2021 Legislative Session

Saving Special Places • Building Better Communities
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2021 Legislative Priorities

With the 2021 Florida Legislative Session now underway, 1000 Friends is tracking legislation, drafting recommended provisions, and reaching out to key legislators for support.  Please check out 1000 Friends of Florida’s legislative priorities for the 2021 session.

We appreciate those of you who were able to share your legislative priorities with your county delegation public hearings and encourage you to contact your state legislators on issues of importance to you.

How can you participate?

Attend 1000 Friends’ Free 2021 Legislative Update Webinar — Register now for 1000 Friends’ annual Legislative Update webinar, being held on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 from noon to 1:30 EST.  Find out what legislation is likely to be up for consideration and how you can make a difference.  Professional certification credits are being offered.

Sign up for 1000 Friends’ Email Alerts — We send regular alerts on legislative and other issues, and signing up is an outstanding way to stay abreast of what is up for consideration.  We will keep you apprised of key legislation and how you can help.

Visit this page regularly — We update it with the latest information on new legislation and who to contact to express support or concerns.

1000 Friends of Florida updates the bill information below regularly, but please follow the links to the actual bills to ensure you are viewing the most recent information

Updated April 12, 2021

2021 Florida Legislative Session


ACTION NEEDED

Bill #/SponsorTitle / Description
URGENT: Planning and Paying for Growth Under Attack by the Florida Legislature -- Contact Your Legislators Now!
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URGENT:  PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS!

With hundreds of thousands of new residents moving to Florida each year, managing the impacts of this growth is essential if we are to maintain our quality of life.  A series of damaging bills this session would severely curtail the ability of our communities to plan for growth and shift the costs for new development to existing residents.

These damaging bills are up for consideration in hearings this week.  Please contact your State Senator and State House Representative as soon as possible to say VOTE NO!  Let them know:

SB 750/HB 337 on impact fees will make it virtually impossible for local governments to require that new development pays its own way, meaning that existing residents will shoulder even more of the costs associated with new development through raised taxes, declining services, or both. 

·       SB 1876/HB 421 on “property rights” will have a chilling effect on the ability of local governments to properly enforce their comprehensive plans and land development regulations, and protect natural resources by expanding the definition of “government action.”

·       SB 1274 on small-scale amendments will reduce oversight of proposed development projects by increasing five-fold the size of development required to undergo review by the state.

More information on these bills is included below.  These issues are urgent, and we hope you’ll contact your State Senator and State House Representative soon and ask them to VOTE NO.  As always, calls are best but please send an email if that’s not possible.  

BACKGROUND

SB 1274 sponsored by Senator Keith Perry seeks to increase the acreage threshold for small scale plan amendments.  Currently, a comprehensive plan amendment that proposes a change in a land use designation on a local government’s Future Land Use Map can avoid any input from other state agencies like DEO, FDOT and the water management districts if the property is ten acres or less or twenty acres or less in rural areas.  These are known as small scale plan amendments and they receive expedited review with only one public hearing.  This bill seeks to increase the qualifying acreage for expedited review and lack of oversight by five times to fifty acres and one hundred acres in rural areas. A similar bill, HB 487, sponsored by Representative Wyman Duggan passed the House earlier this month.

SB 750/HB 337 sponsored by Senator Joe Gruters and Representative Nick DiCeglie limit the ability of local governments to raise impact fees.  Impact fees are charges imposed on new developments to pay for the cost of capital facilities made necessary by the growth that the new development brings to an area.  By limiting the ability to raise impact fees, the quality of life for many Floridians will be undercut by increased traffic congestion, fewer libraries, public safety facilities, correctional facilities, parks, and general government resources.

SB 1876/HB 421 sponsored by Senator Ben Albritton and freshman Representative Kaylee Tuck seeks to expand the Bert Harris Jr. Private Property Rights Protection Act by redefining the scope of what constitutes “government action.”  The broadened definition changes the trigger for the application of the Act from when a property owner seeks a permit application to the date of adoption of any ordinance, resolution, regulation, rule or policy.  This change will result in a chilling effect on the ability of local governments to properly enforce their comprehensive plans, land development regulations, and overall ability to protect natural resources.


