the previous ...

CS/CS/SB 140 (Brandes) and HB 819 (Learned) create additional fees and a licensing tax for electric and hybrid vehicles. Sixty-four percent of the proceeds from these additional fees and taxes is deposited into the State Transportation Trust Fund, and 36% of the proceeds goes to the county where the vehicle was registered. Until June 30, 2024 the funds going to the county must be used to provide publicly available infrastructure for charging electric vehicles. Starting July 1, 2024, the funds shall be distributed to Board of County Commissioners and municipalities within the county in proportion to the previous month’s distribution of the local option fuel taxes. Local governments must use the funds for transportation expenditures. (Taggart)

Motor Vehicle Rentals (Support) 

CS/HB 365 (Caruso) and CS/CS/SB 566 (Perry) require peer-to-peer (P2P) car-sharing service sites to impose a $2 per day surcharge upon lease or rental motor vehicle through the P2P car-sharing program, which is similar to the requirements of a traditional car rental company. For P2P sharing program agreements involving a shared vehicle that is registered in the state, the surcharge shall be $1 per day. The surcharge applies to the first 30 days of a car-sharing period for any P2P car-sharing program agreement. CS/CS/SB 566 was amended to remove the $2 per day surcharge on P2P car sharing. ...

CS/HB 365 (Caruso) and CS/CS/SB 566 (Perry) require peer-to-peer (P2P) car-sharing service sites to impose a $2 per day surcharge upon lease or rental motor vehicle through the P2P car-sharing program, which is similar to the requirements of a traditional car rental company. For P2P sharing program agreements involving a shared vehicle that is registered in the state, the surcharge shall be $1 per day. The surcharge applies to the first 30 days of a car-sharing period for any P2P car-sharing program agreement. CS/CS/SB 566 was amended to remove the $2 per day surcharge on P2P car sharing. CS/HB 365 was substituted for CS/CS/SB 566. CS/CS/SB 566 passed the Senate (28-12) and the House (101-5). (Taggart)

Multipassenger All-terrain Vehicles (Watch)

SB 1896 (Wright) allows a local governmental entity the authority to enact ordinances relating to multipassenger all-terrain vehicle operation and equipment that are more restrictive than those enumerated in current law. The bill requires the local governmental entity to consult with the Department of Transportation before adopting the ordinance. (Taggart) ...

SB 1896 (Wright) allows a local governmental entity the authority to enact ordinances relating to multipassenger all-terrain vehicle operation and equipment that are more restrictive than those enumerated in current law. The bill requires the local governmental entity to consult with the Department of Transportation before adopting the ordinance. (Taggart)

Operation and Safety of Motor Vehicles and Vessels (Support)

CS/CS/SB 1086 (Hutson) amends numerous provisions of current law relating to boater safety, derelict vessels, marine sanitation devices and recovery of space flight assets. The bill defines “human-powered vessel” and imposes requirements for the operation of human-powered vessels within the boundaries of a marked channel of the Florida Intracoastal Waterway. It designates Monroe County as an anchoring limitation area upon the county meeting certain conditions. It authorizes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to establish anchoring/mooring/beaching/grounding protection zones for springs. The bill makes multiple revisions to laws governing derelict vessel identification and removal. It provides that ...

CS/CS/SB 1086 (Hutson) amends numerous provisions of current law relating to boater safety, derelict vessels, marine sanitation devices and recovery of space flight assets. The bill defines “human-powered vessel” and imposes requirements for the operation of human-powered vessels within the boundaries of a marked channel of the Florida Intracoastal Waterway. It designates Monroe County as an anchoring limitation area upon the county meeting certain conditions. It authorizes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to establish anchoring/mooring/beaching/grounding protection zones for springs. The bill makes multiple revisions to laws governing derelict vessel identification and removal. It provides that officers may provide in-person notice that a vessel is at risk of becoming derelict if there is a body camera recording. The bill also authorizes specified officers and agencies to relocate an at-risk vessel to a location further from a mangrove or upland vegetation. The bill authorizes the FWC to establish a derelict vessel prevention program, which may include provisions for removal of nuisance, derelict or at-risk vessels; a vessel “turn-in” program for owners; and removal of abandoned vessels. It authorizes local governments to enact and enforce regulations to remove an abandoned or lost vessel affixed to a public mooring. The bill specifies conditions under which vessels with repeated violations may be declared a public nuisance and provides requirements for notice to vessel owners and remedies. It amends the definition of “derelict vessel” to include criteria for determining whether a vessel is considered wrecked, junked or substantially dismantled. The bill prohibits the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles from issuing a certificate of title to an applicant for a vessel that has been deemed derelict and, beginning in 2023, authorizes the agency to reject an application for a certificate of title for a vessel that has been deemed derelict. The bill amends provisions relating to anchoring or mooring limitations to clarify that distance restrictions apply to both public and private marinas and apply only to public vessel launching or loading facilities. It authorizes municipalities to establish boating-restricted areas within the boundaries of a permitted public mooring field and a buffer around the mooring field of up to 100 feet. It also authorizes local governments to establish vessel-exclusion zones within the portion of the Intracoastal Waterway within their jurisdictions, except local governments may not establish such a zone for public bathing beaches or swim areas within the waterway. The bill creates provisions addressing vessel speeds within specified distances of activated emergency vessels and construction barges. It requires owners or operators of live-aboard vessels to maintain documentation relating to marine sanitation devices. The bill establishes, upon approval by the Environmental Protection Agency, a no-discharge zone for all waters within aquatic preserves and provides for penalties for violation of the prohibition. (O'Hara)

State Preemption of Seaport Regulations (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/CS/HB 267 (Roach) and CS/CS/CS/SB 426 (Boyd) relate to the preemption of seaport regulations. CS/CS/CS/SB 426 prohibits a local ballot initiative or referendum from restricting maritime commerce in the seaports of this state including, but not limited to, restricting such commerce based on several factors. CS/CS/CS/HB 267 provides that municipal government may not restrict or regulate commerce in the seaports including, but not limited to, regulating or restricting a vessel's type or size; source or type of cargo; or number, origin or nationality of passengers. The bills were further amended to limit the preemption to seaports within areas ...

CS/CS/CS/HB 267 (Roach) and CS/CS/CS/SB 426 (Boyd) relate to the preemption of seaport regulations. CS/CS/CS/SB 426 prohibits a local ballot initiative or referendum from restricting maritime commerce in the seaports of this state including, but not limited to, restricting such commerce based on several factors. CS/CS/CS/HB 267 provides that municipal government may not restrict or regulate commerce in the seaports including, but not limited to, regulating or restricting a vessel's type or size; source or type of cargo; or number, origin or nationality of passengers. The bills were further amended to limit the preemption to seaports within areas of critical state concern. CS/CS/CS/SB 426 passed the Senate (25-14). (Taggart)

Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (Watch)

SB 1130 (Brandes) dissolves the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority. The bill requires the Authority to discharge its liabilities and settle and close its activities and affairs. The bill also provides for the distribution of the Authority’s assets or the proceeds of such assets, such that each local general-purpose government represented on the Authority’s board receives a distribution generally in proportion to each entity’s contribution to the acquisition of the assets. (Taggart) ...

SB 1130 (Brandes) dissolves the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority. The bill requires the Authority to discharge its liabilities and settle and close its activities and affairs. The bill also provides for the distribution of the Authority’s assets or the proceeds of such assets, such that each local general-purpose government represented on the Authority’s board receives a distribution generally in proportion to each entity’s contribution to the acquisition of the assets. (Taggart)

Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority (Watch)

CS/HB 1283 (Beltran) and SB 1660 (Burgess) rename the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority as the West Florida Expressway Authority. The West Florida Expressway Authority shall assume the governance and control of the expressway system operated by the former Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority including its assets, personnel, contracts, obligations, liabilities, facilities and tangible and intangible properties. The governing body shall initially consist of a board of seven members but shall be subject to increase to no more than 13 members upon the expansion of the authority’s jurisdiction. (Taggart) ...

