2021 Legislative Wrap Up

Saving Special Places • Building Better Communities
2021 Legislative Wrap Up

The 2021 Florida Legislative Session wrapped up on April 30 and it was a roller coaster.  1000 Friends tracked critical legislation, drafted recommended amendments, and reached out out to key legislators and other organizations to advocate.  We appreciate all of you who visited, made calls, and sent emails to key legislators on critical legislation.  As always, you made a difference.

We will be posting a brief session overview in the next few days.

Check out 1000 Friends’ 2021 Florida Legislative Wrap Up Broadcast

The table below was updated on June 30, 2021

2021 Florida Legislative Session


ACTION NEEDED

Bill #/SponsorTitle / Description

GROWTH MANAGEMENT

Bill #/SponsorTitle / Description
HB 35 Fine
SB 402 Rodrigues
SIGNED INTO LAW HB 35/SB 402 Legal Notices
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 5/7/21

HB 35/Fine changes the manner in which the public is made aware of legal notices.  Government agencies will now have the option to publish legal notices for land use changes and other public meetings online in lieu of a newspaper publication if certain conditions are met.   SB 402/Rodrigues was the companion bill.


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SB 496 Perry
HB 59 McClain
SIGNED INTO LAW HB 59/SB 496 Growth Management
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/29/21

OPPOSED

HB 59/McClain and SB 496/Perry would require local governments to include a property rights element in their comprehensive plans,and would make other changes to state law regarding development orders and municipal annexations. A similar bill during the 2020 legislative session became the vehicle for other growth management changes, but was vetoed by Gov. DeSantis. 

1000 Friends opposed this bill because it would:

Require an unnecessary, duplicative and expensive property rights element in every comprehensive plan in Florida

·    Circumvent current requirements that annexation ensures sound development and accommodation to growth through the provision of urban services

Property owners in Florida already enjoy extensive property rights protection through the U.S. Constitution, the Florida Constitution and through the Bert J. Harris Act.  This additional requirement is duplicative and will be expensive for the local governments to implement.

In addition, HB 59 prohibits the annexation of any part of another incorporated municipality.  This language is similar to the language in SB 410 that Governor DeSantis vetoed last year.  Annexation is currently prohibited under state law unless the annexation can ensure sound urban development and accommodation to growth through the provision of urban services those areas that become urban in character.  This bill would circumvent that requirement so long as the municipality that will be annexed is amenable to the annexation.

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (approved 3/3); Judiciary (approved 3/15); Rules (approved 3/25)

House referrals: Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (approved 2/4); Civil Justice and Property Rights Subcommittee (approved 2/17); State Affairs Committee (approved 3/10), PASSED HOUSE 4/1; PASSED SENATE 4/8 


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SB 88 Brodeur
HB 1601 Williamson
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 88/HB 1601 Farming Operations
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SIGNED BY GOVERNOR

OPPOSED

SB 88/Brodeur and HB 1601/Williamson expand immunity from lawsuits for agricultural operators from damages claimed by neighbors.  

Senate referrals: Judiciary (approved 2/1); Environment and Natural Resources (approved 2/15); Rules (approved 3/4);  SENATE PASSED 3/18; HOUSE PASSED 4/22; SIGNED BY GOVERNOR 4/29 

House referrals: Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee (approved 3/17); Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee (approved 3/30); Judiciary (approved 4/16)


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HB 337 DiCegli
SIGNED INTO LAW OPPOSED HB 337 on Impact Fees
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/4/21

OPPOSED -- HAD REQUESTED VETO

HB 337 on impact fees will curtail the amount that local government can increase impact fees charged to developers for the cost of roads, sewer lines and other infrastructure necessitated by that new development.  HB 337 makes it virtually impossible for local governments to require that new development pays its own way.  Impacts:  Existing residents will shoulder even more of the costs associated with new development through raised taxes, declining roads, parks, and other public infrastructure, or both.   See 1000 Friends’ veto request on HB 337 to Gov. DeSantis.

1000 Friends President Paul Owens explains, “We’re disappointed that the Governor signed HB 337, but we’re grateful to the thousands of Floridians who heeded our call to urge him to veto the bill and highlighted its fatal flaws. HB 337 severely restricts local governments in recovering the costs of growth through impact fees on developers. Unless the Legislature reverses this shortsighted policy, taxes will go up for everyone else, or public services will suffer.”


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SB 1146 Florida Building Code
SIGNED INTO LAW HB 401 which incorporates damaging building design provisions from SB 284
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HB 401 AMENDED TO INCORPORATE PROVISIONS OF SB 284 

SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 5/29/21

OPPOSED -- PREEMPTION

HB 401 bars local government design review and authority for residential building which will undermine the ability of local government to control a community’s character.  This legislation seeks to remove local government authority to regulate building design in many areas, although designated local historic districts, Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) districts, and Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) are exempt.

BACKGROUND:

HB 55/Overdorf and SB 284/Perry would bar local government design review and authority for residential building. But SB 284 /HB 55, entitled Building Design, would take yet another tool away from local governments.  This legislation seeks to remove local government authority to regulate building design in many areas, although designated local historic districts, Community Redevelopment Authority (CRA) districts, and Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) are exempt.

The bill would:

• Take away the authority of local governments to work with citizens to protect the character of certain neighborhoods and districts important to the community’s character.

• Undermine local economic development efforts that capitalize on the unique character of distinctive areas in the community.

• Remove the ability of neighborhoods and local governments to promote neighborhood reinvestment through maintaining neighborhood character.

