WEEK NINE
March 9-13, 2020
When you're up against a trouble, Meet it squarely, face to face; 
Lift your chin and set your shoulders, Plant your feet and take a brace. 
When it's vain to try to dodge it,  Do the best that you can do; 
You may fail, but you may conquer, See it through! 

Black may be the clouds about you, And your future may seem grim, 
But don't let your nerve desert you; Keep yourself in fighting trim. 
If the worst is bound to happen, Spite of all that you can do, 
Running from it will not save you, See it through! 

Even hope may seem but futile, When with troubles you're beset, 
But remember you are facing; Just what other men have met. 
You may fail, but fall still fighting; Don't give up, whate'er you do; 
Eyes front, head high to the finish. See it through!

Edgar Guest (1881-1959)
And as the 2020 Session ends, it is obvious that you indeed did SEE IT THROUGH! At the midpoint of this session, the League lobbying team was nervous that Home Rule might suffer a significant setback. During our mid-session Legislative Action Days, there were a slew of bills that were moving through the process at a breakneck pace including:

  • Bills preempting local zoning ordinances.
  • Significant revisions to growth management laws that was more about unbridled growth than smart, managed growth.
  • Changes to the Bert Harris Act that would have made the Act grossly unfair to local governments and enriched lawyers at the expense of citizens.
  • Bills further limiting the ability of cities to address problems related to the burgeoning short-term rental industry.
  • Limitations on the imposition and use of impact fees and affordable housing initiatives. 

Despite the early progress of so many bad bills and the late-night strategy sessions and hand wringing, you came together, made your voices heard and made the difference in the outcome. 

While the session is over, your work is not. All 120 seats in the Florida House are up for election with at least 25 House members terming out or running for some other office. In the Florida Senate, 20 of the 40 Florida Senate seats are up for reelection with at least seven of those members being termed out. This offers a unique opportunity to shape the makeup of the next legislature. Find out the position of the candidate on Home Rule issues, vet them carefully and be strategic with any endorsement you may give to a legislative candidate. Get engaged in the election or reelection efforts by walking precincts, donating money, introducing the candidate to your supporters or handling it in any other way you deem appropriate.

Thanks for your efforts this session and thanks for your public service. Be sure to join us on March 25 at 10:00 a.m. for the Post-Session Legislative Briefing Webinar. Register Here
MAJOR BILLS THAT PASSED
Water Quality (Watch)
CS/CS/CS/SB 712  (Mayfield) makes numerous changes to current law relating to water quality improvements, septic systems, basin management action plans, stormwater management, sanitary sewer overflows, and wastewater project grants. The bill transfers regulation of the septic tank program from the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and directs DEP to develop rules to address water quality issues associated with septic tanks. It directs DEP and the water management districts to update stormwater rules to increase nutrient removal. The bill significantly expands planning and reporting requirements for Basin Management Action Plans and requires the development of wastewater plans and septic tank remediation plans by local governments under specified circumstances. It establishes a wastewater grant program requiring a 50% local match for projects intended to reduce nutrient loads and directs DEP to adopt rules for the land application of biosolids. The bill imposes planning and reporting requirements on wastewater utilities relating to expenditures, maintenance, repair and system improvements, and directs DEP to develop related rules. The bill increases the amount of administrative penalties that may be imposed by DEP for permit violations and requires DEP to conduct a study on the bottled water industry in Florida. It directs DEP to develop rules for the implementation of direct potable water reuse in Florida, but it does not include provisions imposing a deadline for eliminating surface water discharges by wastewater utilities that were included in other bills. Finally, the bill prohibits local governments from granting certain legal rights to the natural environment. The bill is awaiting action by the governor and will take effect July 1, 2020, except as otherwise provided. (O’Hara)
Impact Fees (Neutral)
CS/CS/CS/1066 (Gruters) prohibits the application of a new or increased impact fee to any pending permit applications. The bill provides that impact fee credits are assignable and transferable at any time after their establishment within the same impact fee zone or impact fee district, or an adjoining zone or district within the same local jurisdiction. Provisions that would have limited expenditures of impact fee revenue or required the creation of an impact fee review committee were all removed from the final bill. The bill is awaiting action by the governor and will take effect July 1, 2020. (Cruz)
Growth Management (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)
CS/CS/SB 410 (Perry) is a comprehensive growth management bill and has several provisions that impact local governments. The bill requires all cities and counties to adopt by July 1, 2023, a new mandatory element in their comprehensive plans that addresses the protection of private property rights. The League opposed this concept due to the costs associated in making the comprehensive plan amendments by the deadline outlined in the bill. Additionally, the bill includes the following provisions:

  • A provision that extends the 5G “shot clock” provisions provided for in the Advanced Wireless Deployment Act to permit applications for ALL utilities in city and county right-of-way.