CS/HB 1283 (Beltran) and SB 1660 (Burgess) rename the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority as the West Florida Expressway Authority. The West Florida Expressway Authority shall assume the governance and control of the expressway system operated by the former Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority including its assets, personnel, contracts, obligations, liabilities, facilities and tangible and intangible properties. The governing body shall initially consist of a board of seven members but shall be subject to increase to no more than 13 members upon the expansion of the authority’s jurisdiction. (Taggart)

Traffic Offenses (Support) 

SB 278 (Baxley) and HB 1643 (McClain) provide criminal penalties for a person who commits a moving violation that causes serious bodily injury to or causes the death of a vulnerable road user. Of interest to cities, current law defines “vulnerable road user” to include a person engaged in work on a highway such as a utility service worker. (Taggart) ...

SB 278 (Baxley) and HB 1643 (McClain) provide criminal penalties for a person who commits a moving violation that causes serious bodily injury to or causes the death of a vulnerable road user. Of interest to cities, current law defines “vulnerable road user” to include a person engaged in work on a highway such as a utility service worker. (Taggart)

Transportation (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/HB 57 (Andrade) and CS/CS/CS/SB 1194 (Hooper) contain various transportation-related provisions. Of particular importance to municipalities with seaports, provisions from CS/CS/CS SB 426 and CS/CS/CS/HB 267 were amended onto the bills. The bills now prohibit local governments from restricting or regulating maritime commerce in seaports including, but not limited to, regulating or restricting a vessel's type or size; source or type of cargo; or number, origin or nationality of passengers, as well as environmental or health records of a particular vessel. CS/CS/HB 57 was substituted for CS/CS/CS/SB 1194. CS/CS/CS/SB 1194 passed the Senate (39-0) and the House (87-26). ...

CS/CS/HB 57 (Andrade) and CS/CS/CS/SB 1194 (Hooper) contain various transportation-related provisions. Of particular importance to municipalities with seaports, provisions from CS/CS/CS SB 426 and CS/CS/CS/HB 267 were amended onto the bills. The bills now prohibit local governments from restricting or regulating maritime commerce in seaports including, but not limited to, regulating or restricting a vessel's type or size; source or type of cargo; or number, origin or nationality of passengers, as well as environmental or health records of a particular vessel. CS/CS/HB 57 was substituted for CS/CS/CS/SB 1194. CS/CS/CS/SB 1194 passed the Senate (39-0) and the House (87-26). (Taggart)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 1500 (Harrell) – Transportation ...

SB 1500 (Harrell) – Transportation SB 178 (Cruz) – Public School Transportation SB 422 (Rouson) and HB 389 (Mariano) – Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority SB 684 (Brandes) and HB 707 (Chaney) – Department of Transportation HB 729 (Gregory) and SB 1364 (Perry) – Transportation Projects HB 785 (Busatta Cabrera)  and SB 708 (Brandes) – Peer-to-peer Car Sharing SB 862 (Gruters) and HB 695 (Duran) – Digital License Plate Pilot Program SB 924 (Hooper) – Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program SB 978 (Hooper) and HB 677 (Rommel) – Motor Vehicle Dealers SB 1126 (Harrell) and HB 1385 (LaMarca) – Department of Transportation HB 1289 (McFarland) and SB 1620 (Brandes) – Autonomous Vehicles SB 1134 (Harrell) – Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles HB 1143 (Grall) and SB 1466 (Hutson) – Airports

UTILITIES & NATURAL RESOURCES

Anchoring Limitation Areas (Watch)

CS/CS/CS/SB 1946 (Polsky) authorizes counties, except for Monroe County, to establish an anchoring limitation area adjacent to urban areas that have residential docking facilities and significant recreational boating traffic. The aggregate total of anchoring limitation areas in a county may not exceed 10% of the county’s navigable-in-fact waterways as defined in the bill. The bill specifies requirements for anchoring limitation areas. (Current statutorily designated anchoring areas are grandfathered.) It prohibits a person from anchoring a vessel for more than 45 consecutive days in any six-month period in an anchoring limitation area. The bill establishes Monroe County as an ...

CS/CS/CS/SB 1946 (Polsky) authorizes counties, except for Monroe County, to establish an anchoring limitation area adjacent to urban areas that have residential docking facilities and significant recreational boating traffic. The aggregate total of anchoring limitation areas in a county may not exceed 10% of the county’s navigable-in-fact waterways as defined in the bill. The bill specifies requirements for anchoring limitation areas. (Current statutorily designated anchoring areas are grandfathered.) It prohibits a person from anchoring a vessel for more than 45 consecutive days in any six-month period in an anchoring limitation area. The bill establishes Monroe County as an anchoring limitation area within which a vessel may be anchored on waters of the state in the same location for a maximum of 90 days. The bill specifies conditions precedent for the Monroe County anchoring limitation area. The anchoring limitations do not apply to approved and permitted moorings and mooring fields. The bill establishes a process for a vessel owner or operator to provide proof that a vessel has not exceeded the anchoring limitations. It specifies that a vessel that is the subject of more than three violations within 12 months that result in dispositions other than dismissal or acquittal shall be declared to be a public nuisance. (O'Hara)

Beach Funding (Watch)

SB 1240 (Hutson) provides a specified annual appropriation (the lesser of $100 million or the total amount requested to fully fund the annual project list) from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the Department of Environmental Protection to fund beach and inlet projects. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1240 (Hutson) provides a specified annual appropriation (the lesser of $100 million or the total amount requested to fully fund the annual project list) from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the Department of Environmental Protection to fund beach and inlet projects. (O’Hara)

Biscayne Bay (Watch)

CS/HB 1177 (Avila) establishes the Biscayne Bay Commission and provides for the Commission’s purpose, membership, duties, and authority. It prohibits sewage disposal facilities from disposing of any wastes into Biscayne Bay without providing for advanced waste treatment. (O'Hara) ...

CS/HB 1177 (Avila) establishes the Biscayne Bay Commission and provides for the Commission’s purpose, membership, duties, and authority. It prohibits sewage disposal facilities from disposing of any wastes into Biscayne Bay without providing for advanced waste treatment. (O'Hara)

Bottled Water (Watch)

SB 1774 (Cruz) requires the Department of Environmental Protection to monitor the consumptive use permits for all bottled water companies to ensure compliance with the limits of allowable water extraction from an approved source. The bill exempts bottled water companies that are permitted to extract less than 55 million gallons per year. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1774 (Cruz) requires the Department of Environmental Protection to monitor the consumptive use permits for all bottled water companies to ensure compliance with the limits of allowable water extraction from an approved source. The bill exempts bottled water companies that are permitted to extract less than 55 million gallons per year. (O’Hara)

Bottled Water Companies/Fees (Watch)

SB 1776 (Cruz) requires the Department of Environmental Protection to charge bottled water companies a fee of 5 cents per gallon of water extracted and requires the Department to distribute the funds collected from fees to the appropriate water management district to be used for the purposes of replenishing aquifers, creating alternative water supplies and addressing water quality impacts. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1776 (Cruz) requires the Department of Environmental Protection to charge bottled water companies a fee of 5 cents per gallon of water extracted and requires the Department to distribute the funds collected from fees to the appropriate water management district to be used for the purposes of replenishing aquifers, creating alternative water supplies and addressing water quality impacts. (O’Hara)

Bottled Water Excise Tax (Watch)

SB 652 (Taddeo) and HB 1237 (Casello) impose an excise tax upon bottled water operators at a rate of 12.5 cents per gallon of water extracted from waters of the state. The bills direct proceeds of the tax to be deposited into the Wastewater Treatment and Stormwater Management Revolving Loan Trust Fund and direct that proceeds must be used to provide grants and loans to local governments, with priority given to projects that connect septic systems to central wastewater facilities. (O’Hara) ...

