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Job Opportunity – Alachua County Firefighter

October 16, 2017 by FLERA

Alachua County Board of County Commissioners

Firefighter

$33,327.92 – $51,658.55 Annually

Closing Date: 12/15/17

Minimum Qualifications:

FIREFIGHTER:

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR FIREFIGHTER:

Graduation from high school or equivalent. Successful completion of a pre-employment physical examination and criminal history background check is required prior to employment.

Upon submission of application, proof of the following must be provided:

1. A sworn affidavit attesting to the non-use of tobacco products. Click this link to retrieve the document.

2. Current enrollment in a state recognized Fire Academy (if non-certified at time of application). Candidate must receive State of Florida Certificate of Compliance prior to official job offer.

3. Applicants must possess and maintain a valid Florida Driver’s license, with an acceptable driving record. “The Driving Policy is currently under review. You may qualify under the new policy; we encourage you to apply for the position”.

4. Candidates must possess a valid Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) Certificate provided by an authorized CPAT testing center prior to interview date. Valid CPAT certificates must be dated within 1 year of application date.

5. Alachua County will pay for Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training and certification, EMT certification must be obtained within one year of employment in the FF classification.  Applicants will be required to make a two year commitment as a full time certified EMT with Alachua County Fire Rescue.

 FIREFIGHTER EMT 56:

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE FIREFIGHTER EMT 56:

Graduation from high school or equivalent. Successful completion of a pre-employment physical examination and criminal history background check are required prior to employment.

Upon submission of application, proof of the following must be provided:

A sworn affidavit attesting to the non-use of tobacco products

State of Florida Firefighter Certificate of Compliance or current enrollment in a state recognized Fire Academy (if non-certified at time of application). Candidate must receive State of Florida Certificate of Compliance prior to official job offer.

Applicants must possess and maintain a valid Florida Driver’s license, with an acceptable driving record. “The Driving Policy is currently under review. You may qualify under the new policy; we encourage you to apply for the position”.

Prior to the interview date, proof of the following must be provided:

Candidates must possess a valid Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) Certificate provided by an authorized CPAT testing center prior to interview date. Valid CPAT certificates must be dated within 1 year of application date.

At the time of hire, proof of the following must be provided:

Current State of Florida Firefighter Certificate of Compliance.

Possession and maintenance of State of Florida Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Certification is a condition of continued employment with Alachua County Fire Rescue. Individuals must be certified as Emergency Medical Technician in order to perform EMT duties.

FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC 56

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE FIREFIGHTER/PARAMEDIC 56:

Graduation from high school or equivalent. Successful completion of a pre-employment physical examination and criminal history background check is required prior to employment.

Upon submission of application, proof of the following must be provided:

1. A sworn affidavit attesting to the non-use of tobacco products. Click this link to retrieve the document.

2. State of Florida Firefighter Certificate of Compliance or current enrollment in a state recognized Fire Academy (if non-certified at time of application). Candidate must receive State of Florida Certificate of Compliance prior to official job offer.

3. Applicants must possess and maintain a valid Florida Driver’s license, with an acceptable driving record. “The Driving Policy is currently under review. You may qualify under the new policy; we encourage you to apply for the position”.

4. Candidates must possess a valid Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) Certificate provided by an authorized CPAT testing center prior to interview date. Valid CPAT certificates must be dated within 1 year of application date.

5. All firefighters will be hired into the position as a Firefighter/EMT. Once the candidate  has successfully met with and been approved by the County’s Medical Director to provide Advanced Life Support care, the candidate will then be reclassified as a Firefighter Paramedic.

6.  Current designation as an Advanced Cardiac Life Support Provider.

Upon appointment to position, the following must be completed and maintained as a condition of employment:

1. Successful completion of a course in Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support / International Trauma Life Support must be obtained within the first twelve months upon appointment to position.

2. Certification by the Alachua County Medical Director within the first month of employment and maintain this certification as a condition of employment.

3. Possession and maintenance of a State of Florida Paramedic Certification is a condition of continued employment with Alachua County Fire Rescue.