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

SB 1522 “Implementation of the Recommendations of the Blue-Green Algae Task Force” has passed its first two committee stops. Thank you for your calls and emails in support of this good bill that will continue to make progress protecting water quality statewide. 

SB 1522 has been amended, but the remaining provisions still include 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. Harmful algal blooms are fueled by pollution from a range of sources and it’s important we continue cracking down on all the causes of water body impairment. 

Want to do more? You can also call your Senator and share why you support protecting Florida’s waters through SB 1522. Find your Senator here. SB 1522’s House companion, HB 1225, has not been heard in committee, and it wouldn’t hurt to also let your House Representative know about this good bill. Find your House Representative here.  

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

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

Require 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. 

This year we have a chance to make further strides in protecting all Florida waters and continue to implement the scientifically sound recommendations made by the Blue-Green Algae Task Force. 

***

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. 

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations; State Affairs

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 3/29); Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government (approved 4/8); Appropriations


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SB 62 Bradley
OPPOSE SB 62 Regional Planning Councils
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Please contact your state legislators and urge them to VOTE NO ON SB 62 and any HOUSE COMPANION that would eliminate Regional Planning Councils (RPCs).  This legislation:

Deprives 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

• Does not result in any savings in General Revenue and leaves 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

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

 • Eliminates 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.

SB 62/Bradley would eliminate Florida’s 10 Regional Planning Councils (RPCs) which provide a proven platform for local governments to work cooperatively to address important regional issues. RPCs do not receive state general revenue but rather secure their own funding, raising millions of dollars in federal and other funding to go with modest dues from local member governments. They address critical issues including hurricane recovery, environmental restoration, sea level rise, and more.  They do not have regulatory authority, and their governing boards include an elected official from each participating jurisdiction.  Even though there is not yet a companion House Bill please also contact your Representatives to let them know about your strong opposition to the elimination of RPCs.

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (approved 1/26); Judiciary; Rules


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GROWTH MANAGEMENT

Bill #/SponsorTitle / Description
SB 510 Hooper
HB 13 Killibrew/Silvers
SUPPORT HB 13/SB 510 State Funds
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SUPPORT
HB 13/Killebrew and Silvers and SB 510/Hooper would prevent 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.

1000 Friends supports SB 510 because it would:

·        End routine raids on Florida’s affordable housing trust funds and elevate them to a more protected status enjoyed by the Senate Transportation Trust Fund and others

·        Ensure that affordable housing funds be used for their intended purpose

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 end 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.  

House referrals: Infrastructure and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee; Appropriations Committee

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (approved 2/2); Finance and Tax (approved 2/18); Appropriations


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HB 35 Fine
SB 402 Rodrigues
HB 35/SB 402 Legal Notices
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HB 35/Fine would give governmental agencies the option to publish legal notices for planning and other public meetings online in lieu of newspaper publication if certain conditions are met. Government agencies would provide an option for residents to sign up to receive public notices by first-class mail or email. SB 402/Rodrigues would, for a fee, allow legal notices to be published on a statewide website maintained by the Supreme Court in lieu of a newspaper. Fees collected to publish legal notices would be used to aggregate and display data regarding restitution, fines and fees owed by former felons.

House referrals: Civil Justice and Property Rights Subcommittee (approved 2/3); Judiciary Committee

Senate referrals: Judiciary (on agenda 2/15 - temporarily postponed); Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice; Appropriations


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SB 284 Perry
HB 55 Overdorf
OPPOSE PREEMPTION HB 55/SB 284 Building Design
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OPPOSE
PREEMPTION
HB 55/Overdorf and SB 284/Perry would bar local government design review and authority for residential building.

One of 1000 Friends’ foundational priorities is to help build better communities in Florida.  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

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


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SB 496 Perry
HB 59 McClain
OPPOSE HB 59/SB 496 Growth Management
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OPPOSE

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

HB 59 seeks to amend Florida’s growth management statutes by requiring all local governments to include an element in their comprehensive plans regarding private property rights.  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
OPPOSE SB 88/HB 1601 Farming Operations
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OPPOSE

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

Senate referrals: Judiciary (approved 2/1); Environment and Natural Resources (approved 2/15); Rules (approved 3/4);  Senate passed 3/18

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


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

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (approved 2/2), Finance and Tax, Appropriations

No House counterpart as of 1/7.


