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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

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