  • Provides that a charter county with a population of less than 750,000 may not have a charter provision or comprehensive plan goal, objective, or policy adopted after January 1, 2020, to impose a limitation on lands within a municipality unless the municipality, by referendum or local ordinance, adopts and imposes the provision, goal, objective, or policy.
  • Specifies that a party, or its successor in interest, may amend or cancel a development agreement without securing the consent of other parcel owners whose property was originally subject to the development agreement, as long as the amendment or cancellation does not directly modify the allowable uses or entitlements of such owner’s property.
  • Allows agreements pertaining to existing developments of regional impact that are classified as essentially built out, which agreements were valid on or before April 6, 2018, to be amended including amendments exchanging land uses under certain circumstances.
  • Provides that a municipality may not annex an area within another municipal jurisdiction without the other municipality’s consent.
  • Provides that any newly incorporated cities that had a comprehensive plan effective after January 1, 2019, must incorporate development orders existing before the plan’s effective date.

The bill is awaiting action by the governor and will take effect on July 1, 2020. (Cruz)
Broadband Internet Service (Support)
CS/HB 969 (Drake) designates the Department of Economic Opportunity as lead state agency to facilitate expansion of broadband internet service. The bill requires DEO to work collaboratively with certain entities including local governments. The bill creates the Florida Office of Broadband within DEO for the purpose of developing, marketing and promoting broadband internet services in this state. The bill allocates $5 million of the funds transferred to Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise for the Multiuse Corridors of Regional Economic Significance (M-CORES) program to be used for projects that assist in the development of broadband infrastructure within or adjacent to a multiuse corridor. The bill is effective July 1, 2020 and is awaiting action by the governor. (Hughes)
Environmental Fines (Watch)
CS/HB 1091 (Fine) increases penalties by 50% for violations of a variety of state environmental laws, including laws relating to the pollution of groundwater and surface water, litter, coral reefs, aquatic preserves and solid waste. The bill also establishes an optional sanitary sewer lateral inspection program for municipalities and counties for the purpose of helping to identify leaking sanitary sewer laterals and to maintain a database to store information concerning properties where a defective sanitary sewer lateral has been identified. The bill also requires the disclosure by a seller of known defects in sanitary sewer laterals to a prospective purchaser. The bill is awaiting action by the governor and has an effective date of July 1, 2020. (O’Hara)
Verification of Employment Eligibility (Watch)
CS/CS/CS/SB 664 (Lee) requires all public employers to register and use the E-Verify system for to verify the work authorization status of all newly hired employees beginning January 1, 2021. A public employer, contractor, or subcontractor may not enter into a contract unless each party registers with and uses the E-Verify system. The bill directs public employers who believe that a contractor has knowingly violated the E-Verify requirement to terminate the contract, the bill also specifies that this termination would not be a breach of contract. Contractors who have their public contract terminated in this manner would not be eligible for another contract for at least one year. The provisions of the bill also apply to private employers, requiring them to use the E-Verify system for all employees or contract employees hired after January 1, 2021. The bill also gives private employers the option to verify the eligibility of a person using the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9). ( Hughes)
Recycling (Watch)
CS/HB 73 (Overdorf) requires contracts between local governments and vendors for the collection, transport and processing of residential recycling materials to include provisions to define and reduce levels of contamination in the materials collected. The contracts must identify strategies, obligations and procedures for reducing contamination in recycled materials and include a definition of “contaminated recyclable material” that is appropriate community. A collector, transporter or processer is not required to collect, transport or process contaminated recyclable material except pursuant to the terms of an executed contract. If the bill becomes a law it will be effective July 1, 2020. (O’Hara)
Retainage (Oppose – Preemption) 
