March 9, 2018
Week 9 - 2018 Session
You Had One Job.
Epic Fail vs. You Nailed It!
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The internet is teeming with high tech sarcasm and humor. “YOU HAD ONE JOB!” is a common internet meme used to call attention to some epic failure to complete a simple task. Often, when I hear this sarcastic expression, I think of the Florida Legislature. They literally have only one job they are required to accomplish during the 60-day legislative session – pass a budget. However, as the clock ticks past what are supposed to be the final hours of the 2018 legislative session, there is no budget and the Legislature will be here through this weekend. THEY HAD ONE JOB TO DO!

While they ultimately will pass a budget on Sunday, and they did tackle several weighty issues this session, including school safety in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting, the Legislature spent countless hours – days even – working on legislation that dealt not with pressing state issues, but on bills that would strip Florida’s citizens of their ability to have a say in how their local governments are run.

They used their time to debate legislation that would have impacted almost every function of local government – from the dates of municipal elections, to the per diem amounts allowable for local officials to travel, to when and which trees could be trimmed, to how local tax dollars are spent within your local CRA, to multiple efforts to revise local land use decisions for individual developers, which included a proposal to redraw the boundaries of two counties to accommodate a large land owner.

Hardly pressing state matters to say the least.

To make matters worse, many bills debated by the Legislature this session were efforts to “enhance” transparency and accountability – not their own legislative transparency, but for local government officials. All too often, these efforts by the self-proclaimed “most transparent” Legislature were shrouded in secrecy . Deals were cut in back rooms where the public and key stakeholders were not allowed to weigh in. Multi-page amendments – some as long as 100 pages – were cooked up in the dead of night to be introduced on the House or Senate floor the next morning. Major policy decisions on substantive policy issues were routinely introduced and adopted with little or no public input or scrutiny.
However, a variation on the “You Had One Job” meme shows instances where people went far beyond the job expectations. Take the grocery store stock boy who creates works of art with products for sale. Quite simply, THEY NAILED IT! This is the category where city officials, as key members of the League's advocacy team, belong. Your persistent and steady efforts to advocate on behalf of local control turned what looked to be a very bad legislative session into one where Florida’s cities were largely unscathed.

Bills have passed that micro-manage some of the affairs of local governments by requiring additional redundant reporting or collection of data. And, while we were not able to repeal the existing preemption and penalties on municipal officials relating to gun and ammunition ordinances or strengthen local control over vacation rentals, we did – with your help – manage to defeat a great number of bills that attacked Home Rule. Know that most, if not all, of these attacks will be back next year as will our fight to #LetCitiesWork.

But for now, we have cause to celebrate. Congratulations and thanks to each of you for your efforts. “ You Had One Job ” this session, and you went above and beyond in your efforts to protect Home Rule.

Now that session is mostly over (they will come back on Sunday to finalize the budget and CS/HB 7087 , the tax package), remember to thank your legislators for their votes to protect Home Rule, and hold those who voted against local control accountable. Additionally, campaign season is right around the corner. Before you endorse any candidates, make sure you know their proven position on Home Rule.

Below is a brief summary of some of the key bills impacting cities. A final report on all bills affecting municipalities will be prepared and released in the coming weeks.
Mark Your Calendars!
Join the League's Legislative Affairs team for a 1-hour session providing you with what happened (and what didn't) during the 2018 Legislative Session. The team will also share what's next for #LetCitiesWork.  Register Now .
Sine die scheduled for Sunday, March 11
Record Budget Poised to Pass
The Legislature is poised to approve the General Appropriations Act, HB 5001, on Sunday once the 72-hour cooling off period ends. HB 5001 appropriates $88.7 billion for fiscal year 2018-19, which is the largest budget ever for the state of Florida. The budget represents $32.4 billion from general revenue and $56.3 billion from trust funds.
Affordable Housing
  • $109.6 million in housing appropriations from the Housing Trust Funds
  • $44.4 million State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program
  • $30 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program

Homelessness Funding
  • Challenge Grants $4.1 million relating to homelessness. The grants will continue to be administered through the Department of Children and Families and be available to local homelessness continuums of care. In addition, there is $3.6 million included for homeless housing assistance grants.

