Ditchmen • NUCA of Florida Ditchmen - March 2020 - Page 18

NUCA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 2020 ★ ★ ★ NUCA of Florida Final Legislative Update 2020 The 2020 Regular Legislative Session came to a close on Thursday, March 19, with lawmakers passing a $93.2B budget prior to sine die. While approximately 3500 bills were filed, only 207 made it across the finish line (although some of these contained multiple bills.) Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, lobbyists and the public were unable to witness the ceremonial “hanky drop” that signals the close of the Session. Below is a brief recap of issues of importance to the underground utility and construction industry. State Budget Highlights of the state budget (which kicks in July 1) include: Ø $300M in reserves to address economic impact of Coronavirus Ø $25.1M for Coronavirus to Dept. of Health coupled with $27.3M from Federal Government Ø $690M for Everglades Restoration and water projects, including septic-sewer conversions Ø $100M for Florida Forever Conservation Program Ø $370M to fully fund the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund Ø $50M for Visit Florida Ø $500M for teacher pay increases Ø 3 percent pay raise for all state employees Ø Sales tax holidays for school clothing/supplies and disaster preparedness Bills that Passed These bills, once certified, will be sent to the Governor for his approval—once received, the Governor may sign the bill into law, allow the bill to become law without his signature or veto the measure. Local Government Public Construction Works (aka Bidding Bill)—HB 279 by Rep. Smith/SB 504 by Perry NUCA’s top priority bill this Session, HB 279, specifies how the estimated cost of a public works construction project must be determined when a governing board is deciding whether it is in their best interest to self-perform the project using its own services, employees, and equipment. The bill requires the estimated project cost to account for costs associated with performing and completing the work, including employee compensation and benefits, equipment and maintenance, insurance, and the cost of direct materials to be used in the construction of the project, including materials to be purchased by the local government. The estimated project cost must also include other direct costs, plus a factor of 20 percent for management, overhead, and other indirect costs. HB 279 also requires local governments to consider the same costs when determining the estimated cost of road and bridge construction and reconstruction projects performed utilizing proceeds from the constitutional gas tax. 16 DITCHMEN • MARCH 2020