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (approved 3/16); Regulated Industries (approved 3/23); Rules

In a 4/20 Rules meeting, SB 284 was amended into another bill, SB 1146, which was then passed by the committee. The House version of the bill, HB 401, was passed by the Senate 4/26 and the House 4/29.

House referrals: Regulatory Reform Subcommittee (approved 2/10); Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (approved 3/3); Commerce Committee  (approved 3/9). PASSED HOUSE 4/26

 In addition to being approved by the House, HB 55 was also amended into HB 401, the House version of SB 1146. HB 401 was approved by the House 4/22 and the Senate 4/26.


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HB 403 Giallombardo
SB 266 Perry
SIGNED INTO LAW HB 403/SB 266 Home-based businesses
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/29/21

OPPOSED

HB 403/Giallombardo and SB 266/Perry authorizes home-based businesses to operate in residentially zoned areas, prevent local governments from licensing them and restrict them in regulating them in other aspects besides  noise, parking and waste.   HB 403:

Pre-empts local planning; state law requires local governments to have comprehensive land use plans that designate what businesses are permitted in different areas of each municipality.

Is not needed to permit working remotely from home during the pandemic; under current law, residents can work from home due to the pandemic and for other reasons.   

Will allow such businesses as funeral homes, boat repair shops, car stereo installation and others to operate in residential neighborhoods.

Allowing unregulated home-based businesses means increased customers, traffic, deliveries, nuisances and health and safety issues degrading the quality of life for neighboring residents.

House referrals: Regulatory Reform Subcommittee (approved 2/18); Commerce (approved 3/9). PASSED HOUSE 4/21; PASSED SENATE 4/29

Senate referrals: Community Affairs  (approved 3/10); Commerce and Tourism (approved 3/22); Rules (approved 4/14)


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HB 421 Tuck
SB 1876 Albritton
SIGNED INTO LAW HB 421/HB 1101 on Property Rights
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/29/21

OPPOSED AND HAD REQUESTED VETO

HB 421 & HB 1101 on “property rights” will have a chilling effect on the ability of local governments to enforce their comprehensive plans and land development regulations and adopt new provisions related to community resilience and other critical issues. While Florida already has among the strongest property rights laws in the nation, this bill makes local governments even more vulnerable to legal challenges over planning decisions. It also will have a very chilling effect on local governments that want to better plan to avoid future development in areas at high risk for sea-level rise and flooding.  Impacts: Increased taxes due to local governments being required to pay large settlements for numerous legal challenges; less planning protection for natural lands and waters; a declining quality of life; and reluctance to plan for community resilience due to local government concerns about potential legal challenges and settlement costs.  See 1000 Friends’ veto request on HB 421 & HB 1101 to Gov. DeSantis.

BACKGROUND:

HB 421/Tuck and SB 1876/Albritton include an array of changes to state law to strengthen the position of developers in disputes over proposals and land-use limits with local governments.

SB 1876 was amended before its consideration by the Senate Judiciary Committee to absorb the contents of SB 1380, which would greatly expand the scope of potential claims under the Bert Harris Act, with significant fiscal impacts for local governments and their taxpayers.   

HB 421 was amended by the Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee to add the contents of HB 1101, which would greatly expand the scope of potential claims under the Bert Harris Act, with significant fiscal impacts for local governments and their taxpayers. 

House referrals: Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee (approved 3/4); Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (approved 4/1); Judiciary (approved 4/15) PASSED HOUSE 4/21; PASSED SENATE 4/26; PASSED BY HOUSE AS AMENDED 4/28

Senate referrals: Judiciary (approved 3/22); Community Affairs (approved 3/30); Rules  (approved 4/20)


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SB 1274 Perry
HB 487 Duggan
SIGNED INTO LAW HB 487 Small Scale Development Amendments
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/29/21

OPPOSED AND HAD REQUESTED VETO

HB 487 on small-scale amendments reduces oversight of proposed development projects. Currently, the State acts as a “back-stop” with the ability to review certain developments for their impacts on the environment, public services and quality of life. HB 487 would increase by five-fold the size of developments that can skip a thorough state review — as many as 50 acres in urban areas and 100 acres in rural areas.  Impacts: Due to this legislation, there will be less opportunity for citizens and state agencies to raise questions about environmental, transportation and other impacts of proposed development, and see those concerns remedied without filing a legal challenge. See 1000 Friends’ veto request on SB 487 to Gov. DeSantis.

BACKGROUND:

HB 487/Duggan increased the threshold for small scale comprehensive plan amendments from 10 to 50 acres, or 100 acres for sites within rural areas of opportunity.

A related bill, SB 1274/Perry also increased the threshold for small scale comprehensive plan amendments from 10 to 50 acres, or 100 acres for sites within rural areas of opportunity. It would also authorize landowners with development orders existing before the incorporation of a municipality to elect to abandon such orders and develop the vested density and intensity contained therein consistent with the municipality’s comprehensive plan. 

House referrals: Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (approved 3/3); Commerce (approved 3/9); State Affairs  (approved 3/17); PASSED HOUSE 4/1; PASSED SENATE 4/26; PASSED HOUSE AS AMENDED BY SENATE 4/29

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (approved 3/30); Rules  (approved 4/20)


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HB 1013 Rayner
SB 628 Rouson
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 628/HB 1013 Urban Agriculture
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SIGNED BY GOVERNOR 6/17/21

SB 628/Rouson and HB 1013/Rayner create the “Florida Urban Agriculture Act”, preserving local governmental authority to regulate urban agriculture under certain circumstances; it would also exempt equipment for urban farms from some regulations. 

