Lawmakers quickly rolled up their sleeves and got back to work after taking Monday off for the MLK holiday. Today marked the 9th legislative day of the 2014 session, and we anticipate this pace to continue, as they push to get out of town before St. Patrick’s Day. While the days are flying off the calendar, there has been little activity on legislation, outside of the budget and Jekyll Island.
- State primary elections were moved up to May 20, 2014. While much earlier than usual, this is to have the election coincide with the federal elections for logistical reasons. This has greatly expedited the legislative session as the General Assembly is moving through the budget hearings and the legislative calendar simultaneously.
- Mid-year budget on fast track to passage. This budget is a slightly modified version of the plan Governor Deal proposed in his State of the state address and includes an additional $300 MM in new spending
- $130 MM sent to school districts for increased enrollment
- $25 MM for increased enrollment in Medicaid and PeachCare
- $25 MM to local governments and school systems for money lost in property tax revenue
- $25 MM to grants and loans to help local communities attract business
Remediation Modernization – As we discussed at the GCC Legislative Day, the Legislature needs to restore the appeals rights to the HSRA program. GCC has been working with the Department and Legislative leaders on proposed legislation to restore the appeal rights. Our bill is drafted, and we are anticipating introduction any day now in the Senate. We will keep you updated as it develops.
Water Resources – HB 741 would require written verification from an applicant that the property adheres to all applicable zoning and land use ordinances before a permit of a sludge land application system will be issued. Public hearings will also be required within the jurisdiction of the land application site. This could result in a significant delay in permit issuance and could be a disincentive land applying sludge. While it should apply only to human waste management or public water treatment, it may be of interest to manufacturers who have their own water treatment wells. GCC will closely monitor the activity of the bill’s progress.
Water Wells – SB 306 is an attempt to indefinitely extend the moratorium on the injection of ground and surface water into the Floridian aquifer. Underground water storage is crucial. Six of the ten regional water councils have underground storage as part of their water plans. GCC will be working in opposition of SB 306.