FAC News Clips - February 23, 2018 -

FAC News Clips – February 23, 2018


Customary Use



Senate bill opening beaches to 'customary use' struggles through another committee

TALLAHASSEE — Despite opposition from local governments and environmentalists, a Senate bill that attempts to thwart local ordinances providing for broad public access to beaches as a legal "customary use" passed a second committee stop. FL SB804 (18R) addresses ordinances in Walton and St. Johns counties that were passed in response to property owners putting up barriers to beach access. A federal court in November sided with Walton County in a challenge filed by property owners. State Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples), the bill sponsor, said state and local governments should not determine legal customary use of beaches above the mean high water line not owned by the state.


Drug Abuse


News Service of Florida

Rader seeks $25 million more in Senate for fighting opioid epidemic

Two Democratic senators are pushing to increase by $25 million the amount of funding the Senate has committed to addressing the state’s opioid problems in the upcoming year. Sen. Kevin Rader praised Senate leaders for proposing to spend $100 million on mental-health services and school-safety programs in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting last week that left 17 people dead. But he said they also need to put more money into a plan to curb the opioid epidemic.





Bob Gualtieri vexed over immigration misinformation

A community forum to discuss the recent agreement between 17 Florida Sheriffs and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is scheduled to take place Thursday night in St. Petersburg. That agreement allows local authorities to hold undocumented immigrants beyond the time they normally would have to be released based on state or local cases. It was announced at a press conference at the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in Largo last month, and came about after courts objected to sheriffs making their own decisions based on a civil detainer request. Under the new arrangement, the migrants are booked under federal auspices.





Tax Cut Package Faces Pushback, Moves Forward

A tax cut package moving through the House is facing pushback from animal rights activists, educators and working people. But the proposal does include more tax free holidays and a break for nursing homes adding generators. One of the most controversial pieces in the measure is a provision that would preempt local ordinances banning the sale of any item that is subject to sales tax. Bill sponsor, Rep. Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast), says in recent years local governments have established a wide range of bans.


Times / Herald

House advances pre-emption measure that would prevent ban on sale of taxed items

Cities and counties would not be able to bar the sale of any item if there is a tax involved in the purchase, under an amendment that is now headed to the House floor as part of a wide-ranging tax package. The pre-emption measure, which passed the House Appropriations Committee Thursday afternoon, would limit local governments’ abilities to ban the sale “or offering for sale” of any items if they have a state sales tax attached. The measure preserves exceptions already permitted in law, such as a statute that allows counties to ban alcohol sales on Sundays.


News Service of Florida

Local governments wary of House tax package

A $350 million tax package moved forward Thursday in the House, but local governments are fighting parts of the bill that they say could lift restrictions on “puppy mills” and adult entertainment establishments. The House Appropriations Committee voted 18-7 to advance the wide-ranging package (HB 7087), which includes offering sales-tax “holidays,” providing some post-Hurricane Irma tax relief and reducing a commercial lease tax. The package has run into controversy as city and county officials object to what they consider overly broad preemption language that would prohibit local bans on the sales of any goods subject to sales taxes.



Proposed House tax package rewrite sparks opposition from cities, counties

TALLAHASSEE — A proposed rewrite of the House tax package could pre-empt local regulations of septic tanks, pornography and residential zoning that prohibits businesses, representatives of cities and counties said Wednesday. FL HB7087 (18R), sponsored by state Rep. Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast), would provide $331.3 million in tax cuts in fiscal 2018-19, including a one-time $13 million tax credit authorization for cleaning up contamination sites known as brownfields. The Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Counties are against the proposed rewrite, which would declare void any local ordinance that prohibits the sale of tangible property subject to state sales tax and other taxes provided for in Chapter 212, Florida Statutes.


State Budget


News Service of Florida

Senate budget chief questions texting ban bill

Senate Appropriations Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said Thursday that he and other senators have concerns about legislation that would make driving while texting a “primary” traffic offense. The bill (SB 90), sponsored by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, is awaiting a hearing in Bradley’s committee, which has its last scheduled meeting on Tuesday. Proponents want to give law enforcement officers the right to pull over motorists when they see them texting behind the wheel of their vehicles.


Vacation Rentals


News Service of Florida

Vacation rental bill narrowly passes Florida House committee

A woman named Aline, who asked that her last name not be used, says being able to offer this room in her Boca Raton home as a vacation rental on Airbnb has allowed her to make about $12,000 a year, which helped her to stave off foreclosure several years ago. A bill that would preempt local regulation of vacation rental properties squeaked through a House committee on Thursday, after lawmakers added provisions related to sexual predators and offenders. The bill (HB 773), sponsored by Rep. Mike La Rosa, R-St. Cloud, would negate local vacation-rental ordinances passed since June 1, 2011.



House vacation rentals bill clears Government Accountability Committee

The vacation rentals deregulation bill cleared its first stop in the Florida House of Representatives Thursday with a close approval won in the House Government Accountability Committee. House Bill 773, sponsored by St. Cloud Republican state Rep. Mike La Rosa, now heads toward the commerce committee in this year’s legislative efforts to roll back and prevent local ordinances from restricting vacation rental homes, and turning licensing and regulation over to the state. The bill got through the committee Thursday after numerous amendments were fought off and defeated.