CS/HB 101 (Andrade) passed the Florida Legislature. The reduces the amount of retainage to 5% that municipalities can retain across an entire construction project. Currently, municipalities can withhold up to 10% of retainage for the first half of a construction project and up to 5% on the last half. Retainage serves as a safeguard against possible overpayment to the general contractor when the estimated percentage of project completion, used for periodic payments, exceeds the actual percentage completed. Additionally, retainage helps to ensure that the project is 100% complete prior to funds being released to the contractor is awaiting action by the governor. The bill is awaiting action by the governor and is effective October 1, 2020. (Branch)
Commercial Service Airports (Oppose – Mandate)
CS/CS/HB 915 (Avila) revise several provisions to enhance transparency and accountability for large-hub commercial service airports. The bill requires that at least once every seven years the auditor general conduct operational and financial audits of the state’s large-hub commercial service airports. The bill also requires the members of the governing bodies of large-hub commercial service airports to submit the more detailed financial disclosure (Form 6) to the Commission on Ethics. The bill mandates the governing body of each commercial service airport to establish and maintain a website containing specified information including meeting notices, agendas, approved budgets and certain documents submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration. The bill is awaiting action by the governor and is effective October 1, 2020. (Branch)
Electric Bicycles (Support)
CS/CS/HB 971 (Grant, M.) creates regulation governing the operation of e-bikes and provide that an e-bike or an operator of an e-bike must be afforded all the rights and privileges of a bicycle. The bill authorizes an e-bike to operate where bicycles are allowed, including, but not limited to, streets, highways, roadways, shoulders and bicycle lanes. However, local governments are authorized to regulate the operation of e-bikes on the prescribed areas. The bill is awaiting action by the governor and is effective July 1,2020.  (Branch)
Public Procurement of Services (Support)
CS/CS/HB 441 (DiCeglie) increases the maximum limit for continuing contracts covered by the Consultants’ Competitive Negotiation Act from an estimated per-project construction cost of $2 million to $4 million. The bill also increases the maximum limit for procuring a study using a continuing contract from $200,000 per study to $500,000. The bill has a July 1, 2020 effective date and is awaiting action by the governor. (Cook) 
Towing (Oppose – Preemption)
CS/CS/HB 133 (McClain) prohibits cities from enacting a rule or ordinance that imposes a fee or charge on authorized wrecker operators, but the bill provides that an authorized wrecker operator may impose and collect an administrative fee, which must be remitted to the city after it has been collected. The bill also prohibits cities from adopting or enforcing ordinances that impose fees on the registered owner of a vehicle that has been removed and impounded by an authorized wrecker operator, but any liens placed on the vehicle by the wrecker operator must include the value of an administrative fee or charge imposed by the city. The bill exempts certain counties with towing or immobilization licensing, regulatory, or enforcement programs as of January 1, 2020, from the prohibition on imposing a fee or charge on an authorized wrecker operator or on a towing business. The bill has an October 1, 2020 effective date and is awaiting action by the governor. (Cook)
Recreational Vehicle Parks (Oppose – Preemption)
CS/CS/HB 343 (Fetterhoff) is a comprehensive bill dealing with recreational vehicle parks. Of interest to local governments, a provision allows an RV park owner the ability to rebuild an RV park if destroyed by a natural disaster using the original density standards which may preempt current local regulations on density, lot size or lot setback. This bill takes effect July 1, 2020 and is awaiting action by the governor. (Cruz)  
Housing (Watch)
CS/CS/CS/HB 1339 (Yarborough) makes varied and comprehensive changes to Florida law impacting affordable housing. The bill:

  • Allows a local government to adopt an ordinance to allow accessory dwelling units in any area zoned for single-family residential use.
  • Requires the reporting of impact fee charges data within the annual financial audit report submitted to the Department of Financial Services.
  • Requires reporting on annual expenditures for affordable housing in reports of economic status information to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
  • Establishes biannual regional workshops for locally elected officials serving on affordable housing advisory committees to identify and share best affordable housing practices.
  • Requires a municipality to fully offset costs to a developer if a linkage is assessed for a residential or mixed-use residential development.