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SB 750 Gruters
HB 337 DiCegli
OPPOSE HB 337/SB 750 Impact Fees
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OPPOSE

HB 337/DiCeglie and SB 750/Gruters include several provisions to restrict impact fees imposed by local governments or special districts, including requiring local governments & special districts to credit against collection of impact fee any contribution related to public facilities, providing annual limitations on impact fee increases; and requiring specified entities to file affidavits attesting that impact fees were appropriately collected & expended.

Senate referrals: Community Affairs approved 3/24; Finance and Tax (approved 3/31); Appropriations

House referrals: Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (approved 3/16); Ways and Means (approved 3/31); State Affairs


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HB 403 Giallombardo
SB 266 Perry
OPPOSE HB 403/SB 266 Home-based businesses
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OPPOSE

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

• HB 403 would pre-empt 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.

• HB 403 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.   

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

• Allowing unregulated home-based businesses would mean 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).

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


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HB 421 Tuck
SB 1876 Albritton
OPPOSE HB 421/SB 1876 Governmental Actions Affecting Private Property Rights
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OPPOSE

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

Concerns include:

Floridians already enjoy among the most robust property rights in the nation due to provisions of the U.S. and Florida Constitutions, and Florida’s Bert J. Harris Private Property Rights Act so this legislation is not needed.

This could have significant fiscal impacts on local governments and their taxpayers.

This would have an unneeded chilling effect, making local governments even more reluctant to set appropriate limits on land use and development within their jurisdictions.

This bill burdens local governments by making it easier for a private property owner to bring a claim, reducing the time local governments have to respond to the claim of burden on private property, and would increase the amount of attorney fees that the local government would have to pay, financially straining local taxpayers. 

Comprehensive plans guide development and economic growth in a way that protects the natural and cultural resources of a community. HB 421/SB 1876 would make it more difficult for local governments to protect the land, waters and character valued by all community members.

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 absorb 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

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


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SB 426 Boyd
HB 267 Roach
OPPOSE PREEMPTION SB 426/HB 267 State Preemption of Seaport Regulations
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OPPOSE
PREEMPTION

SB 426/Boyd and HB 267/Roach would 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. 

Senate referrals: Transportation (approved 3/10); Community Affairs approved 3/24; Rules

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


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SB 1274 Perry
HB 487 Duggan
OPPOSE HB 487/SB 1274 Small Scale Development Amendments
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OPPOSE
HB 487/Duggan would increase 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 would also increase 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); House approved 4/1

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (approved 3/30); Commerce and Tourism; Rules


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HB 315 LaMarca
SB 514 Rodrigues
SUPPORT SB 514/SB 315 Office of Resiliency
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SUPPORT
SB 514/Rodrigues and HB 315/LaMarca would 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 failed to become law.

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 2/15); Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government; Appropriations

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee; Appropriations; State Affairs


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HB 219 Fischer
SB 522 Diaz
OPPOSE PREEMPTION SB 522/HB 219 Vacation Rentals
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OPPOSE
PREEMPTION
SB 522/Diaz and HB 219/Fischer would preempt the regulation of vacation rentals to the state, and prohibit a local law, ordinance, or regulation from allowing or requiring inspections or licensing of public lodging establishments, including vacation rentals, or public food service establishments.

SB 522 was amended by the sponsor on 3/11 to maintain a provision in current law that allows local ordinances adopted up to 2011 to remain in effect, including if they are subsequently amended to be less restrictive, but it preempts the regulation of short-term rental advertising platforms to the state.  

House referrals: Regulatory Reform Subcommittee (approved 2/10); Ways and Means Committee (temporarily postponed 3/22); Commerce Committee

Senate referrals: Regulated Industries (approved 2/16); Appropriations (approved 3/11); Rules


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SJR 540 Farmer
SUPPORT SJR 540 Supermajority Vote for Legislative Preemption
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SUPPORT HOME RULE
SJR 540/Farmer proposes amending the Florida Constitution to require a supermajority of each house to approve a general law preempting a subject of legislation to the state.

No House counterpart as of 2/28.