Transportation Funding
  • Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles: $480 million
  • Florida Department of Transportation: $10.9 billion (of which $9.9 billion is earmarked to the Department’s work plan to build and repair Florida’s highway infrastructure)
  • Small County Outreach Program (SCOP): $72.8 million
  • Small County Resurface Assistance Program (SCRAP): $29.8 million

Economic Development Funding
  • Florida Job Growth Grant Funding: $85 million GR
  • Visit Florida: $76 Million TF and GR
  • Economic Development Projects and Initiatives: $12.9 Million
  • Workforce Development Projects and Initiatives: $5.8 Million

Environmental Funding
  • Florida Forever: $100.8 million, includes $10 million for Florida Communities Trust and $2 million for Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP) and additional FRDAP for “child friendly parks” $4 million
  • Everglades Restoration: $143.1 million
  • Northern Everglades Restoration: $31 million
  • EAA Reservoir: $64 million
  • Herbert Hoover Dike: $50 million
  • Beach Management Funding Assistance: $50 million
  • Hurricane Beach Recovery: $11.2 million
  • Springs Restoration: $50 million
  • Water Projects: $30.9 million

School Safety Appropriations from CS/SB 7026 (The Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act)
  • Safe Schools Allocation: additional $97.5 million, including funds to increase the minimum level for each school district to $250,000, to be used exclusively to hire additional school resource officers to make schools safer
  • Mental Health Assistance Allocation: $69.2 million to provide funds to school districts and charter schools to assist in establishing or expanding school-based mental health care in coordination with mental health providers to help address the mental health crisis affecting young people in Florida; address issues such as opioid addiction, youth suicide, and bullying; and makes schools safer
  • Mental Health Awareness and Assistance Training: $6.7 million
  • School Hardening Grants Program: $99 million 
2018 Legislative Bills PASSED
Workers' Compensation Benefits for First Responders/ Mental or Nervous Injury (PTSD)
The League commends our first responders for the sacrifices they make in the line of duty. At times, a first responder acting within the course of his or her employment may experience a horrific event that is responsible for a mental or nervous injury, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Under bills considered during the 2018 legislative session, workers’ compensation benefits were expanded to include wage benefits for first responders suffering from PTSD. Currently, first responders suffering from PTSD may only receive medical benefits under workers’ compensation but not wage/indemnity benefits. The League opposed the bills as originally drafted. The League dropped its opposition to the bills when the legislation was amended in committee to significantly lower the fiscal impact to local governments.
CS/CS/SB 376 (Book) details specific traumatic events that would qualify a first responder to be compensable under the workers’ compensation law for lost wages, if a mental or nervous injury was shown to meet the criteria for PTSD as determined by a psychiatrist. The legislation requires a clear and convincing evidentiary standard be met by the first responder. The bills require a first responder to receive a diagnosis of PTSD within 30 days of the qualifying event or 30 days from the manifestation of the disorder, whichever is later, but cannot be more than a year after the qualifying event. Finally, the legislation requires an employing agency of a first responder to provide educational training related to mental health awareness, prevention, mitigation and treatment. (Cruz)
SB 7026 (Senate Appropriations), the “Marjorie Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act” passed on March 7. The bill addresses a wide range of topics including school “hardening”; interagency coordination between law enforcement agencies; increases the number of school resource officers; imposes age restrictions on gun buyers; and a host of other policies to address gun violence. Unfortunately, the bill does not repeal the local government preemption and penalties for local government officials for taking actions relating to guns or ammunition. Governor Scott signed the legislation today, March 9. (Cook) 
Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs)
CS/CS/SB 1244 (Lee) and CS/CS/HB 1151 (La Rosa) substantially revise and limit the statewide guidelines and standards for existing developments of regional impact (DRIs). The legislation addresses existing DRIs in Florida by largely removing most state oversight over them and instead requires local government oversight. The legislation preserves all entitlements, vested rights and other protections for existing DRIs. (Cruz) 
Opioid Bill
CS/CS/HB 21 (Boyd), a proposed solution to the opioid crisis, passed the legislature today, March 9. The League supported bill increases reporting requirements for doctors associated with the prescription drug monitoring program and limits prescriptions for certain opioids to 3-day, or in limited circumstances 7-day, supplies. The bill appropriates $15.2 million (recurring) from the General Revenue Fund and $27.035 million from the Federal Grants Trust Fund (nonrecurring) to the Department of Children and Families for programs and services addressing opioid and other substance abuse disorders. (Cook)
Supermajority Vote for State Tax Increases
HJR 7001 (House Ways and Means Committee) proposes an amendment to Florida’s Constitution to require that a state tax or fee imposed, authorized, or raised by the Legislature, be approved by two-thirds of the membership of each house of the Legislature. The amendment proposed in HJR 7001 will take effect on January 8, 2019, if approved by sixty percent of the voters. (Hughes)
Customary Use/Beach Access
CS/HB 631 (Edwards-Walpole) addresses customary use which deals with the general right of the public to use and access the dry sand area of a beach on private property. Customary use ordinances have been used by a handful of counties to establish public access to beaches. CS/HB 631 originally preempted the use of local government ordinances that establish customary use, and instead require that such a determination be made by a court. As passed, the bill provides for a compromise process by which a governmental entity may affirm customary use rights by first adopting an ordinance and then seeking a judicial determination of the recreational customary use. (Cruz) 
Environmental Regulation
CS/CS/HB 1149 (Payne) addresses various provisions relating to water and wastewater permits and local government recycling responsibilities. The bill was amended to remove mandatory and unattainable recycling contamination limits. Instead, the bill requires local government recycling contracts to include provisions to address contamination in residential recycling but leaves the specifics and details up to local governments. The bill was also amended to include provisions of HB 837 and SB 244, which provide incentives for wastewater utilities to incorporate industry best practices, and are supported by the League. (O’Hara)
Local Business Tax Exemption
The Legislature passed, SB 100 (Stuebe) which creates new local business tax exemptions for low income seniors, veterans and spouses of certain service members. The bill also exempts businesses in which an exempt individual owns a majority interest and employs fewer than 100 people from the local business tax. (Hughes)
2018 Legislative Bills DIED
Community Redevelopment Agencies/CRAs
CS/HB 17 (Raburn) and SB 432 (Lee) sought to increase the accountability and transparency of CRAs. Of specific concern to cities, CS/HB 17 required any new CRA be created by a special act of the Legislature. In addition, the HB 17 provided for the eventual phasing-out of all existing CRAs, unless reauthorized by a super majority vote of the body which created the CRA prior to 2038. SB 432 did not contain provisions requiring the phasing out of CRAs or additional requirements for the creation of new CRAs. However, SB 432 would have capped administrative CRA spending at 18 percent. In addition, SB 432 prohibited tax Increment expenditures on: festivals, street parties, grants to promote tourism, and grants to socially beneficial programs. Lastly, SB 432 would have changed CRA board composition by requiring the appointment of two non-elected members. CS/HB 17 passed the House but failed to pass the legislature when SB 432 stalled in the Senate.