SB 652 (Taddeo) and HB 1237 (Casello) impose an excise tax upon bottled water operators at a rate of 12.5 cents per gallon of water extracted from waters of the state. The bills direct proceeds of the tax to be deposited into the Wastewater Treatment and Stormwater Management Revolving Loan Trust Fund and direct that proceeds must be used to provide grants and loans to local governments, with priority given to projects that connect septic systems to central wastewater facilities. (O’Hara)

Coastal Construction and Preservation (Watch)

HB 1133 (Leek) and SB 1504 (Wright) define the terms “upland structure,” “vulnerable” and “wave runup” for purposes of the Dennis Jones Beach and Shore Preservation Act. The bills require, rather than authorize, the Department of Environmental Protection to issue permits for coastal armoring if it determines private structures or public infrastructure is vulnerable to damage from coastal storms or sea level rise. Similarly, the bills require, rather than authorize, the Department of Environmental Protection to issue permits for present installations of coastal armoring. (O’Hara) ...

HB 1133 (Leek) and SB 1504 (Wright) define the terms “upland structure,” “vulnerable” and “wave runup” for purposes of the Dennis Jones Beach and Shore Preservation Act. The bills require, rather than authorize, the Department of Environmental Protection to issue permits for coastal armoring if it determines private structures or public infrastructure is vulnerable to damage from coastal storms or sea level rise. Similarly, the bills require, rather than authorize, the Department of Environmental Protection to issue permits for present installations of coastal armoring. (O’Hara)

Conservation Easements (Support)

HB 779 (Altman) and SB 1730 (Stewart) remove a provision in current law that requires income from conservation lands to be used in a specified way to retain its exemption from ad valorem taxes. In addition, the bills authorize conservation easement agreements to allow recreational activities. (O’Hara) ...

HB 779 (Altman) and SB 1730 (Stewart) remove a provision in current law that requires income from conservation lands to be used in a specified way to retain its exemption from ad valorem taxes. In addition, the bills authorize conservation easement agreements to allow recreational activities. (O’Hara)

Critically Eroded Beaches (Support)

SB 1690 (Hutson) requires the Department of Environmental Protection to update its list and report on critically eroded beaches and the associated comprehensive long-term management plans to include certain beaches eroded by Hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Michael and identified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as critically eroded. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1690 (Hutson) requires the Department of Environmental Protection to update its list and report on critically eroded beaches and the associated comprehensive long-term management plans to include certain beaches eroded by Hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Michael and identified by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as critically eroded. (O’Hara)

Disposal of Food Waste Materials (Watch)

HB 1369 (Driskell) and SB 1764 (Cruz) require a food outlet, a food service establishment or school to ensure that any food waste materials generated by the entity are recycled at an authorized composting facility, at an anaerobic digestion facility or by another recycling method if specified requirements are met. (O’Hara) ...

HB 1369 (Driskell) and SB 1764 (Cruz) require a food outlet, a food service establishment or school to ensure that any food waste materials generated by the entity are recycled at an authorized composting facility, at an anaerobic digestion facility or by another recycling method if specified requirements are met. (O’Hara)

Documentary Stamp Tax Distributions (Watch)

SB 2512 (Appropriations) revises distributions from the Documentary Stamp Tax. It adds distributions to the newly created Resilient Florida Trust Fund and to the Water Sustainability and Accountability Trust Fund (used for the wastewater grant program established in Section 403.0673, Florida Statutes). It reduces current distributions to the State Housing Trust Fund but also prevents funds distributed to the Housing Trust Fund from being transferred to General Revenue. Based on these modified distributions, in the upcoming fiscal year affordable housing programs will receive approximately $200 million, and programs established for resiliency and wastewater will receive approximately $111 million. ...

SB 2512 (Appropriations) revises distributions from the Documentary Stamp Tax. It adds distributions to the newly created Resilient Florida Trust Fund and to the Water Sustainability and Accountability Trust Fund (used for the wastewater grant program established in Section 403.0673, Florida Statutes). It reduces current distributions to the State Housing Trust Fund but also prevents funds distributed to the Housing Trust Fund from being transferred to General Revenue. Based on these modified distributions, in the upcoming fiscal year affordable housing programs will receive approximately $200 million, and programs established for resiliency and wastewater will receive approximately $111 million. (O'Hara)

Energy (Watch)

HB 993 (Skidmore) and SB 1362 (Polsky) require the Division of Emergency Management’s statewide emergency shelter plan to identify the capacity of backup power generation systems and fuel types available at each shelter. The bills require the Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture to develop rules that meet certain requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by specified dates. In addition, the bills require the Department to develop and maintain a greenhouse gas registry and inventory and require state and local governmental entities to track and report greenhouse gas emissions data to the Department by specified dates. ...

HB 993 (Skidmore) and SB 1362 (Polsky) require the Division of Emergency Management’s statewide emergency shelter plan to identify the capacity of backup power generation systems and fuel types available at each shelter. The bills require the Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture to develop rules that meet certain requirements for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by specified dates. In addition, the bills require the Department to develop and maintain a greenhouse gas registry and inventory and require state and local governmental entities to track and report greenhouse gas emissions data to the Department by specified dates. (O’Hara)

Energy Security and Disaster Resilience Pilot Program (Watch)

HB 1105 (Goff-Marcil) and SB 1360 (Cruz) create a pilot program within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to provide for the energy needs of critical disaster resilience facilities and study the effectiveness of grants for distributed energy generation and energy storage technologies. The bills define “critical disaster resilience facilities” to include emergency operations centers owned by state and local governments, public health facilities, transportation facilities, law enforcement and public safety facilities and utility facilities. The bills direct the Department to establish a grant program for the purpose of offsetting costs for the purchase or lease and ...

HB 1105 (Goff-Marcil) and SB 1360 (Cruz) create a pilot program within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to provide for the energy needs of critical disaster resilience facilities and study the effectiveness of grants for distributed energy generation and energy storage technologies. The bills define “critical disaster resilience facilities” to include emergency operations centers owned by state and local governments, public health facilities, transportation facilities, law enforcement and public safety facilities and utility facilities. The bills direct the Department to establish a grant program for the purpose of offsetting costs for the purchase or lease and installation of on-site solar energy storage systems to serve critical disaster facilities. The bills direct the Department to conduct a study on the effectiveness of using solar energy storage technologies and other renewable energy generation and storage technologies and to publish the results of the study by December 2022. (O’Hara)

Energy 2040 Task Force (Support)

SB 136 (Brandes) creates the Energy 2040 Task Force within the Florida Public Service Commission to project the state’s electric energy needs over the next 20 years and determine how to best meet those needs while increasing competition and consumer choice. It directs the Task Force to recommend appropriate electric policies and statutory changes, including consideration of the effects of allowing nonutility retail sales of renewable energy; the use of microgrids; emerging electric technologies and concepts; the impacts of state and local government taxes on government revenues and the electric supply; and the environmental impact of electricity production, ...

SB 136 (Brandes) creates the Energy 2040 Task Force within the Florida Public Service Commission to project the state’s electric energy needs over the next 20 years and determine how to best meet those needs while increasing competition and consumer choice. It directs the Task Force to recommend appropriate electric policies and statutory changes, including consideration of the effects of allowing nonutility retail sales of renewable energy; the use of microgrids; emerging electric technologies and concepts; the impacts of state and local government taxes on government revenues and the electric supply; and the environmental impact of electricity production, generation and transmission. The bill specifies Task Force members, authorizes the Task Force to establish any necessary advisory committees and directs the Task Force to submit its recommendations to the governor and Legislature by January 2023. (O’Hara)

Everglades Protection Area (Watch)

HB 333 (Aloupis) and SB 722 (Rodriguez) prohibit the drilling of wells or use of structures for the production of gas or petroleum products within the Everglades Protection Area. (O’Hara) ...

HB 333 (Aloupis) and SB 722 (Rodriguez) prohibit the drilling of wells or use of structures for the production of gas or petroleum products within the Everglades Protection Area. (O’Hara)

Express Preemption of Fuel Retailers and Related Transportation Infrastructure (Oppose – Preemption) 

CS/CS/HB 839 (Fabricio) prohibits a local government from banning (or taking action that results in a de facto ban) gas stations or related transportation infrastructure necessary to provide fuel to gas stations. In addition, the bill prohibits a local government from requiring gas stations to install particular types of fueling infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations. The bill clarifies that it does not preempt a local government from adopting and implementing requirements relating to the siting, development or redevelopment of gas stations or related transportation infrastructure as long as the requirements do not amount to a de ...