NOTE: APPLICANTS SELECTED FROM THIS POSTING MAY BE PLACED ON AN ACTIVE ELIGIBILITY LIST FOR 24 MONTHS.

NOTE: This position for firefighter is funded under a Federal SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Grant program. This grant is funded through February of 2021. In the event that funding is not continued for these positions, the positions will be eliminated unless otherwise directed by the BOCC at the end of the grant program. Employees are eligible for benefits but have no rights to permanent employment.

Please apply on-line at http://www.alachuacounty.us/employment. Please direct inquiries regarding this position to (352) 374-5219.

 

Applicants with disabilities will be accommodated in the application process. Preference in initial appointment will be given to eligible veterans and spouses of disabled veterans.

ALL OFFERS OF EMPLOYMENT WILL BE CONTINGENT UPON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF A PRE-EMPLOYMENT DRUG TEST.

TDD users, please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).

AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER M.F.V.D.

Pursuant to Florida’s open records law, applications and resumes are subject to public disclosure.

Job Opportunity – Alachua County Senior Environmental Specialist

October 16, 2017 by FLERA

Alachua County Board of County Commissioners

Senior Environmental Specialist

$47,499.09 – $73,784.88 Annually

Closing Date: 10/27/17

Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree with major course work in environmental science, environmental engineering, chemistry, natural science, or a related field, and three years of professional level environmental related experience; or any equivalent combination of related training and experience. Must possess and maintain a valid State of Florida driver’s license. Applicants within six months of meeting the education/experience requirement may be considered for trainee status.

Note: This position is in the Parks and Conservation Land Division

Please apply on-line at http://www.alachuacounty.us/employment. Please direct inquiries regarding this position to (352) 374-5219.

Applicants with disabilities will be accommodated in the application process. Preference in initial appointment will be given to eligible veterans and spouses of disabled veterans.

ALL OFFERS OF EMPLOYMENT WILL BE CONTINGENT UPON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF A PRE-EMPLOYMENT DRUG TEST.

TDD users, please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).

AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER M.F.V.D.

Pursuant to Florida’s open records law, applications and resumes are subject to public disclosure.

Job Opportunity – Alachua County Environmental Professional Engineer

October 16, 2017 by FLERA

Alachua County Board of County Commissioners

Environmental Professional Engineer

$64,752.27 – $103,728.98 Annually

Closing Date: 10/27/17

Minimum Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering or civil engineering and four years of professional level environmental engineering experience or equivalent professional engineering related experience. Must become registered as a Professional Engineer (P.E.) by the State of Florida within six months of employment. Applicants within six months of meeting the education/experience requirement may be considered for trainee status.

Please apply on-line at http://www.alachuacounty.us/employment. Please direct inquiries regarding this position to (352) 374-5219.

 

Applicants with disabilities will be accommodated in the application process. Preference in initial appointment will be given to eligible veterans and spouses of disabled veterans.

ALL OFFERS OF EMPLOYMENT WILL BE CONTINGENT UPON SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF A PRE-EMPLOYMENT DRUG TEST.

TDD users, please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).

AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER M.F.V.D.

Pursuant to Florida’s open records law, applications and resumes are subject to public disclosure.

Job Opportunity – Hillsborough County Project Manager I (Quality Assurance)

October 16, 2017 by FLERA

Project Manager I (Quality Assurance)
Recruitment #1710-PM1EPCQ-002

Date Opened: 10/13/2017 4:00:00 PM
Filing Deadline: 10/27/2017 11:59:00 PM
Salary: $46,238.40 – $73,424.00/year
Department: Environmental Protection Commission
Job Type: Open Recruitment
Employment Type: Full-Time
Click HERE to apply

 

IDEAL CANDIDATE PROFILE

The ideal candidate will have at least a bachelor’s degree in a technical field with three years of experience in either a laboratory or environmental program involved in quality assurance of data and/or experience writing standard operating procedures.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

A Bachelor’s degree with a major in the natural sciences or engineering; and three or more years of program/project management experience that includes at least two years of experience in a laboratory or environmental program with data quality assurance responsibilities and/or responsibility for developing and implementing standard operating procedures.

