SB 306 – Relating to State Funds
On Monday, February 3, SB 306 by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne) was heard by the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee and was reported favorable with 8 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
In 1997, the Legislature created the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC). The goal of the FHFC is to increase the supply of safe, affordable housing for individuals and families with very low to moderate incomes. To do this, the FHFC uses federal and state resources to finance the development of affordable homes and rental housing and assist first-time homebuyers through various programs. Currently, Florida Statute specifically grants authority to the Legislature to transfer unappropriated cash balances of state trust funds to either the General Revenue Fund or the Budget Stabilization Fund in the General Appropriations Act.
The bill exempts the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund (both of which fund FHFC) from a provision authorizing the Legislature to transfer unappropriated cash balances from these trust funds to the Budget Stabilization Fund and General Revenue Fund.
SB 306 will now move to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development.
AIF supports legislative efforts to protect and increase access to safe and affordable housing for Florida’s workforce on which businesses in the state depend on.
SB 1656 – Relating to Reclaimed Water
On Monday, February 3, SB 1656 by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) was heard by the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee and was reported favorable with 8 yeas and 1 nay. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
The bill, which is based off the recommendations of the Potable Reuse Commission, recognizes reclaimed water as a potential source of drinking water, recognizes potable reuse water as an alternative active water supply, establishes specific water quality criteria for potable reuse, and prohibits certain utilities from discharging reuse, effluent, or reclaimed water via surface water discharges.
SB 1656 will now move to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment and General Government.
AIF supports legislation which increases Florida’s water supply by encouraging greater utilization of reclaimed water, direct and indirect potable technology, and other alternative water supplies that are both technologically and economically feasible. States with an adequate water supply will have a head start on future economic development and job creation.
HB 1363 – Relating to Basin Management Action Plans
On Monday, February 3, HB 1363 by Representative Toby Overdorf (R-Stuart) was heard by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and was reported favorable with 8 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
The federal Clean Water Act (CWA) requires states to adopt water quality standards (WQS) for navigable waters. The CWA requires states to develop lists of water bodies that do not meet WQS, which are called impaired waters. States are then required to develop a total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the particular pollutants causing the impairment. The TMDL is the maximum allowable amount of the pollutants the water body can receive while maintaining WQS. Once a TMDL is adopted, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) may develop and implement a basin management action plan (BMAP), which is a restoration plan for the watersheds and basins connected to the impaired water body. A BMAP must integrate appropriate management strategies available to the state and must include milestones for implementation and water quality improvement, and associated water quality monitoring.
The bill requires nonpoint source dischargers (farm water runoff, for example) who discharge into a basin included in an adopted BMAP to comply with interim measures, best management practices (BMPs), other measures adopted by rule by DEP or the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), or management measures adopted in a BMAP.
The bill further requires DEP, DACS, or the water management district (WMD), to verify by site visit the implementation of such requirements at least once every two years. The bill requires DEP, DACS, and owners of agricultural operations in the basin to develop a cooperative agricultural regional water quality improvement element as part of a BMAP under certain circumstances. The bill further requires DEP, DOH, local governments, and WMDs to develop a cooperative urban, suburban, commercial, or institutional regional water quality improvement element as part of a BMAP under certain circumstances.
HB 1363 will now move to the House State Affairs Committee.
AIF supports legislation that addresses the existing water quality issues as Florida’s businesses and citizens alike rely on access to clean, uncontaminated water.
SB 1174 – Relating to Communications Services Tax
On Monday, February 3, SB 1174 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee and was reported favorable with 10 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
The bill amends the definition of “video service” for purposes of the Communications Services Tax (CST) to include streaming and similar services. By definition: “video service” is to include subscriptions to digital video content and the rental of digital video content delivered to a Florida service address by download, streaming, or some combination thereof, and where the access to such content expires at a specific time or on the occurrence of a condition subsequent (such as the end of a subscription period).
Additionally, the bill reduces the state CST rate from 4.92 percent to 4.9 percent.
SB 1174 will now move to the Senate Community Affairs Committee.
AIF supports legislation that will reduce the communications services tax and have a positive financial impact on Florida’s consumers, many of whom are businesses that pay for cable, satellite and streaming services.