Senate referrals: Community Affairs; Judiciary; Rules


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HB 1013 Rayner
SB 628 Rouson
SB 628/HB 1013 Urban Agriculture
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SB 628/Rouson and HB 1013/Rayner would 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

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee; Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee; Appropriations; State Affairs 


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HB 563 Rodriguez
SB 674 Rodriguez
SUPPORT SB 674/HB 563 Tax Exemption for Affordable Housing
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SUPPORT
SB 674/Rodriquez and HB 563/Rodriguez would authorize counties and municipalities to adopt ordinances to grant ad valorem tax exemptions to property owners whose properties are used for the governmental or public purpose of providing affordable housing.

Senate referrals: Community Affairs; Finance and Tax; Appropriations

House referrals: Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee; Ways & Means; State Affairs


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HB 839 Fabricio
SB 856 Hutson
OPPOSE PREEMPTION SB 856/HB 839 State Preemption of Energy Infrastructure Regulations
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OPPOSE
PREEMPTION
SB 856/Hutson and HB 839/Fabricio would preempt to the state regulation of the construction of energy infrastructure. This would include infrastructure for oil and gas, electricity, and solar and wind. 

The sponsor of SB 856 added an amendment that he said would more narrowly target the bill to prevent local governments from banning gas stations within their boundaries. 

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

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


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HB 761 Overdorf
SB 1008 Hutson
OPPOSE SB 1008/HB 761 Solar Electrical Generating Facilities
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OPPOSE

SB 1008/Hutson and HB 761/Overdorf would provide 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

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


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HB 1101 Persons-Mulika
OPPOSE HB 1101 Relief From Burdens on Real Property Rights
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OPPOSE

HB 1101/Persons-Mulicka would would greatly expand the scope of potential claims under the Bert Harris Act, with significant fiscal impacts for local governments and their taxpayers.   

HB 1101 was amended into HB 421 by the Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.  

House referrals: Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee (approved 3/12); Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (approved 4/1); Judiciary 


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HB 1133 Leek
SB 1504 Wright
HB 1133/SB 1504 Coastal Construction and Preservation
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OPPOSE

HB 1133/Leek and SB 1504/Wright would require 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. 

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations; State Affairs

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government; Appropriations


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HB 1379 Chaney
SB 1186 Brandes
HB 1379/SB 1186 Property Assessments for Elevated Properties
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HB 1379/Chaney and SB 1186/Brandes would shield homeowners from paying higher property taxes on improvements made to protect their homes from flooding. 

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee; Ways & Means Committee; State Affairs Committee

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (on agenda 3/10); Finance and Tax; Appropriations


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SB 1954 Rodrigues
HB 7019 Bussata
SB 1954/HB 7019 Statewide Flooding and Sea-level Rise Resilience
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SB 1954/Rodrigues and HB 7019/Busatta Cabrera would establish the Resilient Florida Grant Program within DEP to fund costs of community resilience planning; require DEP to develop a Statewide Flooding & Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan; require water management districts to submit proposed projects to DEP; authorize local governments to create regional resilience coalitions; establish Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research & Innovation within USF; and require 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

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
PASSED -- OPPOSE SB 2512/HB 5401 Documentary Stamp Tax Distribution/Affordable Housing
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OPPOSE

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. 

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

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

***

Under the Sadowski Affordable Housing Act of 1992, a broad coalition brought together by 1000 Friends of Florida crafted a plan to increase taxes on real-estate transactions to dedicate the proceeds to a range of effective and accountable programs to build or renovate affordable housing or provide financial assistance to help Floridians stay in their homes. 

In his proposal for the budget year that begins July 1, Governor DeSantis proposed $423 million for affordable workforce housing — full funding from the designated share of documentary stamp taxes. Just last week, however, legislative leaders unveiled a plan to divert two-thirds of the affordable housing funds for programs to upgrade wastewater treatment and protect against flooding and sea-level rise. These are critical needs as Florida struggles to improve water quality and prepare for the impacts of climate change. However, these needs should not be addressed at the expense of affordable housing, which is also a critical need. 

Many essential workers in Florida whom we have come to appreciate more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic — including health care workers, first responders, teachers and social workers — can’t afford to live in the communities they serve. Almost a million Floridians spend more than half their income on housing, leaving them one missed paycheck away from homelessness. 1000 Friends advocates affordable workforce housing as an essential element in sustainable communities. 

