Florida’s 60 day legislative session began Tuesday March 7, 2017. To help you track, engage, watch and actively participate in the session. SCCF offers this site to stay current on the status of bills SCCF is following.
Follow week by week activities and access video of meetings through the Florida Channel: http://thefloridachannel.org/watch/
Click on Live Streams on the Right hand side of the screen up to 10 minutes before the start of the hearing. Turn on speakers, audio will begin when the meeting starts.
June 9 - Three Day Special Legislative Session ends with more funding for schools, tourism marketing, Corporate incentives and repairs to the Lake Okeechobee Dike
June 2 - Gov. Scott calls for Special Session on June 7-9 to address Education, Job Growth Fund and Visit Florida Transparency. Click here for press release: http://www.flgov.com/2017/06/02/gov-scott-calls-special-session-to-fight-for-students-jobs/
Click here for Governor Scott’s Veto list: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3766495/FloridaVetoList.pdf
May 31st - Florida Legislative Leaders send $82.4 Billion State Budget to Governor Scott. He has 15 days with multiple options for approval/full veto or line item veto. Click here for County by County line item allocations: http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Documents/loaddoc.aspx?PublicationType=Appropriations&CommitteeId=&Session=2017&DocumentType=County-by-County%20Allocations&FileName=2017CountybyCounty.pdf
Understanding Legislative Terms and Acronyms: https://www.flsenate.gov/reference/glossary
SB 10 had its second committee hearing and a complete rewrite that dramatically expands the scope and direction of the bill now called the Coast to Coast Comprehensive Water Resources Program. There are many new issues in the bill that we are reviewing and evaluating including impacts to Florida Forever and use of Land and Water Legacy funds to pay for water development projects. We expect the bill to undergo even more amendments before its next committee.
SCCF Position: We strongly support the original goal of the legislation to purchase land south of Lake Okeechobee for the restoration of the Everglades and estuaries. We have concerns about the amended language, and look forward to working with Senate and House leadership to ensure the strongest bill is passed for Florida’s waters. Stay tuned for opportunities to take action.
The bill continues to include options for additional water storage south of Lake Okeechobee to reduce the damaging discharges to the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries. The bill provides the following three options:
(A) The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is required to seek proposals from willing sellers of land within the Everglades Agricultural Area for land that is suitable to build one or two reservoirs with a total storage capacity of 360,000 acre-feet.
(B) If the SFWMD is unable to acquire such land then the option to purchase lands from the United States Sugar Corporation, which is available pursuant to the 2010 agreement,2 must be exercised.
(C) If land is not acquired pursuant to the first two options then Legacy Florida funding is increased by $50 million annually for the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Project (CERP), including the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir project component.
Update 4/5/17 Senate Bill 10 passed an important step in the Senate Appropriations Committee today with two amendments. One amendment by Bradley and Latvala rolled back the majority of the concerns many environmental groups had with the previous revisions to the bill. The second amendment by Galvano clarified that any land used for the southern reservoir would not be acquired by eminent domain.
Update 4/7/17 The CS for SB10 changes the purchase of 60,000 acres of land in the EAA for the reservoir project and targets instead on the termination of agricultural leases on lands the state already owns in the Everglades Agricultural Area. The bill also terminates the 2010 US Sugar land purchase option agreement expiring in 2020. The bill accelerates project planning by 2 years and includes funding for the C43 Reservoir and other ongoing CERP projects. Removes the inappropriate use of LATF funding (2014 Amendment 1) for water supply development and septic to sewer projects. It requires the SFWMD and US Army Corps of Engineers jointly develop a post-authorization change report for the Central Everglades Planning Project to enable the reservoir to be built on the A2 parcel. Funding for retraining is provided for areas of high agricultural unemployment. The bill also prohibits the use of inmates for agricultural labor on state leased lands.
Update 4/12/17 Amendments filed by Senator Rodriguez to:
1) Prevent SFWMD from delaying work on the EAA reservoir by requiring the district to begin preliminary planning or construction on the EAA reservoir while awaiting congressional approval.
2) Ensures that the option to buy the sugar land remains available until the needed land and approvals are acquired.
3) Adds providing water to the natural system south of the reservoir to the purposes of the reservoir
4) Limits taxpayer funded loans to publicly owned water supply entities and local governments by defining them as publicly owned.
SCCF Position: Support
Prohibits the performance of advanced well stimulation treatments on oil or gas wells. The bill defines the term “advanced well stimulation treatment” to include all stages of well intervention performed by injecting fluids into a rock formation:
At pressure that is at or exceeds the fracture gradient of the rock formation and the purpose or effect is to fracture the formation to increase production or recovery from an oil or gas well, such as hydraulic fracturing or acid fracturing; or
At pressure below the fracture gradient of the rock formation and the purpose or effect is to dissolve the formation to increase production or recovery from an oil or gas well, such as matrix acidizing.
