Ditchmen • NUCA of Florida Ditchmen - March 2020 - Page 24
NUCA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE 2020 ★ ★ ★
in areas with the highest nutrient concentrations. It also requires DACS, in coordination
with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and
other academic institutions, to annually develop research plans and legislative budget
requests to address agricultural runoff.
SB 712 requires enrollment in DACS’s BMP program and prohibits the application of Class
A or Class B biosolids within 6 inches of the seasonal high water table, unless a nutrient
management plan and water quality monitoring plan provide reasonable assurances that
the application will not cause or contribute to water quality violations. Permits will have to
comply within two years and with DEP’s biosolids rule within two years of it becoming
effective. SB 712 allows local governments to keep existing biosolids ordinances.
Fines and Penalties
The bill doubles the fines for wastewater violations and increases the cap on total
administrative penalties that may be assessed by DEP from $10,000 to $50,000 and the cap
per violator from $5,000 to $10,000.
Water Quality Monitoring
The bill requires DEP to establish a real-time water quality monitoring program, subject to
appropriation. SB 712 requires DEP to conduct a study on the bottled water industry in the
Rights of Nature
The bill prohibits local governments from providing legal rights to any plant, animal, body
of water, or other part of the natural environment unless otherwise specifically authorized
by state law or the State Constitution.
SB 712 requires DEP to work with UF/IFAS and regulated entities to consider the adoption
by rule of BMPs for nutrient impacts from golf courses.
SB 712 passed three committees and the full Senate 39-0. HB 1343 passed all of its
committees. SB 712 was replaced by HB 1343, and was approved 118-0.
Verification of Employment (aka E-Verify) - SB 664 by Lee/ HB 1265 by Byrd
SB 664 requires public employers and contractors and subcontractors working on public
projects to use E-Verify, while private employers may use E-Verify or use the Form I-9 but
must maintain copies of the documents used to complete the I-9 for 3 years. E-Verify is a
free, Internet-based system through which an employer may quickly confirm that a newly-
hired employee is authorized to work in the United States.
The bill requires a party to a public contract to terminate the contract if it believes in good
faith that another party is employing an unauthorized alien or is not registered with and
using E-Verify. It specifies that the termination is not a breach of contract. However, a
contractor whose contract is terminated for failing to use E-Verify or for knowingly
DITCHMEN • MARCH 2020