Maintaining full funding for affordable housing doesn’t just address a critical need. It also supports tens of thousands of jobs in Florida, pumps billions of dollars into the state’s economy, and adds tens of millions of dollars to state and local tax revenues.  

There are other funding sources that can be tapped to invest in programs to upgrade wastewater treatment and protect against flooding and sea-level rise, including billions of federal dollars coming to Florida under the American Rescue Plan that became law this month. There is no need for legislators to cannibalize funding for affordable housing. While some of the ARP dollars would provide temporary rental and mortgage assistance, none are designated for alleviating the chronic shortage of affordable housing by building or renovating places to live. 

This harmful legislation would permanently slash by two-thirds the funding reserved under a landmark 1992 law to expand access to affordable workforce housing in Florida. 


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HB 6067 Eskamani
HB 6067 Repeal of Developer Incentive Requirements
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HB 6067/Eskamani would repeal removing provisions requiring counties and municipalities to provide incentives to fully offset the cost of certain affordable housing contributions or linkage fees.

No Senate counterpart as of 2/28.

House referrals: Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee; Commerce; State Affairs


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TRANSPORTATION

Bill #/SponsorTitle / Description
SB 100 Harrell
M-CORES SB 100 Highway Projects
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SB 100/Harrell would repeal the law that authorized the three M-CORES toll roads in 2019 but redirect its funding to widening and upgrades of existing roads in the corridors for two of the three roads, the Suncoast Connector and the Northern Turnpike Connector. The bill was passed by the Senate on March 25.  

The bill was amended during consideration on the Senate floor to direct the Department of Transportation and Florida Turnpike Enterprise to "take into consideration the guidance and recommendations" of the task force reports authorized under the 2019 M-CORES law. 

SB 100 would repeal 2019’s M-CORES legislation and instead direct the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to move forward on certain road projects in Suncoast and Northern Turnpike corridors.  SB 100 authorizes improvements to certain arterial roads, some of which are in the M-CORES Southwest-Central Corridor.  Even though the 330-mile toll road proposal is eliminated, SB 100 still would pave the way for significant road construction in each of the three M-CORES corridors.

Senate referrals: Transportation (approved 3/3), Appropriations (approved 3/18) Approved by Senate, 3/25

No House counterpart as of 3/25

 

***

 

1000 Friends continues to seek amendments to improve supports a series of amendments to this bill as it moves to the Florida House for consideration:

1. Require preliminary studies to evaluate need and economic and environmental feasibility of any proposed projects in the three corridors.  Don’t repeat the mistakes made in the 2019 M-CORES legislation.  Make transportation decisions based on sound planning, not legislative mandate.  

2. Clarify that it is not the intent for projects under this legislation to supersede projects in the existing or proposed FDOT 5-Year Work Programs.

3. Assist with minimizing impacts on rural character by calling for innovative parkway and road design.

4.  Minimize sprawling development patterns through interchange management plans.

BACKGROUND:

The Senate approved SB 100 to repeal and replace the M-CORES project on Thursday, March 25.  Passed by the 2019 Florida Legislature, M-CORES authorized construction of a 330-mile toll road system through rural lands from Collier County to the Florida-Georgia border.  1000 Friends of Florida continues to oppose the M-CORES road system.

While 1000 Friends has serious concerns about SB 100, it is moving quickly through the legislative process, and we recognize there is behind-the-scenes momentum for its passage.  If SB 100 and other proposed bills that would alter or repeal M-CORES do not pass, the toll roads will remain on track to be built as provided in the 2019 legislation.

1000 Friends of Florida has raised opposition to M-CORES since the legislation first surfaced in 2019.  When it passed, we agreed to participate on the three task forces established under the legislation.  We declined to support the final task force reports, believing they did not do enough to curtail sprawl.  However, the reports do include valuable recommendations to protect natural lands, waters, wildlife and other threatened resources.  Given the likelihood that SB 100 will pass, we need to continue to work to make it less damaging.


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SB 1364 Brodeur
HB 729 Gregory
OPPOSE HB 729/SB 1364 Transportation projects
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OPPOSE

HB 729/Gregory and SB 1364/Brodeur would remove 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 cap spending on public transportation projects at 25 percent of annual deposits in the State Transportation Trust Fund. It would also allow contracts of less than $1 million for transportation safety improvements to be awarded without advertising or competitive bidding. 