Or

An equivalent combination of education, training and experience that would reasonably be expected to provide the job-specific competencies noted below.

JOB SPECIFIC COMPETENCIES

  • Knowledge and understanding of data quality statistics and acceptance testing.
  • Knowledge of statistical software and word processing program.
  • Knowledge of the principles and practices of project management.
  • Knowledge of the processes, activities, requirements and objectives of the functional area to which assigned.
  • Mathematical skills in performance and quality assurance statistics and evaluating performance audits.
  • Technical writing skills in preparing quality assurance reports, technical evaluations, and standard operating procedures.
  • Ability to read, understand, and explain technical guidance documents and federal regulations.
  • Ability to plan and implement data quality controls and enhancements.
  • Ability to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and solve problems involving several variables or unique situations.
  • Ability to manage the details of projects, track activities and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to collect, organize and analyze data and make logical decisions.

REPRESENTATIVE DUTIES

Note: The following duties are illustrative and not exhaustive. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position. Depending on assigned area of responsibility, incumbents in the position may perform one or more of the activities described below.

  • Generates air monitoring instrument performance statistics and quality assurance reports needed to review and validate air monitoring data.  This includes identifying and tracking the corrective actions necessary when performance criteria are not met.
  • Reviews and updates Air Monitoring Section Standard Operating Procedures for data quality assurance and quality control and provided comments to federal or state Quality Assurance Project Plans, technical assistance documents, and statewide SOPs.
  • Performs internal audits of field technician engaged in air pollutant sampling, instrument maintenance, and data management.
  • Designing project plans for special purpose air monitoring studies, developing presentations and public information materials for the air monitoring program.
  • Reviews and evaluates new and revised air monitoring regulations and reporting requirements which includes participation on USEPA Region 4 and statewide workgroups of committees.
  • Performs project management work by managing, coordinating and implementing small projects or parts of larger complex projects.
  • Directs and coordinates activities concerned with the implementation of a project.
  • Prepares or assists in the preparation of contract drafts, requests for proposal, and other related documents for review.
  • Manage project execution to ensure adherence to plan, schedule and scope.
  • Identifies, tracks, monitors and communicates project-related tasks, issues, scope changes, variances and contingencies that may arise during the project implementation.
  • Monitors project budget, monitors status of allocated funds and controls expenses.
  • Prepares and maintains project documentation.
  • Performs other related duties as required.

This classification description is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as an all inclusive list of the duties associated with a particular position. Management may require incumbents to perform job duties other than those contained in this document at any time.

Conclusion

VETERANS’ PREFERENCE: The Civil Service Board and its client agencies value the service veterans and their family members have given to our country and support the hiring of returning service members and military spouses. Therefore, special consideration and priority in appointment will be given to veteran preference-eligible applicants (as described in Section 295.07, F.S.) throughout each step of the selection process.

The applicant claiming veterans’ preference is responsible for providing required documentation that clearly shows dates of service, campaign awards or medals received, and character of discharge (DD-214 Member-4 or Service-2 copy) to support entitlement to preference CAN be provided at the time of application submission. Documentation can easily be provided to us electronically through this online application system (preferred), but can also be provided to us by email, fax, or USPS. However, in ALL cases, required documentation must be provided to us prior to the closing date of the vacancy announcement.

Applicants that meet the minimum job requirements and qualify for Veterans’ Preference who believe they have not been afforded employment preference in accordance with applicable Florida law, may file a written complaint requesting an investigation with the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Division of Benefits and Assistance, 9500 Bay Pines Blvd, Room 214, St. Petersburg, Florida 33708. The complaint must be filed within 60 calendar days from the date the applicant receives notice that s/he was not selected.  Prior to filing a complaint, however, it is the responsibility of the preference-eligible applicant to contact the employer at least one time after 45 days have passed from the final date for submitting an application or the interview date, whichever is later in time, if the applicant has not received notice of a hiring decision.

