This week was the last week of interim committee meetings before the start of the regular session on March 5. The latest bill tracking report, as of Feb. 22, can be found here.

Of interest, bills were filed over the past week which would do the following

  • Require the Florida Building Commission to adopt ceiling heights and loft sizes applicable to tiny homes (SB 1268, which is identical to the previously filed HB 801).
  • Require community development districts to obtain a just valuation before acquiring property that includes land or is permanently affixed to land (SB 1250, which is identical to the previously filed HB 151).
  • Provide tax reductions, after July 1, 2019, to taxpayers who build a qualifying affordable housing project, elderly housing project or workforce housing project if certain criteria are met (SB 1314).
  • Appropriate $20 million dollars annually, from 2020 to 2030, from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to the Apalachicola Bay Area of Critical State Concern to be used for a variety of purposes (SB 1256 and HB 921).
  • Preempt the regulation of vacation rentals, including but not limited to inspection, licensing and occupancy limits, to the state. The bill would allow a local government to regulate activities that arise when a property is used as a vacation rental if the law, ordinance, or regulation applies uniformly to all residential properties (HB 987 which is similar to the previously filed SB 824).
  • Create requirements for hosting platforms which facilitate bookings for vacation rentals or transient/nontransient apartments (SB 1196).
  • Revise requirements for cost accounting and reporting for school districts (SB 1198).
  • Create the “Local Government Fiscal Transparency Act” which would require additional public noticing of proposed local government actions that increase taxes, enact new taxes, extend expiring taxes, or issue tax-supported debt and requiring voting records of local governing bodies related to such actions to be easily and readily accessible by the public (HB 15).
  • Create the “Northwest Florida Rural Inland Affected Counties Recovery Fund” to facilitate the planning, preparation, and financing of infrastructure projects and workforce programs (SB 1162 which is similar to the previously filed HB 191).
  • Require school districts to publish on its website certain information related to collective bargaining within specified time period (HB 913).
  • Authorize school districts to use specified fund for construction of certain facilities and certain capital outlay purposes, and revises provisions relating to cost per student stations and construction funding (HB 889 which is identical to the previously filed SB 294).
  • Require the Department of Environmental Regulation to adopt rules for biosolids management (SB 1278).
  • Transfer the Onsite Sewage Program from the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Protection (HB 973).
  • Amend statues related to government accountability and auditing, including requiring local governments to establish and maintain internal controls and maintain certain budget documents on their websites for specified timeframes (HB 7035 which is similar to the previously filed SB 7014).

Additionally, the following bills of interest had action since last week’s Legislative Reporter was sent out.

Growth Management

Preemption of Local Regulations: CS/HB 3 (Rep. Grant), a strike-all amendment, was moved favorably by the House Business & Professions Subcommittee on Feb. 21 and now goes to the House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee. The bill would prohibit a local government from adopting or imposing any new regulation on a business or business entity after July 1, 2019 unless the local government has undertaken certain actions and analyses. The bill was amended by the committee to specifically exempt any regulation expressly authorized by general law. 

The bill requires that on or after July 1, 2019, a local government may not adopt or impose any new regulation that is not expressly authorized by general law on a business or business entity unless the local government has:
a) determined and publicly stated that the regulation is justified because:

  • it is necessary to protect public health, safety and welfare from significant and discernable harm or damage;
  • it is regulated in a manner that does not unnecessarily restrict entry into the business or adversely affect the availability of the business’ services to the public; and
  • the regulation is done in the least restrictive and most cost-effective manner.

b) required that the regulation sunset two years after the date of adoption and cannot be readopted without meeting these requirements;
c) passed the regulation by a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the governing body, except when the regulation concerns zoning regulations, regulations that increase building costs by less than $750, nuisance ordinances, and ordinances related to alcohol or tobacco; and
d) completed and published a statement of estimated regulatory costs 14 days prior to any vote on the regulation, and has determined that the regulatory costs on the business or business entity could not be reduced by the adoption of a less costly alternative. The bill lays out nine items that must be considered and included in this statement.

The bill also provides that any regulation of a business or business entity adopted or imposed before July 1, 2019 expires on July 1, 2021 and can only be readopted after meeting the above criteria. The bill also specifically preempts the regulation and licensing of professions and occupations to the state. Any such local regulations existing before July 1, 2019 expires on July 1, 2021. The bill also specifically prohibits local governments from requiring a license for a person whose job scope does not substantially correspond to a contractor type licensed by the Construction Industry Licensing Board, and specifically precludes local governments from requiring a license for: painting, flooring, cabinetry, interior remodeling, driveway or tennis court installation, and decorative stone, tile, marble, granite, or terrazzo installation, plastering, and stuccoing.

State Shared Revenues: SB 594 (Sen. Hutson) was filed on Jan. 29 and has been assigned to three committees of reference. The bill would authorize any member(s) of the legislature to request that the Attorney General investigate any ordinance, regulation, order, or other official action adopted or taken by the governing body of a county or municipality which impacts commerce and which the member(s) allege violates state law or the Florida State Constitution. The Attorney General has 30 days to make a written report of the findings and conclusions of the investigation. If the Attorney General finds a violation has occurred or likely occurred, a civil action for declaratory or injunctive relief must be filed in the appropriate circuit court. If the circuit court issues an order finding a violation has occurred, the county or municipality must remedy the violation within 30 days or file an appeal. Failure to do so shall result in the Department of Revenue withholding the share of revenues apportioned to the county or municipality under parts II and VI of chapter 218, with some exceptions.

The first committee of reference for this bill is the Senate Community Affairs Committee. There is no House companion bill as of date.