Senate referrals: Transportation; Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations

House referrals: Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee; Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee; Commerce


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SB 924 Hooper
M-CORES SB 924 Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program
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SB 924/Hooper would revise the allocation of funds to programs for transportation in smaller counties, part of the original M-CORES authorization legislation. 

Senate referrals: Transportation; Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations

No House counterpart as of  3/17. 


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

Senate referrals: Transportation; Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations

House referrals: Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee; Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee; Commerce


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HB 6059 Shoaf
SB 1590 Ausley
M-CORES HB 6059/SB 1590 Composition of the Multi-use Corridors of Regional Economic Significance Program
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HB 6059/Shoaf and SB 1590/Ausley would remove Jefferson County as the terminus for the Suncoast Connector authorized under the M-CORES program. 

House referrals: Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee (approved 3/3); Commerce (approved 4/6)

Senate referrals: Transportation; Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations


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CONSERVATION

Bill #/SponsorTitle / Description
HB 57 Andrade
HB 57/SB 1194 Transportation
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HB 57/Andrade and SB 1194/Hooper address 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

Senate referrals: Transportation (approved 3/24); Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development; Appropriations


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SB 94 Brodeur
SB 94 Water Storage North of Lake Okeechobee
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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

No House counterpart as of 3/17.


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

House referrals: Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; Commerce 

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Regulated Industries; Rules 

 


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SB 722
HB 333 Aloupis
SUPPORT HB 333/SB 722 Everglades Protection Area
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SUPPORT
HB 333/Aloupis and SB 722/Rodriguez would prohibit the Department of Environmental Protection rom 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.

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Community Affairs; Rules

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee (approved 3/23); Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee (approved 3/30; State Affairs


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SB 546 Farmer
SUPPORT SB 546 Well Stimulation
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SUPPORT
SB 546/Farmer, the “Stop Fracking Act,” would broadly ban “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. 

No House counterpart as of 2/2.

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government; Appropriations


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SB 594 Stewart
HB 6027 Grieco
SUPPORT HOME RULE SB 594/HB 6027 Preemption of Recyclable and Polystyrene Materials
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SUPPORT
HOME RULE
SB 594/Stewart and HB 6027/Grieco would repeal the preemptions of local law relating to the regulation of auxiliary containers, wrappings, or disposable plastic bags, and repeal ; the preemption of local laws regarding the use or sale of polystyrene products to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,

House referrals: Regulatory Reform Subcommittee; Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee; Commerce Committee

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Community Affairs; Rules


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HB 779 Altman
SB 1730 Stewart
HB 779/SB 1730 Conservation easements
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HB 779/Altman and SB 1730/Stewart would allow conservation land to retain its tax exempt status if it is used for recreational purposes. 

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee; Ways & Means; State Affairs

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Finance and Tax; Appropriations


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HB 901 Bartleman
SB 1252 Berman
SUPPORT HB 901/SB 1252 Inland and Coastal Flood Control Funding Assessment
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SUPPORT 
HB 901/Bartleman and SB 1252/Berman would require 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 must identify gaps between projected and estimated revenues, expenditures, and needs.

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government; Appropriations.

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs


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SB 916 Brodeur
OPPOSE PREEMPTION SB 916 Residential Home Protection
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OPPOSE
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. 

Senate referrals: Community Affairs (approved 3/16); Judiciary; Rules

No House counterpart as of 2/28.


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

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government; Appropriations

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee; Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee; State Affairs


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HB 727 Truenow
SB 976 Brodeur
SUPPORT SB 976/HB 727 Study of the Little Wekiva River
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SUPPORT 
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.

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 3/2); Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government (approved 3/24); Appropriations

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


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HB 1173 Roth
SB 1480 Brodeur
SUPPORT HB 1173/SB 1480 Florida Forever Bonds
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SUPPORT

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

House referrals: Agriculture & Natural REsources Appropriations; Ways & Means; Appropriations

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


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1240 Hutson
OPPOSE SB 1240 Beach Funding
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OPPOSE

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

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government; Appropriations

No House counterpart as of 2/28.