Senate referrals: Agriculture (approved, 3/3); Community Affairs (approved 3/16); Rules (approved 4/6) PASSED SENATE 4/14; PASSED HOUSE 4/28

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee (approved 3/30); State Affairs (approved 4/15)


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HB 839 Fabricio
SB 856 Hutson
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 856/HB 839 State Preemption of Energy Infrastructure Regulations
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SIGNED BY GOVERNOR 6/16/21

OPPOSED -- PREEMPTION

SB 856/Hutson prohibits local governments from banning gas stations within their boundaries and prohibits the ability of local governments to require electric vehicle charging stations.  The companion was HB 839/Fabricio.

Senate referrals: Regulated Industries (approved 3/9); Community Affairs (approved 3/16); Rules (approved 4/20)

House referrals: Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee (approved 3/9); Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (approved 4/1); Commerce PASSED HOUSE 4/21; PASSED SENATE 4/26


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HB 761 Overdorf
SB 1008 Hutson
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 896 (FORMERLY SB 1008/HB 761 Solar Electrical Generating Facilities)
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/29/21

PROVISIONS AMENDED ONTO SB 896

OPPOSED SB 896

SB 896 includes provisions from SB 1008 that solar facilities are a permitted use in local government comprehensive plan agricultural land use categories and certain agricultural zoning districts.  SB 896 previously just dealt with “renewable” natural gas.  The amended SB 896 passed with an exemption to an agricultural community in Alachua County that successfully opposed a proposed solar farm.  

BACKGROUND:

SB 1008/Hutson and HB 761/Overdorf provided that solar facilities are a permitted use in local government comprehensive plan agricultural land use categories and certain agricultural zoning districts.

Senate referrals: Regulated Industries; Community Affairs; Rules

After it failed to advance in committee, SB 1008 was amended into another bill, SB 896, dealing with “renewable” natural gas, which was passed by the Senate Rules Committee on 4/20.  SB 896 was temporarily postponed on 2nd reading (4/22).   An amendment was added to SB 896 to exempt an agricultural  community in Alachua County that successfully opposed a proposed solar farm.  SB 896 PASSED THE SENATE 4/26 AND THE HOUSE 4/28

House referrals: Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee; Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee; Commerce


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SB 426 Boyd
HB 267 Roach
SIGNED INTO LAW -- AMENDED INTO SB 1194 -- SB 426/HB 267 State Preemption of Seaport Regulations
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/29/21

AMENDED INTO SB 1194 

OPPOSED -- PREEMPTION

SB 426/HB 267 takes away local government control over ports by barring them from regulating commerce in their ports, including such things as a boat's size, type of cargo and number of passengers, as well as regulations aimed at environmental protection.  The contents of these bills were amended into another bill, SB 1194, which PASSED.  1000 Friends is seeking a veto.

BACKGROUND:

SB 426/Boyd and HB 267/Roach bar local governments from regulating  commerce in their ports, including such things as a boat's size, type of cargo and number of passengers, as well as regulations aimed at environmental protection. 

SB 426 was amended into a broader transportation bill, SB 1194, which was passed by the Senate and House on 4/28

Senate referrals: Transportation (approved 3/10); Community Affairs approved 3/24; Rules (approved 4/14)  PASSED SENATE 4/22

House referrals: Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee (approved 3/3); Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (approved 4/1); Commerce (approved 4/19) 


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SB 1954 Rodrigues
HB 7019 Bussata
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 1954/HB 7019 Statewide Flooding and Sea-level Rise Resilience
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SIGNED BY GOVERNOR 5/12/21

SUPPORT

SB 1954/Rodrigues and HB 7019/Busatta Cabrera on Coastal Resilience establishes the Resilient Florida Grant Program within DEP to fund the cost of community resilience planning and it requires DEP to develop a Statewide Flooding & Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan.  Furthermore, it requires water management districts to submit proposed projects to DEP; authorizes local governments to create regional resilience coalitions; establishes the Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research & Innovation within the University of South Florida; and requires the Office of Economic and Demographic Research to include flood control information in certain assessments.   

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 3/15); Appropriations (approved 3/31); PASSED SENATE 4/7; PASSED HOUSE 4/8

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee (approved 3/11); Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee (approved 3/11); State Affairs (approved 3/24)


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SPB 2512
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 2512/HB 5401 Documentary Stamp Tax Distribution/Affordable Housing
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SIGNED BY GOVERNOR 6/2/21

Despite strong advocacy by 1000 Friends, allies in the Sadowski Affordable Housing Coalition and supporters like you, SB 2512 on affordable housing cuts the annual designated share from the housing trust funds by more than half, from at least $423 million to $209 million.  The bill does include language intended to prevent future raids on the housing trust funds, maintaining next year’s affordable housing funding as the new floor.  Requests to replenish next year’s funding with $225 million in nonrecurring funds went unheeded by legislators. SB 2512 diverts portions of the documentary stamp tax revenues earmarked for the state’s affordable housing trust funds to grant programs for projects to upgrade wastewater treatment and guard against sea-level rise. 1000 Friends opposed cutting funding for affordable housing and urged that other revenue sources be used for wastewater and sea-level rise needs. 

BACKGROUND:

SPB 2512/Appropriations and HB 5401/Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee would change the distribution of documentary stamp revenues currently earmarked for affordable housing. Under the bills, one third of funds would be redirected to grants to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities, and another third would be redirected to programs to prepare for sea level rise and flooding, leaving just a third for affordable housing.  This legislation was amended to increase the allocation of funding for affordable housing to $209 million -- or close to half of the Sadowski Trust Fund allocation.

