Provided by Tammi Bach
Fernandina Beach City Attorney
February 21, 2020
City Attorney Bach has passed along the following summary from the Florida League of Cities (FLC) reflecting the status of those pending bills in the Florida Legislature affecting municipalities. Bach, City Manager Dale Martin and three City Commissioners — Mayor John Miller, Vice Mayor Len Kreger and Commissioner Phil Chapman spent a day in Tallahassee last week urging Senator Aaron Bean and Representative Cord Byrd, among others, to vote against bills that preempt city powers.
February 10-14, 2020
“We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.”― Tobias Wolff
Over 250 municipal officials charged the hill in Tallahassee this week as we took on Week Five of the Legislative Session. Thanks to your efforts, we had hundreds of meetings scheduled with members of the House and Senate to discuss the bills that are most important to Florida’s local governments. We may be at the midway point (Wednesday this week was the 30thday of the 60-day session), but there are still many unfavorable bills making their way through the process. Fortunately, several important bills were on committee agendas while the FLC Legislative Action Days was happening. Many of you were able to discuss these issues with your legislators or relevant committee members and, if you were lucky, had the chance to testify on bills of concern.
We are thankful to every member who was able to participate and see firsthand the environment in Tallahassee. For those who were not able to attend, we appreciate your efforts by responding to Legislative Action Alerts, calling into our Monday Morning Call-Ins, and for providing us with details on how many of these issues will impact your city. Your efforts are noticed and are making a difference! See below for a full run-down on what happened this week.
WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK
Growth Management Train Bill is Created
In legislative parlance, a legislative “train bill” is the insider phrase for the practice of combining various unrelated concepts into one bill to facilitate passage of the various issues, rather than filing multiple standalone bills. This week a plethora of issues were successfully amended intoCS/CS/HB 203 (McClain). The underlining bill requires local governments to adopt, by July 1, 2023, a new mandatory element in their comprehensive plans that addresses the protection of private property rights. The League OPPOSES this concept due to the costs associated in making the comprehensive plan amendments by the deadline outlined in the bill.
As amended the bill:
· Prohibits, under specified conditions, a city from providing water or sewer service in the unincorporated area of a county without the express consent of county commission.
· Extends the 5G “shot clock” and “deemed approved” provisions provided for in the Advanced Wireless Deployment Act to all permit applications for ALL utilities in the right-of-way.
· Last session, legislation passed that created a new section of law providing for a mandatory award of attorney fees, costs and damages against a local government in a civil action in which a local government ordinance is determined to have been expressly preempted by the state Constitution or by state law. However, that law exempted ordinances adopted pursuant to part II of chapter 163. A provision was adopted to HB 203 removing the exception for ordinances adopted pursuant to part II of chapter 163.
The League is OPPOSED to this bill.(Cruz)
Reclaimed Water Bills Moving Through Second Committee Hearings
CS/HB 715 (Maggard) and CS/SB 1656 (Albritton) prohibit domestic wastewater utilities from disposing of effluent, reclaimed water or reuse water by surface water discharge beginning January 2026. While the bills exempt some types of discharges, fiscally constrained governments, and municipalities with annual revenues of $10 million or less from the prohibition, the overall mandate on local governments to comply will be staggering. The bills direct the Department of Environmental Protection to develop rules relating to the beneficial reuse of water for public water supply purposes that are protective of the environment and public health, building on the guiding principles and goals set forth in the Potable Reuse Commission’s 2019 report on advancing potable reuse in Florida. The bills specify the rules should require the treatment of reclaimed water to drinking water standards. CS/SB 1656 gets a second committee hearing Monday, February 17 in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee. CS/HB 715 passed the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee on February 11 and now awaits its final hearing by the House State Affairs Committee.
The League OPPOSES the surface water discharge mandate in the bills but SUPPORTS the provisions relating to potable water reuse. (O’Hara)
Short-term Rental Bill Moves Despite Pleas of Citizens and Local Government
CS/SB 1128 (Diaz) passed through its second committee reference, the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee, despite significant opposition from city officials around the state. The bill repeals any short-term rental regulations adopted by cities after June 1, 2011 and relies solely on licensing and inspection enforcement by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. An amendment was filed by Sen. Stewart that would have removed the preemptions on licensing and inspection in the bill and allowed cities to treat short-term rentals like Bed and Breakfast inns, but the amendment failed on a 2-2 vote. After more than an hour of public testimony and debate, the bill squeaked through the five-member committee on a 3-2 vote. It now heads to its final committee stop before the floor, the Senate Rules Committee. Thank you to Sen. Stewart for offering the amendment and to all the city officials who made their voices heard on this bill and for your lobbying efforts during the Legislative Action Days.