In a second attempt for the House to pass CRA provisions, CS/CS/HB 883 (Ingoglia), a bill related to the creation of community development districts (CDDs), was heavily amended in the House expanding the bill from 5-pages to 193-pages. In addition to the CDD language, the bill included the entirety of CS/HB 17 (Raburn) relating to Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs), and the entirety of CS/CS/HB 1151 (La Rosa) relating to Developments of Regional Impacts. Ultimately, the Senate stripped out the harmful CRA provisions and no CRA language passed the legislature. (Cruz)
Sober Homes
CS/CS/CS/HB 1069 (Hager) would have prohibited recovery residence owners and employees from receiving a pecuniary benefit, directly or indirectly, from the referral of patients to another facility. Additionally, the bill would have required certified recovery residences to comply with provisions from the Florida Fire Prevention Code for certain dwellings. CS/CS/CS/HB 1069 died in messages. (Cook)
Election Dates for Municipal Officers
CS/CS/SB 1262 (Hutson) and  HB 7037 (House Government Accountability Committee) would have prohibited municipalities from selecting the dates for their municipal elections and would have required municipalities to hold general elections on specified dates in either March or November. CS/CS/ SB 1262 died on the Senate calendar. HB 7037 passed the House but died in the Senate.  (O'Hara)
Interruption of Solid Waste and Telecommunications Services
CS/CS/HB 971 (Fine) and  SB 1368 (Mayfield) would have required a municipality or private solid waste provider to issue refunds to customers if solid waste collection service is not provided within four calendar days of a regularly scheduled service – even if the missed service is attributable to a natural disaster or the customer. The Senate bill was never heard in any committee. The House bill was poised for a vote by the full House but was temporarily postponed by the bill sponsor and died on the House calendar. (O’Hara)
Travel Expenses, Reporting and Financial Disclosure
CS/CS/SB 1180 (Steube) and CS/CS/CS/HB 815 (Avila) address reimbursement for travel expenses for elected municipal and county officials. The bills would have required elected officials to obtain approval of their governing body prior to undertaking out-of-state or foreign travel, and would have required travel expense information to be posted on the local government's website. CS/CS/SB 1180 died in the Senate Rules Committee. CS/CS/CS/HB 815 passed the House but died in the Senate. (O'Hara)
Tree Trimming & Removal
CS/SB 574 (Steube) and  CS/CS/HB 521 (Edwards) would have preempted local government tree ordinances as applied to private property. The House bill was amended to substantially narrow the preemption to apply only to water management district and water control district rights-of-ways established for drainage and flood control purposes. CS/SB 574 died in committee. CS/CS/HB 521 passed the House but died in the Senate.  (O'Hara)
Impact Fees
CS/CS/SB 324 (Young) and CS/CS/CS/HB 697 (Miller) would have prohibited local governments from collecting impact fees prior to the issuance a building permit for the property that is subject to the fee. In addition, the bills codified the dual rational nexus test (a legal standard impact fees must meet). The legislation prohibited 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. Due to local government concerns, the legislation exempted water and sewer connection fees from the impact fee provisions of the bills. The bills failed when CS/CS/CS/SB 324 was not considered on the Senate floor. (Cruz)
Cancer Benefits for Firefighters
CS/CS/SB 900 (Flores) and HB 695 (Latvala) would have mandated a package of benefits for firefighters who are diagnosed with one of 21 different cancers. The benefits included treatment of cancer for ten years post-employment, a $25,000 cash payout, disability retirement and death benefits. Both bills died in committee. ( Hughes)
Workers' Compensation
HB 7009 (House Commerce Committee) would have allowed injured workers to receive up to 260 weeks of temporary total disability or temporary partial disability, and would have substantially revised the attorney fees provisions. HB 7009 would have mandated a specified notice regarding attorney fees be signed by the claimant that states the injured worker may be responsible for any remaining attorney fees, and would have removed a restriction for injured workers to enter into a fee agreement with an attorney. The bill passed the House but was not heard in the Senate. (Cruz)
Local Government Ethics Reform
