2015 Florida Legislative Update: Atmosphere, Growth Management and Water


The Florida Legislature concluded its 2015 regular session on May 1, 2015. However, for those practical purposes, the session ended on April 28, once the House suddenly adjourned 72 hours early after it grew to become obvious the 2 chambers couldn’t agree on a tight budget. The Legislature will return for any special session on June 1. This is a listing of what is happening to date:


Growth Management

CS/CS/Senate bill 1216 associated with community development was the main growth management bill to become went by each house and authorized by the Governor. The balance makes numerous changes towards the growth management process – mainly because it affects large community developments for example sector plans and developments of regional impact (DRIs).

Sector Plans

For sector plans, the balance clarifies that amendments to understand plans and detailed special area plans will be processed with the needs for coordinated condition review. It further clarifies that farming or silvicultural uses inside a sector plan might be approved if in conjuction with the lengthy-term master plan. Sector plans require provisions for conservation of sensitive areas the balance provides that conservation easements can be utilized for minimization and defined through photography.


The Legislature ongoing its trend of reducing required regional planning councils (RPCs). The balance eliminates the Withlacoochee Regional Planning Council and basically removes the function of regional planning councils in the DRI process.


To that particular finish, the balance subjects DRIs towards the condition coordinated review process to ensure that new DRIs aren’t needed to possess specific review through the regional planning council.


The balance also addresses many other growth management issues. It eliminates some findings regarding compatibility with adjacent military installations and exempts some small local governments which use under 1 % of the public water utility’s total allowed allocation from getting to amend its comprehensive plan as a result of an up-to-date regional supply of water plan. The balance also results in a 10-year “connected city corridor” program for Pasco County which makes it simpler to tie mixed-use developments to transportation corridors. The balance also adds “sinkholes” to a summary of characteristics of blighted areas for that purpose of community redevelopment areas.


There have been several questionable provisions from the bill that didn’t survive. One provision might have needed local governments to include a personal property legal rights element for their comprehensive plan. Another might have restricted local charge of “restricted farming lands,” along with a third might have limited certain concurrency charges.

The act grew to become effective on May 15, 2015 Chapter No. 2015-30.

Property Legal rights

CS/HB 383 makes clarifications towards the Bert J. Harris, Junior., Private Property Legal rights Protection Act and helps to create a brand new reason for action in addition to the act for property proprietors susceptible to illegal exactions from the type worked within 2013 through the U . s . States Top Court in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District. Underneath the bill, a house owner is needed to supply advance notice from the intent to file for a suit seeking damages for any prohibited exaction and supply approximately the owner’s damages. The governmental entity must then justify the exaction as proportionate or offer to get rid of or lessen the exaction. At trial, the governmental entity may have the responsibility of showing the exaction has got the requisite nexus to some legitimate public purpose and it is proportionate. The home owner may have the responsibility of showing damages. Attorneys’ charges and charges might be awarded towards the governmental entity, however the court is needed to award attorneys’ charges and charges towards the house owner if it’s determined the exaction doesn’t have nexus to some legitimate public purpose. The balance clarifies that it’s relevant simply to action taken on the home owner’s land and never activities which are approved on adjoining or adjacent qualities (basically codifying most opinion in Town of Jacksonville v. Cruz).

Unless of course vetoed, the act takes effect on March. 1, 2015.

Ratification of DEP C&D Liner Rule

HB 7083 ratifies the Florida Department of Ecological Protection (DEP) rules requiring liners and leachate collection systems at construction and destruction debris disposal facilities.

Unless of course vetoed, the act is going to be effective upon becoming law.

Ratification of MFLs

HB 7081 was utilized to be able to expedite the effective date of minimum flows and levels (MFLs) for that Lower Santa Fe and Ichetucknee Rivers and connected priority springs. The St. Johns River Water Management District requested DEP to consider a guide applying the MFLs because of mix-basin impacts originating outdoors the district. DEP also suggested regulatory flow recovery provisions because the current flow data demonstrated significant declines from historic levels. Challenging towards the DEP-suggested rule was filed using the Division of Administrative Proceedings, thus delaying the effective date from the rule. The Legislature passed HB 7081 to permit prompt implementation.

Unless of course vetoed, the act is going to be effective upon becoming law.


CS/Senate bill 1312 amends provisions associated with proper lawsuits against public participation (frequently known as “SLAPP suits”) regarded as introduced to silence critics, especially in the ecological arena. Under existing law, only governmental entities are prohibited from filing such suits to retaliate against persons or groups exercising legal rights to sign up in government activities. The balance extends the applicability from the anti-SLAPP statute to suits filed by anybody – not only governmental entities. The balance protects freedom of expression regarding the public issues in 2 groups: (1) speech made before a governmental entity regarding the an element that the governmental entity is thinking about or has under review and (2) speech regarding the a play, movie, television program, radio broadcast, audiovisual work, book, magazine article, musical work, news report or similar works. The 2nd category doesn’t need any link with a governmental proceeding. The balance offers expeditious resolution of the suit that’s claimed to become a SLAPP suit.