For more information on Veterans’ Preference, please visit the Civil Service Board website by clicking here.

DRUG-FREE WORK PLACE: The employers of Hillsborough County have implemented a drug-free workplace and all offers of employment are conditioned on job applicants successfully passing a drug test.

RESPONSE/RECOVERY ACTIVITIES: Employees may be required to participate in response/recovery activities in response to a major emergency or natural disasters affecting County operations. In such situations, every effort will be made to maintain operations, but employees may be assigned to carry out response activities suited to their skills and capabilities.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

Hillsborough County provides equal employment opportunity to all persons, regardless of age, race, religion, color, national origin, sex, political affiliations, marital status, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, age, sexual orientation, membership or non-membership in an employee organization, or on the basis of personal favoritism or other non-merit factors.

Hillsborough County welcomes and encourages applications from persons with physical and mental disabilities, and will reasonably accommodate the needs of those persons in the application and testing process. The decision on granting reasonable accommodation requests will be on a case-by-case basis.

APPLICANTS RIGHTS UNDER FEDERAL EMPLOYMENT LAWS:  Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Poster;  Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Poster; and Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) Poster.

FLERAlert – October 13, 2017

October 13, 2017 by flera

FLERA Board Welcomes New Members

The FLERA Board of Directors met on October 4, 2017 in Alachua County and held elections to fill Board vacancies along with conducting other Association business. Please welcome our newest FLERA Board members to the team:

Lisa Spadafina, Secretary-Treasurer, Miami-Dade County
Neal Thomas, Orange County
Steve Hofstetter, Alachua County
Darry Boudreau, The Nature Conservancy.

Board members invest significant time to the Association so we hope you will join us in welcoming them aboard.

October 9-13 Legislative Committee Week Recap

Most of the legislative committees this week were in some way related to Hurricane Irma, Florida’s recovery efforts, and the effect of the storm on the state’s budget. The Governor has over $140M in emergency funds available. This, coupled with the negative effect on Florida’s economy due to the storm itself, means that Florida has gone from expecting a healthy budget surplus of over $50M to expecting a significant budget shortfall of almost $150M.

Additionally, many bills related to Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) allocations have been filed. Senator Bradley is sponsoring SB 204, which currently allocates $50M for the St. Johns River or Keystone Heights. He is also sponsoring SB 370, which would allocate $100M for Florida Forever. Senator Latvala is sponsoring SB 174, which allocates $50M for the statewide beach program. Representative Harrell has indicated that she will file legislation that allocates $50M to the Indian River Lagoon. We understand that additional LATF proposals from other legislators are on their way. These proposals will likely total more than will actually be available in the LATF.

The Florida Keys were particularly hard hit by Hurricane Irma and Monroe County now faces a serious housing crisis, in addition to other significant recovery-related issues. Hurricane Maria is also affecting the state in that Florida schools are dealing with an influx of hundreds of students, many of whom are not English-speaking and have been out of school for several weeks already. It promises to be a challenging budget year, not just for environmental programs, but for everyone.

 

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

The temporary extension and reauthorization of NFIP expires on December 8. In the meantime, Congress has considered legislation that would promote development of private flood insurance as part of legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration and provide hurricane tax relief. The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) recently wrote Congressional leaders and urged them not to do this, as it would undermine the critical functioning of the NFIP. ASFPM has urged Congress to ensure continuity of the comprehensive flood risk reduction aspects of NFIP today by doing three things:

First, private policies must also vary the federal policy user fee to support mapping and floodplain management functions.

Second, private policies to satisfy the mandatory purchase requirement for properties in floodplains must only be sold in communities that participate in the NFIP (meaning that they have adopted floodplain management ordinances to guide safer development).

Third, several provisions of the existing definition of private flood insurance must be maintained. Current language in Biggert-Waters provides consumer protections to ensure policies would not have excessive deductibles, exclusions, or eliminate some essential coverages such as Increased Cost of Compliance, which provides assistance to policyholders to rebuild in a manner that reduces flood damage in the future.
We will continue to keep you informed on this issue.