The League OPPOSES this bill.(Cook)
This week,SB 1066 (Gruters), dealing with impact fees passed theSenate Community Affairs Committee and is now headed to the Senate Finance and Tax Committee. The bill potentially limits the collection of impact fees by requiring only certain data be used to calculate the fees and prohibit the use of impact fee revenue to fund anything not meeting the definition of “infrastructure” as defined in the bills. The bills allow impact fee credits to be transferred from one development to another within the same impact fee jurisdiction for the same type of facility. The legislation mandates that each city and county establish an impact fee review committee composed of two members of the local government, two members of the business community, two local contractors and one at-large member. This board will be responsible for establishing the policy and methodology for determining impact fees on new developments and for reviewing proposed impact fees on each new development before the fee becomes final.
The League is OPPOSED to this bill.(Cruz)
Bert Harris Act/Private Property Rights
This week the Senate Community Affairs Committee passedCS/SB 1766 (Lee). This is the Senate companion bill toCS/HB 519 (J. Grant). The legislation drastically increases the scope of the Bert Harris Act. However, several areas of concern contained in the house bill have been removed from CS/SB 1766. The concept of “similarly situated properties”, the one-sided attorney fee provisions and the inclusion of business damages have all been completely removed from the Senate bill. The next committee stop for the bill is the Senate Rules Committee. The house bill has passed all committees of reference and is waiting for a floor vote.
The League is OPPOSED to these bills. Please ask Senators to not take up the House version of the bill.(Cruz)
Bill to Double Environmental Fines Heading to Final Committee Stop
CS/SB 1450 (Gruters) and CS/HB 1091 (Fine) increase civil and administrative fines by 50% for violations of various state environmental laws. CS/HB 1091 cleared the Agriculture & Environmental Appropriations Subcommittee February 11 and now awaits a final stop in the House State Affairs Committee. CS/SB 1450 is awaiting action by its second committee of reference, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government.
The League is MONITORING this legislation.(O’Hara)
Local Licensing of Professions
HB 1161 (Plakon) allows an individual with a locally issued non-contractor license for occupations not currently regulated by the state, to automatically receive reciprocity from any local government jurisdiction.This week HB 1161 passed its second committee stop. The bill is now headed to the State Affairs Committee. The senate companion to the bill isSB 890 (Perry) is awaiting consideration by the Senate Community Affairs Committee. The League is OPPOSED to these bills.(Cruz)
On the other extreme of the same issue,CS/SB 1336 (Perry) expressly preempts the licensing of occupations to the state and supersedes any local government licensing of occupations. This bill was amended to address local government concerns to exempt from the preemption any license requirements in place prior to October 1, 2020. CS/SB 1366 will be voted on by the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee on Monday, February 17.
Please tell your Senator to maintain the amendment that grandfather’s existing local license regulations. (Cruz)
House Water Quality Bill Clears House Appropriations Committee
CS/CS/CS/SB 712 (Mayfield) and HB 1343 (Payne) make numerous changes to current law relating to water quality improvements, septic systems, basin management action plans, stormwater management, sanitary sewer overflows, and wastewater project grants. CS/CS/CS/SB 712 is awaiting action by the Senate Appropriations Committee, its last stop before the Senate floor. The Senate bill has a pending amendment that would add a provision to seek federal authorization for establishing vessel “no-discharge” zones, include additional requirements relating to the land application of biosolids, and provide more detail for DEP and the water management districts to revise stormwater rules. HB 1343 passed the House Appropriations Committee February 11 and now heads to its last stop in the House State Affairs Committee. (O’Hara)
Amended Fiduciary Duty Bill Passes First Senate Committee
HB 1113 (Beltran) and CS/SB 1270 (Lee) establish new standards for the fiduciary duty of care owed by appointed public officers (city managers, appointed local boards and councils, finance officers, etc.). The bills impose fiduciary duties of care for these officials and impose training requirements on them relating to the various duties of care and responsibilities set forth in the bills. The bills also prohibit government attorneys from representing any individual or employee of the governmental entity – even for matters involving actions taken in the course of the individual’s or employee’s public employment or role. CS/SB 1270 passed the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on February 10 with a strike-all amendment that makes incremental improvements to the bill. The amended bill removes a reference to liability and authorizes government attorneys to represent an individual official or employee if authorized by the governing body. CS/SB 1270 will be considered by the Senate Community Affairs Committee on Monday, February 17. HB 1113 passed the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee on February 6.
