2019 Legislative Wrap-Up:

FAC Priorities 

 

HOUSE BILL 3 DEFEATED

HB 3 (Preemption of Local Professional and Occupations Regulations and Licensing) by Rep. M. Grant passed off the House floor on April 18 but was not heard in any Senate Committee. An adopted amendment in the final House Committee deleted much of the language concerning preemption of business regulations and the bill no longer included any requirements for a reauthorization process for business regulations or an extensive economic analysis. However, the bill as amended included a broad preemption of any local government licensing requirements that are not expressly authorized by law and most special licenses.

 

FAC PRIORITY: TEXTING WHILE DRIVING

HB 107 (Wireless Communications While Driving) by Rep. Slosberg and Rep. Toledo changes current enforcement of the ban on texting while driving from a secondary offense to a primary offense, which will allow a law enforcement officer to stop a vehicle solely for texting while driving.

 

The bill also creates a new section of statute titled “school and work zones; prohibition on the use of a wireless communications device in a handheld manner.” It authorizes enforcement of a ban on the use of a wireless communications device in a handheld manner while operating a motor vehicle in a designated school crossing, school zone, or active work zone area as a primary offense punishable as a moving violation.

 

If approved by Governor DeSantis, these provisions take effect July 1, 2019, with a later effective date of October 1, 2019, for the implementation of the prohibition on the use of a wireless communications device in a handheld manner in school and work zones.

 

FAC PRIORITY: COASTAL MANAGEMENT

HB 325 (Coastal Management) by Rep. LaMarca revises and adds additional detail to the criteria DEP considers when ranking beach management and erosion control projects. Specifically, the bill directs DEP to implement a four-tiered scoring system to rank annual project funding priorities by July 1, 2020. 

 

The bill also updates DEP’s Comprehensive Long-Term Beach Management Plan development process, requiring a strategic beach management plan, critically eroded beaches report, and a three-year work plan. In past years, this legislation also included $50 million in recurring funding for the beach program; however, this section was removed, and the bill now only includes policy changes. 

 

FAC has consistently supported this legislation, which has been a FAC priority in recent years, and pleased to see it pass unanimously out of both chambers. 

 

LOCAL TAX REFERENDA

After passing out of the House and being taken up to the Senate, HB 5 (Discretionary Sales Surtaxes)was amended with language reflecting the Senate proposal, SB 336 (Local Tax Referenda) by Sen. Brandes, which requires a referendum to adopt or amend a local government discretionary sales tax to be held only during a general election. Additionally, a county will be required to furnish a copy of the ordinance or resolution to the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Governmental Accountability (OPPAGA) at least 180 days before the referendum. OPPAGA is then directed, within 30 days of receiving the ordinance or resolution, to procure a certified public accountant to conduct a performance audit. 

 

As originally filed, HB 5 would have required a two-thirds approval threshold for such referenda, to which FAC was opposed. This language was stripped by the Senate. On the final day of the regular Session, the substance of a separate bill that imposes additional requirements for the citizen initiative process for amending the state constitution was also added to HB 5.