 

FLERA Committee Volunteers

FLERA is currently soliciting volunteers to serve on various committees to assist the organization in advancing its mission.

Conference Committee – We want our 2018 Annual Conference to be a remarkable event and we need your help! Planning is underway and input from FLERA members is critical to its success. This Conference Committee will guide the planning and administration of the conference and other events in the future.

Legislative Committee – The 2018 Legislative Session is quickly approaching and there are many policy and funding challenges ahead. Join the FLERA Legislative Committee to help educate legislators and keep FLERA members apprised of legislative activity.

Finance Committee – The Board of Directors recently established the Finance Committee whose tasks will include reviewing the Association’s financial records and making budget recommendations to the FLERA Board.

If you are interested in serving on one of these committees please contact Valerie Rogers at (850) 701-4797.

Save the Date! The 2018 FLERA Annual Conference will be held August 1-3, 2018 at the Hutchinson Shores Resort on Hutchinson Island in Martin County. Registration and hotel information will be available in the coming weeks.

FLERAlert – Volume 1 Issue 14

May 11, 2017 by FLERA

Session Wrap Up
The Legislature was scheduled to conclude its work on Friday, May 5, but finally adjourned sine die on Monday, May 8 at 8:52 pm, after extending through the weekend and into Monday because the budget was not completed on time.  There was much speculation that the chambers might end session with no budget and come back for a special session in June.  Although the budget was ultimately completed, it was a bumpy ride.  Hundreds of pages of policy were amended into conforming bills and debated on the floor of both chambers Friday and Monday.  Many significant legislative items, such as gaming, medical marijuana, workers compensation, and assignment of benefits legislation did not make it past the finish line.  We have highlighted some of the major environmental items of interest here.  For a detailed bill report that contains the final status of all the legislation FLERA tracked, please click here.

 


Your Conference Committee is finalizing preparations for the 2017 FLERA Annual Conference at the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota from August 2-4, 2017. Registration information and hotel options can be found on the FLERA website.

 


Bills That Passed

Lake Okeechobee
SB 10 by Senator Bradley authorizes a significant increase in southern water storage to further the goal of reducing and eventually eliminating harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee, a priority of Senate President Joe Negron. The bill authorizes up to $800 million in Florida Forever bonds and appropriates $30 million for this fiscal year and $64 million annually beginning next fiscal year for the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) Reservoir Project.  It also appropriates funding for the C-51 Reservoir Project.

Natural Hazards
HB 181 by Representative Jacobs creates a natural hazards interagency working group for the purpose of sharing information on current and potential impacts of natural hazards through the state, coordinating ongoing efforts of state agencies in addressing impacts of natural hazards, and collaborating on statewide initiatives to address natural hazards.  The bill defines “natural hazards” to include extreme heat, drought, wildfire, sea-level change, high tides, storm surge, saltwater intrusion, stormwater runoff, flash floods, inland flooding, and coastal flooding.  The bill requires the Division of Emergency Management, on behalf of the workgroup, to prepare and submit an annual progress report to the Governor and Legislature beginning January 1, 2019, and requires agency liaisons to ensure the report is posted on their agency websites.

Resource Recovery and Management
HB 335 by Representative C. Clemons expands the exemption from solid waste regulations to facilities that convert recovered materials by gasification, pyrolysis, or other thermal conversion process.  The bill also defines terms used in the exemption and makes conforming changes to other statutes.

Pollution
SB 1018 by Senator Grimsley contains provisions related to contaminated site cleanup as well as pollution notification.  The bill provides for the advancement ahead of priority ranking for the rehabilitation of individual petroleum contaminated sites proposed for redevelopment.  It also provides that any reportable pollution release must be reported to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) within 24 hours.

 


Bills That Failed

Preemption
HB 17 by Representative Fine and SB 1158 by Senator Passidomo, while different in substance, both would have significantly eroded local government home rule authority.  HB 17 received on hearing that was lengthy and contentious.  The bill passed this committee but was not heard again.  SB 1158 did not receive a hearing.  These bills would have significantly impacted local environmental programs.