The League OPPOSES the bills but is recommending amendments to the bill sponsors to address our concerns.(O’Hara)
Local Government Fiscal Transparency Bill Moves Again
The Senate Community Affairs Committee unanimously passedSB 1512 (Diaz) which requires the Department of Financial services (DFS) to create a website and mail a report to every household that compares and ranks cities and counties on a mutilated of budget and economic factors. To facilitate this report, local governments will have to submit certain information to DFS. DFS will adopt, by rule, the method and format of the requirement reporting. Some of the information that will need to be submitted includes government spending per capita, government debt per capita, crime rates, school grades, median income and unemployment. Give the difference in municipalities, ranking and comparing municipalities will put data out there that has no value and could cause confusion among residents.
The League OPPOSES this bill. (Hughes)
Electric Vehicle Charging Station Bill Picks up BAD Special Interest Amendment
CS/SB 7018 (Infrastructure and Security), a bill that originally related to the development of electric vehicle charging station infrastructure,was broadly amended to now include an expansion of special treatment for the utility industry. The bill extends the 5G “shot clock” and “deemed approved” provisions provided for in the Advanced Wireless Deployment Act to all permit applications for ALL utilities in the right of way. This new language is also included inCS/HB 203(McClain).
The FLC OPPOSES this bill. (Branch)
Smoking/No Smoking in Parks
SB 630 (Mayfield), a bill that would allow cities to regulate smoking in public parks, passed through its final committee of reference, the Senate Rules Committee, on Wednesday. The bill is now eligible for consideration by the full Senate.
The League SUPPORTS this bill. (Cook)
CCNA Bill Continues Moving
A League-supported bill dealing with continuing contracts passed the full House on Thursday.CS/CS/HB 441 (DiCeglie) increases the maximum limit for continuing contracts covered by the Consultants’ Competitive Negotiation Act from an estimated per-project construction cost of $2 million to $4 million and also increases the maximum limit for procuring a study using a continuing contract from $200,000 per study to $500,000.(Cook)
Legal Notices Postponed
SB 1340 (Gruters) was on the agenda but due to time constraints was not heard in the Senate Judiciary on Tuesday. The bill gives cities the option of publishing required legal notices in local newspapers or on the city’s website. We expect the bill to be on next week’s Senate Judiciary agenda. (Cook)
Electric Bicycles Soar Through Committee
CS/SB 1148(Brandes), a bill related to electric bicycles, passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee on Monday. The bill creates regulations governing the operation of e-bikes by permitting them to operate where bicycles are allowed. However, the bill provides that the new e-bike regulations may not be construed to prevent a local government from regulating the operation of e-bikes.
The League SUPPORTS this bill.(Branch)
Housing, Impact Fees and ADUs … Oh My
CS/SB 998 (Hutson) dealing with zoning, affordable housing, and impact fees issues is up inInfrastructure & Security Committee on Monday, February 17 at 4:00pm. Although the bill sponsor made several changes in favor of municipalities, FLC is still working with the sponsor to address other concerns relating to the placement of accessory dwelling units in single-family residential areas and a provision that permits a mobile home park damaged or destroyed by wind, water, or other natural force to be rebuilt on the same site with the same density as was approved, permitted, or built before being damaged or destroyed.
In its current form, the League OPPOSES this bill. (Branch)
House Workshops Draft Tax Cut Concept
On Tuesday, The House Ways and Means Committee workshopped draft tax cut concepts. The draft concepts include a multitude of tax reductions and tax admiration modifications. Of note, the bill includes a 0.5 percent rate reduction for both the state CST and the direct-to-home satellite services. The sales tax on commercial leases is reduced from 5.5 to 5.4 percent. The concept language includes two sales tax holidays, a three-day “back-to-school” holiday and a seven-day “disaster preparedness” holiday. The concept language restructures the authorized uses of tourist development, convention development, and local option food and beverage taxes by Miami-Dade County. The concept language also expands the allowable uses for tourist development tax revenues to include water quality improvement projects. The total local government revenue impact of the concept language in fiscal year 2020-21 is -$16.6 million (-$13.4 million recurring).
The League is MONITORING this legislation.(Hughes)