CS/CS/HB 839 (Fabricio) prohibits a local government from banning (or taking action that results in a de facto ban) gas stations or related transportation infrastructure necessary to provide fuel to gas stations. In addition, the bill prohibits a local government from requiring gas stations to install particular types of fueling infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations. The bill clarifies that it does not preempt a local government from adopting and implementing requirements relating to the siting, development or redevelopment of gas stations or related transportation infrastructure as long as the requirements do not amount to a de facto prohibition within zoning or land use classifications where such infrastructure is consistent with other allowable uses. (O'Hara)

Farming Operations (Oppose – Preemption)

CS/CS/CS/SB 88 (Brodeur) amends the Florida Right to Farm Act, which is intended to protect reasonable agricultural activities from nuisance lawsuits. The Right to Farm Act specifies that no farm operation that has been in operation for one year or more and that was not a nuisance at the time of its establishment shall be a public or private nuisance if the farm operation conforms to generally accepted agricultural and management practices. The bill expands the definition of “farm operations” in the Act to add “agritourism activities” to the list of farm operations that receive legal protections in ...

CS/CS/CS/SB 88 (Brodeur) amends the Florida Right to Farm Act, which is intended to protect reasonable agricultural activities from nuisance lawsuits. The Right to Farm Act specifies that no farm operation that has been in operation for one year or more and that was not a nuisance at the time of its establishment shall be a public or private nuisance if the farm operation conforms to generally accepted agricultural and management practices. The bill expands the definition of “farm operations” in the Act to add “agritourism activities” to the list of farm operations that receive legal protections in nuisance suits, and it adds the generation of fumes and particle emissions to the list of conditions or activities that constitute farm operations under the Act. The “established date of operation” for an agritourism activity is the date the specific agritourism activity commenced, which may be different from the established date for the underlying farm operation. In addition, the bill provides limitations on liability from nuisance, trespass or tort actions that may be filed relating to farming or agritourism activities. It specifies that a farm may not be held liable for operations alleged to cause harm outside of the farm unless the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that the claim arises out of conduct that does not comply with state and federal environmental laws, regulations or best management practices. The bill further provides that a nuisance action may not be filed unless the property affected by the activity is located within one-half mile of the activity. The bill limits compensatory damages in a private nuisance action to the reduction in fair market value of the affected property. It prohibits the recovery of punitive damages for nuisance actions under specified conditions. Finally, the bill requires payment of attorney fees and costs by plaintiffs who fail to prevail in a nuisance action. (O'Hara)

Florida Forever Bonds (Support)

HB 1173 (Roth) and SB 1480 (Brodeur) extend the retirement date of bonds issued to fund the Florida Forever Act from December 2040 to December 2054. (O’Hara) ...

HB 1173 (Roth) and SB 1480 (Brodeur) extend the retirement date of bonds issued to fund the Florida Forever Act from December 2040 to December 2054. (O’Hara)

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Watch)

SB 1236 (Rodriguez, A.) and HB 617 (Melo) prohibit state agencies from adopting or enforcing state and regional programs to regulate greenhouse gas emissions without specific legislative authorization. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1236 (Rodriguez, A.) and HB 617 (Melo) prohibit state agencies from adopting or enforcing state and regional programs to regulate greenhouse gas emissions without specific legislative authorization. (O’Hara)

Implementation of the Recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force (Watch)

CS/SB 1522 (Stewart) and HB 1225 (Goff-Marcil) require the Department of Environmental Protection to implement a stormwater inspection and monitoring program by January 2022 to identify improperly functioning or failing systems. The bills require owners of on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems to have the system inspected once every five years beginning July 2024 and direct the Department to adopt rules to administer and enforce the inspection program. HB 1225 requires basin management action plans to describe potential increases in pollutant loading due to population growth and agricultural growth and provide a comprehensive analysis of options to mitigate ...

CS/SB 1522 (Stewart) and HB 1225 (Goff-Marcil) require the Department of Environmental Protection to implement a stormwater inspection and monitoring program by January 2022 to identify improperly functioning or failing systems. The bills require owners of on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems to have the system inspected once every five years beginning July 2024 and direct the Department to adopt rules to administer and enforce the inspection program. HB 1225 requires basin management action plans to describe potential increases in pollutant loading due to population growth and agricultural growth and provide a comprehensive analysis of options to mitigate increases in pollutant loading. (O’Hara)

Infrastructure Solutions/Climate Resilience (Support)

SB 1190 (Farmer) is a Senate Joint Resolution expressing the Legislature’s support for investment in resilient infrastructure solutions, projects and policy proposals to support long-term climate resilience. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1190 (Farmer) is a Senate Joint Resolution expressing the Legislature’s support for investment in resilient infrastructure solutions, projects and policy proposals to support long-term climate resilience. (O’Hara)

Inland and Coastal Flood Control Funding Assessment (Support)

HB 901 (Bartleman) and SB 1252 (Berman) require the Office of Economic and Demographic Research to include within its annual assessment of Florida’s water resources an analysis of future expenditures by local, regional and state governments necessary to improve resilience to flooding. The analysis must identify gaps between projected and estimated revenues, expenditures and needs. (O’Hara) ...

HB 901 (Bartleman) and SB 1252 (Berman) require the Office of Economic and Demographic Research to include within its annual assessment of Florida’s water resources an analysis of future expenditures by local, regional and state governments necessary to improve resilience to flooding. The analysis must identify gaps between projected and estimated revenues, expenditures and needs. (O’Hara)

Insurance-Based Climate Change Task Force (Support)

SB 1872 (Rouson) and HB 1623 (Diamond) direct the Commissioner of Insurance Regulation to convene a Climate and Resiliency Task Force to consider the impact of climate change on Florida’s insurance market. The bills direct the Task Force to identify protection gaps in Florida’s insurance market and recommend approaches for reducing, managing and mitigating climate-related risk. The bills direct the Task Force to issue a report to the governor and Legislature every three years, beginning January 2023. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1872 (Rouson) and HB 1623 (Diamond) direct the Commissioner of Insurance Regulation to convene a Climate and Resiliency Task Force to consider the impact of climate change on Florida’s insurance market. The bills direct the Task Force to identify protection gaps in Florida’s insurance market and recommend approaches for reducing, managing and mitigating climate-related risk. The bills direct the Task Force to issue a report to the governor and Legislature every three years, beginning January 2023. (O’Hara)

Land Acquisition Trust Fund-1 (Support)

SB 1510 (Stewart) and HB 1211 (Altman) extend the date of retirement of bonds issued for the Florida Forever Program from December 2040 to December 2054. The bills provide for $100 million to be appropriated annually from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the Florida Forever Trust Fund. In addition, SB 1510 specifies that moneys distributed from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund may not be used for agency executive direction and support services or technology and information services. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1510 (Stewart) and HB 1211 (Altman) extend the date of retirement of bonds issued for the Florida Forever Program from December 2040 to December 2054. The bills provide for $100 million to be appropriated annually from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the Florida Forever Trust Fund. In addition, SB 1510 specifies that moneys distributed from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund may not be used for agency executive direction and support services or technology and information services. (O’Hara)

Land Acquisition Trust Fund-2 (Support)

HB 1561 (Roth) requires $100 million to be appropriated annually from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the Florida Forever Trust Fund. (O’Hara) ...

HB 1561 (Roth) requires $100 million to be appropriated annually from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the Florida Forever Trust Fund. (O’Hara)

Legal Rights of the Natural Environment (Watch)

HB 6049 (Eskamani) repeals provisions of current law prohibiting local governments from recognizing or granting certain legal rights to the natural environment or granting such rights relating to the natural environment to a person or political subdivision. (O’Hara) ...

