January 26, 2018
Week 3 - 2018 Session
Consider, if you will, that your local government shut down...
In the wake of the recent shutdown of the federal government, many citizens were left wondering (besides of course, why Congress is so dysfunctional) what would be the impact of a shutdown on their daily lives? 

As it turns out this shutdown was over quite quickly and occurred mostly on the weekend thus minimizing the affects. Tourists were denied entry to the Statue of Liberty and other federal landmarks and the live feed of the pandas at the Washington D.C. National Zoo was likewise shutdown. While the shutdown did adversely affect some peoples’ lives, for most, it was largely a non-event. 

Now, consider if you will, that your local government shut down - not for 3.5 days like the recent federal shutdown, but for a day or even an a few hours. Talk about pandemonium! 
Though the legislature seems to not recognize it, the residents of your city know that it is local governments that provide the bulk of the services that the average citizen uses on a daily basis. First responders, water, sewer, trash collection, traffic engineering, electricity, public parks and recreation opportunities are but a few of the essential services rendered by cities. 

Besides those tangible products and services, cities also serve as the tip of the spear in economic development efforts, cultivating the arts, giving residents the opportunity to weigh in on any local decision through public hearings, creating community, and other less noticeable, but equally important functions that cities provide and citizens have come to expect. Not only do cities provide these essential services, but municipal officials do so in a non-partisan way under the close watchful eyes of friends, neighbors and constituents. These are the things that make cities unique and what makes them more responsive to the needs of their constituents. In short, these are the things that makes cities work! 