Senate referrals: Appropriations (approved 3/31); PASSED SENATE 4/7; PASSED HOUSE 4/8

House referrals: Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee (approved 3/25)


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SB 510 Hooper
HB 13 Killibrew/Silvers
FAILED HB 13/SB 510 State Funds
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

HB 13/Killebrew and Silvers and SB 510/Hooper would have prevented unappropriated cash balances from the state trust funds for affordable housing from being transferred or “swept” into the Budget Stabilization Fund or General Revenue Fund.

In the past 20 years, state legislators have diverted more than $2 billion from Florida’s affordable housing trust funds for other purposes, even as the shortage of affordable workforce housing in Florida has gotten worse.

Senate Bill 510 would have ended routine raids on the affordable housing trust funds. It would elevate them to a more protected status enjoyed by the State Transportation Trust Fund, the Florida Retirement System Trust Fund and a handful of others.  

Investing the housing trust funds as they were intended would ease Florida’s chronic shortage of affordable workforce housing, attract millions more matching federal and private dollars, and create tens of thousands of jobs and pump billions of dollars into the state’s economy. It would keep faith with the legislators and many stakeholders behind the passage of the Sadowski Act, who agreed to raise real estate taxes if the proceeds were reserved for affordable housing.  

The bill that reduced the share of documentary stamp tax funding for affordable housing, SB 2512, included language like that in HB 13/SB 510 barring future sweeps from the housing trust funds.


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SB 62 Bradley
FAILED SB 62 Regional Planning Councils
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FAILED -- OPPOSED

We are pleased to report that SB 62 failed this session and thank you for all of your calls and emails in opposition.  SB 62/Bradley sought to eliminate Florida’s ten Regional Planning Councils that provide instrumental technical planning assistance to local governments on everything from regional transportation coordination, disaster recovery, resiliency, affordable housing and more.  We appreciate all of you who called and emailed in opposition.  If passed this legislation would have:

Deprived local governments of technical planning assistance that is especially important to smaller cities and rural counties without the budget or staff to undertake essential planning

• Not resulted in any savings in General Revenue and left in limbo millions of dollars of grants already secured by RPCs to address economic recovery related to COVID-19 and disaster recovery, provide transit and address affordable housing, undertake critical habitat protection, address sea level rise, and more

• Reverted Florida to an uneven patchwork of intergovernmental agreements to address critical regional needs

 • Eliminatesd an important forum for local governments to work cooperatively to address regional issues and resolve intergovernmental conflict without resorting to litigation 

Here is more information on RPCs and what they do.


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SB 132 Hutson
FAILED SB 132 Rental of Homestead Property
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FAILED

SB 132/Hutson would have revised the criteria under which rental of homestead property is allowed for tax exemption purposes and not considered abandoned, etc.

 


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HB 315 LaMarca
SB 514 Rodrigues
FAILED SB 514/SB 315 Office of Resiliency
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

SB 514/Rodrigues and HB 315/LaMarca sought to establish the Statewide Office of Resiliency within the Executive Office of the Governor and create a Statewide Sea-Level Rise Task Force. A similar bill in the 2020 session also failed to become law.

 


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HB 219 Fischer
SB 522 Diaz
FAILED SB 522/HB 219 Vacation Rentals
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FAILED -- OPPOSED -- PREEMPTION

SB 522/Diaz and HB 219/Fischer sought to undermine local government control by preempting the regulation of short-term rental advertising to the state.  

 


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SJR 540 Farmer
FAILED SJR 540 Supermajority Vote for Legislative Preemption
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

SJR 540/Farmer SJR 540 sought to make the threshold higher for the passage of preemption bills by amending the Florida Constitution to require a supermajority of each house to approve a general law preempting a subject of legislation to the state. 

 


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HB 1133 Leek
SB 1504 Wright
FAILED HB 1133/SB 1504 Coastal Construction and Preservation
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FAILED -- OPPOSED

HB 1133/Leek and SB 1504/Wright would have required DEP to issue permits for sea walls to property owners when waves come within 100 feet of their property, encouraging development within vulnerable coastal areas unsuited for it. 

 


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HB 563 Rodriguez
SB 674 Rodriguez
FAILED SB 674/HB 563 Tax Exemption for Affordable Housing
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

SB 674/Rodriquez and HB 563/Rodriguez would have authorized counties and municipalities to adopt ordinances to grant ad valorem tax exemptions to property owners whose properties were used for the governmental or public purpose of providing affordable housing.


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HB 1379 Chaney
SB 1186 Brandes
FAILED HB 1379/SB 1186 Property Assessments for Elevated Properties
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FAILED

HB 1379/Chaney and SB 1186/Brandes would have shielded homeowners from paying higher property taxes on improvements made to protect their homes from flooding. 

 


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HB 6067 Eskamani
FAILED HB 6067 Repeal of Developer Incentive Requirements
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FAILED

HB 6067/Eskamani would have repealed removing provisions requiring counties and municipalities to provide incentives to fully offset the cost of certain affordable housing contributions or linkage fees.

 


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TRANSPORTATION

Bill #/SponsorTitle / Description
SB 100 Harrell
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 100 M-CORES
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/25/21

Statement by 1000 Friends of Florida President Paul Owens:

“We’re glad Governor DeSantis has chosen to sign Senate Bill 100, which repeals and replaces the unsustainable plan to build the 330-mile M-CORES network of toll roads through some of the most sensitive natural lands left in Florida.