HB 7003 (formerly PCB PIE 18-02) (House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee) and  SB 1534 (Mayfield) would have revised provisions in the state Ethics Code regarding financial disclosure, conflicting employment and contractual relationships, voting conflicts, and the regulation of persons who lobby before local governments. The bills would have required elected municipal mayors and governing board officers of municipalities with $10 million or more in revenues to file the full public disclosure of financial interests (Form 6). The bills also would have preempted to the state local government lobbyist registration requirements. HB 7003 passed the House but died in the Senate. SB 1534 never received a hearing in the Senate. ( O’Hara)    
No Communications Services Tax Changes
HB 1245 (Brodeur) and SB 1210 (Brandes) would have excluded internet video services, such as Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV, from the communication services tax. These services are taxable under current law. Both bills died in committee. (Hughes)
Local Government Fiscal Transparency Fails to Pass
CS/SB 1426 ( Lee) and HB 7 (Burton) would have amended 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. HB 7 passed the House early in session but died in messages. CS/SB 1426 died awaiting action by the full Senate. (Hughes) 
Government Accountability Fails Passage
CS/ CS/HB 354 ( Stargel ) and CS/HB 11 (Metz) and would have required cities to report budget information to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research and the county clerk of the court and would have given the clerk of the court the authority to withhold the salary of the head of a local government entity if the city did not comply. The bill would have changed the deadline for Annual Financial Reports and annual audits from 9 to 6 months after the end of the fiscal year. Provisions of this bill were also in CS/CS/HB 1019 (House Government Accountability Committee ). CS/HB 11 was passed by the full House but died in messages. CS/HB 354 died in committee.  (Hughes)
Financial Reporting
CS/CS/HB 1019 ( La Rosa) would have changed multiple aspects of local government financial reporting. The bill would have required municipalities to submit information 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 failed to file required reports with the clerk of the court, the clerk would have been required to notify the appropriate fiscal officer to withhold salary payments from the head of the local government entity until the reports are filed. CS/CS/HB 1019 died in Senate messages. (Hughes)
Expansion of Property Tax Portability
SJR 452 (Brandes) and HJR 501 (Ahern) proposed a constitutional amendment that would have extended, from 2 to 3 years, the “portability” period during which a Florida citizen has the ability to transfer up to $500,000 of accumulated Save our Homes cap benefits from an existing or prior homestead property to a new homesteaded property. CS/SB 454 (Brandes) and HB 503 (Ahern ) would have implemented this proposed constitutional amendment if approved by sixty percent of voters. These proposals were estimated to have a less than one-million-dollar recurring impact on municipal property taxes. Both bills died in committee. (Hughes)
Sovereign Immunity
HB 1131 (Jenne) and SB 1812 (Rader) would have substantially amended the waiver of sovereign immunity for governments, including cities. The bill would have allowed a local government to purchase insurance or to self-insure up to $5 million to pay a claim judgment by any one person or $7.5 million to cover the total claims or judgments arising out of the same incident or occurrence. The bills poised a significant fiscal impact to cities since they increased a local governments liability without a claims bill. The bills were not considered in committee. ( Cruz)
Federal Immigration/Sanctuary Policies
CS/HB 9 (Metz) and SB 308 (Bean) prohibited the adoption of a sanctuary policy by a local government, and required cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The bills required a state or local government official to promptly report a known or probable violation of the law to the attorney general or the state attorney having jurisdiction over the local governmental entity. The bills imposed a civil penalty of at least $1,000 but no more than $5,000 for each day a policy that violates the Act was in effect. A Speaker priority, CS/HB 9 passed the House, but was never considered by the Senate in committee. ( Cruz)
Gambling Bid Falls Short 
The legislature failed to enact any gaming legislation which will have the effect of leaving the current Seminole Gaming Compact intact. 
Public Records Declaratory Actions Dies in Senate
SB 750 (Perry) would have prohibited cities from requesting clarification from the courts on certain public record requests. The bill was voted down in the Senate Judiciary Committee. ( Cook)
Public Meetings/Imminent Litigation
SB 560 (Steube) would have expanded 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, died on the Senate floor. The House companion, CS/HB 439 (Donalds), died in committee. (Cook)