As we enter week 4 of the 2018 Session, we want to thank you for all the emails, phone calls, letters, public testimony, and text messages you have sent to your legislators. Things are not going to get easier so we need to maintain, and even enhance, our efforts to defend Home Rule.
The following is a brief summary of activity on key legislative bills and CRC proposals 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.
We won this round, but the fight is not over.
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, click HERE
Constitution Revision Commission
Broad Preemption of Commerce, Trade and Labor
Today, the CRC Local Government Committee considered Proposal 95 ( Tom Lee ) . This Proposal creates 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. During the Committee meeting, an amendment supported by the Sponsor of the Proposal failed to be adopted by a 4 to 3 vote. Because the amendment failed to be adopted, the Sponsor temporarily postponed consideration of Proposal 95. A final vote on Proposal 95 was not taken. Proposal 95 is scheduled to be heard by the Local Government Committee at their next meeting on Friday, February 2. Please thank Commissioners Nocco, Solari, Timmann and Gainey for their opposition to the amendment to Proposal 95.
Transparent Preemption Process
Today, the CRC Local Government Committee passed Proposal 61 ( Chris Smith ) on a 4 to 3 vote. As amended, Proposal 61 creates a transparent process for the legislature to preempt the Home Rule authority of municipalities. The Proposal requires 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 thank CRC Commissioners Washington, Gainey, Solari and Timmann for their support.
Right to Pursue an Honest Trade
This week, the CRC Declaration of Rights Committee failed to pass Proposal 18 ( Donalds ) by a 1 to 6 vote. Proposal 18 would have established the inalienable right of all persons to pursue an honest trade, vocation, occupation or career. Of concern to cities, the proposal preempted a government entity from infringing on this right, unless it could demonstrate that there is actual evidence that such infringement is necessary to advance an important governmental interest and that least restrictive alternatives have been considered. Please thank CRC Commissioners Gainey, Johnson, Joyner, Stemberger and Carlton for their NO votes. 
Municipal Elections Bill Clears Last House Committee
HB 7037 ( Government Accountability Committee ) preempts the establishment of municipal election dates to the state. The bill passed the House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee and now heads to the House floor. Please thank those who voted N0 (Davis, Mercado, Peters, Pritchett, Richardson and Slosberg). The Senate companion, SB 1262 ( Hutson ), has not yet been heard in committee.  (O’Hara)
Opioids Bill Moves
CS/HB 21 ( Boyd ), the House’s proposed solution to the opioid crisis, moved through its second committee this week. The League supported bill increases reporting requirements for doctors associated with the prescription drug monitoring program. The bill also limits prescriptions for certain opioids to 3-day, or in limited circumstances 7-day, supplies. While the Senate companion contains specific appropriation language, the House version does not at this time. (Cook)
Towing Services Preemption 
In many cities, towing companies pay for the right to provide towing services for the city. These franchise agreements would be in jeopardy if HB 963 ( Cortes ) and SB 1632 ( Mayfield ) pass the legislature. Both bills moved this week; SB 1632 passed its first committee of reference, while HB 963 was approved by its second of three committees. (Cook)
Public Records Declaratory Actions
A bill, HB 273 ( Rodrigues ) that would prohibit a city from asking the courts if a record is public, exempt, or confidential, unanimously passed the House this week. HB 273 is sponsored by House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues. The Senate companion, SB 750 ( Perry ), remains stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Cook)
Public Meetings/Imminent Litigation 
SB 560 ( Steube ) expands an exemption from the public meeting laws to authorize a private meeting for the purpose of discussing imminent legislation. The bill, supported in committee by the League, passed through its final committee of reference and now heads to the floor. The House companion, CS/HB 439 ( Donalds ), is in its final committee of reference, the House Government Accountability Committee. (Cook)
Building Permits and Inspections
The House Careers & Competition Committee passed  CS/HB 725 ( Williamson ). The bill requires the governing body of a local government to post its building permit and inspection fee schedules on its website and requires that a local government publish a building permit and inspection utilization report and post it on its website before making any adjustment to a fee schedule. The Senate companion, CS/SB 1144  ( Perry ) is in the Senate Finance and Tax Committee. The League opposes these bills in their current form. (Branch)
House and Senate Florida Forever Proposals in Play
CS/SB 370 ( Bradley ) would dedicate $100 Million annually from the state Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the Florida Forever Program and prohibit use of Florida Forever funds for state agency executive and support services costs. The bill is poised for final passage by the full Senate. Meanwhile, the House Government Accountability Committee unveiled its plans for the Florida Forever Program this week in GAC PCB 18-02 . This Proposed Committee Bill would condense the Florida Forever Program’s nine current allocation categories into three: land acquisition; the Florida Communities Trust; and the Rural and Family Lands Program. The bill provides for increasing annual allocations for Florida Forever from the state land acquisition trust fund as debt service is reduced, imposes some new stormwater reuse responsibilities on the Florida Department of Transportation, and would make public water and wastewater utilities develop “asset management plans” and reserve funds. (O’Hara)
Recycling Issues Slowly Sorting Out in Environmental Regulation Bills
CS/SB 1308 ( Perry ) and CS/HB 1149 ( Payne ) address issues relating to aquifer recharge (good!) and recycling (not-so-good!). Both bills had their first committee hearings this week, where they were amended in identical fashion to reflect the status of the League’s and the Florida Association of Counties’ negotiations with waste industry representatives on proposals to reduce levels of “contamination” in residential recycling containers. The industry wants the legislature to require recycling contracts between local governments and recycling haulers and recycling facilities to include measures to reduce levels of solid waste and “non-recyclable” materials in recycling loads. The industry wants state law to mandate specific standards; the League contends that state law should allow flexibility for local governments to develop and address standards through individual contract terms.  (O’Hara) 
Reporting Gone Wild
The House Local Government, Federal and Veteran’s Affairs subcommittee passed CS/HB 1019 ( La Rosa ) which changes multiple aspects of local government financial reporting. Of note, the bill would require all cities to conduct an annual audit and changes the timeline to file annual financial reports and audit reports from nine to six months after the end of the fiscal year. The bill also requires municipalities to provide an electronic copy of their budgets to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research and a copy of their budget and a certification of timely filing to the clerk of the court. If a local government fails to file required reports with the clerk of the court, the clerk shall notify the appropriate fiscal officer to withhold salary payments from the head of the local government entity until the reports are filed. The League is opposed to this bill. (Hughes)
……….And Even More Reporting 
The House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee introduced HB 5203 , which is a budget conforming bill, to appropriate funds and outline the procedure for the Statewide Travel System which already passed the House in CS/HB 11 ( Metz ). The Statewide Travel System requires most governmental entities including municipalities, to report information relating to all travel resulting in an overnight stay by a public officer or employee. (Hughes)
Customary Use/Beach Access 
Customary use is a legal doctrine which deals with the general right of the public to use and access the dry sand area of a beach on private property. This week CS/HB 631 ( Edwards-Walpole ) passed the House Judiciary Committee. The legislation requires that a determination of customary use be made by a court rather than by a local city or county ordinance. The bill was filed in response to a Walton County ordinance which is currently being challenged in court. To our knowledge, no city and three counties have customary use ordinance. CS/HB 631 is now awaiting a final vote on the House floor. (Cruz)
Continued Erosion of the CST 
The House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee passed HB 1245 ( Brodeur ) which would exclude internet video services, such as Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV, from the communication services tax. These services are taxable under current law. The Senate companion, SB 1210 ( Brandes ) has not been heard in its first committee of reference. The Revenue Estimating Conference has not yet estimated the fiscal impact of these bills this year but this will reduce the tax base upon which the CST is levied and collected, thus it will have a negative fiscal impact on local governments. The League is opposed to these bills. (Hughes)
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.