HB 6049 (Eskamani) repeals provisions of current law prohibiting local governments from recognizing or granting certain legal rights to the natural environment or granting such rights relating to the natural environment to a person or political subdivision. (O’Hara)

Liability of Persons Providing Areas for Public Outdoor Recreational Purposes (Watch)

CS/SB 920 (Bradley) amends current law which provides that a property owner who enters an agreement with a state agency for outdoor recreation purposes, where the agreement recognizes the agency is responsible for personal injury, loss or damage resulting from the agency’s use of the property under the terms of the agreement subject to the limitations of Section 768.28, Florida Statutes, owes no duty of care to keep the area safe for entry or use by others or to give warning of any hazardous conditions. The bill expands the definition of “state agency” to include any public entity ...

CS/SB 920 (Bradley) amends current law which provides that a property owner who enters an agreement with a state agency for outdoor recreation purposes, where the agreement recognizes the agency is responsible for personal injury, loss or damage resulting from the agency’s use of the property under the terms of the agreement subject to the limitations of Section 768.28, Florida Statutes, owes no duty of care to keep the area safe for entry or use by others or to give warning of any hazardous conditions. The bill expands the definition of “state agency” to include any public entity created by law and revises the “outdoor recreation” purposes included within its scope to include traversing property for the purpose of ingress and egress to or from public lands that are used for outdoor recreation purposes. In addition, the bill creates an exception in which the owner of an area used for outdoor recreational purposes may derive revenue from concessions or special events and retain the liability protection provided by this statute if such revenue is used exclusively to maintain, manage and improve the outdoor recreational area. (O'Hara)

Petroleum Fuel Measuring Devices (Watch)

CS/CS/SB 430 (Rodriguez) and CS/HB 991 (Busatta Cabrera) preempt the regulation of petroleum fuel measuring devices to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Current law provides for the regulation of these devices at wholesale and retail establishments by the Department, which includes measures to restrict unauthorized access of customer payment card information. The bills prohibit a state attorney from using Section 525.16, Florida Statutes, to enforce Department rules adopted pursuant to current law. (O’Hara) ...

CS/CS/SB 430 (Rodriguez) and CS/HB 991 (Busatta Cabrera) preempt the regulation of petroleum fuel measuring devices to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Current law provides for the regulation of these devices at wholesale and retail establishments by the Department, which includes measures to restrict unauthorized access of customer payment card information. The bills prohibit a state attorney from using Section 525.16, Florida Statutes, to enforce Department rules adopted pursuant to current law. (O’Hara)

Preemption of Over-the-counter Drugs and Cosmetics (Support)

HB 6041 (Eskamani) and SB 1174 (Stewart) repeal current law provisions preempting the regulation of over-the-counter proprietary drugs and cosmetics to the state. (O’Hara) ...

HB 6041 (Eskamani) and SB 1174 (Stewart) repeal current law provisions preempting the regulation of over-the-counter proprietary drugs and cosmetics to the state. (O’Hara)

Preemption of Recyclable and Polystyrene Materials (Support)

HB 6027 (Grieco) and SB 594 (Stewart) remove the current law prohibition of local laws relating to regulation of auxiliary containers, wrappings and disposable plastic bags. The bills also repeal the current law preemption of local laws relating to the use or sale of polystyrene products. (O’Hara) ...

HB 6027 (Grieco) and SB 594 (Stewart) remove the current law prohibition of local laws relating to regulation of auxiliary containers, wrappings and disposable plastic bags. The bills also repeal the current law preemption of local laws relating to the use or sale of polystyrene products. (O’Hara)

Preemption of Tree Pruning, Trimming and Removal (Support)

HB 6023 (Eskamani) and SB 596 (Stewart) repeal current law provisions preempting specified local government regulations relating to tree pruning, trimming and removal on residential property. (O’Hara) ...

HB 6023 (Eskamani) and SB 596 (Stewart) repeal current law provisions preempting specified local government regulations relating to tree pruning, trimming and removal on residential property. (O’Hara)

Preemption Over Restriction of Utility Services (Oppose – Preemption) 

CS/CS/HB 919 (Tomkow) prohibits a local government from taking any action that restricts or prohibits, or has the effect of restricting or prohibiting, the types or fuel sources of energy production that may be used, delivered, converted or supplied by various electric or gas utilities, transmission companies or dealers. The prohibition is retroactive in nature. The bill does not prohibit a governmental entity from adopting regulations or policies governing an electric or natural gas utility that it owns or operates and directly controls. (O'Hara) ...

CS/CS/HB 919 (Tomkow) prohibits a local government from taking any action that restricts or prohibits, or has the effect of restricting or prohibiting, the types or fuel sources of energy production that may be used, delivered, converted or supplied by various electric or gas utilities, transmission companies or dealers. The prohibition is retroactive in nature. The bill does not prohibit a governmental entity from adopting regulations or policies governing an electric or natural gas utility that it owns or operates and directly controls. (O'Hara)

Private Docks (Watch)

SB 994 (Brodeur) modifies current law provisions relating to the permitting of private docks by the Department of Environmental Protection and permit exemptions. It clarifies that a private residential multifamily dock or pier is included within existing provisions relating to permit exemptions and the issuance of general permits. (O’Hara) ...

SB 994 (Brodeur) modifies current law provisions relating to the permitting of private docks by the Department of Environmental Protection and permit exemptions. It clarifies that a private residential multifamily dock or pier is included within existing provisions relating to permit exemptions and the issuance of general permits. (O’Hara)

Property Assessed Clean Energy Programs (Support)

CS/HB 387 (Fine) and CS/SB 1208 (Rodriguez, A.) substantially amend current law provisions relating to Property Assessed Clean Energy programs. The bills define terms relevant to PACE programs including commercial and residential property. Under the bills, commercial property with qualifying improvements would be eligible for PACE programs. The bills impose various requirements on a PACE administrator to reasonably determine a property owner has an ability to pay the estimated annual PACE assessment. The bills impose obligations on a PACE administrator before it may enter a PACE contract for a residential property, such as providing a financing estimate and ...

CS/HB 387 (Fine) and CS/SB 1208 (Rodriguez, A.) substantially amend current law provisions relating to Property Assessed Clean Energy programs. The bills define terms relevant to PACE programs including commercial and residential property. Under the bills, commercial property with qualifying improvements would be eligible for PACE programs. The bills impose various requirements on a PACE administrator to reasonably determine a property owner has an ability to pay the estimated annual PACE assessment. The bills impose obligations on a PACE administrator before it may enter a PACE contract for a residential property, such as providing a financing estimate and specified disclosures to the owner and conducting a recorded telephone call with the property owner to confirm the owner’s understanding of costs, payments, lien status and other implications associated with entering the contract. The bills authorize a residential property owner to cancel a PACE contract within three days of signing without penalty and provide the term of a contract shall not exceed the useful life of the qualifying improvement. The bills prohibit PACE financing for certain residential properties. In addition, they prohibit a PACE administrator from enrolling a PACE contractor that fails to meet specified requirements and require the administrator to make reasonable background checks prior to enrolling a new PACE contractor. They require the PACE administrator to confirm the contractor has performed the applicable work or service before disbursing funds to the contractor, and they impose specified marketing and communications guidelines on PACE administrators and contractors. (O’Hara)

Public Financing of Potentially At-Risk Structures (Watch)

SB 1550 (Rodriguez) modifies provisions of current law adopted in 2020 regarding public financing of construction projects in coastal building zones to include certain inland areas. The bill provides that coastal building zones are at risk due to sea level rise and coastal structures within these areas are potentially at-risk structures. The bill requires state-financed constructors to include certain flood mitigation strategies in sea level impact projection studies. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1550 (Rodriguez) modifies provisions of current law adopted in 2020 regarding public financing of construction projects in coastal building zones to include certain inland areas. The bill provides that coastal building zones are at risk due to sea level rise and coastal structures within these areas are potentially at-risk structures. The bill requires state-financed constructors to include certain flood mitigation strategies in sea level impact projection studies. (O’Hara)

Ratification of Department of Environmental Protection Rules (Watch)

HB 1309 (Overdorf) ratifies the Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed biosolids rules, which are anticipated to have an estimated regulatory cost exceeding $1 million. The bill exempts the biosolids rules from review and approval by the Environmental Regulatory Commission. In addition, the bill ratifies the Department’s proposed rules relating to the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) modifies Section 373.0465, Florida Statutes, relating to the CFWI, and creates Section 373.0466 to establish the CFWI Grant Program. Finally, the bill expands the eligibility requirements for the state drinking water revolving loan fund to include priority consideration for projects that implement ...

