March 11-15, 2019
As we wrap up the second week of the 2019 Session, we are learning how the dozens of new legislators deal with the stress of the daily grind of session. Equally important is that we are learning how House and Senate leadership will lead their respective chambers and whether there will be an abatement or détente in the war on Home Rule . So far, it is a mixed bag; the House has been moving lots of bills through committees and, in some instances, has made concessions on legislation to address the concerns of local government. The Senate, as usual, is moving bills more deliberatively and with the input of a broader spectrum of interested parties.

While the grind of the session and the consistent attack on Home Rule feels familiar, so too does the effort and engagement by Florida’s municipal officials. The League has sent out several legislative alerts so far, and the response from you has been great. Over the next seven weeks, please keep up the great work. Stay focused and engaged, and let’s work together to fight to protect local control. 
Preemption of Local Regulation Bill Pared Down but Broad Preemption Remains
The House State Affairs Committee passed CS/HB 3 ( M. Grant ) with a “strike all” amendment that removed many of the objectionable provisions from the original bill, including the two-thirds vote, sunset and fiscal impact analysis requirements. As amended, the bill now preempts the regulation and licensing of “occupations” and “professions.” The terms “occupation” and “profession” are defined broadly. As these terms are defined, the preemption would impact many existing municipal regulations on business activities, establishments and conduct. The amendment contains a second part that more specifically preempts listed contracting activities, such as painting, flooring and tile work. The State Affairs Committee adopted and passed the strike-all amendment 15-7. The League and numerous other groups opposed the bill and amendment. Groups supporting the bill were Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Retail Federation. In its current form, the League remains OPPOSED to the bill. ( O’Hara )

Communications Services Tax Bill Becomes Small Cell (5G) Train
CS/SB 1000 ( Hutson ) unanimously passed the Senate Innovations, Industry and Technology Committee despite objections from the League of Cities. As originally introduced, the bill seeks to reduce the tax rate, by 1 percent, on the state communications services and direct-to-home satellite services. The bill was substantially amended in the Senate Committee to include language OPPOSED by the League that deals with the deployment of 5G. The following provisions were added to the bill: significant changes to section 337.401(3) relating to the registration process; removal of language from 2017 relating to undergrounding; extensive provisions on the placement of new poles in rights of way; attorneys fee provision to industry; and numerous new limitations on city/county authority in the permitting process/regulation of rights of way. The House companion, HB 693 ( Fischer ) will be up Tuesday, March 19 in the House Energy and Utilities Subcommittee and will be amended in a similar fashion. The League is OPPOSED to these bills and encourages you to call the members of the Subcommittee to voice your opposition to the 5G amendment. ( Hughes
Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs) 
This week HB 9 ( LaMarca) passed its second committee of reference on an 11-6 party line vote. The bill has several provisions supported by the League which would enhance the accountability and transparency of CRAs. On the other end of the spectrum, language strongly opposed by the League specifies that after October 1, 2019, a new CRA can only be created by a county-wide referendum in a primary or general election that requires the approval of two-thirds of the electors' votes to pass. Additional language opposed by the League creates a process by which all CRAs will be terminated by 2039 unless reauthorized by the body that created the CRA by a two-thirds vote. ( Cruz)
Wastewater Penalty Bills Get Applause and Unanimous Support
CS/HB 141 ( Fine) and CS/SB 216 ( Gruters) would make wastewater facilities pay civil fines to the state of $1 for every gallon of sewage spilled, or put $2 per gallon spilled towards repairs or upgrades of the facility. The bills also require facilities to notify customers of spills by first class mail. The House bill sponsor lambasted local governments for putting money into building RV parks and boat ramps instead of fixing wastewater infrastructure while allowing raw sewage to be pumped into state waters. CS/HB 141 passed the House Subcommittee on Agriculture & Environment unanimously. CS/SB 216 passed the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee unanimously and has two more committee stops. The League is concerned the penalty provisions of the bills are unduly punitive, do not recognize prior investments or improvements made by a utility and do not provide exceptions for spills caused by third parties. ( O’Hara)
Recovery Residences
