FASD 2023 Legislative Priorities

The following priorities and issues were developed by the FASD Legislative Committee and approved by the FASD Board of Directors at their January 12, 2023, meeting.

Priorities of the Florida Association of Special Districts:

Performance Reviews
SUPPORT relief for costs and mandates in performance reviews newly created for Districts impacted by Hurricane Ian, as well as revisiting the reviews after the initial analysis for the cost-benefit to the State and to the District.  (189.0695)

SUPPORT relief for Drone ownership by special districts (primarily mosquito and fire control districts) where previous legislation and rulemaking has not taken into consideration lack of availability of specialized equipment not available thru the approved manufacturers, nor the cost impact to local government for early obsolescence of drone equipment. [934.50, SB2512 (2022)]

Trespass Language
SUPPORT consistency with cities and county laws for special district in trespass language for special districts, primarily water control districts, for trespassing and dumping of debris.

Policy Positions:

Dissolving Certain Independent Special Districts
MONITOR the impacts of Senate Bill 4C (2022) relating to the six districts impacted by legislation relating to updates to special acts not amended after to November 5, 1968, and to provide consistency of application of laws impacting special districts.

Fingerprinting and Background Checks
SUPPORT efforts to authorize special districts under Chapter 189 to allow for FBI/FDLE fingerprinting and background checks in order to meet the requirements of the Federal Public Law 92-544.  Separate authority is necessary as the FBI has advised the FDLE that many fire districts are no longer allowed to submit applicants under s. 633.412 and should either submit under s. 125.5801 (counties authority) s. 166.0442 (municipalities authority). Unfortunately, special districts do not have the authority to adopt ordinances under such sections.

Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity
SUPPORT efforts to revise the COPCN requirement for fire districts providing ALS nontransport services by providing an alternative path for fire districts to receive a state license from the Department of Health to provide advanced life support nontransport services at an emergency scene while waiting for a transport vehicle from the county approved ambulance provider.

SUPPORT efforts to revise the annexation statute to allow districts to continue to assess and to provide services within an annexed area. With new development and increasing property values in Florida, municipalities have begun to aggressively annex properties within independent special districts, even if the annexing municipality does not have sufficient infrastructure.  In addition to losing revenues, the impact may be more detrimental to fire districts as many fire districts participate in closest unit response.  By participating in this life saving activity, fire districts continue to provide fire and emergency medical services to an annexed area in which it no longer receives revenues (this continuation of service occurs even after the 171.093 4-year transition).

Tree and Vegetation Maintenance
SUPPORT legislation to prohibit general purpose local governments from requiring any permits or other approvals for tree and vegetation maintenance performed within the rights-of-way of improvement districts and water control districts (HB521 from 2018).

Unfunded Mandates
OPPOSE state and federal sponsored unfunded mandates on independent special districts which cause increases to local taxes and assessments for the benefit of general-purpose governments without benefit to the local taxpayers.

Washington D.C.:  Work to provide a federal definition of special districts for purposes of storm recovery, federal grants, programs related to health care testing, etc.

Read Memo Here