We thank SB 100 sponsor Senator Gayle Harrell for drafting a bill that largely restores the planning process and its requirement to establish environmental and fiscal feasibility before highway construction begins.  We also thank Senator Randolph Bracy for making sure protections for the environment and vulnerable communities proposed by the M-CORES citizen task forces are included in SB 100.

This is still a major highway construction bill, and we’ll be closely monitoring the projects it authorizes to protect the environment and prevent urban sprawl development.  But Florida is better off now that M-CORES is in the rear-view mirror.

 

It is very unusual for the Legislature to undertake such a turn-around on major legislation of this nature. We also thank each and every one of you who weighed in on M-CORES and helped precipitate this significant U-turn."

 

To share your thanks, please contact Gov. DeSantis (850-717-9337 or governorron.desantis@eog.myflorida.com), Senator Harrell (772-221-4019 or harrell.gayle@flsenate.gov), Senator Bracy (407-297-2045 or bracy.randolph@flsenate.gov) and your state legislators and thank them for their bipartisan compromise on SB 100.

BACKGROUND:

1000 Friends of Florida was early and strong in our opposition to 2019’s M-CORES legislation, which authorized three new toll roads over 330 miles from the Panhandle to Collier County through some of the state’s finest remaining rural lands.

This year’s SB 100 on M-CORES passed, repealing 2019’s M-CORES toll road legislation and redirecting its funding. Because of this, planning and construction for an integrated system of up to 330 miles of new toll roads in three corridors in rural western Florida stretching from Collier County to the Georgia line comes to a halt.  If SB 100 had not passed, major planning would have continued for these roads, with construction beginning by the end of 2022.  

It is important to note that SB 100 still authorizes:

Upgrading and expanding U.S. 19 from Citrus County to Interstate 10 in Madison County

Planning a northern extension of the Florida Turnpike, with route to be determined, to be presented to the Legislature in 2022

Expanding other highways in rural areas, with priority for routes with high truck traffic 

However, these projects will go through the Florida Department of Transportation’s planning process, with a determination of need and feasibility prior to moving forward.  Also, the plans for the northern extension of the Florida Turnpike will require a “no build” option.  1000 Friends also successfully advocated that SB 100 be amended to reference the three task force reports, developed over a 15-month period with tremendous input from citizens, 1000 Friends and others, to better protect environmental resources and vulnerable communities in the three planning corridors.

While we would have preferred a straight repeal of M-CORES, the SB 100 compromise was achieved during an extremely challenging and partisan session with no political chance of an outright repeal.  We will remain vigilant to protect environmental and community assets that could be damaged by projects authorized under SB 100. 


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SB 1364 Brodeur
HB 729 Gregory
FAILED HB 729/SB 1364 Transportation projects
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FAILED -- OPPOSED

HB 729/Gregory and SB 1364/Brodeur would have removed a requirement in state law that at least 1.5 percent of spending on transportation construction projects be reserved to purchase plant materials. It would have capped spending on public transportation projects at 25 percent of annual deposits in the State Transportation Trust Fund. It would also have allowed contracts of less than $1 million for transportation safety improvements to be awarded without advertising or competitive bidding. 

 


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SB 924 Hooper
FAILED M-CORES SB 924 Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program
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FAILED

SB 924/Hooper would have revised the allocation of funds to programs for transportation in smaller counties, part of the original M-CORES authorization legislation. 

 


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HB 763 Diamond
SB 1030 Polsky
FAILED M-CORES SB 1030/HB 763 Repeal of the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program and Reversion of Program Funds
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FAILED

SB 1030/Polsky and HB 763/Diamond would have repealed the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program and reverted program funds including requiring portions of certain annual license tax revenues to be deposited into the General Revenue Fund, and revised the period during which certain revenues would be transferred to Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise.

 


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HB 6059 Shoaf
SB 1590 Ausley
FAILED M-CORES HB 6059/SB 1590 Composition of the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program
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FAILED, BUT INTENT INCORPORATED IN SB 100

HB 6059/Shoaf and SB 1590/Ausley would have removed Jefferson County as the terminus for the Suncoast Connector authorized under the M-CORES program. 

 


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CONSERVATION

Bill #/SponsorTitle / Description
SIGNED INTO LAW CONSERVATION FUNDING
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BUDGET SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/2/21

It turned out to be a strong year for conservation funding.  A sincere thanks to all of you who called urging more funding for land conservation and other critical issues.  1000 Friends welcomes the robust funding for conservation in the 2021-22 budget, and would like to see it sustained in future years without raiding the affordable housing trust fund, as noted in the section below. 

Tapping billions of federal dollars earmarked for Florida under the American Rescue Plan Act in addition to state funds, legislators provided:

$400 million for land conservation, with $100 million from the state’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund for the Florida Forever program and $300 million in federal funds for the program to prioritize protection of properties in the Florida Wildlife Corridor

$500 million for grants to help local governments guard against sea-level rise

$500 million to move houses from septic to sewer systems

$100 million for cleanup and closure of Piney Point phosphate plant

$75 million for protection and restoration of natural springs

$50 million for state parks

$40 million for alternative water supplieS

$8 million to restore access to springs and provide habitat restoration for manatees

For the third year in a row, legislators exceeded Gov. DeSantis’ $625 million request for Everglades restoration and water quality projects, including $419 million for the Everglades and more than $300 million for water quality projects. 