The bill is awaiting action by the governor and takes effect July 1, 2020. (Branch)
Essential State Infrastructure (Oppose – Mandate)
CS/SB 7018 (Infrastructure and Security) requires the Public Service Commission (PSC), in coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to develop and recommend a plan for the development of electric vehicle charging station infrastructure along the State Highway System. The bill expands the “shot clock” and “deemed approved” requirements to permit applications for all utilities in the right of way in a municipality or county. The bill also allows agricultural property owners who have granted a conservation easement over their property to unilaterally encumber the conservation easement by allowing the use of the land for a linear facility and related appurtenances. The bill directs DOT to plan, design and construct staging areas for emergencies as part of the turnpike system. These sites are intended to be designated staging areas for emergency supplies to facilitate the prompt provision of emergency assistance to the public in response to a declared state of emergency. The bill takes effect July 1, 2020. ( Branch , O’Hara )
Transportation Network Companies (Oppose – Preemption)
CS/CS/HB 1039 (Rommel) establishes a regulatory framework for digital advertising on transportation network company vehicles and for luxury ground transportation network company vehicles, preempting such regulation to the state. The bill preempts local governments who are currently collecting revenue from the regulation of digital advertising on vehicles. The bill is effective upon becoming law. (Branch)
Deregulation of Professions and Occupations (Oppose – Preemption)
CS/HB 1193 (Ingoglia) changes the deregulation of certain professions and occupations. Of concern to cites, the bill preempts the regulation of mobile food dispensing vehicles (food trucks) to the state and prohibits local governments from prohibiting the operation of food trucks. Additionally, the bill deletes the authority of the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Counties to recommend a list of candidates for consideration to the Florida Building Commission. The bill is awaiting action by the governor and takes effect July 1, 2020. (Branch)
Fire Prevention and Control (Support)
SB 1092 (Bean) creates the Firefighter Cancer Decontamination Grant Program. The matching grant will provide financial assistance to help fire departments procure equipment, supplies, and education training designed to mitigate exposure to hazardous, cancer-causing chemicals. The Division of State Fire Marshal within the Department of Financial Services will administer the program and annually award grants to fire departments on an as-needed basis. The bill includes a $250,000 appropriation to implement the bill. The bill is effective July 1, 2020 and is awaiting action by the governor.  ( Hughes )
Emergency Reporting (Watch)
CS/CS/SB 538 (Diaz) requires a municipality or county to report certain emergency incidents to the State Watch Office within the Division of Emergency Management as soon as practicable following the initial response of the local government. The bill is awaiting action by the governor and takes effect July 1, 2020. (Branch)
Local Government Public Construction Works (Watch)
CS/CS/HB 279 (Smith, D.) requires a local government, in deciding whether it is in the public’s best interest for the local government to perform a public building construction project using its own services, to fully account for all costs associated with performing and completing the work, including the cost of direct materials to be used in the construction. The bill clarifies that a local government shall list all other governmental entities that may have additional permits or fees generated by the project when issuing a bidding document . The bill is awaiting action by the governor and takes effect July 1, 2020. (Branch)
Public Financing of Coastal Buildings (Watch)
CS/CS/SB 178 (Rodriguez) requires public entities to conduct a sea-level impact projection study on state-funded buildings within the coastal building zone prior to commencing construction. The study must be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection and published on the agency’s website prior to commencing construction. If the bill becomes a law it will be effective July 1, 2020 except as otherwise provided. (O’Hara)
Prohibition Against Abuse of Public Position (Watch)
HB 7009 (Committee on Public Integrity & Ethics) reenacts provisions of the Florida Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees that provide penalties for violations of the Code. Reenactment of the penalty provisions makes the penalties applicable to a section of the Florida Constitution adopted by voters in the 2019 General Election that prohibits a public officer or public employee from abusing his or her public office to obtain a disproportionate benefit. If the bill becomes a law it will be effective December 31, 2020. (O’Hara)
FRS: Employer Contribution Rates (Watch)
HB 5007 (Appropriations Committee) revises the required employer retirement contribution rates for each membership class and subclass of the Florida Retirement System. The total combined employer contributions estimated to be paid into the Florida Retirement System Trust Fund in Fiscal Year 2020-2021 will increase by approximately $404.6 million above the contributions payed in Fiscal Year 2019-2020. (Hughes)
BILLS PENDING
Because the House and Senate were unable to reach a compromise on the spending levels for the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year, they have not yet passed a final budget. It is likely they will come back to Tallahassee Wednesday of next week (March 18) to finalize the states spending plan. Until that time, no specific budget categories are finalized. Additionally, the budget impasse directly impacts the annual tax package. Below is a brief description of the tax package as it sits at 5:00 pm on Friday, March 13.
Taxation (Watch)
CS/HB 7097 (Ways and Means) is the “tax package” for the 2020 Session and includes several tax reductions and other tax-related modifications. Of note, the bill includes a 0.5 percent rate reduction for both the state communications services tax and the direct-to-home satellite services. bill includes two sales tax holidays: a three-day “back-to-school” holiday and a seven-day “disaster preparedness” holiday. The bill includes a requirement that school capital outlay sales surtaxes approved in the future be proportionately shared with charter schools. bill makes multiple changes to property taxes including amending the requirements for hospitals to qualify for a charitable tax exemption and updates the qualifying operations for the deployed servicemember tax exemption. The bill also includes several provisions proposed by the Department of Revenue designed to enhance its administration of state taxes and oversight of property taxation. Additionally, the bill includes a requirement that any future levy of the Charter County and Reginal Transportation Surtax in any eligible county be limited to 30 years in duration. The total local government revenue impact of the bill in fiscal year 2020-21 is not yet fully known.  (Hughes)
MAJOR BILLS THAT FAILED
Vacation Rentals (Oppose)
CS/CS/HB 1011 (Fischer) and CS/SB 1128 (Diaz) would have preempted to the state the regulation of vacation rentals and wiped out any local vacation rental ordinances or regulations adopted since 2011. The bills would have defined “advertising platforms” and preempted the regulation of advertising platforms to the state as well, while putting in place statewide standards for the regulation of advertising platforms like AirBNB, VRBO and Homeaway. The bills died after several lawmakers and the governor expressed concerns over taking away local authority. We expect similar bills to be filed next year.
