By Mark Ryan, City Manager, City of Indian Harbour Beach
The 2020 Florida Legislative Session is well underway. As of January 24, 2020, more than 3,400 bills have been for consideration during this session. Many bills are Local Funding Requests and relief bills for claims subject to the liability limits in Florida Statutes for governmental entities. However, there are significant bills that either assist local governments or impact communities in a negative manner.
You will recall in the December 2019 FCCMA Newsletter, The Manager, Communications Committee Chair John Titkanich, Vice Chair Jamie Titcomb, Executive Director, Casey Cook, and I provided information, including a template letter, to assist our members in developing and nurturing a relationship with newly-elected or re-elected members of the Florida Senate or Florida House of Representatives (archived FCCMA Website). We hope you took the time in advance of the 2020 Legislative Session to have the dialogue with these legislators, build a relationship and, hopefully, help these legislators understand the complex issues that local governments face each and every day. We, as professional managers, and our team of professionals, can and should be the subject matter experts for the members of your local legislative delegation, and other members of the Legislature, and their staff.
As indicated earlier, more than 3,400 bills have been filed. Here is a snapshot of a few of the bills that we urge you to track and monitor.
- SB 1270 – Fiduciary Duty of Care for Appointed Public Officials and Executive Officers
Establishing standards for the fiduciary duty of care for appointed public officials and executive officers of specified governmental entities; requiring training on board governance beginning on a specified date; requiring the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to contract for or approve such training programs or publish a list of approved training providers; specifying requirements for the appointment of executive officers and general counsels of governmental entities, etc.
This bill applies to:
Any appointed member of any of the following boards, councils, commissions, authorities, or other bodies of any county, municipality, school district, independent special district, or other political subdivision of the state:
a. The governing body of the political subdivision, if appointed;
b. An expressway authority or transportation authority established by general law;
c. A community college or junior college district board of trustees;
d. A board having the power to enforce local code provisions;
e. A planning or zoning board, board of adjustment, board of appeals, or other board having the power to recommend, create, or modify land planning or zoning within the political subdivision, except for citizen advisory committees, technical coordinating committees, and such other groups who only have the power to make recommendations to planning or zoning boards;
f. A pension board or retirement board having the power to invest pension or retirement funds or the power to make a binding determination of one’s entitlement to or amount of a pension or other retirement benefit; or
g. Any other appointed member of a local government board who is required to file a statement of financial interests by the appointing authority or the enabling legislation, ordinance, or resolution creating the board.
- SB 1128/HB 1011- Vacation Rentals
Preempting the regulation of vacation rentals to the state; prohibiting a local law, ordinance, or regulation from allowing or requiring inspections or licensing of vacation rentals; requiring licenses issued by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to be displayed conspicuously to the public inside the licensed establishment, etc.
- CS/HB 519 – Private Property Rights
This bill significantly amends the Bert J. Harris Act and substantially handicaps local government ability to resolve these claims. The bill requires any settlement reached on a Harris claim that involves the issuance of a variance or exception to a regulation on a residential property be automatically applied by the government entity to all similarly situated residential properties that are subject to the same rules or regulations. Similarly situated is not defined in the bill. Therefore, the legislation will have a severe chilling effect on the settlement of Harris claims. Additionally, the bill limits the timeframe for government entities to respond to Harris claims from 150 days to 90 days, removes prevailing party standard from the attorney fees provision only allowing a property owner to recover fees if they prevail. The bill opens the door to allow a property owner to recover business damages which is strictly prohibited under current law and may be a back-door effort to provide more relief and or clout to the short-term/vacation rental industry.
- HB 3 – Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing
Preempts licensing of occupations to state; provides exceptions; prohibits local governments from imposing or modifying certain licensing requirements; specifies that certain local licensing may not be enforced; specifies that certain specialty contractors are not required to register with Construction Industry Licensing Board; prohibits local governments from requiring certain specialty contractors to obtain license; specifies job scopes for which local government may not require license; authorizes counties and municipalities to issue certain journeyman licenses.