Florida Forever
HB 7119 by the House Governmental Accountability Committee would have realigned the components and priorities of the Florida Forever program.  The bill would have removed funding allocations for acquisitions identified on water management districts’ priority lists, acquisition of inholdings and additions to state parks, state forests, lands managed by FWC, greenways and trails, and land acquisition grants under FRDAP.  These projects would remain eligible to receive funding through the priority list developed by the ARC.

The bill would have increased the funding allocation to Florida Communities Trust from 21 percent to 25 percent and would have consolidated the Stan Mayfield Working Waterfronts Program into this allocation.  It also would have increased funding allocations for the Rural and Family Lands Program from 3 percent to 40 percent.  Lastly, it would have removed the use of Florida Forever funding for capital project expenditures and land management.  The Legislature would still be able to directly appropriate funding for these items under the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.  This bill surfaced late in the session and the Senate did not agree to include this proposal in the budget package.

Stormwater
HB 751 by Representative C. Clemons and SB 1378 by Senator Perry would have required all local governments to adopt DEP best management practices (BMPs) and other local stormwater management measures and would have prohibited local governments from adopting more stringent water quality standards for stormwater discharges.  Although it would have given local governments a presumption of compliance with water quality standards, the bills had numerous technical problems.  Neither bill received a hearing.

Agency Rulemaking
HB 1163 by Representative Spano and SB 1640 by Senator Broxson would have required state agencies to prepare a statement of estimated regulatory cost before adoption, amendment, or repeal of any rule except an emergency rule.  HB 1163 passed the House but died in Senate messages.  SB 1640 died in its second of three committees.

HB 1225 by Representative Fitzenhagen and SB 1352 by Senator Young would have required the Governor to appoint Administrative Law Judges to four year terms from nominees selected by a statewide nominating commission.  HB 1225 passed the House but died in Senate messages.  SB 1352 died in its last committee.

Budget Update

May 1, 2017 by FLERA

Budget Conferees and allocations were announced yesterday and conference committees began meeting yesterday evening.  Unresolved budget items will bump to the full chairs on Saturday at noon and to the presiding officers at noon on Sunday.  Budgets will need to be finalized, printed and on the desks next Tuesday in order for the Legislature to Sine Die next Friday.

Land conservation programs continue to suffer in budget negotiations.  The Rural and Family Lands Program has not even been a part of budget negotiations to date.  Last year, the program received $35M.  After House and Senate Offer No. 1, Florida Forever has been zeroed out and the item is closed, although Representative Caldwell has indicated that negotiations are ongoing and there may be funding for Florida Forever as budget negotiations continue.  House Offer No. 1 includes $15M for Florida Communities Trust, but the Senate currently has zero funding for this program.

HB 7119 may also appear in budget negotiations.  This bill would streamline and reprioritize Florida Forever.  An amendment in the House would provide funding in out years, scaling up from $57M next year to $200M going forward.  However, HB 7119 does not contain any funding for this budget year.

The Senate met the House position on the Local Government Cleanup Contracting Program and this item has closed out at $13M, a $1M reduction over last year.  The Distribution to Counties from Motor Vehicle Registration Proceeds for air pollution programs was fully funded on both sides at $8.7M and is not part of the current ongoing budget negotiations.

Funding for Beaches is at $30M in the House, with no Hurricane Matthew recovery funding and $100M in the Senate, including $18M for Hurricane Matthew recovery and $50M for the traditional program. Water Projects are currently at $20M in the House and $58M in the Senate.  Although both the House and Senate offer continue to have significant levels of funding for Everglades Restoration, this item will likely be one of the last programs negotiated, as the House and Senate negotiate over SB 10.  This bill addresses water storage south of Lake Okeechobee.

FLERAlert Volume 1 Issue 9

March 31, 2017 by flera

Budget
This week, the House and Senate unveiled their initial budgets.  The Appropriations Committees will meet next week to pass the respective budgets, which will then go to the floor of both chambers.  Once the House and Senate have passed their budgets, the conference process can begin.