Bert Harris Act/Private Property Rights Legislation (Oppose)
CS/HB 519 (J. Grant) and CS/SB 1766 (Lee) amended the Bert J. Harris Act and would have substantially handicapped local government ability to resolve these claims. The provision strongly opposed by the League required any settlement reached on a Harris claim that involves the issuance of a variance or exception to a regulation on a residential property be automatically applied by the government entity to all “similarly situated” residential properties that are subject to the same rules or regulations. Similarly situated was never defined in the bill. Ultimately, the House and Senate bills were amended to remove the concept of “similarly situated”. The amendments also removed provisions that would have allowed the inclusion of business damages as part of a Harris claim. The amended legislation remained with provisions that would have reduced the timeframe under which a claimant must notify the government before filing an action from 150 days to 90 days and under certain circumstances increased the ability of property owners to recover attorney fees. 
Home-Based Business Preemption (Oppose – Preemption)
CS/CS/HB 537 (Donalds) and SB 778 (Perry) would have created a sweeping preemption on the local regulation of home-based businesses. The bill provides that local governments may not enact or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or policy, or take any action to license or otherwise regulate a home-based business in a manner that is different from any other businesses in a local government’s jurisdiction. 
Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing (Oppose – Preemption)
CS/HB 3 (Grant, M.) and CS/SB 1336 (Perry) would have expressly preempted the licensing of occupations to the state. The bills broadly defined occupations and would have created limited exceptions to the preemption for specified local licenses and any local government licensing of occupations that was expressly authorized by general law.
Traffic and Pedestrian Safety (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)
CS/SB 1000 (Perry) and CS/CS/CS/HB 1371 (Fine) would have required that crosswalks located at any place other than an intersection of a public street, highway or road be controlled by pedestrian and traffic signals that meet requirements of the Florida Department of Transportation Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. 
Dissolution of Cities (Oppose)
CS/HB 1209 (Fischer) and SB 1522 (Broxson) would have required any municipality that meets one or more specified criteria to hold a voter referendum to dissolve the city. 
Sovereign Immunity (Oppose)
CS/SB 1302 (Flores) would have increased the per-occurrence limit on the collectability of judgments against government entities from $300,000 to $500,000 and eliminated the $200,000-per-claimant limit. The bill would have tied the new $500,000 Sovereign Immunity limit to a consumer price index to allow the cap to automatically increase with inflation. The purpose of sovereign immunity is to allow government entities to carry out police powers to protect the health, safety and welfare of their residents without the constant threat of lawsuit putting tax payer dollars at risk. The bill had the potential to result in increased damage awards against governments and will incentivize lawsuits against governments.
Government Integrity/Fiduciary Duty (Watch)
CS/CS/HB 1111 (Tomlow) and CS/CS/SB 1270 (Lee) would have created the Florida Integrity Office and the position of Florida Integrity Officer and would have authorized the integrity officer to investigate complaints alleging waste, fraud, abuse, misconduct or gross mismanagement in connection with the expenditure of public funds within and by state and local government. In addition, the bills would have imposed a fiduciary duty of care and associated training requirements on certain appointed public officers and executive officers of numerous state and local governmental entities. In addition, the bills provided for limitations on the representation by government attorneys of individual officers and employees.
Reclaimed Water (Oppose)
CS/CS/HB 715 (Maggard) and CS/CS/SB 1656 (Albritton) would have directed the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt rules for the implementation of direct potable water reuse. In addition, the bills would have prohibited surface water discharges by wastewater utilities by 2026 (with specified exceptions). CS/CS/CS/SB 712 (Mayfield), which passed, contains provisions authorizing DEP to adopt potable water reuse rules. 