Growth Management: HB 291 (Rep. McClain), would require local comprehensive plans to include a property rights element by July 1, 2020 and provides a statement of rights that local governments can use to fulfill this requirement. Similar bills have been filed in past years but have not passed. HB 291 was moved favorably by the Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Feb. 20. A similar bill,

SB 428 (Sen. Perry) was filed on Jan. 22 and assigned to three committees of reference.

Economic Development/Redevelopment

Regional Rural Development Grants: SB 596 (Sen. Albritton) makes changes to how the Regional Rural Development Grant program and the Rural Infrastructure Fund operate. Specifically, the bill amends the Regional Rural Development Grant Program to:

  • Increase the maximum annual grant amount to $250,000 from $150,000 that three regional economic development organizations that serve the entire region of a rural area of opportunity may receive;
  • Increase the amount of funds the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) may expend for the program to up to $1 million annually (from up to $750,000 annually);
  • Reduce the required match the regional economic development organizations must contribute in non-state resources from 100 percent to 25 percent of the state’s contribution; and
  • Allow the use of grant funds to build the professional capacity of regional economic development organizations.

The bill amends the Rural Infrastructure Fund program to:

  • Increase the grant awards to 50 percent of infrastructure project costs (up from 30 percent);
  • Clarify that eligible infrastructure projects include access to broadband Internet service, and projects that improve service and access must be through a partnership that was publicly noticed and competitively bid; and
  • Require the DEO to review the grant program application and award procedures by Sept. 1, 2020.

Contracts or agreements for the Regional Rural Development Grant Program or the Rural Infrastructure Fund that expend state grant funds must contain certain specific contract provisions and be posted online.

The bill was moved favorably by the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Feb. 19 and now moves to the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee, its second of three committees of reference.

Sports Development: SB 414 (Sen. Lee) repeals the Sports Development program in s.288.11625, F.S. The program provides an avenue for applicants, including local governments, to apply for a distribution from the state to fund construction or improvements to a professional sports franchise facility. Since the program was enacted in 2014, no application has been approved by the Legislature. The bill was moved favorably by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development on Feb. 20. It now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee, its last committee of reference. HB 233 (Rep. Beltran), an identical bill, is in the House Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee, its first committee of reference.

Environment/Natural Resources

C-51 Reservoir Project: CS/SB 92 (Sen. Book), which revises the provisions related to this reservoir project, was moved favorably by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government on Feb. 20. The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee, its last committee of reference. CS/HB 95 (Rep. Jacobs), an identical bill, is in the House State Affairs Committee, its last committee of reference.

Coastal Management: HB 325 (Rep. La Marca) makes a number of changes related to beach management projects and inlet management projects. As it relates to beach management projects, the bill revises and provides more detail on the criteria DEP must consider when ranking beach management projects for funding consideration and requires DEP to adopt rules that divide the criteria into a four-tier scoring system. DEP must assign each tier a certain percentage of overall point value, and DEP must weigh the criteria equally within each tier. The bill changes how DEP may utilize surplus funds and the procedures that must be followed.

For inlet management projects, the bill:

  • Revises and updates the criteria that DEP must consider when ranking inlet management projects for funding consideration, and requires DEP to weigh each criterion equally;
  • Authorizes DEP to pay up to 75 percent of the construction costs of an initial major inlet management project component, and allows DEP to share the costs of the other components of inlet management projects equally with the local sponsor;
  • Requires DEP to rank the inlet monitoring activities for inlet management projects as one overall subcategory request for funding separate from the beach management project funding requests; and
  • Eliminates the requirement for the Legislature to designate one of the three highest ranked inlet management projects on the priority list as the Inlet of the Year.

The bill updates how DEP must develop and maintain a Comprehensive Long-Term Beach Management Plan that requires DEP to include the following, at a minimum: a strategic beach management plan, a critically eroded beaches report, and a statewide long-range budget plan that includes a three-year work plan that identifies beach nourishment and inlet management projects viable for implementation during the ensuing fiscal years.

The bill was moved favorably by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee on February 21 and now moves to the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. A similar bill, SB 446 (Sen. Mayfield), has not been heard in committee as of date.


Impact Fees: CS/HB 207 (Rep. Donalds), moved favorably by the House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Feb. 20, prohibits any local government from requiring payment of impact fees any time prior to issuing a building permit. The bill codifies the requirement for impact fees to bear a rational nexus both to the need for additional capital facilities and to the expenditure of funds collected and the benefits accruing to the new construction. Local governments will be required to designate the funds collected by the impact fees for acquiring, constructing, or improving the capital facilities to benefit the new users. Impact fees collected by a local government may not be used to pay existing debt or pay for prior approved projects unless such expenditure has a rational nexus to the impact generated by the new construction. The bill further excludes fees charged for connecting to water and sewer systems.

The committee amended the original bill to remove a provision providing for an award of attorney fees to a party who successfully challenged the imposition of an impact fee by a local government. The bill now moves to the House Commerce Committee, its second to three committees of reference. A similar bill, SB 144 (Sen Gruters), was temporarily postponed by the Senate Community Affairs Committee on February 5.

Constitution Revision Committee

Abolishing the Constitution Revision Commission: SJR 362 (Sen. Brandes) proposes amendments to the Florida State Constitution to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission. It was moved favorably by the Senate Government Oversight and Accountability Committee on Feb. 19. It now moves to the Senate Rules Committee, its last committee of reference. A similar bill, CS/HJR 249 (Rep. Drake), is in the House State Affairs Committee, its second of three committees of reference.

Please contact the Chapter Office at if you have any questions about a specific bill or would like to add one to this tracking report.