HB 1309 (Overdorf) ratifies the Department of Environmental Protection’s proposed biosolids rules, which are anticipated to have an estimated regulatory cost exceeding $1 million. The bill exempts the biosolids rules from review and approval by the Environmental Regulatory Commission. In addition, the bill ratifies the Department’s proposed rules relating to the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) modifies Section 373.0465, Florida Statutes, relating to the CFWI, and creates Section 373.0466 to establish the CFWI Grant Program. Finally, the bill expands the eligibility requirements for the state drinking water revolving loan fund to include priority consideration for projects that implement water supply plans and develop water sources as an alternative to continued reliance on the Floridan aquifer. (O'Hara)

Reclaimed Water (Oppose – Mandate) 

CS/SB 64 (Albritton) requires certain domestic wastewater utilities to submit a plan to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by November 2021 for eliminating nonbeneficial surface water discharges (e.g., treated effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water) by January 2032. It requires DEP to approve such plans if a plan meets the following conditions: The plan will result in eliminating the surface water discharge, the plan will result in meeting statutory requirements relating to ocean outfalls, or the plan does not provide for the complete elimination of the surface water discharge but affirmatively demonstrates that specified conditions are present. ...

CS/SB 64 (Albritton) requires certain domestic wastewater utilities to submit a plan to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) by November 2021 for eliminating nonbeneficial surface water discharges (e.g., treated effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water) by January 2032. It requires DEP to approve such plans if a plan meets the following conditions: The plan will result in eliminating the surface water discharge, the plan will result in meeting statutory requirements relating to ocean outfalls, or the plan does not provide for the complete elimination of the surface water discharge but affirmatively demonstrates that specified conditions are present. The conditions are: The discharge is associated with an indirect potable reuse project, the discharge is a wet weather discharge in accordance with a permit, the discharge is into a stormwater system for subsequent withdrawal for irrigation purposes, the utility has a reuse system that achieves 90% reuse of reclaimed water, or the discharge provides direct ecological or public water supply benefits. A utility that fails to timely submit an approved plan may not discharge to surface waters after January 2028. Violations of the bill’s requirements are subject to administrative and civil penalties. The bill requires DEP to submit an annual report to the governor and Legislature detailing implementation status. The bill exempts the following domestic wastewater facilities from its requirements: facilities located in a fiscally constrained county, facilities located in a municipality that is entirely within a rural area of opportunity and facilities located in a municipality having less than $10,000 in total annual revenue. The bill authorizes DEP to establish a potable reuse technical advisory committee, provide that potable reuse projects are eligible for alternative water supply funding and provide that potable reuse projects are eligible for expedited permitting and priority state funding. In addition, the bill requires local governments to offer a 25% density or intensity bonus to developers if 75% of a development will have graywater systems installed or a 30% bonus if 100% of a development will have graywater systems installed. The bonus is in addition to any other bonus that may be in effect on July 1, 2021. (O'Hara)

Recyclable Materials (Support)

SB 1348 (Polsky) and HB 1563 (Mooney) require the Department of Environmental Protection to review and update its 2010 Retail Bags Report on the regulation of auxiliary containers, wrappings and disposable plastic bags and to submit a report to the Legislature by December 2021. In addition, SB 1348 modifies the current law preemption of local government regulation of these materials by specifying that local governments shall not regulate the use of auxiliary containers, plastic bags and wrappings until the Legislature adopts the recommendations of the Department contained in the report or until July 2022, whichever is earlier. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1348 (Polsky) and HB 1563 (Mooney) require the Department of Environmental Protection to review and update its 2010 Retail Bags Report on the regulation of auxiliary containers, wrappings and disposable plastic bags and to submit a report to the Legislature by December 2021. In addition, SB 1348 modifies the current law preemption of local government regulation of these materials by specifying that local governments shall not regulate the use of auxiliary containers, plastic bags and wrappings until the Legislature adopts the recommendations of the Department contained in the report or until July 2022, whichever is earlier. (O’Hara)

Renewable Energy (Watch)

CS/CS/SB 896 (Brodeur) requires that solar arrays (solar farms) be a permissible use in any local government comprehensive plan agricultural land use category and in any agricultural zoning district within an unincorporated area. (O'Hara) ...

CS/CS/SB 896 (Brodeur) requires that solar arrays (solar farms) be a permissible use in any local government comprehensive plan agricultural land use category and in any agricultural zoning district within an unincorporated area. (O'Hara)

Renewable Energy (Oppose – Mandate)

SB 208 (Brandes) and HB 775 (Omphroy) allows the owner of a business or a contracted third party to install, maintain and operate a renewable energy source device on or about the structure in which the business operates or on any property the business leases. The bill provides the business owner or third party may sell the electricity that is generated from the device to another business immediately adjacent to or within the same parcel as the business and such sales shall not be considered or regulated as retail sales of electricity. The bill provides that if the ...

SB 208 (Brandes) and HB 775 (Omphroy) allows the owner of a business or a contracted third party to install, maintain and operate a renewable energy source device on or about the structure in which the business operates or on any property the business leases. The bill provides the business owner or third party may sell the electricity that is generated from the device to another business immediately adjacent to or within the same parcel as the business and such sales shall not be considered or regulated as retail sales of electricity. The bill provides that if the energy-producing business or its customers require additional related services from a utility, such as backup generation capacity or transmission services, the utility may recover the full cost of providing those services. The bill authorizes a utility to enter a contract with a business to install, maintain or operate any type of renewable energy source device on or about the structure from which the business operates and to sell the electricity to an adjacent business and the bill provides that such electricity sales shall not be considered or regulated as retail sales of electricity. The bill specifies that if the Public Service Commission determines that the level of reduction in electricity purchases by customers using renewable energy source devices is significant enough to adversely impact the rates that other customers pay in the rate territory, the Commission may approve a utility’s requests to recover its costs of providing the electricity needed by all customers, including customers using a renewable energy source device. The bill provides for methodology of such cost recovery, a process for customers to challenge the cost recovery and authorized rulemaking by the Commission. The bill may have a negative fiscal impact on municipal revenues, including potential impacts to municipal electric franchise revenues and municipal public service utility taxes. (O’Hara)

Renewable Energy (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1960 (Bean) provides a process for siting solar facilities and restricts local governments’ authority to prohibit or impose requirements on such facilities. It defines “solar facilities” to mean a production facility that converts solar energy to electricity that is consumed primarily off-site via a transmission system. The term includes modules, mounting systems, collection systems and associated components as well as accessory buildings, grid interconnection equipment and energy storage equipment. The bill provides that solar facilities shall be a permitted use by right in all agricultural land use categories of the applicable local government comprehensive plan and all ...

SB 1960 (Bean) provides a process for siting solar facilities and restricts local governments’ authority to prohibit or impose requirements on such facilities. It defines “solar facilities” to mean a production facility that converts solar energy to electricity that is consumed primarily off-site via a transmission system. The term includes modules, mounting systems, collection systems and associated components as well as accessory buildings, grid interconnection equipment and energy storage equipment. The bill provides that solar facilities shall be a permitted use by right in all agricultural land use categories of the applicable local government comprehensive plan and all agricultural zoning districts within unincorporated areas. It provides that solar facilities must comply with the same setback, landscaping, buffering, fencing or berm requirements applicable to other uses that do not produce food or fiber in that comprehensive plan category or zoning district. The bill specifies that agricultural land leased for a solar facility shall maintain its agricultural tax exemptions. For solar facilities greater than 75 megawatts in capacity, the bill allows an applicant the option to apply for certification under the state’s Power Plant Siting Act. (O’Hara)

Renewable Energy Sources (Watch)

SB 1718 (Berman) and HB 1611 (Hardy) authorize a public educational customer to enter a contract for the installation, maintenance or operation of a renewable energy source device located on property owned or controlled by the educational customer and provides that financing arrangements for such contracts are not considered retail sales of electricity. The bills require electric utilities to provide meter aggregation to public educational customers under specified circumstances. The bills authorize business entities or third parties contracted by business entities to install, maintain and operate a renewable energy source device on or about the structure in which ...