Land conservation is not faring well in either budget this year.  The Rural and Family Lands program received no funding on either side.  Last year, the program received $35M.  Florida Forever also received no funding in the House, but did receive $15.2M in funding in the Senate.  This represents a carryover of the recurring funds received last year.  Florida Communities Trust received $10M in the House and $5M in the Senate.

The Local Government Cleanup Contracting program received full funding of $14M in the Senate but received $13M in the House.  The Distribution to Counties from Motor Vehicle Registration Proceeds for air pollution programs was fully funded on both sides at $8.7M.

Notably, the Senate also transferred $111M in agency employee salaries and benefits from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) to General Revenue (GR), thus freeing these funds up for environmental programs.

Funding for other major environmental programs on both sides includes: Beaches, $30M in the House (no Hurricane Matthew recovery funding) and $100M in the Senate (including $50M for Hurricane Matthew recovery and $50M for the traditional program); Everglades, $165M in the House and $275M in the Senate; Springs, $40M in the House and $50M in the Senate; Water Projects, $20M in the House and $64M in the Senate.

 


Building Code
HB 901 by Representative McClain received its first hearing in the House this week.  This is the companion to SB 7000, which has been the subject of much controversy because it requires Florida to use the most recent Florida Building Code as the base code in each triennial cycle, as opposed to the International Code Council’s I-Code.  HB 901 was amended in committee to go back to the I-Code and extend the current 3 year code cycle to 5 years.  Additionally, Florida-specific amendments would no longer have to be resubmitted for each new code cycle.  HB 901 was also amended to reduce the size of the Florida Building Commission from 27 to 11.  This was a controversial proposal and generated lengthy testimony from opponents.

SB 7000 has also been amended onto SB 860, which also contains an internship path for building code inspector certification and would create a provisional certification for code inspectors and plans examiners who meet certain requirements.  Both SB 7000 and SB 860 are in their last committee, Appropriations.  HB 901 has two committees remaining.

 


Recovered Materials
HB 1133 by Representative Toledo and SB 1288 by Senator Baxley add wood, asphalt, and concrete to the list of recovered materials defined in statute.  Recovered materials must have known recycling potential and be removed from the waste stream.  By adding these materials to the definition of recovered materials, these bills exempt wood, asphalt, and concrete and facilities that store, process, resale or reuse them from solid waste regulations if they meet certain criteria in statute.  Facilities storing, processing, reselling, or reusing these materials would not have to meet the criteria for construction and demolition debris facilities or organic processing and recycling facilities.  Further, this change would prohibit certain local government regulation of these materials and facilities.  HB 1133 has one committee remaining and SB 1288 has two more committees.

 


Septic Tanks
HB 285 by Representative Fine passed its second of three committees in the House this week.  Previously, the bill required inspections of septic tanks within one year of the sale of a property and removed a local government preemption related to septic tank inspections.  However, it was amended in committee to require a study of the locations of septic tanks in Florida and to require a disclosure upon the sale of a property, rather than an inspection.  The companion, SB 1748 by Senator Stewart, has not been heard.

 


Specialty License Plates
HB 1375 by Representative Grant (J) was heard in its second of three committees this week in the House.  The bill currently contains provisions that require the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to stake steps towards standardizing license plates in Florida, so that drivers would no longer to be able to purchase optional plates, and would instead purchase a small decal for the standard license plate to support their favorite causes.  Many of the plate stakeholders testified in strong opposition to that proposal this week.  The plate designs help to market and message on the causes they support.  Research has shown that drivers are much less likely to purchase the decals, so the change would likely result in a sharp drop in revenue for the programs that have optional plates.

Several of these plates support environmental causes such as oceans, springs, the Everglades, and the Indian River Lagoon, as well as wildlife conservation for species such as marine turtles, manatees, bears, panthers, dolphins and whales.  Representative Grant stated in committee that he has heard the concerns loud and clear and will address them at the next hearing.  The bill does not have a clear companion but could be paired with SB 1374 by Senator Perry, a bill related to Transportation.