The definition explicitly excludes techniques used for routine well cleanout work, well maintenance, or removal of formation damage due to drilling or production; or acidizing techniques used to maintain or restore the natural permeability of the formation near the wellbore.
Update: 4/7/17 This good bipartisan fracking ban bill that passed its committees in the Senate has stalled due to our local Representatives Ray Rodrigues and Matt Caldwell blocking progress of the companion House bill, insisting that in lieu of a ban a moratorium be implemented while a study of the issue is initiated.
SCCF Position: Support
Requires specified appropriations for certain projects related to the St. Johns River and its tributaries or the Keystone Lake Region, etc. and Acquisition Trust Fund
Update 4/11/17: Senator Linda Stewart has filed an amendment to a bill SB 234, barcode 466492 scheduled to be heard on the Senate Floor.
Update 4/13/17: Senator Stewart withdrew her amendment at the request of the bill sponsor. The amendment would have designated 25% of LATF funding ( Amendment 1 - 2014) for Florida Forever and Florida Communities Trust.
SCCF Position: Since the dedicated funding for Florida Forever is not in this bill our position is Neutral
This bill would establish a pilot program to allow coastal communities with fewer than 100,000 residents to regulate plastic bags as long as they do not impose fees or taxes. The pilot program would run for 1 ½ years and the results would be available to inform the legislature regarding rescinding the current preemption of local control in this area.
The legislature put a preemption of regulation of plastic bags in statute in 2008 which said there could be no local regulations or bans of bags until the legislature adopted DEP’s recommendation which it made in 2010, but the legislature has yet to act. This is both an environmental and a local control issue!
SB 198 Environmental Regulation Commission by Sen. Stewart (D-Orange) Did Not Pass
Require vacancies on the Environmental Regulatory Commission to be filled within 90 days and requires a supermajority of 5 members out of 7 to approve changes to standards for air pollution, water quality standards and numerous others. The bill was filed because of the ERC’s approval of new weaker Human Health Toxicity Standards when there were two long standing vacancies on the board, including the one for an environmental representative. The changes were approved by a 3-2 vote.
Administrative Procedures bill changes the rules on growth management challenges, requiring challengers to pay all legal fees when losing a challenge to real estate development project, even if the case is mutually settled.
Update 4/4/17:The House Bill was “Temporarily Postponed” in Committee which usually means the bill will no longer be heard and has little chance of passing. The Bill could be resurrected and heard by the full House if the Senate version has momentum or if it finds other support. SB 996 was temporarily postponed by Sen. Perry the bill sponsor. He vowed to work with both sides and is not opposed to a process for legitimate legal challenges but supports stopping a process designed solely to raise costs and delay development projects.
SCCF Position: Oppose
Central and Southern Florida Project for Flood Control and Other Purposes; Directing the South Florida Water Management District to take control of discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee and take a leadership role in the rehabilitation of the Herbert Hoover Dike; requiring the district to set a goal of increasing lake storage up to 19 ft elevation to reduce certain discharges
SCCF Position: Oppose
HB 285 bill will require the inspection of septic systems at the point of sale in a real estate transaction and requires the inspection to be performed by:
A septic tank contractor or master septic tank contractor registered under part III of chapter 489, F.S.;
A professional engineer having wastewater treatment system experience and licensed under chapter 471, F.S.; or An environmental health professional certified under chapter 381, F.S., in the area of onsite sewage treatment and disposal system evaluation.
Current law only provides for voluntary inspections of Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems - septic tanks- and prohibits a governmental entity from mandating an evaluation or inspection of septic systems at the point of sale in a real estate transaction.
SB 874 Young/HB 551 Stone Nutrient Pollution from Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems Did Not Pass
SB 874 has two parts, we support one part, the remediation requirements as part of the basin management action plans but we do not support the second part that proposes the Water and Land Legacy funds be used to pay for it. This bill requires
1)the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop remediation plans for onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems as part of a basin management action plan in coordination with the Department of Health and relevant local governments and wastewater utilities if the DEP determines that remediation is necessary to achieve a total maximum daily load.
2) The bill requires $20 million to be appropriated annually from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to:
Offset or partially offset property owner costs incurred to retrofit or convert onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems the DEP determines to be individually or collectively contributing excess nutrient pollution in counties contributing to the Indian River Lagoon, the St. Lucie Estuary, or the Caloosahatchee Estuary, and their respective watersheds; and
Conduct muck dredging and large-scale stormwater improvements in counties contributing to the Indian River Lagoon, the St. Lucie Estuary, or the Caloosahatchee Estuary, and their respective watersheds.