- CS/SB 998: Housing
Authorizing a board of county commissioners to approve development of affordable housing on any parcel zoned for residential, commercial or industrial use; requiring counties, municipalities and special districts to include certain data relating to impact fees in their annual financial reports; providing the percentage of the sales price of certain mobile homes which is subject to sales tax; revising an exemption from regulation for certain water service resellers, etc.
A provision within this legislation relates to the placement of accessory dwelling units in single-family residential areas and a provision that permits a mobile home park damaged or destroyed by wind, water, or other natural force to be rebuilt on the same site with the same density as was approved, permitted, or built before being damaged or destroyed. We urge you to review this legislation and determine the impact to your community and your zoning regulations.
- HB 7 – Legal Notices
Provides for website publication of legal notices; provides criteria for such publication; authorizes fiscally-constrained county to use publicly accessible website to publish legally required advertisements and public notices; requires governmental agency to provide specified notice to residents concerning alternative methods of receiving legal notices.
- CS/SB 504: Local Government Public Construction Works
Revising disclosure requirements for bidding documents and other requests for proposals issued for bids by a local governmental entity and public contracts entered into between local governmental entities and contractors; requiring the governing board of a local government to consider estimated costs of certain projects using generally-accepted cost-accounting principles that account for specified costs when the board is making a specified determination, etc.
A series of bills have been filed to address Florida’s ongoing water quality woes. CS/SB 712; HB 1343; HB 1091; and SB 1450 (Gruters). We urge you to monitor these bills to action as they relate to the impact to your community.
- SB 7016/HB 1073: Statewide Office of Resiliency
Establishing the office within the Executive Office of the Governor; creating the Statewide Sea-Level Rise Task Force within the office; authorizing the Department of Environmental Protection to contract for specified services, upon request of the task force; requiring the Environmental Regulation Commission to take certain action on the task force’s recommendations, etc.
- SB 506 – Public Procurement of Services
Revising the maximum dollar amount for continuing contracts for construction projects; redefining the term “continuing contract” to increase certain maximum dollar amounts for professional architectural, engineering, landscape architectural, and surveying and mapping services; requiring the Department of Management Services to annually adjust by rule the statutory caps for continuing contracts, etc.
- CS SB 670/HB 457/SB 630 – Smoking on Public Beaches and in Public Parks
Smoking on Public Beaches and in Public Parks: Authorizing counties and municipalities to further restrict smoking within the boundaries of public beaches and public parks under certain circumstances; prohibiting smoking within the boundaries of a state park, etc.
- SB 778 – Home-based Businesses
Specifying conditions under which a business is considered a home-based business; authorizing a home-based business to operate in a residential zone under certain circumstances; preempting to the state the ability to regulate or license home-based businesses; prohibiting a local government from certain actions relating to the licensure and regulation of home-based businesses, etc.
- SB 890 – Local Licensing
Providing that individuals who hold valid, active local licenses may work within the scope of such licenses in any local government jurisdiction without needing to meet certain additional licensing requirements; requiring licensees to provide consumers with certain information; providing that local governments have disciplinary jurisdiction over such licensees, etc.
- SB 1000/HB 1371 – Traffic and Pedestrian Safety
Requiring a pedestrian crosswalk on a public highway, street, or road which is located at any point other than at an intersection with another public highway, street, or road to be controlled by traffic control signal devices and pedestrian control signals that conform to specified requirements; requiring, by a specified date, the entity with jurisdiction over a public highway, street, or road with a certain pedestrian crosswalk to ensure that the crosswalk is controlled by coordinated traffic control signal devices and pedestrian control signals, etc.
- SB 1066/HB 637 – Impact Fees
Revising the conditions that counties, municipalities, and special districts must satisfy before enacting an impact fee by ordinance or passing an impact fee by resolution; providing timeframes for the collection of impact fees by local governments; requiring certain counties and municipalities to establish impact fee review committees, etc.