Transportation (Oppose – Mandate)
CS/CS/CS/HB 395 (Andrade)would have been the transportation package for the Florida Department of Transportation. Of concerns to municipalities, the bill would have expanded the “shot clock” and “deemed approved” requirements to permit applications for all utilities in the right of way. This language is also included in CS/CS/HB 410 (Perry) and CS/SB 7018 (Infrastructure and Security) that is awaiting action by the governor. 
Local CST Rate Cut (Oppose- Mandate)
HB 701 (Fischer) and SB 1174 (Hutson) would have capped the local CST rate to 4% for cities and charter counties and 2% for noncharter counties. This would have cost local government almost $190 million per year.
Local Reporting Bill (Oppose- Mandate)
CS/HB 7069 (State Affairs) and SB 1512 (Diaz) would have required the Department of Financial Services to rank and compare local government based on a multitude of economic and fiscal measures. CS/HB 7096 also required DFS to grade local governments. 
Public Officers & Employees (Support)
CS/SB 1490 (Bradley) and HB 1435 (Williamson) would have created a limited exception relating to the receipt of gifts under the Florida Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees by authorizing specified reporting individuals or procurement employees to accept gifts or compensation to be used toward costs incurred due to serious bodily injury or disease of the individual or child of such person. If the bill becomes a law it will be effective July 1, 2020.
Local Government Efficiency and Urban Crime Task Forces (Watch)
CS/HB 7101 (State Affairs Committee) would have established the Local Government Efficiency Task Force within the Legislature to review the governance structure and function of local governments and make recommendations on whether any changes were necessary to make local governments more efficient. In addition, the bill established the Urban Core Crime and Violence Task Force within the Legislature to develop recommendations to help facilitate the reduction of crime and violence. If the bill becomes a law it will be effective July 1, 2020.
Public Records (Oppose – Preemption)
SB 890 (Perry) and HB 1161 (Plakon) would have preempted the local licensing of occupation to allow an individual with a valid local license required by a city or county in Florida to work within the scope of a noncontractor local license throughout the state with no geographic limitation, and without obtaining an additional local license, taking additional examinations, or paying additional fees. 
Reciprocity of Local Occupational Licensing (Oppose – Preemption)
CS/SB 162 (Perry) prohibits an agency from responding to a request to inspect or copy a public record by filing a civil action against the individual or entity making the request. The bill effectively prohibits a city from initiating a declaratory judgment seeking a judicial interpretation on the application on a public records exemption. The bill takes effect July 1, 2020 and is awaiting action by the governor. (Cook)
Contingency Fees (Oppose – Preemption)
HB 7043 (Judiciary Committee) would have prohibited local and regional governmental entities from entering into certain contingency fee contracts with private attorneys or law firms. 
State Housing Trust Fund (Support)
SB 306 (Mayfield) and HB 381 (Silvers) would have specified that funds deposited in the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund may not be transferred or used for any other purpose.
Public Notice (Support)
CS/CS/HB 7 (Fine) and SB 1340 (Gruters) would have allowed cities the option of publishing legal notices on a publicly accessible website in lieu of purchasing an advertisement in a newspaper if certain conditions were met. CS/CS/HB 7 passed the House on a 71-47 vote, but SB 1340 was not heard in its first committee of reference, the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Smoking in Parks (Support)
SB 630 (Mayfield) would have allowed cities to restrict smoking in municipally-owned parks. The bill passed the full Senate on a 39-1 vote, but the House companion, HB 457 (LaMarca), was not heard in its first committee of reference, the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.
Regulation of Pet Stores (Oppose – Preemption)
HB 1237 (Avila) and SB 1698 (Diaz) would have preempted the regulation of pet stores to the state and prohibited cities from banning these businesses.
Building Design (Oppose – Mandate)
SB 954 (Perry) and CS/CS/HB 459 (Overdorf) would have preempted local governments from adopting zoning and development regulations that require specific building design elements for single- and two-family dwellings, unless certain conditions are met. The bills would have provided a limited exemption from the preemption by allowing allow local governments to adopt and enforce regulations that require “building design elements” for single- and two-family dwellings only if they are listed on the Historical Preservation Registry, housed within a Community Redevelopment Agency or if regulations are adopted in order to implement the National Flood Insurance Program.
Fire Station Diesel Exhaust Capture Systems (Watch)
HB 85 (Casello) would have required the Florida Building Commission to incorporate into the Florida Building Code specified requirements relating to the installation of “diesel exhaust capture systems” in fire stations. 
Use of Wireless Communications Devices While Driving 'Hands-Free' (Watch)
HB 249 (Slosberg) would have prohibited a person from operating a motor vehicle while holding or touching a wireless communication device. The bill did provide several exceptions such as first responders performing in their official capacity or drivers accessing safety-related information including emergency, traffic or weather alerts. 
