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. Biosolids 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 state. 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. Golf Courses 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 22 DITCHMEN • MARCH 2020