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Daily Legislative Brief from January 27, 2020

Legal & Judicial

SB 478 – Relating to Motor Vehicle Rentals

On Monday, January 27, SB 478 by Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) was heard by the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee and was reported favorable with 9 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.

Currently, rental car companies levee a daily surcharge of $2 per day that is paid by individuals renting cars. Peer-to-peer vehicle sharing programs are typically app-based platforms where owners can list and lease their personal vehicles for a pre-determined time and rate. Presently, these car sharing services are exempt from the rental car surcharge. The proceeds from the rental car surcharge paid by consumers who rent vehicles goes to build and maintain the state’s infrastructure, which is very important to Florida businesses statewide.

The bill amends current Florida statute which establishes a surcharge on the lease or rental of a motor vehicle, to extend the surcharge to peer-to-peer vehicle sharing programs. The fee amounts to $2 per day on rentals over 24 hours and drops to $1 for rentals of less than 24 hours. The bill also establishes operational requirements for peer-to-peer vehicle sharing programs, such as insurance requirements to prevent a lapse in insurance coverage should an accident occur.

SB 478 will now move to the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

AIF supports the proposed measures in this bill to hold all rental car services accountable, regardless of how the vehicle is accessed.


SB 1464 – Relating to Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety

On Monday, January 27, SB 1464 by Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) was heard by the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee and was reported favorable with 7 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.

SB 1464 will now move to the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

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.


SB 1382 – Relating to Environmental Resource Management

On Monday, January 27, SB 1382 by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) was heard by the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee and was reported favorable with 4 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.

Phosphorus and nitrogen are naturally present in water and are essential nutrients for the healthy growth of plant and animal life. The correct balance of both nutrients is necessary for a healthy ecosystem; however, excessive nitrogen and phosphorus can cause significant water quality problems. Phosphorus and nitrogen are derived from natural and human-made sources. Natural inputs include the atmosphere, soils, and the decay of plants and animals. Human-made sources include sewage disposal systems (wastewater treatment facilities and septic systems), overflows of storm and sanitary sewers (untreated sewage), agricultural production and irrigation practices, and stormwater runoff.

The bill includes recommendations from the Blue-Green Algae Task Force. The major topics in this bill include onside sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDSs, commonly known as septic systems), wastewater, stormwater, agriculture, and biosolids. The bill also addresses basin management action plans which address watersheds and basins tributary to an affected water body in an effort to reduce pollutants flowing into the water body.

In addition, the bill requires that local governments may not extend legal standing or legal rights to plants, animals, a body of water, or any additional part of the natural environment.

SB 1382 will now move to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government.

AIF supports legislation that addresses the existing water quality issues as Florida’s businesses and citizens alike rely on access to clean, uncontaminated water. This legislation also protects Florida businesses from lawsuits by defining that people cannot sue on behalf of inanimate objects, i.e. rivers, lakes, streams etc.