Traffic Offenses (Support) 
SB 308 (Baxley) and HB 455 (McClain) would have provided criminal penalties for a person who commits a moving violation that causes serious bodily injury to or causes the death of a vulnerable road user. Of interest to cities, current law would have defined “vulnerable road user” to include a person engaged in work on a highway such as a utility service worker.
State Preemption of the Regulation of Hoisting Equipment (Support)
SB 272 (Rodriguez) would have created an exception to a state preemption preventing local governments from regulating hoisting equipment at local worksites. This preemption would not have applied as it related to precautions specific to hurricane preparedness.
Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (Watch) 
SB 452 (Rodriguez) and HB 943 (Daley) would have required the Department of Transportation, with the Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Clean Cities Coalitions, to develop a master plan for installing electric vehicle charging stations on the state highway system.
High-Speed Passenger Rail (Watch) 
CS/SB 676 (Mayfield) and HB 465 (Sirois) would have provided guidelines for the creation of safe and cost-effective transportation options for residents and visitors of this state, including a high-speed rail system. The bills would have enhanced the safety requirements of high-speed passenger rail in order to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. The bills also would have required the Florida Division of Emergency Management to offer training to local emergency officials on responding to an accident involving rail passengers or hazardous materials.
Florida Building Code (Watch)
SB 710 (Albritton) would have established new requirements to the Florida Building Code that the entire envelope of multistory residential buildings, certain new coastal construction, new residential construction in a high-velocity hurricane zone and hurricane shelters be constructed with high wind-resistant construction materials.
Community Redevelopment Agencies (Oppose)
HB 535 (Latvala) and SB 1072 (Wright) would have exempted certain hospital districts from contributing to the redevelopment trust fund for community redevelopment agencies under specified conditions. 
Placement of Electronic Billboards (Watch)
SB 1666 (Albritton) and HB 619 (Overdorf) would have authorized that electronic billboards may be placed on lands designated as agricultural lands if:

  • The parcel can accommodate the billboard.
  • There are sufficient utilities to support the operation.
  • Local government zoning ordinances allow the placement.
Fees/Electric Vehicle (Support) 
SB 1346 (Brandes) and HB 1221 (Slosberg) would have created additional fees and a licensing tax for electric and hybrid vehicles. The proceeds from these additional fees and taxes would have been deposited equally into the State Transportation Trust Fund and the newly created Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program. 
Tax on Aviation Fuel (Oppose – Unfunded Mandate)
SB 1192 (Gruters) and HB 6061 (Roach) would have repealed the excise tax imposed on aviation fuel, aviation gasoline and kerosene sold or brought into the state. Under current law, the monies from this tax are deposited into the State Transportation Trust Fund to fund various program areas. Repealing the excise tax on aviation fuel will reduce the money going to the STTF. This reduction in revenues would have negatively affected the ability of cities to adequately maintain and improve critical infrastructure needed to meet the ever-changing transportation demands. Additionally, repealing the aviation fuel tax would have impacted the Aviation Grant Program. This grant money, which local governments can apply for, is used to fund projects relating to airport planning, capital improvement, land acquisition and economic development.
Fire-Safety and Prevention (Watch)
CS/SB 1594 (Powell) and HB 1263 (Watson, C.) would have prohibited individuals from influencing fire-safety inspectors by threatening, coercing, or attempting to interfere with an inspection. The bills would have also provided criminal penalties for these violations.
Red Light Cameras (Oppose – Preemption) 
HB 6083 (Rodriguez, Anthony) would have preempted cities, counties and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles from installing, maintaining, or utilizing red light cameras effective July 1, 2023.
Charter Schools Zoning (Oppose – Mandate)
CS/CS/HB 1029 (Rodriguez, Anthony) and CS/SB 1578 (Hutson) included language that would have allowed charter school the ability to expand under their preexisting zoning without obtaining a special exception or rezoning. The bills would have required a local government, if requested by a charter school, to provide within 14 days a written justification for any challenged requirements. The bills would have also awarded attorney’s fees and court costs to charter schools only if they prevailed.
Motor Vehicle Rentals (Support) 
CS/SB 478 (Perry) and CS/CS/HB 377 (Latvala) would have required peer-to-peer (P2P) car-sharing service sites to impose a $2 per day surcharge upon lease or rental motor vehicle through the P2P car-sharing program, which is similar to the requirements of a traditional car rental company.
