Quick look at the Florida legislature

Historic City News was updated by the Florida Association of Counties on the status of current bills in the Florida House and Senate; as week seven of this legislative session draws to a close.

Only the House of Representatives conducted any business this week as the Senate was off for the religious holidays. The House adjourned Thursday evening on a very short week.

Both Chambers resume their action on Monday.

Non Homestead Cap (HB 381 / SB 658)

What the bill does: Places a 3% cap on non-homestead properties and provides a tax exemption for 1st time home buyers.
Update: The House bill passed out of its last committee of reference last week. The committee approved a new version of first-time homebuyer provision that ties it to a county’s median home value. The non-homestead cap remains at 3 percent. FAC continues to negotiate with Rep. Dorworth and the Florida Association of Realtors.
Next Steps in the Process:

House: Ready for consideration by the full House.
Senate: In Budget Committee, then it will have to go to the Rules Committee.

Pretrial Release (HB 1379 / SB 1398)

What the Bill Does: Put strict restrictions on existing county pretrial release programs
Update: The House pretrial release bill passed out of its last committee on Thursday on a 10-8 vote. The house bill was substantially amended in the House Judiciary Committee and is now available to be taken up on the House floor. Changes include exemption for individuals below 300% of indigency and a carve out for counties with populations less than 350,000.
Next Steps in the Process:

House: Ready for consideration by the full House
Senate: In its last committee stop, Rules Committee.

Growth Management (CS/HB 7129 / SB 1122)

What the bill does: Comprehensive reform of Florida’s growth management planning process and state oversight role.
Update: The House bill was passed on the House floor this week and will be sent to the Senate for consideration. The 343 page bill includes all of the core issue that FAC has previously reported on, with some minor revisions to the DRI components. As a recap, the bill includes the following provisions: applies the Alternative State Review Process statewide; retains state review of comprehensive plan amendments but reduces issues the state land planning agency can comment on; eliminates Rule 9J-5 and places relevant planning standards from the rule in statute; eliminates the financial feasibility requirement from the Capital Improvements Element; removes transportation, parks, and school concurrency as a state requirement but allows local governments to retain concurrency by local option; overhauls the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) process, making the plan update process less onerous; extends DRI development orders by 4 years (down from 7 years); and revises / clarifies the proportionate share funding process.
Next Steps in the Process:

House: Passed the floor. In Senate messages.
Senate: Budget committee.

Pension Reform (HB 1405/SB 2100)

What the bill does: Reforms the FRS system to a contribution based plan
Update: Pension reform is a part of the budget conference negotiations. The House and Senate appear to be moving towards agreement on a 3 percent contribution rate for public employees in the FRS. However, the House is still unwilling to agree to the Senate proposal to suspend the COLA provision built in to FRS benefits. No agreement on the pension proposal is stalling allocation discussion for budget conference.
Next Steps in the Process: In conference.

SmartCap (HJR 7221 / SJR 958)

What the Bill does: These bills would put a cap on state revenues.
Update: The House SmartCap has made it to the House Calender for consideration by the full House. The Senate bill has passed the Senate. The Smart Cap proposal is a high priority for Senate President Mike Haridopolos.
Next Steps in the Process:

House: Ready for consideration by the full House
Senate: Passed Senate and in House messages.

Medicaid Reform (HB 7107 / HB 7109 / SB 1972)

What the bill does: Comprehensive reform of Florida’s Medicaid system
Update: No hearings this week.
Next Steps in the Process:

House & Senate: Attempting negotiate conference process.

Septic Tank Repeal (HB 13 / SB 1698)

What the bill does: House version repeals statewide septic program. Senate version establishes framework for local program.
Update: During the off week, FAC met with several stakeholders to draft amendments for SB 1698 by Sen. Dean. A compromise allowing for grandfathering of local ordinances and authorizing more stringent local standards prospectively is expected to be offered at the next committee hearing. The House bill by Rep. Coley still repeals the statewide program created last year.
Next Steps in the Process:

House: Passed full House. In Senate messages.
Senate: Budget committee.

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