October 21, 2017
Interim Committees - 2018 Session
"Trying to reason with hurricane season."
Jimmy Buffet’s metaphorical tune about blithe indulgence, a looming hurricane, and the catharsis that follows is a fitting motif for the first interim legislative committee week. The usual expectations about an election year legislative session were largely derailed when Hurricane Irma hit the state in early September. It forced the legislature to cancel its first round of meetings, and disaster preparation, response and recovery will be recurring themes throughout the 2018 session. This week, legislators heard Irma-related updates on state budget impacts, utility infrastructure, the agriculture industry, the state emergency management system, the insurance industry, and health care facilities. While hurricane recovery captured most of the focus this week, we also started to see movement on several other key issues.
What follows are brief updates on select issues discussed during the first committee week as well as those we anticipate hearing in the near future. We hope you enjoy this and future editions of On Tap at the Cap delivered directly to your inbox. For a deeper dive on the issues and comprehensive list of filed bills with municipal impact, please check out 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.
Register for FLC Legislative Conference!
Join us for the League's 57 th Annual Legislative Conference on December 6-8, 2017 at the Embassy Suites Orlando-Lake Buena Vista South. Click here for a schedule of events and to register. 
Community Redevelopment Agencies
HB 17 ( Raburn) and SB 432 ( Lee) impose a variety of restrictions on Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs). The House and Senate bill contain key differences. For example, HB 17 would require a supermajority vote to reauthorize existing CRAs and would require legislative approval to create any new CRAs. SB 432 would change CRA Board composition by requiring appointment of two non-elected members. The Senate Community Affairs Committee will have a workshop on CRAs Tuesday, October 24 at 9:00 AM, featuring presentations from the Auditor General and Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability. (FLC CRA Issue Brief) (Cruz)
Local Government Fiscal Transparency
HB 7 ( Burton) requires additional public notices, public hearings, analyses and reporting for local government tax increases and new tax supported debt. It also requires additional reporting requirements for economic development incentives. An identical bill was fast-tracked to the House floor in 2017 but died in the Senate. This year, HB 7 was referred to only one committee, the House Ways and Means Committee. The Committee considered and passed HB 7 on October 10, and the bill is now ready for the House floor. There is currently no Senate companion. The League opposes this bill. ( Hughes
Restrictions on Millage and Local-Option Surtaxes
SB 272 ( Brandes) and HB 317 ( Ingoglia) require a 60 percent vote of the governing body to increase property tax millage. The bills also include “compromise” language from the 2017 session relating to ballot questions on local-option surtaxes: If the referendum to adopt or amend a local-option surtax is held at any time other than a general election, it will require 60 percent approval for passage. A referendum held at a general election would still require a majority for passage. SB 272 will be considered by the Senate Community Affairs Committee Tuesday, October 24 at 9:00 AM. The League opposes this bill. ( Hughes)
Water & Land Conservation Funding 
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources appears willing to initiate discussions on funding options and planning strategies for water infrastructure and land conservation. This week, the Committee heard presentations on water infrastructure and resiliency needs. Next week, the Committee will hear presentations on the Florida Forever land conservation program Wednesday, October 25 at 9:00 AM. Please encourage your Senator to support efforts to develop long-term, dedicated state funding strategies, with participation and input from all stakeholders, including municipalities. (FLC Water Funding Issue Brief) (O’Hara) 
Opioids/Pain Management Clinics/Sober Homes
HB 21 ( Boyd) and SB 458 ( Bean) are intended to address opioid crisis, and are supported by legislative leadership and Governor Scott. While the bills do not specifically address sober homes, measures to address opioid abuse could help reduce problems cities continue to have with residential recovery facilities. The bills increase training standards for doctors and pharmacists who prescribe opioids and require them to use the state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. The bills also reduce the prescribing limits for certain drugs from a 30-day supply to a 3-day supply for the first prescription. In addition to these bills, Governor Scott has asked the legislature for $50 million in funding for mental health programs, increased training programs for law enforcement, and additional supplies related to drug overdoses. ( Cook)
Short-term Rentals
The Senate Community Affairs Committee held a workshop on the various challenges posed by short-term rentals. Workshop presenters included the League, the Florida Association of Counties, the Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and Airbnb. Click here to view a video of the workshop. The League expects several bills to be filed to address short-term rentals, but none have yet been filed. ( Cook
Medical Marijuana
The Senate Health Policy Committee held a workshop on the state’s medical marijuana program and heard testimony from Christian Bax, the Director of the Office of Compassionate Use. Medical marijuana will continue to be a hot topic this year and we will send out updates as bills are filed. ( Cook)
Red Light Cameras 
HB 6001 ( Avila), SB 176 ( Hutson) and SB 548 ( Campbell) prohibit the use of red light cameras. The measure is speeding through the House. HB 6001 passed its only committee of reference, the House Appropriations Committee, on October 10, and is now ready for the House floor. (Branch)
Florida Building Commission 
HB 299 ( McClain) revises the membership of the Florida Building Commission from 27 members to 11. It also eliminates the joint Florida League of Cities’/Florida Association of Counties’ seat on the Commission. HB 299 will be considered by the House Careers and Competition Subcommittee Wednesday, October 25 at 4:00 PM. A Senate companion has not yet been filed. (Branch) 
Coastal Management
SB 174 ( Latvala) and HB 131 ( Peters) revise funding criteria for beach restoration and inlet management projects to provide greater accountability and transparency. The bills provide an annual appropriation of $50 million from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for these projects. The League supports these bills. SB 174 passed the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee this week and will be considered next week by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources Thursday, October 25 at 1:00 PM.  (O’Hara) 
Update on Florida’s Fiscal Outlook
House and Senate Committees were briefed this week on Florida’s Long-Range Financial Outlook. Initially, the state was projected to have a modest $52 million budget surplus. However, the impact from Hurricane Irma is expected to have a net negative $141.7 million revenue impact. In addition, downgraded projections for the Florida Retirement System will require the legislature to allocate an additional $55.4 million towards the pension plan. Florida is now looking at a deficit of $145.1 million dollars in FY 2017-18. ( Hughes)
Join us for our first Monday Morning Call-in.
Join us on Monday, November 6, at 9:30 am ET for our first Monday Morning Call-In. The number is 1-888-419-5570 and the participant code is 880-753-19. During the call-in, we will discuss the big issues that will be heard by the Legislature for the upcoming week and provide you with direction to take as advocates for Home Rule. To view what issues will be discussed, access the House and Senate calendars and follow along.