Private Property Comprehensive Plan Element 
HB 207 (McClain) and SB 362 (Perry) would have required local governments to adopt a new mandatory element in their comprehensive plans that would address the protection of private property. The bills were not considered in committee. ( Cruz)
Vegetable Gardens
SB 1776 (Bradley) would have preempted local governments from enacting local ordinances or regulations of vegetable gardens on residential properties. The bill passed the senate but was never considered by the House. ( O'Hara)
Coastal Management
CS/SB 174 (Hukill) and  HB 131 (Peters) would have revised criteria considered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) involved in determining annual funding priorities for beach nourishment and inlet management projects and would have included the use of weighted tiers for such criteria. The bills would have appropriated $50 million annually from the state Land Acquisition Trust Fund for beach and inlet projects. CS/HB 174 passed the Senate but died in the House. HB 131 died in committee. ( O’Hara)
Land Acquisition Trust Fund
CS/SB 370 (Bradley) and  HB 1353 (Beshears) would have directed an annual appropriation of $100 million to the Florida Forever Trust Fund from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. CS/SB 370 passed the Senate but died in the House. HB 1353 died in committee. ( O’Hara)
Storm-generated Debris and Solid Waste
CS/HB 879 (Toledo) and  SB 1326 (Baxley) would have expanded the statutory definition of “recovered materials” to include wood, asphalt and concrete. The bills also included provisions that required local governments to suspend exclusive contracts for storm-­generated debris under specified circumstances, and prohibit the use of exclusive contracts after a specified date. Both bills died in committee. ( O’Hara)
Natural Resources/Florida Forever
CS/CS/HB 7063 (Government Accountability Committee) would have revised current state law provisions addressing Florida Forever funding allocations and policies. The bill would have consolidated existing statutory allocations under the Florida Forever Program from nine categories into three main categories: land acquisition, Florida Communities Trust and the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program. The bill died in the House. ( O’Hara)
HB 1121 (Silvers) and SB 1722 (Torres) would have revised the process for cities to make annexations. The bills would have been amended the definition of enclave, and adjusted annexation procedures of enclaves. The bills were not considered in committee. ( Cruz)
State Housing Trust Fund
SB 874 (Passidomo) and HB 191 (Shaw) would have prevented the Florida Legislature from sweeping the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Trust Fund. Both bills died in committee. ( Branch
Red Light Cameras
HB 6001 (Avila),  SB 176 (Hutson) and  SB 548 (Campbell) would have prohibited the use of red light cameras by local governments and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. HB 6001 was passed by the full house, both Senate bills died in committee. (Branch) 
Florida Building Commission
HB 299 (McClain) would have revised the membership of the Florida Building Commission from 27 members to 11. It would have also eliminated the joint Florida League of Cities’/Florida Association of Counties’ seat on the Commission. HB 299 died in committee. (Branch) 
SB 1632 (Mayfield) and HB 963 (Cortes) would have prohibited franchise agreements between tow truck companies and cities if the agreement requires any payment by the tow truck company to the city. HB 963 was passed by the full House and SB 1632 died in committee. ( Cook)
Smoking in Public Parks
CS/SB 562 (Mayfield) and HB 627 (Altman) would have allowed cities to prohibit smoking in municipal parks. CS/SB 562 was passed by the full Senate and HB 627 died in committee. ( Cook
Metropolitan Planning Organization Boards
CS/CS/HB   1287  (  Drake  ) is the House comprehensive Department of Transportation bill. The bill was amended on Friday afternoon to reduce the voting membership of a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) designated in an urban area with a population of 500,000 or less to no more than 11 apportioned voting members. The amended bill also eliminates the weighted voting structure and places term limits on members. The League is opposed to these MPO provisions. This bill died in Senate messages.  (Branch)
Economic Development
CS/SB 1714 (Perry) would have established reporting and accountability requirements for economic development and tourism-promotion agencies. CS/SB 1714 died in committee. ( Cook
Stay a part of the process.
The League provides ample resources to help you stay informed and engaged. Please visit our website to find out how you can take action.