SB 1718 (Berman) and HB 1611 (Hardy) authorize a public educational customer to enter a contract for the installation, maintenance or operation of a renewable energy source device located on property owned or controlled by the educational customer and provides that financing arrangements for such contracts are not considered retail sales of electricity. The bills require electric utilities to provide meter aggregation to public educational customers under specified circumstances. The bills authorize business entities or third parties contracted by business entities to install, maintain and operate a renewable energy source device on or about the structure in which the business entity operates or on a property owned or leased by the business entity and authorize the business entity to sell electricity generated by the device to another business entity located immediately adjacent to the structure. The capacity of such renewable energy source device may not exceed 150% of the business entity’s usage in the prior calendar year. The bills provide that such sales of electricity are not considered retail sales of electricity. Finally, the bills authorize a public customer (including a local government) to install, maintain or operate one or more renewable energy operating systems to offset the public customer’s electricity requirements, but the capacity of such system may not exceed 150% of the public customer’s usage in the prior calendar year. The electricity may be sold to another public customer and such sale is not considered retail sales of electricity. The bills require electric utilities to provide meter aggregation to public customers consistent with a net metering program. (O’Hara)

Residential Home Protection (Support)

SB 916 (Brodeur) amends current law provisions that prohibit local governments from requiring permits for the removal of “dangerous” trees on residential property. The bill clarifies what constitutes residential property and clarifies the level of assessment and type of documentation that must be provided by an arborist or landscape architect under the law. (O’Hara) ...

SB 916 (Brodeur) amends current law provisions that prohibit local governments from requiring permits for the removal of “dangerous” trees on residential property. The bill clarifies what constitutes residential property and clarifies the level of assessment and type of documentation that must be provided by an arborist or landscape architect under the law. (O’Hara)

Resiliency (Support)

SB 514 (Rodrigues) and HB 315 (LaMarca) establish the Statewide Office of Resiliency within the Executive Office of the governor, to be headed by a chief resilience officer appointed by the governor. The bills create the Statewide Sea-Level Rise Task Force to recommend consensus projections of anticipated sea-level rise and flooding impacts along the state’s coastline. They establish a process for appointments to the Task Force and directs the Task Force to convene no later than October 2021. The bills direct the Task Force to submit its recommended consensus baseline projections to the Environmental Regulation Commission by January ...

SB 514 (Rodrigues) and HB 315 (LaMarca) establish the Statewide Office of Resiliency within the Executive Office of the governor, to be headed by a chief resilience officer appointed by the governor. The bills create the Statewide Sea-Level Rise Task Force to recommend consensus projections of anticipated sea-level rise and flooding impacts along the state’s coastline. They establish a process for appointments to the Task Force and directs the Task Force to convene no later than October 2021. The bills direct the Task Force to submit its recommended consensus baseline projections to the Environmental Regulation Commission by January 2022 and authorize the ERC to adopt or reject the recommendations. If adopted by the ERC, the projections will serve as the state’s official estimate of sea-level rise and flooding impacts along the coast and must be used for the purpose of developing future state projects, plans and programs. (O’Hara)

Resilient Florida Trust Fund (Support)

SB 2514 (Appropriations) creates the Resilient Florida Trust Fund within the Department of Environmental Protection and provides that the Trust Fund is established as a depository for certain Documentary Stamp Tax revenues. (O'Hara) ...

SB 2514 (Appropriations) creates the Resilient Florida Trust Fund within the Department of Environmental Protection and provides that the Trust Fund is established as a depository for certain Documentary Stamp Tax revenues. (O'Hara)

Sanitary Sewer Lateral Inspection Programs (Watch)

CS/SB 1058 (Burgess) and CS/HB 773 (McClure) amend current law that authorizes municipalities and counties to create an evaluation and rehabilitation program for sanitary sewer laterals on private property for the purpose of reducing leaks. The bills authorize a local government to access any sanitary sewer lateral within its jurisdiction for the purpose of investigating, cleaning, repairing or replacing the lateral. The bills establish procedures for implementing the lateral program. The bills require the local government to notify the property owner that it intends to access the owner’s property to address the problem and that the owner will ...

CS/SB 1058 (Burgess) and CS/HB 773 (McClure) amend current law that authorizes municipalities and counties to create an evaluation and rehabilitation program for sanitary sewer laterals on private property for the purpose of reducing leaks. The bills authorize a local government to access any sanitary sewer lateral within its jurisdiction for the purpose of investigating, cleaning, repairing or replacing the lateral. The bills establish procedures for implementing the lateral program. The bills require the local government to notify the property owner that it intends to access the owner’s property to address the problem and that the owner will not be held liable for the repair. The bills provide that under a locally established program the local government is responsible for repair and cleanup and also must specify requirements for repair work. (O’Hara)

Soil and Groundwater Contamination (Watch)

CS/SB 1054 (Broxson) and HB 705 (Andrade) address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). CS/SB 1054 prohibits the Department of Environmental Protection from taking enforcement action against any property owner to require PFAS remediation until the Department adopts rules establishing a “maximum contaminant level” for the specific contaminant. HB 705 provides airports are not liable for costs, damages or penalties relating to contamination, discharge, evaluation, assessment, or remediation of PFAS. Both bills direct the Office of Program Policy Accountability and Analysis (OPPAGA) to conduct a study of assessment and cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination in other states and ...

CS/SB 1054 (Broxson) and HB 705 (Andrade) address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). CS/SB 1054 prohibits the Department of Environmental Protection from taking enforcement action against any property owner to require PFAS remediation until the Department adopts rules establishing a “maximum contaminant level” for the specific contaminant. HB 705 provides airports are not liable for costs, damages or penalties relating to contamination, discharge, evaluation, assessment, or remediation of PFAS. Both bills direct the Office of Program Policy Accountability and Analysis (OPPAGA) to conduct a study of assessment and cleanup of soil and groundwater contamination in other states and submit a report on its findings to the governor and legislature. (O’Hara)

Solar Electrical Generating Facilities (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1008 (Hutson) and HB 761 (Overdorf) provide that solar facilities (including solar farms and related buildings, transmission lines and substations) are a permitted (as-of-right) use in local government comprehensive agricultural land use categories and certain agricultural zoning districts within unincorporated areas. The bills require solar facilities to comply with minimal criteria such as setbacks and buffering applicable to similar uses within the agricultural district. The bills authorize counties to adopt ordinances specifying buffer and landscaping requirements for solar facilities if the requirements do not exceed requirements for other permitted uses within an agricultural district. The bills also ...

SB 1008 (Hutson) and HB 761 (Overdorf) provide that solar facilities (including solar farms and related buildings, transmission lines and substations) are a permitted (as-of-right) use in local government comprehensive agricultural land use categories and certain agricultural zoning districts within unincorporated areas. The bills require solar facilities to comply with minimal criteria such as setbacks and buffering applicable to similar uses within the agricultural district. The bills authorize counties to adopt ordinances specifying buffer and landscaping requirements for solar facilities if the requirements do not exceed requirements for other permitted uses within an agricultural district. The bills also include solar facilities with capacities of less than 150 megawatts within the current definition of “electrical power plant” in the Power Plant Siting Act and allow such solar facilities the option of whether to use the Act’s certification process for siting the facilities. (O’Hara)

State Renewable Energy Goals (Watch)

HB 283 (Eskamani) and SB 720 (Berman) prohibit the drilling, exploration or production of petroleum products in the state. In addition, the bills direct the Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to develop a statewide plan to generate 100% of the electricity used in the state from renewable energy by 2040 and for the state to have net zero carbon emissions statewide by 2060. The bills create the Renewable Energy Workforce Development Advisory Committee within the Department. (O’Hara) ...

