Below are 10 Florida Legislative Bills signed into law this past legislative session (2017). These are only a few of the many new laws that will impact both cities and residents. Most Bills signed by the Governor are effective July 1, 2017.
Annually, the Florida League of Cities invites City Council Members and Commissioners to work with them in deciding specific priority issues and actions designed to protect municipalities (i.e., City of Gulfport) and the residents they serve. A continued and growing concern with the Legislature is the increasing attack on "home rule authority (preemption)." It is expected that this attack on "home rule" will continue.
The excerpts below are from the 2017 Legislative Affairs Final Report, dated June 13, 2017, by the Florida League of Cities (http://www.floridaleagueofcities.com/). Please feel free to open the report to see other Bills that became law or failed to pass.
NEW LAWS WITH "PREEMPTION LANGUAGE" (RESTRICTS HOME RULE AUTHORITY)
Charter School Facilities (HB 7069, Effective July 1, 2017, Preemption): Municipalities "may not require a rezoning or land use change when facilities such as churches, theaters, or community centers are converted for use as charter schools; prohibit local governments from requiring a special exception permit when these facilities convert to a charter school."
Wireless (HB 687, Effective July 1, 2017, Preemption): "Preempts local government control of taxpayer-owned rights of way for placement of “small” or “micro” wireless antennas and equipment...bars local governments from prohibiting or regulating the placement of “small” or “micro” wireless facilities on or next to existing cellphone towers and utility poles within municipally owned rights of way...Local governments are also prohibited from imposing minimum distances between small wireless equipment."
Building Code and Construction (HB 1021, Effective July 1, 2017, Preemption): "Revises building codes and standards, building official qualifications, fire prevention and control requirements, and other construction industry issues...prohibiting a political subdivision from adopting or enforcing any ordinances, or imposing building permits or other development order requirements that contain any building, construction, or aesthetic requirement or condition that conflicts with or impairs activities related to carrying out business activities defined as a franchise...preempts local government regulation relating to the design, construction or location of signage advertising the retail price of gasoline."
Drones (HB 1027, Effective July 1, 2017, Preemption): "Preempts local governments from enacting or enforcing any ordinance or resolution relating to the design, manufacture, testing, maintenance, licensing, registration, certification or operation of an unmanned aircraft system. This preemption includes airspace, altitude, flight paths, equipment or technology requirements."
Transportation Network Companies (HB 221, Effective July 1, 2017, Preemption): "Completely preempts local governments from regulating transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber or Lyft. The bill establishes a statewide regulatory scheme..."
Public Works Project (HB 599, Effective July 1, 2017, Preemption): "Prohibits local government contracts for public works projects from including restrictive conditions on contractors, subcontractors or material suppliers or carriers. Cities can no longer require contractors to: pay employees a predetermined wage rate; provide employees a specified type or amount of benefits; limit the amount of staffing on a particular job; or require that employees be recruited, trained or hired from a designated source..."
HIGHLIGHTING ADDITIONAL NEW LAWS
Expanded Homestead Exemption (HJR 7105, Effective January 1, 2019): "Proposes an amendment to the state constitution to provide a homestead exemption...on the assessed value of property greater than $100,000 and up to $125,000. This will have an estimated negative $644 million impact on cities, counties and special districts. Effective January 1, 2019, if approved by 60 percent of voters at the November 2018 general election."
Implementation of New Homestead Exemption (HB 7107): "Additional homestead exemption...by amending the dollar threshold in statute to reflect the change in the constitution. Additionally, the bill provides that the rolled-back rate used by local governments in fiscal year 2019- 2020 must be calculated as if the tax base had not been reduced by the increased homestead exemption. Meaning, the value lost to the additional homestead exemption will be added back into the tax roll and the calculated rolled-back rate will be artificially decreased...Effective contingent upon voter approval of HJR 7105."
Renewable Energy Source Devices (SB 90, Effective July 1, 2017): "Implements Amendment 4, which was approved by voters in August 2017. The bill provides property tax relief for owners of renewable energy source devices whether these devices are installed on residential or nonresidential real property or are taxed as tangible personal property...The real property tax exemption is only applied prospectively."
Medical Marijuana (SB 8A): Implements "the constitutional amendment relating to medical marijuana:
Authorizes 10 new Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) licenses, in addition to the seven currently issued.
Authorizes an additional four licenses per 100,000 patients on the MMTC patient registry.
Caps the number of dispensaries per MMTC license at 25.
Divides the state into five regions (Northwest, Northeast, Central, Southeast, Southwest) and authorizes the Department of Health to determine the maximum number of dispensaries allowed in each region based on population within that region.
Medical marijuana is exempt from the state sales tax.
Prohibits the smoking of medical marijuana...authorizes it to be vaped or consumed in pill or edible form
Use of medical marijuana prohibited in any public place, on any form of public transportation, in a qualifying patient’s place of employment (unless allowed by the employer), on school grounds, or in a school bus, vehicle, aircraft or motorboat.
Adds “delivery” to the current preemption on cultivation and processing.
Cities can, by ordinance, ban medical marijuana dispensaries.
Cities that choose to allow medical marijuana dispensaries cannot limit the number of dispensaries within their boundaries.
Cities can determine the criteria for the location of dispensaries and other permitting requirements that do not 13 conflict with state law or department rule, but such permitting requirements cannot be more restrictive than the zoning or permitting requirements for currently existing pharmacies.
Cities are authorized to charge a license or permit fee to MMTC facilities, but the fee cannot be more than what is currently charged for pharmacies.
Dispensaries cannot be located within 500 feet of a public or private elementary, middle or high school, unless the city approves the location through a formal proceeding open to the public and determines that the location promotes the health, safety, and general welfare of the community.
Allows cities to ensure that MMTC facilities comply with the Florida Building Code, the Florida Fire Prevention Code or any local amendments to these codes."