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SB 94 Brodeur
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 94 Water Storage North of Lake Okeechobee/LANGUAGE DUPLICATED IN SB 2516
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LANGUAGE DUPLICATED IN SB 2516 SIGNED BY GOVERNOR 6/2/21

SB 2516 requires the South Florida Water Management District, in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers, to expedite the development and implementation of aquifer storage and recovery wells north of Lake Okeechobee to reduce releases from the lake to coastal estuaries. 1000 Friends was neutral on this bill, because of lingering questions about the use of ASR wells north of the Lake.  

BACKGROUND:

SB 94/Brodeur would require the South Florida Water Management District to request that the Army Corps of Engineers seek congressional approval of a project implementation report for the Lake Okeechobee Watershed Restoration Project, and require the district, in partnership with the corps, to expedite the development and implementation of aquifer storage and recovery wells.

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 3/2); Appropriations The provisions of SB 94 were included in another bill, SB 2516. It was passed by the Senate 4/7 and the House 4/8. A conference committee was appointed to reconcile the differences in the legislation between the chambers. The Senate approved the conference report 4/30.  The House approved the conference report 4/30.

No House counterpart as of 3/17.


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HB 727 Truenow
SB 976 Brodeur
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 976/HB 727 Protection of Ecological Systems
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/29/21

SUPPORTED

SB 976 recognizes in state law the Florida Wildlife Corridor, a network of ecologically essential connected wildlife habitats. This bill also calls for a study on sediment accumulation in the Little Wekiva River, and a state grant to supplement local funding to restore the river. 

BACKGROUND:

SB 976/Brodeur and HB 727/Truenow would require a multi-agency study on sediment accumulation and water quality in the Little Wekiva River, and require a permit application for a development located partially or wholly within the Wekiva River Protection Area to include a study of the potential impacts to the Wekiva River.

This bill was amended and retitled “Protection of Ecological Systems.” The new provision creates “The Florida Wildlife Corridor” to recognize and promote a network of connected wildlife habitats required for ecological connectivity and key wildlife species. 

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 3/2); Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government (approved 3/24); Appropriations (approved 4/19) PASSED SENATE 4/21; PASSED HOUSE 4/27

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee (approved 3/8); Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee (approved 4/1); State Affairs (approved 4/15)


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HB 57 Andrade
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 1194 Transportation
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/29/21

OPPOSED -- REQUESTED VETO

SB 1194 includes including a definition and regulation of “borrow pits” used to extract soil, sand and clay for construction, a practice with negative environmental impacts. The same bill, however, was amended to override local limits on large cruise ships approved last November by Key West voters to protect the areas’s coral reef. 1000 Friends supported the borrow pits provisions, but strongly opposes the preemption of the Key West limits on cruise ships, and now supports a veto of the bill. 

BACKGROUND:

HB 57/Andrade and SB 1194/Hooper originallly addressed a wide range of transportation related provisions, including a definition and regulation of “borrow pits” used to extract soil, sand and clay for construction, a practice with environmental impacts. 

House referrals: Tourism, Infrastructure and Energy Subcommittee (approved 2/17); Commerce Committee (approved 4/19)

Senate referrals: Transportation (approved 3/24); Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations (approved 4/20) Passed Senate 4/22; PASSED HOUSE 4/28; PASSED SENATE AS AMENDED 4/28; PASSED HOUSE AS AMENDED 4/28


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SB 1482 Garcia
HB 1177 Avila
SIGNED INTO LAW SUPPORT SB 1482/HB 1177 Biscayne Bay
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SIGNED BY GOVERNOR 6/2/21

SUPPORTED

HB 1177 creates the Biscayne Bay Commission to be the official coordinating clearinghouse for all public policy and projects related to Biscayne Bay. The bill adds Biscayne Bay to the list of water bodies sewage disposal facilities are prohibited from disposing waste into. Once this bill was amended to promote cooperation between the new commission and local leaders, 1000 Friends supported it. 

BACKGROUND:

SB 1482/Garcia and HB 1177/Avila establish a Biscayne Bay Commission to be the the official coordinating clearinghouse for all public policy and projects related to Biscayne Bay, bringing together government agencies, businesses, and residents in the area to develop coordinated plans, priorities, programs, projects, and budgets to improve the bay area. The commission would act as the principal advocate and watchdog to ensure bay projects are funded and implemented.  The bill adds Biscayne Bay to the list of water bodies sewage disposal facilities are prohibited from disposing waste into. 

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding (approved 3/11); Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations (approved 3/16); State Affairs (approved 3/29) PASSED HOUSE 4/15; PASSED SENATE 4/26

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 3/15); Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government (approved 4/8); Appropriations (approved 4/21)


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SB 720 Berman
HB 283 Eskamani
FAILED HB 283/SB 720 State Renewable Energy Goals
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

HB 283/Eskamani and SB 720/Berman would have barred oil and gas drilling or production on Florida land or in Florida waters, required statewide renewable energy electricity & carbon emission reductions by specified dates, and directed the Office of Energy within the Department of Agriculture to develop a unified statewide energy plan.

 


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SB 722
HB 333 Aloupis
FAILED HB 333/SB 722 Everglades Protection Area
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

HB 333/Aloupis and SB 722/Rodriguez would have prohibited the Department of Environmental Protection from granting permits for drilling of wells for oil or gas & structures intended for drilling for, or production of, oil, gas, or other petroleum products within Everglades Protection Area.

 


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SB 546 Farmer
FAILED SB 546 Well Stimulation
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

SB 546/Farmer, the “Stop Fracking Act,” would have broadly banned “all stages of a well intervention performed by injecting fluids into a rock formation in order to propagate fractures in or dissolve the rock formation to increase production at an oil or gas well,” including pneumatic fracturing and matrix acidizing. 

