March 2, 2018

March 2, 2018

The Legislature is nearing completion of Week 8 of the 2018 Legislative Session.  The Senate will be meeting on Saturday to consider the “gun package”.  Controversial bills on education as well as school safety and guns are taking up the bulk of the Legislature’s bandwidth.  Budget negotiations continue to progress toward what looks to be a timely completion. 

You can review all of the legislation FLERA is monitoring here.

Budget Update
This morning, the budget conference committee for the environmental and agricultural portion of the budget concluded its work and “bumped” its remaining open items to the Budget Chairs.  The House and Senate have reached an agreement to fund Springs at $50M and have fully funded Everglades Restoration as contemplated in the Legacy Florida law.  Additionally, the Petroleum Storage Cleanup Program will be funded at $110M.  Florida Forever remains an outstanding item.  The Senate has proposed $210M for Florida Forever while the Senate has $3M, including $35M for Rural and Family Lands and $8M for Florida Forever.

HB 521 by Representative Edwards-Walpole was heard on special order in the House today.  The bill has been substantially narrowed so that it is no longer of concern.  We thank Representative Edwards-Walpole for her open door and thoughtful consideration of the issues that were raised.  HB 521 will likely be taken up on third reading in the House on Monday.  However, SB 574 by Senator Steube is still in its second of three committees and is likely dead.  This version of the bill still has significant problems, but is unlikely to advance.

Environmental Regulation/Springs
SB 1308 by Senator Perry and HB 1149 by Representative Payne contain provisions related to reclaimed water, solid waste recycling, and dock and pier permitting.  HB 1149 was heard on special order in the House today.  A controversial amendment by Representative Ingoglia proposed to indefinitely postpone the requirement for advanced wastewater treatment in priority focus areas for springs.  Due to the controversial nature of the amendment, it was withdrawn.  However, today’s discussion is is an indication that there will likely be legislation on springs next session.  Additional language was amended onto HB 1149 today that included provisions on mitigation banks and wastewater treatment.  The language does not appear to be controversial but can be reviewed from the legislative monitoring report above.

Preemption on Local Retail Bans
The House tax package (HB 7087) was amended today to remove the retail sales ban preemption that was so controversial.  While directed at retail sales bans related to dogs, the language could have had a broader impact and may have potentially impacted some environmental issues.  The Senate tax package (SB 620) does not contain this language.