HB 283 (Eskamani) and SB 720 (Berman) prohibit the drilling, exploration or production of petroleum products in the state. In addition, the bills direct the Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to develop a statewide plan to generate 100% of the electricity used in the state from renewable energy by 2040 and for the state to have net zero carbon emissions statewide by 2060. The bills create the Renewable Energy Workforce Development Advisory Committee within the Department. (O’Hara)

Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience (Support)

CS/CS/SB 1954 (Rodrigues) establishes a state program to address inland and coastal flooding and sea level rise. It establishes the Resilient Florida Grant Program within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which provides funding to local governments for the costs of resilience planning and projects to adapt certain “critical assets” (defined in the bill). The grants require a minimum of 50% cost-share from the local sponsor, which may be waived for certain “financially disadvantaged small communities” (defined in the bill). The bill creates the Comprehensive Statewide Flood Vulnerability and Sea Level Rise Data Set and Assessment to be ...

CS/CS/SB 1954 (Rodrigues) establishes a state program to address inland and coastal flooding and sea level rise. It establishes the Resilient Florida Grant Program within the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which provides funding to local governments for the costs of resilience planning and projects to adapt certain “critical assets” (defined in the bill). The grants require a minimum of 50% cost-share from the local sponsor, which may be waived for certain “financially disadvantaged small communities” (defined in the bill). The bill creates the Comprehensive Statewide Flood Vulnerability and Sea Level Rise Data Set and Assessment to be updated every five years by the DEP. The data set must be completed by July 2022 and include statewide sea-level-rise projections. The assessment must be completed by July 2023 and identify vulnerable areas, infrastructure, and critical assets. The bill requires the DEP to annually submit a Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan that proposes up to $100 million funding for projects that address risks from flooding and sea-level-rise. The initial plan must be submitted by December 2021. Local governments, regional resilience entities, and water management districts are authorized to submit projects to DEP for inclusion in the plan. The bill requires DEP to implement a scoring system for submitted projects. In addition, DEP is authorized to provide funding to regional resilience entities for providing technical assistance, coordinating multi-jurisdictional vulnerability assessments and developing project proposals for the statewide resilience plan. The bill also directs the University of South Florida to create a “flood hub” to coordinate and lead statewide efforts for research and innovation and requires the Office of Economic and Demographic Research to add an analysis of flooding issues to its annual assessment of Florida’s water resources and conservation lands. (O'Hara)

Tree Pruning, Trimming or Removal on Residential Property (Oppose – Preemption)

SB 1396 (Gruters) and HB 1167 (Snyder) expand the current law preemption of local government regulations pertaining to “dangerous” trees on residential property. The bills expand the definition of “residential property” to include manufactured or modular homes, mobile home parks, duplexes, triplexes, quadruplexes, condominium units or cooperative units. (O’Hara) ...

SB 1396 (Gruters) and HB 1167 (Snyder) expand the current law preemption of local government regulations pertaining to “dangerous” trees on residential property. The bills expand the definition of “residential property” to include manufactured or modular homes, mobile home parks, duplexes, triplexes, quadruplexes, condominium units or cooperative units. (O’Hara)

Utility Customer Assistance Funds (Watch)

SB 1860 (Jones) and HB 1435 (Smith, C.) direct the Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish an application process for electric utilities, natural gas utilities and water/wastewater utilities to complete before it may receive utility customer assistance funds to provide assistance to residential customers for nonpayment of utility bills. The bills provide eligibility criteria for utilities to receive customer assistance funds and specifies criteria for a utility’s COVID-19 relief repayment plan. The bills require participating utilities to provide a report of all related accounting by December 2021. The bills specify that ...

SB 1860 (Jones) and HB 1435 (Smith, C.) direct the Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish an application process for electric utilities, natural gas utilities and water/wastewater utilities to complete before it may receive utility customer assistance funds to provide assistance to residential customers for nonpayment of utility bills. The bills provide eligibility criteria for utilities to receive customer assistance funds and specifies criteria for a utility’s COVID-19 relief repayment plan. The bills require participating utilities to provide a report of all related accounting by December 2021. The bills specify that in addition to utility customer assistance funds provided in the bills, utilities must use funds allocated from the federal coronavirus relief funds of Public Law 116-136 to provide direct subsidy payments on behalf of residential customers whose accounts are more than 60 days past due. The bills direct the Legislature to appropriate $100 million to the Office of Energy for customer assistance funds. (O’Hara)

Waste Management (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)

CS/CS/SB 694 (Rodrigues) requires a local government that “displaces” a private waste company to provide a three-year notice period to the company and pay the displaced company an amount equal to the company’s preceding 18 months’ gross receipts at the end of the notice period. The term “displacement” as used in the bill refers to circumstances in which a local government decides to move from a non-contracted or non-franchise system of waste services to either providing the waste service itself or by contracting or franchising with one or more private waste companies. The bill also defines “storm generated ...

CS/CS/SB 694 (Rodrigues) requires a local government that “displaces” a private waste company to provide a three-year notice period to the company and pay the displaced company an amount equal to the company’s preceding 18 months’ gross receipts at the end of the notice period. The term “displacement” as used in the bill refers to circumstances in which a local government decides to move from a non-contracted or non-franchise system of waste services to either providing the waste service itself or by contracting or franchising with one or more private waste companies. The bill also defines “storm generated yard trash” and clarifies that private waste company providing regular residential solid waste service is not responsible for collecting certain storm-generated yard trash unless specified in a contract or agreement with a local government. In addition, the bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection to update its 2010 report on retail plastic bags and submit the updated report and recommendations to the Legislature by December 2021. (O'Hara)

Well Stimulation (Watch)

SB 546 (Farmer) and HB 1575 (Jenne) create the Stop Fracking Act. The bills define extreme well stimulation to include the various forms of fracking used to increase the production at an oil or gas well and prohibit well stimulation in the state. (O’Hara) ...

SB 546 (Farmer) and HB 1575 (Jenne) create the Stop Fracking Act. The bills define extreme well stimulation to include the various forms of fracking used to increase the production at an oil or gas well and prohibit well stimulation in the state. (O’Hara)

Other Bills of Interest 

SB 152 (Diaz) and HB 65 (Sabatini) – Regulatory Reform ...

SB 152 (Diaz) and HB 65 (Sabatini) – Regulatory Reform HB 77 (Overdorf) and SB 1082 (Albritton) – Diesel Exhaust Fluid HB 103 (Thompson) and SB 1204 (Thurston) – Elections HB 143 (Fabrico) and SB 962 (Diaz) – Construction Materials Mining Activities SB 336 (Rouson) and HB 1535 (Clemons) – Large-scale Agricultural Pollution Reduction Pilot Program SB 358 (Berman) – Water Safety HB 217 (Hunschofsky) and SB 588 (Book) – Conservation Area Designations SB 82 (Baxley) – Sponsorship of Identification Disclaimers SB 658 (Taddeo) – Violations of the Florida Elections Code HB 943 (Shoaf) and SB 1278 (Ausley) – Apalachicola Bay Area of Critical State Concern HB 1051 (Fernandez-Barquin) and SB 964 (Diaz) – Environmental Compliance Costs HB 1145 (McClain) – Regulatory Restriction Reduction SB 94 (Brodeur) – Water Storage North of Lake Okeechobee SB 834 (Cruz) and HB 1257 (Hunschofsky) -- Drinking Water in Public Schools SB 1626 (Albritton) – Administrative Procedures HB 1311 (Payne) – Public Meetings/Public Service Commission SB 1668 (Rodriguez, A.) – Seagrass Mitigation Banks SB 1652 (Pizzo) and HB 1337 (Geller) – Anchoring Limitation Areas SB 1752 (Rodriguez, A.) – Independent Special District Utilities HB 1487 (McCurdy) – School Resiliency Pilot Programs HB 869 (Valdes) and SB 1528 (Cruz) – Vote by Mail Ballots SB 188 (Berman) and HB 551 (Hardy) – Solar Energy Systems Located on Property of an Educational Facility HB 457 (Arrington) and SB 830 (Polsky) – Political Party Affiliations of Qualifying Candidates SB 774 (Gainer) and HB 635 (Maney) – Super Voting Sites SB 7062 (Environment and Natural Resources Committee) – Central Florida Water Initiative

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