 


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SB 594 Stewart
HB 6027 Grieco
FAILED HOME RULE SB 594/HB 6027 Preemption of Recyclable and Polystyrene Materials
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

SB 594/Stewart and HB 6027/Grieco would have repealed the preemptions of local law relating to the regulation of auxiliary containers, wrappings, or disposable plastic bags, and would have repealed the preemption of local laws regarding the use or sale of polystyrene products to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

 


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HB 779 Altman
SB 1730 Stewart
FAILED HB 779/SB 1730 Conservation easements
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FAILED

HB 779/Altman and SB 1730/Stewart would have allowed conservation land to retain its tax exempt status if it was used for recreational purposes. 

 


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HB 901 Bartleman
SB 1252 Berman
FAILED HB 901/SB 1252 Inland and Coastal Flood Control Funding Assessment
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

HB 901/Bartleman and SB 1252/Berman would have required the state Office of Economic and Demographic Research to conduct at least every five years an assessment of necessary expenditures to improve resilience to inland and coastal flooding associated with sea-level rise, high-tide events,storm surge, flash flood, stormwater runoff, and increased rainfall on a 50-year or longer planning period. The analysis was to identify gaps between projected and estimated revenues, expenditures, and needs.

 


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SB 916 Brodeur
FAILED SB 916 Residential Home Protection
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FAILED -- OPPOSED -- PREEMPTION

SB 916/Brodeur is aimed at some of the most flagrant abuses of the 2019 law barring local governments from regulating the pruning, trimming or removal of “dangerous” trees if the owner has a certification from an arborist or landscape architect. However, the bill maintains the current preemption if the arborist or landscape architect certifies that the tree poses a “moderate risk” to persons or property. 

 


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SB 1278 Ausley
HB 943 Shoaf
FAILED HB 943/SB 1278 Apalachicola Bay Area of Critical State Concern
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FAILED

HB 943/Shoaf and SB 1278/Ausley would have required at least $100,000 annually from Florida Forever allocations to be spent on projects to improve surface water & groundwater quality in Apalachicola Bay Area of Critical State Concern.

 


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HB 1173 Roth
SB 1480 Brodeur
FAILED HB 1173/SB 1480 Florida Forever Bonds
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

HB 1173/Roth and SB 1480/Brodeur would have extended authority for Florida Forever to finance acquisition of land or conservation easements by issuing bonds. 

 


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SB 1396 Gruters
HB 1167 Snyder
FAILED SB 1396/HB 1197 Tree Pruning, Trimming, or Removal on Residential Property
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FAILED

SB 1396/Gruters and HB 1167/Snyder would have included trailer parks within the definition of residential property where local governments are restricted from regulating tree trimming, pruning or removal. 

 


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1240 Hutson
FAILED SB 1240 Beach Funding
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FAILED -- OPPOSED

SB 1240/Hutson would have allocated up to $100 million a year from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for beach restoration.

 


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HB 1211 Altman
SB 1510 Stewart
FAILED SB 1510/ HB 1211 Land Acquisition Trust Fund
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

SB 1510/Stewart and HB 1211/Altman would have set an annual funding floor of $100 million for Florida Forever, the state’s premier land conservation program. They would have extended authority for the program to finance acquisition of land or conservation easements by issuing bonds. SB 510 would have barred using Florida Forever funds for agency administrative expenses. 

 


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HB 6023 Eskamani
SB 596 Stewart
FAILED HB 6023/SB 596 Preemption of Tree Pruning, Trimming, and Removal
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED -- HOME RULE

HB 6023/Eskamani and SB 596/Stewart would have repealed the preemption of local ordinances regulating tree pruning, trimming and removal. 

 


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SB 1174 Stewart
HB 6041 Eskamani
FAILED HB 6041/SB 1174 Preemption of Over-the-counter Drugs and Cosmetics
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FAILED -- HOME RULE

HB 6041/Eskamani and SB 1174/Stewart would have repealed the 2020 preemption to the state of local ordinances regulating over the counter drugs and cosmetics, including sunscreen. 


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HB 6049 Eskamani
FAILED HB 6049 Legal Rights of the Natural Environment
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FAILED -- HOME RULE

HB 6049/Eskamani would have repealed the 2020 law that prevents local governments in Florida from recognizing or granting certain legal rights to the natural environment or granting such rights relating to natural environment to person or political subdivision. 

 


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WATER

Bill #/SponsorTitle / Description
HB 263 Maggard
SB 64 Albritton
SIGNED INTO LAW SB 64 Reclaimed Water
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/29/21

SB 64 on reclaimed water authorizes “potable reuse” (or toilet to tap) as a source of drinking water and incentivizes the use of graywater in residential construction projects via density and intensity incentives for developers. We testified on this bill to point out how the incongruent incentives nullify the benefits of water reuse and ignore the bigger picture of our dwindling water supply. By pairing the requirement to phase out harmful discharges with the requirement to reclassify potable reuse as an alternative water supply source, the bill downgrades less costly conservation solutions to our water supply challenges instead of prioritizing conservation measures and compact development decisions.  While this bill is an improvement over the status quo, it does not address the root causes of Florida’s bigger water quality and supply issues as advocated by 1000 Friends and others.  1000 Friends thus remained neutral. 

BACKGROUND:

SB 64/Albritton and HB 263/Maggard would require certain domestic wastewater  utilities to submit to the Department of Environmental Protection by November 2021 a plan for eliminating nonbeneficial surface water discharge within 5 years by 2032. It would reclassify reclaimed water for potable reuse as an alternative source of drinking water, and would require local governments to authorize the use of graywater technologies in residential construction with density and intensity incentives for developers. 