Emergency Mitigation and Response (Support)
CS/SB 502 (Montford) would have created the Hurricane Michael Recovery Task Force under the Division of Emergency Management. The purpose of the task force is to make recommendations to the Legislature regarding additional assistance needed from the effects of Hurricane Michael.
Emergency Staging Areas (Watch)
SB 7020 (Infrastructure and Security) would have authorized the Florida Department of Transportation to plan, design and construct staging areas for emergencies as part of the turnpike system. These sites were intended to be designated staging areas for emergency supplies to facilitate the prompt provision of emergency assistance to the public in response to a declared state of emergency. This bill is amended on CS/SB 7018 (Infrastructure and Security).
Drones (Support) 
CS/SB 520 (Gruters) and HB 1433 (Yarborough) would have allowed police and fire departments to use drones to manage crowd control and traffic as well as gather evidence at a crime or traffic crash scene. The bills would have also permitted a state agency or political subdivision to operate drones for assessing damage after a natural disaster. 
Statewide Office of Resiliency (Support)
SB 7016 (Infrastructure and Security Committee) and HB 1073 (Stevenson) would have established the Statewide Office of Resiliency within the Executive Office of the Governor and provided for the establishment of a chief resiliency officer by the governor. If the bill becomes a law it will be effective July 1, 2020. 
Local Government Lobbyist Registration and Public Meeting Notices (Oppose)
SB 766 (Perry) and HB 611 (Sabatini) would have imposed mandatory lobbyist registration requirements on local governments, limited the authority of local governments to adopt and enforce their own local lobbying regulations, and would have amended statutory public meeting notice requirements for city and county governing boards.  
Clean Energy Programs (Oppose)
HB 225 (Zika) and SB 824 (Hooper) would have amended current law to substantially impair the use of Property Assessed Clean Energy or “PACE” programs by local governments.  
Water Resources (Support – FLC Priority)
HB 147 (Jacobs) and SB 690 (Albritton) would have directed the Department of Environmental Protection to develop a needs-based overview of the state’s water resources and make recommendations for potential funding options to meet anticipated demands. Certain provisions of CS/CS/CS/SB 712 (Mayfield), which passed, require the Office of Economic and Demographic Research to incorporate information relating to wastewater projects and associated funding needs into its annual water report. 
Assisted and Independent Living Facility Task Force (Support)
CS/CS/SB 364 (Rader) would have created the Assisted and Independent Living Facility Task Force within the Agency for Person with Disabilities. The task force would have developed and evaluated policy proposals that incentivized developers or contractors to dedicate space for assisted living facilities or independent living facilities within mixed-use developments to house individuals with an intellectual disability, autism or mental illness. The task force membership would have included a representative from the Florida League of Cities.
Supermajority Vote Required to Impose, Authorize or Raise Local Taxes or Fees (Oppose – Mandate)
HJR 477 (Rommel) would have proposed an amendment to the Florida Constitution that would have required that any local tax or fee that is imposed, authorized or raised by a local jurisdiction, including municipalities, be approved by two-thirds of the membership of the jurisdiction.
Firefighters' Bill of Rights (Oppose – Preemption)
HB 215 (Casello) and CS/SB 620 (Hooper) would have revised the current process that must be followed for the interrogation of firefighters. The bills revised the definition of “interrogation” to include questioning related to informal inquiries.
Preemption of Conditions of Employment (Oppose – Preemption)
HB 305 (Rommel) and SB 1126 (Gruters)would have prohibited 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.
Local Government Fiscal Transparency (Oppose – Mandate)
HB 1149 (DiCeglie) and SB 1702 (Diaz) would have amended multiple provisions related to local government financial transparency.
Sales and Use Tax (Support)
SB 126 (Gruters) and HB 159 (Clemons) would have required retailers with no physical presence in Florida to collect Florida’s sales tax on sales of taxable items delivered to purchasers in Florida if the retailer makes a substantial number of sales into Florida or provides for the taxation of sales facilitated through a marketplace provider.
Broadband Mapping (Support)
HB 1309 (Ausley) and SB 1776 (Montford) would have required the Department of Management Services to develop geographic information system maps in collaboration with internet service providers. These maps would have identified geographic areas and locations in the state where broadband-capable networks exist, and broadband internet service is available to end users and the download and upload data transmission speeds available in each geographic area.
Communications Services (Support)
HB 6075 (Eskamani) and SB 1848 (Rodriguez, J.) would have repealed the Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act that relates primarily to the installation of small wireless facilities in public rights of way.
STAY INFORMED. STAY ENGAGED.