HB 1095 – Relating to Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety
On Tuesday, January 21, HB 1095 by Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Fort Myers) was heard by the House Energy & Utilities Subcommittee and was reported favorable with 14 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
Chapter 556, F.S., is the “Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety Act” (Act). The stated purpose of the Act is to identify and locate underground facilities prior to an excavation or demolition to prevent injury to persons or property or interruption of services resulting from damage to those facilities. To accomplish this, the Act creates a not-for-profit corporation (Sunshine 811) to administer a free-access notification system.
The bill amends the Florida statute to:
- Expand the list of entities that may issue citations for violations to include the State Fire Marshal and local fire chiefs.
- Increase the maximum civil penalty (up to $2,500 plus 5 percent, in addition to any other court costs) for certain violations that involve an underground pipe or facility transporting hazardous materials;
- Require each clerk of court to submit an annual report to the State Fire Marshal listing each violation notice;
- Require Sunshine 811 to transmit reports of incidents that involve high-priority subsurface installations (HPSI) for investigation; and
- Create an “underground facility damage prevention review panel” under the State Fire Marshal for the purpose of reviewing complaints of alleged violations.
HB 1095 will now move to the House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee.
AIF supports legislation that enhances the 811 program and penalties to curb detrimental practices which lead to damaged infrastructure that causes unnecessary service interruptions, safety issues and increasing repair costs.