 


2017 FLERA Annual Conference
Your Conference Committee is finalizing preparations for the 2017 FLERA Annual Conference at the  Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota from August 2-4, 2017. A draft agenda and hotel options will be available by April 15th. Registration is now open and the early bird pricing is valid through July 2nd.

 


FLERA Capitol Days are April 5-6, 2017
For additional information email executivedirector@flera.org

 

FLERAlert Volume 1 Issue 8

March 24, 2017 by flera

Fracking
This week, several environmental groups held a press conference to urge the House to take up legislation banning fracking.  Senators Latvala, Young and Farmer and Representative Fitzenhagen spoke at the event about the need to ban fracking in Florida.  The House has historically taken a different approach, proposing to put a moratorium in place while the issue is studied further and a regulatory program put into place.  SB 442 by Senator Young, which would ban fracking, is in its second of three committees.  The companion measure, HB 451 by Representative A. Miller, has not been heard.

 


Administrative Law Judges
HB 1225 by Representative Fitzenhagen passed its first of three committees this week.  The bill requires administrative law judges (ALJs) to be appointed by the Governor from a list of three candidates selected by a statewide nominating commission.  Judges would be appointed to four year terms but could be removed by the Governor for cause.  Before a judge’s term expires, the nominating commission would evaluate whether the judge’s performance was satisfactory.  Judges would be limited to serving two terms.  Proponents of the bill have stated that ALJs essentially serve a life term regardless of performance and are not accountable.  Opponents of the bill have expressed concern that this proposal would remove ALJs’ independence and willingness to say no to agencies.  The companion is SB 1352 by Senator Young.  It has three committees and has not received a hearing.

 


Resource Recovery and Management
HB 335 by Representative Clemons has flown through its House committees and is on the House calendar on third reading next week.  The bill is intended to clarify the regulatory framework for emerging waste processing technologies.  It ensures that pyrolysis and waste gasification plants are classified as materials recovery processing facilities rather than waste disposal facilities.  Sierra Club has questioned the pyrolysis process and expressed concern that the materials at issue should be used to create new products as opposed to burning them.   The National Waste & Recycling Association has said it supports the concepts behind the bill but has concerns there may be unintended consequences.  The companion, SB 1104 by Senator Perry, has not been heard in the Senate.

 


Beaches
HB 1213 by Rep. Peters and SB 1590 by Senator Latvala both passed their first of three committees this week.  These bills redefine the criteria for ranking beach projects to better capture the economic and storm damage protection benefits of the projects.  They also contain criteria to recognize the availability of federal and local matching funds, recreational benefits, habitat protection, and strategies to conserve sand sources, among others.  Additionally, the bills require enhanced funding for inlets, which will foster cost-effective use of limited sand sources and reduce nourishment costs for beach projects on adjacent critically-eroded beaches.  The bills also include a three year work plan in order to maximize matching dollars.  They were supported in both committee hearings by the Florida Association of Counties, Florida League of Cities and a number of coastal cities and counties.

 


2017 FLERA Annual Conference
Your Conference Committee is hard at work preparing for the 2017 FLERA Annual Conference. The conference will be held at Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota from August 2-4, 2017. A draft agenda, registration and sponsorship information as well as hotel options will be available April 7th so mark your calendars now. You won’t want to miss it!

 


FLERA Capitol Days are April 5-6, 2017
For additional information email executivedirector@flera.org

Triumph Gulf Coast

February 24, 2017 by flera

Bills from 2011 and 2013 created Triumph Gulf Coast to manage money received as a result of the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill.  The House Select Committee on Triumph Gulf Coast, which is made up entirely of Northwest Florida Legislators, met this week to consider two committee bills that would change the oversight and control of this money.  The initial House proposal would have required all projects to be approved by the Governor and the Legislative Budget Commission, a joint committee made up of Representatives and Senators.  Former Speaker Allen Bense, who will chair Triumph Gulf Coast once it is funded, expressed concern that the bills remove any reference to economic development projects.  A strike-all amendment was released that removed the LBC requirement.  However, the bills were temporarily postponed.

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