Two bills based on recommendations from the Sober Homes Task Force and supported by the League passed their respective committees this week. CS/SB 900 ( Harrell) and CS/CS/HB 369 ( Caruso) address issues related to recovery residences by strengthening provisions on patient brokering and deceptive marketing practices and amending the definition of “recovery residence” to close a loophole in current law. ( Cook)
Medical Marijuana Smoking Bill Heads to Governor
CS/CS/CS/SB 182 ( Brandes ) is headed to the Governor for approval. The bill allows medical marijuana patients to buy and consume the product in a smokable form. The bill passed the House on Thursday after receiving approval from the Senate last week. ( Cook )
911 Services 
CS/SB 536 ( Brandes ) was amended in the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee on Wednesday with language opposed by both the Florida Fire Chiefs Association and the Florida Police Chiefs Association. The amendment places additional expensive technology requirements on public safety answering points (PSAP), many of which are operated by municipal police and fire departments. The bill has the effect of forcing the consolidation of PSAPs around the state. ( Cook

“Lexus Lanes” for Permits & Inspections Speeds Through Committee 
The House Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee passed HB 1139 ( Plakon ) by a vote of 12-2 despite the objections of the Florida League of Cities. The bill mandates a municipality to establish an expedited inspection process and allows for an additional fee. This mandate would force contractors to wait longer who are unable to afford the additional fee. The League is OPPOSED to this bill. ( Branch )
Help is on the way – Relief to Hurricane Michael Victims 
Last week, Senator Montford , Senator Gainer and Senator Broxson held a bipartisan press conference to discuss SB 1610 , Emergency Mitigation and Response , in an effort to provide relief to the Florida Panhandle struggling to recover from Hurricane Michael. The bill will provide additional funding in the areas of housing and economic development. ( Branch )
Bills that Award Attorney Fees in Preemption Challenges Are Up Next Week
SB 1140 ( Hutson) would provide for mandatory awards of attorney fees and costs against a local government in a civil action where the local government’s ordinance is found to have been preempted by the state constitution or general law. SB 1140 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee at 4:00 p.m. on March 18. The House companion, SB 829 ( Sabatini), may get its first hearing in the House Civil Justice Committee on March 20.The League OPPOSES this bill. ( O’Hara)
Bills to Strengthen Biosolids Regulations Pass First Committees
CS/HB 405 ( Grall) and CS/SB 1278 ( Mayfield) directs the Department of Environmental Protection to modify statewide rules on biosolids management to assist in protecting water quality. The bills direct the DEP’s rules to: address land application rates to ensure nutrients from biosolids do not impair ground or surface water quality; include site-specific land application criteria; and site monitoring requirements. CS/HB 405 passed the House Subcommittee on Agriculture & Natural Resources on March 12 and has two remaining committee stops. CS/SB 1278 passed the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee March 12 and has two remaining committee stops. The League SUPPORTS the bills. ( O’Hara 
Residential Recycling Bill Clears First Committee 
CS/HB 771 ( Overdorf ) requires local government residential recycling contracts to include terms that would address strategies for reducing contamination in residential recycling loads. CS/HB 771 passed its first committee on March 12 and has two more committee stops. Its Senate companion, SB 816 ( Perry ), is awaiting its first committee hearing. The language in these bills was negotiated between the League, the Florida Association of Counties, and the solid waste industry in the 2018 legislative session. ( O’Hara )
Building Department Revenue Limitations 
This week HB 715 ( Robinson ) passed its first committee of reference, Local Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee. The bill would allow a local government building department to carry forward only a specified amount of revenue from enforcing the Florida Building Code each year. The League is OPPOSED to this bill. ( Branch )
Retainage Bill Keeps Moving
The House Oversight, Transparency & Public Management Subcommittee passed HB 101, Rep. Andrade’s retainage bill, by a vote of 13-1. The bill would drastically reduce the amount of retainage a municipality could with-hold from a general contractor. Currently, municipalities can with-hold up to 10 percent of retainage for the first half of the project and up to 5 percent on the last half. The League is OPPOSED to this bill. ( Branch)
Restrictions of Local Option Surtaxes
The House Ways and Means Committee passed CS/HB 5 ( DiCeglie ) by a vote of 12-5 despite the objections of the Florida League of Cities. The bill requires any referendum to levy a local option sales surtax to be held at a state general election and requires approval by two-thirds of voters to pass. ( Hughes )
Local Government Fiscal Transparency Sees Its Way Through Committee
