Interim committee meetings leading up to the 2017 Legislative Session have begun. Bills are continually entering the system on a daily basis, but committee action so far has focused on introductory material, general issue overviews, and workshops.

We will provide periodic updates as the Legislative Session continues, and for any relevant legislation, the full text of each bill and any amendments can be found on the legislative web sites. (http://www.flsenate.gov; http://www.myfloridahouse.com; and http://www.leg.state.fl.us.)

Water

The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee presented a long range financial outlook for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The outlook included an estimate of $81 million for water project funding for water projects and initiatives for local governments; over $14 million in state matching for drinking water and wastewater treatment facility construction; and $1.5 million for water supply planning and conservation programs.

Agricultural Operations

Low-Voltage Electric Fences: SB 190 by Senator Artiles provides requirements for a low-voltage electric fence to be permitted as a low-voltage alarm system project. The bill has been referred to three committees but not yet scheduled for hearing. The House companion, HB 241 by Representative Williamson, is recently filed and has not yet been referenced.

Property Rights, Budget, and Taxes

Agricultural Land Classification and Assessment: SB 86 by Senator Steube provides an exception from a requirement for lands to be classified as agricultural for taxation purposes and requires that land jointly used for commercial nonagricultural purposes and bona fide agricultural purposes directly related to apiculture (the keeping of bees on a large scale) be classified as agricultural. The bill has been referred to three committees but not yet scheduled for hearing. There is currently no House companion.

Marijuana

Amendment 2: The constitutional amendment passed during the 2016 general election to allow for broader use of medical marijuana than under current law. However, it also leaves a considerable amount of detail to be filled in through subsequent legislation and rulemaking. The amendment allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician. The language also allows use of the full cannabis plant for the treatment of all qualifying conditions, as opposed to only terminal conditions under current law. House and Senate committees have held workshops and hosted panels to gather information in anticipation of drafting enacting legislation this Session.