The act takes effect on This summer 1, 2015. Chapter No. 2015-70.

Surveillance with a Drone

CS/CS/Senate bill 766 prohibits anyone by using a drone to capture a picture of independently owned real estate or from the owner, tenant, occupant, invitee or licensee of these property using the intent to conduct surveillance without their written consent if your reasonable expectation of privacy exists. The balance authorizes using a drone with a person or perhaps a business licensed through the condition, or perhaps a contractor thereof as lengthy as a result me is to do reasonable tasks inside the scope of practice. Such licensed professions include real estate agents, property appraisers, land surveyors and construction contractors. The balance enables property appraisers to make use of drones exclusively for assessing property for ad valorem taxes. The balance also enables the recording of images by or a software application for that operation and upkeep of its facilities, the inspection associated with construction of their facilities, the assessment of plant life growth on legal rights-of-way and performing ecological monitoring. Additionally, the balance enables aerial mapping and cargo delivery when the individual is operating in compliance with FAA rules.

The act takes effect on This summer 1, 2015. Chapter No. 2015-26.



Senate bill 594 might have prohibited municipality enforcement (and never just adoption) of the ordinance, regulation or rule that will have placed limits on agritourism. The balance died around the Senate calendar.

Amendment 1 Funding

A significant priority throughout the 2015 Regular Legislative Session was the implementation of Amendment 1. Water and Land Conservation amendment was an initiative ratified by 75 % from the voters throughout the 2014 general election. By its terms, the initiative dedicates one-third from the existing documentary stamp tax revenues towards the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to get, restore, improve and manage conservation lands for any term of twenty years. The Revenue Estimating Conference forecast the amendment will raise $750 million for fiscal year 2015-2016 and more than $20 billion for that existence from the amendment. Even though the initiative sponsors mentioned that no applying legislation apart from an appropriation was needed, several bills were introduced both in houses concerning the implementation of what’s now Article 10, Section 28 from the Florida Metabolic rate. No applying bills made their way with the Legislature throughout the regular session, but several are inside the demand the special session simply because they have budgetary implications.

SBs 576, 578, 580, 584 and 586 were substantive implementation bills for Amendment 1. Each bill were built with a House counterpart and passed its particular house. These were each to become known a celebration committee, but no conference committees were hired. Senate bill 584 would be a major revision from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) and allocations inside the documentary stamp tax. Another bills were fairly minor for the reason that they established new trust funds (referred to as “baby LATFs”) within different departments so that you can spend Amendment 1 revenues. Separate bills are needed through the Florida Metabolic rate to determine new trust funds or retire existing trust funds. These bills might have repealed existing documentary stamp dedications for land management to get replaced using the new constitutionally needed dedication. These bills would not have repurposed the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to own Legislature maximum versatility for appropriations underneath the amendment. Each house also passed their versions of the water bill (Senate bill 918 and HB 7003) that will have approved Amendment 1 appropriations for a number of water resource development projects and comes protection.

The Senate, House and also the Governor are far apart on appropriations for Amendment 1. For land conservation, the Governor suggested $100 million, as the House approved $8 million and also the Senate approved $15 million. The 3 propose to utilize a significant part of Amendment 1 revenues to finance existing programs. The Governor suggested $156 million, as the Senate and House approved $230 million and $236 million, correspondingly, mainly for salaries for existing condition employees. Connecting can also be a place of disagreement. The Home bill includes $200 million for connecting water projects, as the Senate and Governor oppose new connecting. The 3 propose having to pay $150 million of existing debt service through Amendment 1. A few of the line products within the appropriations bill reference Senate bill 918 and therefore are determined by passage from the implementation bills.

The phone call for that special session in June includes your budget, together with SBs 576, 578, 580 and 584. Search for some provisions of Senate bill 586 and Senate bill 918 to become offered as amendments to Senate bill 584.

Contaminated Sites

HB 841/Senate bill 1302 might have provided clarification for using risk-based corrective action (RBCA) and also the authorization of other cleanup target levels without requiring institutional controls. The debts might have expanded the phrase “background concentration” to incorporate some anthropogenic sources. The debts might have produced a mechanism for approving lengthy-term natural attenuation in excess of 5 years. The debts would not have revised the cleanup target levels for surface water as lengthy as groundwater contaminants didn’t cause water quality exceedances within the surface water. Both bills died around the House calendar, but search for those to be reintroduced within the 2016 legislative session.