CS/HB 15 ( Burton ) passed (12-1) the House Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Tuesday. The bill amends multiple provisions related to local government financial transparency including requiring additional public notice, public meeting, analysis and reporting for new or increased taxes, long-term tax-supported debt and economic development. CS/HB 15 is on the agenda for next Monday in the House Ways and Means Committee. ( Hughes )
Preemption of Minimum Wage and Conditions of Employment 
SB 432 ( Gruters) passed (3-2) the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee. The bill prohibits a political subdivision, including a municipality, from establishing, mandating or otherwise requiring an employer to offer conditions of employment not otherwise required by state or federal law. Any ordinance, regulation or policy of a city that is preempted by the bill and which existed before or on the effective date of this act is void. The League OPPOSES this bill. ( Cruz)
Front Lawn Gardens Bill Vegging in Senate 
CS/SB 82 ( Bradley) was considered on the Senate floor and is awaiting a final vote of the Senate. The bill preempts any local ordinance or regulation of vegetable gardens on residential property. Some cities have adopted ordinances that regulate the size or use of vegetable gardens in the front yard of homes. While local governments would be preempted from prohibiting vegetable gardens, the bills allow for local ordinances to regulate the use of water during droughts, fertilizer use or invasive species control. The bill would not apply to homeowner’s association regulations or deed-restricted communities. The bill was amended to define vegetable garden to include vegetables, fruits, herbs or flowers grown for human consumption. The League OPPOSES this bill. ( Cruz)
Impact Fees/Rational Nexus Bill Clears Final Committee 
On the second week of session, CS/HB 207 ( Donalds ) passed its last committee of reference and is now available for a final vote on the House floor. The bill requires the collection of an impact fees occur no earlier than the issuance of a property’s building permit. The bill also codifies the ‘dual rational nexus test’ for impact fees as articulated in case law. This test requires an impact fee to have a reasonable connection, or rational nexus, between 1) the proposed new development and the need and the impact of additional capital facilities and, 2) the expenditure of funds and the benefits accrued to the proposed new development. Additional conditions of the bill include earmarking impact fee funds for capital facilities that benefit new residents and prohibiting the use of impact fee revenues to pay existing debt unless specific conditions are met. The bills exempt water and sewer connection fees from the provisions of the legislation. The League OPPOSES this bill.  ( Cruz )
Repeal of Constitution Revision Commission  
This week, the State Affairs Committee passed CS/HJR 249 ( Drake ) which repeals the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). The sponsor cited the need for the law due to the bundling of unrelated constitutional proposals on the 2018 ballot, and the political appointment process of CRC members. If CS/HJR 249 passes the legislature, it will require 60 percent of voters to support it on the 2020 general election ballot. ( Cruz )
Sanctuary Cities 
A move to ban non-existent sanctuary cities in Florida, CS/CS/SB 168 ( Bean ), passed the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee this week. The bill seeks to ensure that state and local entities and law enforcement agencies cooperate with the Federal Government to enforce, and not obstruct, immigration laws. In its most general terms, the bill prohibits sanctuary jurisdictions and requires state and local entities to comply with federal immigration detainers. The bill creates Ch. 908 of the Florida Statutes, addressing the “Federal Immigration Enforcement.” The bill as passed by the Infrastructure and Security Committee removes provisions previously contained in the bill pertaining to: the duty of a law enforcement agency to determine an arrested person’s immigration status at the time of booking; the duty of officials to report violations of the act and the ensuing possibility that they might be suspended or removed from office for not reporting violations; the requirement that the Attorney General provide a format for complaints alleging violations of the act; the responsibility of the state attorney to investigate and pursue complaints of violations; financial penalties for having sanctuary policies; the creation of a civil cause of action for injuries or wrongful death attributed to a sanctuary policy; and the ineligibility of entities to receive state grant funding if the entity had a sanctuary policy in effect. The League is NEUTRAL on CS/CS/SB 168 in its current form. ( C ru z )
Please participate in our 30-minute conference call every Monday during session (March 5 through May 3) at 9:00 a.m. EST. You will be updated on what issues the legislature will be discussing in the upcoming week and what advocacy efforts might be needed.
CALL IN NUMBER: 1-888-585-9008
CONFERENCE ROOM #: 301-563-714