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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 9

March 31, 2017 by flera

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

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.


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

FLERA Legislative Days in Tallahassee

February 20, 2017 by flera

Attention FLERA Members!

Every year FLERA members travel to Tallahassee to discuss important issues with members of the Florida House and Senate. These issues can relate to local government preemption, wetlands and water quality standards, pollutant cleanup programs, floodplains and more. If you’d like to take advantage of this opportunity to have your voice heard with a group of seasoned Capitol-stompers, please consider coming with us. Members from Orange, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Broward, Escambia and others will be present. It’s also a known secret that we have a lot of fun.

If you’d like to know more, please feel free to contact FLERA President, Alan Marshall at 407-836-5884 or Alan.Marshall@ocfl.net.

FLERA Capitol Days are April 5th and 6th, 2017.
Day 1  (April 5)
1) Travel in the morning
2) Meet up for a camaraderie/planning lunch
3) Head to our FLERA BOD/Legislative Review meeting 1-4:30 pm
4) After that meeting we stroll over to the 5pm FAC social (Food and Drinks)

Day 2  (April 6)
5) The next morning we do a Capitol Crawl to discuss our issues with members, attend a committee meeting, or sit in on a session meeting
6) The early afternoon on Day 2 is set aside for an after-lunch FDEP meetup till 3:00 pm
7) Depart



Applications for Executive Director due 10/31/2016

October 10, 2016 by FLERA

Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies, Inc. (FLERA) is considering applications for Executive Director.
The mission of FLERA is to enhance communication, education and advocacy for Florida local environmental protection efforts. FLERA was formed in the late 1960s as a voluntary association of local environmental programs to share information about mutual resource concerns and solutions. Today, FLERA is a diverse organization of state, county and municipal agencies and consulting firms. Our members provide a wide variety of environmental protection and land management services. FLERA is a not-for-profit Florida corporation and is approved as an exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Executive Director is the executive officer of the organization and under the direction of the Board of Directors establishes and manages the organization’s office. The Executive Director coordinates, on behalf of the organization, all actions directed by the officers and Board, and generally has the power to carry on the business of the organization and to do the things necessary or appropriate to execute the policies, decisions, and instructions of the officers and Board. The Executive Director shall keep all records of the organization, give notice of such meetings at the direction of the President, receive all moneys of the organization and record and deposit the same in approved depositories, and at the close of each month, render a financial report to the officers. The Executive Director must have excellent event planning and organization skills along with a good working knowledge of Florida’s governmental structure and the state and local government legislative process.


Visit the FLERA website at www.flera.org

Alan Marshall – FLERA President
office: (407) 836-5884
cell: (407) 406-3612
email: alan.marshall@ocfl.net

FLERA 2016 BOD Meeting and Legislative Field Trip

February 16, 2016 by FLERA


Members from the Board of Director’s and FLERA’s Waste Committee traveled to Tallahassee for the annual “FLERA Day at the Capitol” event.  This is a two-day event with FLERA’s Waste Committee holding their petroleum cleanup program strategy meeting with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and then the Board of Director’s quarterly meeting focusing on legislative events.  “Day Two” was FLERA’s time in the Capitol Building attending committee meetings on various bills affecting local government and discussing issues with Senate and House staff on pending legislation.















June 24, 2015 by FLERA

Hello FLERA Symposium attendees!

Welcome to Gainesville!

Alachua County and FLERA are providing complimentary round-trip shuttle service between the Hilton Garden Inn (HGI), where the FLERA room reservation block is, and the Prairie Creek Lodge, where the symposium is being held. It is a 20-minute trip and will allow you to relax and network with your fellow participants.

The shuttle schedule is:
8:00AM and 8:30AM
Shuttle Ride From Hilton Garden Inn to FLERA Board of Directors Meeting

11:00AM, 11:20AM, and 11:40 AM
Shuttle Ride From Hilton Garden Inn to Symposium

5:00 PM -7:00PM
Shuttle Ride From Symposium to Hilton Garden Inn

There will be no shuttle service on Friday.
If you would like to use the shuttle, please arrive at the HGI and find us out front in the marked vans.

FLERA 2015 Summer Symposium June 25th-26th

June 1, 2015 by FLERA

We invite you to the beautiful Prairie Creek Preserve in Gainesville, Florida to attend the FLERA Summer Symposium June 25 -26, 2015. This event offers the opportunity to meet and network with environmental professionals from around the state. Local and state regulators, scientists, specialists, and students will share their experience and knowledge about floodplain management, land conservation, air quality, waste management alternatives, and wetlands topics at roundtable sessions. Attendees will also hear about the 2015 legislative session, Amendment 1 updates, and RESTORE Act Funding from our speakers.

We are also excited to hear about Floodplain Management as it relates to wetland mitigation from Steve Martin of Florida Department of Emergency Management (FDEM), about UMAM from John Humphreys of the Florida Department of Environmental protection, and much more!

For a detailed agenda, online registration and more information please visit the FLERA  Conferences and Education website.

Keith Wilkins Selected To Serve As President Of FLERA

January 14, 2015 by flera

Keith Wilkins, Escambia County community and environment director, has been selected to serve as president of the Florida Local Environmental Resource Agencies (FLERA).

As president, Wilkins will direct the organization’s business, including environmental legislative policy during the upcoming 2015 session as well as educational and membership development initiatives.

FLERA is composed of local governments and associate members whose interests include environmental protection, growth management, public health, improvement districts and public works.

Courtesy of Pensacola News Journal


About Keith Wilkins

Mr. Wilkins is the Director of Escambia County’s Community & Environment Department, where he and seven divisions work to protect, restore and enhance our natural and built environment. The Water Quality and Land Management Division, Marine Resources, Natural Resources Conservation, Mosquito Control and Extension Services conduct restoration, education projects and offer in house technical consulting services. Among other, these divisions manage the County NPDES permit, TMDL/BMAP, artificial reefing and Extension education programs. The Community Redevelopment Agency and Neighborhood Enterprise Divisions work to revitalize our urban core and blighted areas of the County.

Previously, Mr. Wilkins was a Manager in KPMG Peat Marwick’s Miami Environmental Management Practice, where he consulted to Fortune 500 Corporations on environmental risk, cost recovery and transactional engagements. He has 34 years experience working in natural resource management, restoration and development projects.

Mr. Wilkins is a Florida Registered Environmental Professional. He currently serves on the Advisory Committee to the University of West Florida Environmental Studies Department, Gulf Coast Diplomacy Council, the City of Pensacola Climate Change Task Force and the Scenic Highway Technical Advisory Committee. He was previously a Registered Geologist in Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky and is a 1979 graduate of the Environmental Studies Program at the University of West Florida.

2015 Legislative Session

January 13, 2015 by FLERA

The initial 2015 FLERA legislative tracking list is available!

FLERA’s Legislative Information Page contains important dates, current legislative session tracking, FLERA’s Legislative Policy and Priorities, and other information. FLERA’s Legislative Committee will be updating the FLERA legislative tracking list as bills are introduced.

If you have any questions or input regarding the 2015 session, please contact Alan Marshall, BOD, Legislative Committee Chair, at alan.marshall@ocfl.net.

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