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 2/1); Community Affairs (approved 3/3); Appropriations (approved 3/11); Passed Senate 3/18; PASSED HOUSE 4/14; AMENDED HOUSE VERSION PASSED SENATE 4/21

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding (approved 3/3); Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations (approved 4/1); State Affairs (approved 4/6)


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HB 1309 Payne
SPB 7060
SIGNED INTO LAW HB 1309 Ratification of Department of Environmental Protection Rules
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SIGNED BY GOVERNOR 6/21/21

HB 1309 passed ratifying both the Department of Environmental Protection’s rules regulating the land application of sewage sludge (biosolids) and the Central Florida Water Initiative rule. We spoke up in opposition to the state’s current unsustainable method for disposing of sewage sludge and advocated for prioritizing pilot projects for new technologies and resource recovery strategies instead of applying sewage sludge to our lands, but recognize the rule makes incremental progress in regulating this waste byproduct. 

BACKGROUND:

HB 1309/Payne and SPB 7060 ratifies DEP’s biosolids rule, circumventing review and approval by the Environmental Regulation Commission. HB 1309 was amended on 4/29 to include ratification of the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) rules.

House referrals.: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee (approved 3/15); State Affairs  (approved 3/24), PASSED HOUSE 4/1; PASSED SENATE 4/21; PASSED HOUSE AS AMENDED BY SENATE 4/29

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 3/15), Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government (approved 4/8); Appropriations  (approved 4/15) 


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SPB 7062
SIGNED INTO LAW (amended into HB 1309) SPB 7062 Central Florida Water Initiative
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SIGNED BY GOV. DESANTIS 6/21/21 (amended into HB 1309)

SPB 7062 ratifies the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) rules and requires the Department of Environmental Protection to submit a report to the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives addressing the economic barriers to implementing the requirements of CFWI, and a list of the recipients of any accommodations to hardship by December 2025 and December 2030. 

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 3/22); Appropriations  (approved 4/15) SPB 7062 was amended into HB 1309, a bill ratifying DEP rules related to biosolids on 4/29. 


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SB 336 Rouson
FAILED SB 336 Rouson Large Scale Agricultural Pollution Reduction Pilot Program
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FAILED

SB 336/Rouson would have created a large-scale agricultural pollution reduction pilot program within the Department of Environmental Protection as a partnership with dairy farms, and authorized DEP to grant general permits for certain department-approved large-scale dairy farm pollution reduction pilot program participants, utilizing a $1.3 million appropriation. 

Senate referrals: Agriculture (approved 1/27); Environment and Natural Resources (on agenda 2/15/postponed); Appropriations

No House counterpart as of 2/28


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HB 1237 Casello
SB 652 Taddeo
FAILED SB 652/ HB 1237 Bottled Water Excise Tax
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FAILED

SB 652/Taddeo and HB 1237/Casello would have imposed an excise tax upon bottled water operators of 12.5 cents per gallon extracted from waters of the state. Proceeds of the tax would have been deposited into the Wastewater Treatment and Stormwater Management Revolving Loan Trust Fund.

 


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HB 773 McClure
SB 1058 Burgess
FAILED SB 1058/HB 773 Sanitary Sewer Laterals
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FAILED

SB 1058/Burgess would have required local governments, rather than property owners, to pay the cost of repairing or replacing sanitary sewer laterals, using “state or local funds allocated for the purpose of environmental preservation or the protection of a clean water supply.” 

HB 773/McClure was similar, however it did not direct local governments to a specific funding source to cover the costs of sanitary sewer lateral projects.

 


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SB 1522/Stewart
HB 1225 Goff-Marcil
FAILED SUPPORT SB 1522 Implementation of the Blue Green Algae Task Force Recommendations
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FAILED -- SUPPORTED

Despite requests by you, 1000 Friends and other groups to support of SB 1522/HB 1225 “Implementation of the Recommendations of the Blue Green Algae Task Force,” the bill was not given a hearing in the House and so failed to pass.

SB 1522 “Implementation of the Recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force” was amended but still included sound recommendations made by Governor DeSantis’s task force such as requiring septic tank inspections at least once every five years, prioritizing waterway clean-up plans (Basin Management Action Plans) with the greatest impact on water quality and requiring an assessment of BMAP cost-effectiveness. 

This bill would have built upon the water quality protection work started last year and put into action the scientific recommendations made by Governor DeSantis’s task force. It would have:

Required the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop and implement a septic system inspection and monitoring program.

Required Basin Management Action Plans (BMAPs) to prioritize restoration projects with the greatest impact on water quality, and require an assessment of their cost-effectiveness in reducing pollution.  

Last year’s water quality legislation “The Clean Waterways Act” was sparked by the ghastly harmful algal bloom and red tide incidents of 2018, that caused widespread marine life fatality and economic loss along our coastlines. Unfortunately, we are still witnessing the effects of poor water quality today as demonstrated on the east coast by loss of seagrasses, leading to an unprecedented number of manatee deaths due to starvation in the Indian River Lagoon. Along with toxic algal blooms, seagrass die-offs are associated with polluted water. 

BACKGROUND:

SB 1522/Stewart and HB 1225/Goff-Marcil would implement recommendations from the Blue-Green Algae Task Force’s consensus report to increase Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) effectiveness, include estimates of load and input reduction in agricultural Best Management Practices (BMPs), require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to administer a septic tank inspection program, and require DEP to administer a stormwater system inspection and monitoring program, among other provisions. 

 


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