HB 1095 – Relating to Underground Facility Damage Prevention and Safety
On Thursday, February 20, HB 1095 by Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Fort Myers) was heard by the House Commerce Committee and was reported favorable with 23 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, 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 excavator to transmit reports of incidents to State Fire Marshal for investigation.
HB 1095 will now move to the House floor.
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.