Ecological Control

HB 653 and Senate bill 714 began out because the annual “ecological train,” addressing a potpourri of ecological problems that were generally not questionable. These incorporated various business changes inside the DEP. The debts might have: prohibited permitting agencies from modifying allowed water allocations throughout the term from the permit under certain conditions prohibited water management districts from reducing allowed allocations throughout the term from the consumptive use permit for farming irrigation under certain conditions directed water management districts to consider rules supplying water conservation incentives, including permit extensions and needed water management districts to advertise expanded cost-discussing criteria for further water conservation practices. Additionally, the debts might have so long as the reclamation timing needs for phosphate mines and also the needed financial assurance don’t affect built clay-settling places that their advantageous use continues to be extended. Finally, the debts incorporated several provisions coping with solid waste, including: (1) the development of a good waste landfill closure account to supply funding for that closing and lengthy-term proper care of solid waste management facilities and (2) supplying that for local flow control ordinances, resource recovery facility doesn’t incorporate a landfill gas-to-gas energy system or facility. The Home bill was amended on the ground to incorporate the majority of the House water bill, HB 7003, after which died within the Senate without getting been considered.

Land Use of Septage

Effective Jan. 1, 2016, the land use of septage is illegitimate. Senate bill 642 and HB 687 might have repealed the ban, along with other proposals might have extended the date. None of those measures were enacted therefore the ban around the land application septage will require impact on Jan. 1, 2016, as scheduled.

Two-Year Extension of Certain Permits

HB 7067, an extensive economic development measure, incorporated a provision that will have given for another two-year extension of certain ecological resource permits. The measure passed the home but died within the Senate.

Gas and oil Regulation

The Legislature attempted to cope with hydraulic fracturing throughout the regular session, however the bills fell victim towards the early adjournment through the House and also the impasse within the budget. HB 1205 and Senate bill 1468 might have preempted permitting from the so-known as high-pressure well stimulation activities and might have revealed that these activities are susceptible to exactly the same permitting needs that affect drilling an gas and oil well. The debts might have needed DEP to conduct research on high-pressure well stimulation and needed the company to designate the nation’s chemical registry because the state’s registry for disclosure of chemicals utilized along the way. HB 1209 and Senate bill 1582 might have provided a restricted public record information exemption for that information needed to become posted on chemical utilization with exceptions. Senate bill 166 and HB 169 might have prohibited hydraulic fracturing in Florida. This problem will probably return for that 2016 Session starting in The month of january.

Oil Restoration

Senate bill 314/HB 733 might have expanded the Abandoned Tank Restoration Program and elevated the amount of sites qualified for condition-funded removal, including sites in which a house owner understood of oil contamination during the time of purchase. The debts might have altered the name from Low Score Site Initiative (LSSI) to Low-Risk Site Initiative (LRSI). The debts would not have removed certain criteria and elevated the funding limit and periods where the LRSI assessment and groundwater monitoring should be completed. The debts would not have elevated the annual funding allocation for that Advanced Cleanup Program from $15 million to $25 million and permitted a house owner or responsible party to initiate a voluntary cost-discussing agreement to bundle the assessment and removal of multiple sites. Both bills died around the Senate calendar.

Private Property Legal rights Elements

HB 551/Senate bill 1424 might have needed local governments to incorporate private property legal rights protections inside their comprehensive plans. The home legal rights element might have needed establishment of concepts, guidelines, standards and techniques to steer municipality decisions on suggested developments. The debts died in committee. There is also an unsuccessful effort to include this language towards the growth management bill.

Water/Policy/Springs Protection

Senate bill 918/HB 7003/HB 653 addressed water policy generally especially springs protection and rehabilitation. The Outstanding Florida Springs established by Senate bill 918 incorporated first magnitude springs and numerous named springs. The Home version designated Priority Florida Springs to incorporate third and fourth magnitude springs, though it doesn’t name any springs. Both bills addressed the integrated nature of springs and aquifer systems, as well as other provisions were identified for safeguarding and restoring impaired springs. These provisions incorporated utilization of MFLs and basin management action plans, designed for “priority focus areas” within spring sheds in which the aquifer is most susceptible to pollution in the surface or shallow water table conditions. Both bills directed DEP to research designated springs and develop ways of rehabilitate or safeguard the springs and implement the statute. The debts also addressed the Everglades and related river systems, employing best management practices and basin management action plans. Finally, the Senate bill codified the Orlando Water Initiative objectives of protecting stressed groundwater systems and developing alternative water supplies.

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The Legislature will return for any special session scheduled for June 1-20, 2015, mainly to enact a condition budget – the only real bill the Legislature is needed to pass through.


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