Dean Mead Agribusiness Industry Team – Summary of Pending Legislation

Dean Mead Agribusiness Industry Team

Summary of Pending Legislation:

Dean Mead is pleased to present this summary report of pending legislation that may be of interest to your business. The bill numbers are shown below under these headings: Agriculture, Water, and Other. “SB” is the abbreviation for Senate Bill, and “HB” is the abbreviation for House Bill.  The full text of each bill can be found on the legislative web sites. (www.flsenate.gov; www.myfloridahouse.gov; and www.leg.state.fl.us).

The bill filing process is not yet complete and new legislation will appear in future updates.  Changes from the last report are shown in bold print.

Agriculture

Taxation. SB 312 by Senator Simpson and HB 575 by Representative Albritton provides for new agriculture tax exemptions for irrigation equipment and repairs to farm equipment. The bill creates a definition for “qualified agricultural producer” who apply for an exemption certificate that show their status when buying tax exempt items. Additionally, the bill provides that participation in a water retention program will be considered non-income producing under certain circumstances. SB 312 has 4 committee assignments, and has unanimously passed 2 committees. HB 575 has 3 committee assignments.

Genetically Engineered Foods. HB 1 by Representative Vasilinda and SB 558 by Senator Ring mandate the disclosure of genetically engineered foods on product labels. The bill creates a definition for “genetically engineered” and “processed food.” The bill lists commercial commodities commonly cultivated in genetically engineered form, and requires DACS to annually update the list. HB 1 has 3 committee assignments, and SB 558 has 4 committee assignments. 

Duties of DACS. HB 4007 by Representative Diaz repeals the requirement that DACS represent Florida in Southern States Energy Compact. HB 4007 has 3 committee assignments.

Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act. HB 71 by Representative Rodrigues creates the Fracturing Chemical Usage Disclosure Act; directs DEP to establish online hydraulic fracturing chemical registry for wells including chemicals and the volume of water used in hydraulic fracturing; requires service providers, vendors, & owners or operators of wells on which hydraulic fracturing treatments are performed to report certain information to DEP; and authorizes DEP to adopt rules. HB 71 has 3 committee assignments, and has passed 1 committee.  

Public Records Exemption. HB 157 by Representative Rodrigues provides for a public records exemption for trade secrets obtained by DEP for the fracturing registry. HB 157 has 3 committee assignments, and has passed 1 committee.

Agricultural Industry Certifications. HB 487 by Representative Raburn requires DACS to annually provide information and industry certifications for farm occupations and adopt rules for implementing an industry certification process.  HB 487 has 4 committee assignments. 

Food Deserts. SB 426 by Senator Bullard and HB 441 by Representative Lee create an income tax credit for businesses that sell food that has high levels of nutrients in areas with high poverty rates designated as food deserts. SB 426 has 3 committee assignments. HB 441 has 3 committee assignments.

Fresh Produce Markets.  HB 535 by Representative Fullwood and SB 552 by Senator Thompson requires farmers’ markets, community farmers’ markets, flea markets, & other open-air markets selling fresh produce to allow authorized Food & Nutrition Service groups, associations, and third-party organizations to operate Electronic Benefits Transfer systems. HB 535 has 2 committee assignments. SB 552 has 4 committee assignments.

Tax Credits for Rural Areas of Opportunity. HB 611 by Representative Beshears provides for tax benefits for businesses in rural areas of opportunity. HB 611 also authorizes businesses to apply for ad valorem tax and sales tax reimbursement and increases DEO grant funds that regionally based economic development organizations may receive.  HB 611 has 3 committee assignments. 

Daylight Savings Time. HB 701 by Representative Danish and SB 74 by Senator Soto requires Florida and its political subdivisions to observe daylight saving time year-round. HB 701 has 3 committee assignments, and SB 74 has 4 committee assignments.

 

Water

Springs Revival Act. SB 76 by Senator Soto and HB 49 by Representative Stewart requires water management districts to identify springs that are declining in water quality and flow levels, and develop 5-year plans to restore the springs identified. HB 49 has 3 committee assignments, and SB 76 has 4 committee assignments.

Public Utilities Rates. SB 272 by Senator Simpson requires the Public Service Commission to adjust public water or wastewater utilities rates, and consider the value and quality of water provided when fixing rates. The bill also provides for regulation of utilities by PSC if the utility fails to meet certain standards. SB 272 has 3 committee assignments, and has unanimously passed 2 committees.

Utility Taxation & Regulation. HB 357 by Representative Santiago extends tax exemptions to certain investor-owned utilities. It also requires the review of private activity bond allocations for infrastructure bond projects, and exempts certain resellers of water from PSC regulations. Additionally, the bill establishes criteria for quality, and provides for loans and grants to for-profit privately owned or investor-owned systems. HB 357 has 3 committee assignments.

Springs Protection Awareness Month. SB 382 by Senator Dean recognizes April 2014 as the Springs Protection Awareness Month.

Reclaimed Water. SB 536 by Senator Simpson and HB 601 by Representative Ray require DACS and DEP in cooperation with the water management districts to study reclaimed water. SB 536 has 2 committee assignments, and HB 601 has 3 committee assignments.

 

Other

Fair Associations. SB 624 by Representative Simpson exempts land owned by a “fair association” from taxes and fees for the operation of stormwater facilities. (A “fair association” is a not-for-profit association that operates an exhibition for educational, agricultural, or charitable benefit). SB 624 has 4 committee assignments.

Environmental Regulation. HB 703 by Representative Patronis specifies the counties’ authority to enforce environmental regulations. HB 703 prohibits local governments from rescinding comprehensive plan amendments that authorize land uses other than agricultural use if the land’s primary use is agricultural. HB 703 B 70Hb 7032

authorizes permits for up to 50 years for landowners who make lands available for water development projects. HB 703 has 4 committee assignments.

Economic Development. HB 7023 by the Economic, Development, and Tourism Subcommittee relates to general economic development and contains provisions that modify transportation concurrency for business development, several programs administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity, makes changes to Space Florida’s duties, and adjusts reemployment assistance tax payment installment plans. HB 7023 has 2 committee assignments.

Utility Projects. SB 910 by Senator Legg authorizes local governments to issue cost containment bonds to finance a utility project and authorizes a utility project charge on customers of a publicly-owned utility.   SB 910 has been referred to 3 committee references.

Community Development Districts. SB 802 by Senator Detert provides that community development districts may be dissolved by a majority vote of the district landowners. SB 802 has 2 committee assignments.

Renewable Energy Source Devices.  HB 827 by Representative La Rosa prohibits property appraisers from considering renewable energy source devices for increased value of real property. The bill extends the renewable energy exemption to commercial property for improvements made after January 1, 2015.

Ad Valorem Assessments.  SB 916 by Senator Brandes proposes a constitutional amendment to limit the tax exemption to “end-use customers” of a renewable energy source device.  SB 916 has 4 committee assignments.

 

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