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SB 1396 Gruters
HB 1167 Snyder
SB 1396/HB 1197 Tree Pruning, Trimming, or Removal on Residential Property
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SB 1396/Gruters and HB 1167/Snyder would include trailer parks within the definition of residential property where local governments are restricted from regulating tree trimming, pruning or removal. 

Senate referrals: Community Affairs; Judiciary; Rules

House referrals: Civil Justice & Property Rights; Local Administration & Veterans Affairs; Judiciary 


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SB 1482 Garcia
HB 1177 Avila
SB 1482/HB 1177 Biscayne Bay
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SB 1482/Garcia and HB 1177/Avila would 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)

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


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HB 1211 Altman
SB 1510 Stewart
SUPPORT SB 1510/ HB 1211 Land Acquisition Trust Fund
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SUPPORT

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

House referrals: Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations; Ways & Means; Appropriations

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government; Appropriations


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HB 6023 Eskamani
SB 596 Stewart
SUPPORT HOME RULE HB 6023/SB 596 Preemption of Tree Pruning, Trimming, and Removal
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SUPPORT
HOME RULE
HB 6023/Eskamani and SB 596/Stewart would repeal the preemption of local ordinances regulating tree pruning, trimming and removal. 

House referrals: Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee; Commerce Committee; State Affairs Committee

Senate referrals: Community Affairs; Judiciary; Rules


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SB 1174 Stewart
HB 6041 Eskamani
HOME RULE HB 6041/SB 1174 Preemption of Over-the-counter Drugs and Cosmetics
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HOME RULE
HB 6041/Eskamani and SB 1174/Stewart would repeal the 2020 preemption to the state of local ordinances regulating over the counter drugs and cosmetics, including sunscreen. 

House referrals: Professions & Public Health Subcommittee; Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee; Health & Human Services

Senate referrals: Community Affairs; Regulated Industries; Appropriations


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HB 6049 Eskamani
HOME RULE HB 6049 Legal Rights of the Natural Environment
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HOME RULE
HB 6049/Eskamani would repeal 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. 

House referrals: Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee; Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee; Judiciary

No Senate counterpart as of 3/17.


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WATER

Bill #/SponsorTitle / Description
HB 263 Maggard
SB 64 Albritton
SB 64/HB 263 Reclaimed Water
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SB 64/Albritton and HB 263/Maggard would require certain domestic wastewater  utilities to submit to the Department of Environmental Protection by November a plan for eliminating nonbeneficial surface water discharge within 5 years.  It would reclassify reclaimed water for potable reuse as an alternative source of drinking water.

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 2/1); Community Affairs (approved 3/3); Appropriations (approved 3/11); PASSED SENATE 3/18

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


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SB 336 Rouson
SB 336 Rouson Large Scale Agricultural Pollution Reduction Pilot Program
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SB 336/Rouson would create a large-scale agricultural pollution reduction pilot program within the Department of Environmental Protection as a partnership with dairy farms, authorizing 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
SB 652/ HB 1237 Bottled Water Excise Tax
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SB 652/Taddeo and HB 1237/Casello would impose an excise tax upon bottled water operators of 12.5 cents per gallon extracted from waters of the state. Proceeds of the tax would be deposited into the Wastewater Treatment and Stormwater Management Revolving Loan Trust Fund.

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources; Finance and Tax; Appropriations

House referrals: Ways & Means; Environment, Agriculture & Flooding; Appropriations; State Affairs 


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HB 773 McClure
SB 1058 Burgess
SB 1058/HB 773 Sanitary Sewer Laterals
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SB 1058/Burgess would require 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 is similar, however it does not direct local governments to a specific funding source to cover the costs of sanitary sewer lateral projects.

Senate referrals: Environment and Natural Resources (approved 3/15); Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government (approved 3/24); Appropriations

House referrals: Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee (approved 3/8); Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee (approved 4/1); State Affairs 


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HB 1309 Payne
SPB 7060
HB 1309/SPB 7060 Ratification of Department of Environmental Protection Rules
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HB 1309/Payne and SPB 7060 would ratify DEP’s biosolids rule, circumventing review and approval by the Environmental Regulation Commission. 

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

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


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SPB 7062
SPB 7062 Central Florida Water Initiative
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SPB 7062 would ratify the Central Florida Water Initiative (CFWI) rules and would require 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).


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