HB 7 – Relating to Legal Notices
On Thursday, February 6, HB 7 by Representative Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) was heard by the House State Affairs Committee and was reported favorable with 14 yeas and 9 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in opposition to this legislation.
All meetings of a county, municipality, school board, or special district at which official acts are to be taken or at which public business is to be discussed or transacted must be open to the public and notice must be given. All legal notices and publications must be made in a newspaper that meets the following qualifications:
- Published at least once a week;
- At least 25 percent of its words are in English;
- Considered a periodical by the post office;
- For sale to the general public; and
- Contains information of interest or value to the general public in the affected area
The bill would allow a governmental agency the option to deviate from print and publish legally required advertisements and notices on a publicly accessible website.
HB 7 will now move to the House floor for consideration.
AIF opposes internet-only public notice, as it eliminates the wide net created by print media and the internet combined. Webpages are present one day and gone the next; the internet is an inherently unreliable platform for critical information.
HB 7037 – Relating to Constitutional Amendments Proposed by Initiative
On Thursday, February 6, HB 7037 by the House Judiciary Committee was heard by the House State Affairs Committee and was reported favorable with 15 yeas and 7 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
The Florida Constitution is the charter of the liberties of Floridians. It may be amended only if the voters approve an amendment originating from the Legislature, the Constitution Revision Commission, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, a constitutional convention, or a citizen initiative.
The bill modifies several aspects of the citizen initiative process to increase transparency, strengthen the integrity of the ballot, and reduce costs for the supervisors of elections. Specifically, the bill changes the deadline for gathering signatures, the Fiscal Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC) analysis process, the ballot language requirements, and the requirements for supervisors of elections.
HB 7037 will now move to the House floor for consideration.
AIF supports the measures contained in this bill to prevent interest groups’ circumvention of the legislature in revising Florida’s constitution.
HB 519 – Relating to Private Property Rights Protection
On Thursday, February 6, HB 519 by Representative James Grant (R-Tampa) was heard by the House Judiciary Committee and was reported favorable with 11 yeas and 5 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
The Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from depriving a person of his or her private property for public use "without just compensation." However, not every government action burdening private property amounts to an illegal "taking" under the Takings Clause. Florida law provides legal remedies when a local government burdens property rights in a manner that does not amount to a "taking.”
The bill requires a local government, when settling property rights claims, to treat similar properties similarly. If the government settles or the property owner secures a judgment declaring an inordinate burden, there is a presumption that similarly situated parcels are also inordinately burdened and entitled to the same settlement terms or judicial determination. The bill also makes it easier for a private property owner to challenge a local regulation burdening his or her property by:
- Allowing a jury or the court to consider business damages in making its damages calculation;
- Removing a provision allowing the government to seek attorney fees and costs when a property owner refuses a bona fide offer which reasonably would have resolved the property claim fairly.
Additionally, when a local government is poised to impose an exaction upon private property, the bill allows the property owner to sue without having to wait for written notice of the exaction.
HB 519 will now move to the House floor for consideration.
AIF supports private property rights which create a prosperous business climate in Florida.