HB 1351 Rodrigues/SB 90 Brandes - Renewable Energy Source Devices SB 90 Passed
Requires local government financing agreements related to certain qualifying improvements to contain specified disclosures; excludes value of renewable energy source device installed on or after specified date from assessed value of real property; exempts assessed value of certain renewable energy source devices from ad valorem taxation; specifies applicability of & required disclosures for certain agreements to buy, finance, or lease distributed energy generation systems; specifies exempt entities & conditions; requires sellers, buyers, & lessees of such systems to comply with specified standards, tariffs, & rules; provides penalties; provides for future expiration.
SCCF Position: Support the clean SB 90 version and Oppose the onerous small business regulations placed in the House version, HB 1351 by Lee County Representative Rodrigues.
HB 1043 Brodeur/SB 1238 Bean - FPL End Run Utility Investments in Gas Reserves Did Not Pass
HB 1043 is an attempt by utilities to do an end-run around the Florida Supreme Court’s decision overturning the PSC’s decision to allow FPL to charge its customers for the costs of exploring and fracking for natural gas in Oklahoma. The court found in part, “…, the exploration, drilling, and production of fuel falls outside the purview of an electric utility as defined by the Legislature.”
This bill would do an end run around the court’s decision by defining such investments as being in the purview of a prudent electric utility. It would authorize the PSC to give utilities the ability charge their customers for all their costs in entering the speculative oil and gas exploration market, and to guarantee the utility a profit on those costs as well.
*Update: Unfortunately the Senate version of this bill (SB 1238) passed through the Rules Committee and will be moving on for a vote of the full Senate on 4/28/17. There were several amendments added that make it different than the House bill. The amendments include provisions that prohibit recovery for fracking in Florida or for off-shore drilling; cut the rate of return (the guaranteed profit for the utility) to half of the normal rate; and require third party audits and prohibit a rate of return for gas reserves that don't have a direct transportation pathway to the power plant (to prevent making ratepayers from having to pay for pipelines). The House version may still be amended on to another bill making this legislation still a threat for this session.
SCCF Position: Oppose
HB 419 Altman/ SB 10 Mayfield - Mangrove trimming to 70% Did Not Pass
Allows DEP to issue a permit for mangrove alteration or trimming to the owner of a residential property of 5 acres or less if:
(a) The mangroves to be altered or trimmed were originally planted voluntarily by the owner;
(b) The alteration or trimming does not reduce the mangrove coverage by more than 70 percent along the shoreline; and
(c) The owner demonstrates that new mangrove habitats are being created along the shoreline
SCCF Position: Oppose
SB 532 Galvano/HB 1065 - Public Notification of Pollution SB 1018 Passed
SB 532 creates the Public Notice of Pollution Act. The bill requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) publish, within 24 hours, a list of substances at specified quantities that pose an immediate and substantial risk to the public health, safety, or welfare. Releases of these substances at the quantities specified are “reportable releases”. The owner or operator of any installation where a reportable release occurs must provide a notice of the release to DEP. The notice must be submitted to DEP within 24 hours after discovery of the reportable release and must contain detailed information described in the bill about the installation, the substance, and the circumstances surrounding the release.
SCCF Position: Support
HB 3073 Caldwell - Water Use, Water Supply & Free Market Policy Study at UF Did Not Pass
Water Use, Water Supply & Free Market Policy Study at UF is an Appropriations Project as defined in The Rules of The Florida House of Representatives and is described in Appropriations Project Request 919, herein incorporated by reference.
For fiscal year 2017-2018 the nonrecurring sum of $100,000 from the General Revenue Fund is appropriated to the Board of Governors to fund the Water Use, Water Supply & Free Market Policy Study at UF as described in Appropriations Project Request 919.
HB17 Fine - Local government preemption Did Not Pass
The bill prohibits local governments from adopting or imposing new regulations on a business, profession, or occupation unless the regulation is expressly authorized by general law. The bill provides that this prohibition is effective July 1, 2017.
The bill provides that the regulation of businesses, professions, and occupations is expressly preempted to the state and that local regulations are superseded unless expressly authorized by general law.
The bill provides that local regulations enacted before July 1, 2017, but not expressly authorized by general law, may continue to exist until July 1, 2020, but may not be added to or modified except to repeal or reduce the regulation.
SCCF Position: Oppose
SB 1158 Passidomo - Local Government Preemption Did Not Pass
Local Government Preemption. Regulation of Commerce, Trade, and Labor; Reserving to the state the exclusive right to regulate matters of commerce, trade, and labor under certain circumstances; prohibiting counties, municipalities, and special districts from engaging in specified actions that regulate commerce, trade, or labor, unless otherwise expressly authorized to do so by special or general law.
SCCF Position: Oppose
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