January 19, 2018
Week 2 - 2018 Session
Slow and steady wins the race.
Everyone knows the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare.” The tortoise, tired of the hare’s bragging about how fast he is, challenges him to a race. All the animals in the forest gather to watch. The hare runs down the road and then heckles the tortoise about his speed. The hare, so confident in his ability to win, decides to take a nap, assuming he has plenty of time to relax. The tortoise never varied in his speed or determination. At a slow and steady pace, he went on to win the race.

As the second week on the 2018 legislative session comes to an end, the lessons of this fable should speak volumes to local officials. Session is a race. The days are long and the issues are complex. The opposition wants local governments to relax, take a nap or get worn down by the crazy pace of session.

It is up to the local officials in Florida to stay focused and diligent, remain engaged and never stop advocating for local control. So, for the next 49 days, go slow and steady – don’t get discouraged, and don’t let your guard down because the race is not over until the hanky drops on sine-die. 
The following is a brief summary of legislative activity on key bills of interest since our last report. For a deeper dive on the issues and comprehensive list of filed bills with municipal impact, please review the League's Legislative Bill Summaries . This searchable resource summarizes all the bills we are tracking, by issue area, and will be updated regularly through the end of the 2018 session.
SAVE THE DATES!
FLC Monday Morning Call-In
Participate in our 30-minute conference call every Monday morning during session (January 8-March5) at 9:00 a.m. ET. You’ll be updated on what issues the legislature will be discussing in the upcoming week and what advocacy efforts may be needed. The Call-In number is 1-888-419-5570 and the Participant Code is 880-753-19.

FLC Legislative Action Days -- January 30-31, 2018, Tallahassee
This is a unique opportunity for city officials from across the state to gather in Tallahassee to discuss the latest legislative issues and developments affecting municipalities. You will meet face-to-face with your legislators to provide a valuable local government perspective. For more information or to register online, click HERE
Constitution Revision Commission ALERT
Broad Preemption of Commerce, Trade and Labor
Next Friday, January 26, the CRC Local Government Committee will be voting on Proposal 95 ( Tom Lee ). The League of Cities is strongly opposed to Proposal 95. This proposal would create an extremely broad and vague preemption of local government ability to regulate commerce, trade or labor. If broadly interpreted, Proposal 95 may prohibit a city regulation of an activity taking place within the city, even if the city established a reasonable nexus between the activity and its citizens’ health, safety and welfare. From zoning to environmental protections, many local government regulations of business could be directly preempted by this.  Please contact members of the Local Government Committee and urge them to Oppose Proposal 95. 
Transparent Preemption Process
Next Friday, January 26, the CRC Local Government Committee will also be considering Proposal 61 ( Chris Smith ). This proposal creates a transparent process for the legislature to preempt the Home Rule authority of municipalities. An amendment is being offered to Proposal 61 which would simply limit this proposal to require the Legislature to enact each preemption of Home Rule authority as a stand-alone bill, rather than tacked on to “must-pass” legislation during the final hours of the legislative session, without the benefit of a full debate in broad daylight. Please contact members of the Local Government Committee and urge them to Support Proposal 61.
2018 LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS
Workers' Compensation Benefits for First Responders/Mental or Nervous Injury (PTSD)
This week, the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee passed CS/SB 376 ( Book ). The legislation provides that a mental or nervous injury suffered by a first responder is compensable under the workers’ compensation law if the mental or nervous injury was shown to meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The bill could have a significant fiscal impact to workers’ compensation insurance premiums paid by cities. The legislation broadly establishes the instances that qualify for compensability, such as a first responder arriving at the scene of a murder, suicide, fatal injury, or child death and creates a low evidentiary standard for the first responder to prove he or she has been mentally injured. ( Cruz )
Impact Fees
This week, the House Ways and Means Committee passed CS/CS/HB 697 ( Miller ) addressing the collection of impact fees. As amended, the bill specifies the collection of an impact fee can be no earlier than the issuance of the building permit for the property that is subject to the fee. Of specific concern, the bill prohibits the use of impact fee revenues to pay existing debt or for prior approved projects unless the expenditure is reasonably connected to, or has a rational nexus with, the increased impact generated by the new residential or commercial construction. This provision could potentially prohibit the practice of oversizing infrastructure to accommodate projected future growth and subsequently using impact fees to reimburse for that prior improvement, and is in direct contradiction to certain concurrency requirements. ( Cruz )
Affordable Housing
The House Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Committee passed CS/HB 987 ( Cortes B. ), which creates additional processes to expedite the development of affordable housing. Of specific concern, the bill preempts local government from charging mobility fees and impact fees for the development of affordable housing for a five-year period beginning July 1, 2018. The Senate bill has not been heard. The League opposes the bill. ( Branch )
Senate Environmental Committee Takes Up Recycling & Reclaimed Water Bill On Monday
On Monday, January 22, the Senate Environmental Preservation Committee will consider SB 1308 ( Perry ), a broadly titled bill relating to “Environmental Regulation.” The bill addresses two issues of interest to the League. First, the bill creates incentives relating to the use of reclaimed water for aquifer recharge. This is good for municipal water utilities. Unfortunately, the second part is a mandate that would impose an impossibly low limit – 15 percent- for the amount of non-recyclable material that could be allowed in residential recycling loads and containers. The good news is we’ve been making progress on potential “fixes” to this language and anticipate this part of the bill will be amended Monday to reflect that progress. ( O’Hara
Hurricane Response Tax Reductions
On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee had a discussion on the hurricane-related tax reductions that the House Select Committee on Hurricane Response & Preparedness recommended. The tax cuts include a sales tax exemption for generators for nursing homes and assisted living facilities, property tax relief for homestead properties rendered uninhabitable by Hurricanes, Matthew, Hermine or Irma, and a disaster preparedness sales tax holiday. ( Hughes )
Local Option Surtax Referenda
This week, the Local Surtax Referenda bills were both amended despite the opposition of the League of Cities. CS/CS/SB 272 ( Brandes ) and CS/CS/HB 317 ( Ingoglia) now only allow a referendum to levy a local option surtax to be held during a state general election. CS/CS/HB 317 is now ready for the floor. CS/CS/SB 272 has two more committee stops in the Senate. ( Hughes )
Local Business Tax Exemptions
The Senate Community Affairs Committee passed SB 910 ( Garcia ), which creates an exemption from the local business tax for low-income individuals, veterans, surviving spouses of veterans, and spouses of active service members. Additionally, the bill provides that if an exempt individual owns a majority interest in a business with fewer than 25 employees, the business is exempt. ( Hughes
Smoking in Public Parks
One of the few “good” bills out there moved this week.  CS/SB 562 ( Mayfield ), a bill allowing cities to regulate smoking in publicly-owned parks, unanimously passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee. Special thanks to Indian Harbour Beach City Manager Mark Ryan and Inglis Mayor Drinda Merritt for supporting the bill in committee! ( Cook )
Stay Engaged.
The League provides ample resources to help you stay informed and engaged. Please visit our website www.LetCitiesWork.com to find out how you can take action.