HB 4133

A bill to be entitled
2An act relating to professional geology; repealing chapter
3492, F.S., relating to the regulation, licensure, and
4discipline of professional geologists, the Board of
5Professional Geologists of the Department of Business and
6Professional Regulation, and the practice of professional
7geology by firms, corporations, and partnerships; amending
8ss. 20.165, 373.1175, 376.80, 377.075, 403.087, 403.0877,
9469.004, 627.706, 627.707, 627.7072, 627.7073, and
10627.7074, F.S.; conforming provisions; providing an
11effective date.
13Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
15     Section 1.  Chapter 492, Florida Statutes, consisting of
16sections 492.101, 492.102, 492.103, 492.104, 492.105, 492.106,
17492.107, 492.108, 492.109, 492.1101, 492.111, 492.112, 492.113,
18492.114, 492.115, 492.116, and 492.1165, is repealed.
19     Section 2.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (4) of section
2020.165, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
21     20.165  Department of Business and Professional
22Regulation.-There is created a Department of Business and
23Professional Regulation.
24     (4)(a)  The following boards and programs are established
25within the Division of Professions:
26     1.  Board of Architecture and Interior Design, created
27under part I of chapter 481.
28     2.  Florida Board of Auctioneers, created under part VI of
29chapter 468.
30     3.  Barbers' Board, created under chapter 476.
31     4.  Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors
32Board, created under part XII of chapter 468.
33     5.  Construction Industry Licensing Board, created under
34part I of chapter 489.
35     6.  Board of Cosmetology, created under chapter 477.
36     7.  Electrical Contractors' Licensing Board, created under
37part II of chapter 489.
38     8.  Board of Employee Leasing Companies, created under part
39XI of chapter 468.
40     9.  Board of Landscape Architecture, created under part II
41of chapter 481.
42     10.  Board of Pilot Commissioners, created under chapter
44     11.  Board of Professional Engineers, created under chapter
46     12.  Board of Professional Geologists, created under
47chapter 492.
48     12.13.  Board of Veterinary Medicine, created under chapter
50     13.14.  Home inspection services licensing program, created
51under part XV of chapter 468.
52     14.15.  Mold-related services licensing program, created
53under part XVI of chapter 468.
54     Section 3.  Subsection (1) of section 373.1175, Florida
55Statutes, is amended to read:
56     373.1175  Signing and sealing by professional geologists.-
57     (1)  If an application for a permit or license, or the
58performance of an activity regulated under this chapter,
59requires the services of a professional geologist as provided
60for in chapter 492, the department or governing board of a water
61management district may require that a professional geologist
62licensed under chapter 492 sign and seal any documents and
63reports submitted in connection with the permit application or
64regulated activity.
65     Section 4.  Paragraph (b) of subsection (5) of section
66376.80, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
67     376.80  Brownfield program administration process.-
68     (5)  The person responsible for brownfield site
69rehabilitation must enter into a brownfield site rehabilitation
70agreement with the department or an approved local pollution
71control program if actual contamination exists at the brownfield
72site. The brownfield site rehabilitation agreement must include:
73     (b)  A commitment to conduct site rehabilitation activities
74under the observation of professional engineers or geologists
75who are registered in accordance with the requirements of
76chapter 471 or geologists or chapter 492, respectively.
77Submittals provided by the person responsible for brownfield
78site rehabilitation must be signed and sealed by a professional
79engineer registered under chapter 471, or a professional
80geologist registered under chapter 492, certifying that the
81submittal and associated work comply with the law and rules of
82the department and those governing the profession. In addition,
83upon completion of the approved remedial action, the department
84shall require a professional engineer registered under chapter
85471 or a professional geologist registered under chapter 492 to
86certify that the corrective action was, to the best of his or
87her knowledge, completed in substantial conformance with the
88plans and specifications approved by the department.
89     Section 5.  Subsection (3) of section 377.075, Florida
90Statutes, is amended to read:
91     377.075  Division of Technical Services; geological
93     (3)  STATE GEOLOGIST.-The geological functions of the
94division shall be under the direction of a full-time
95professional geologist who is registered in this state, who
96shall be of established reputation, and who shall be known as
97the State Geologist.
98     Section 6.  Paragraph (a) of subsection (6) of section
99403.087, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
100     403.087  Permits; general issuance; denial; revocation;
101prohibition; penalty.-
102     (6)(a)  The department shall require a processing fee in an
103amount sufficient, to the greatest extent possible, to cover the
104costs of reviewing and acting upon any application for a permit
105or request for site-specific alternative criteria or for an
106exemption from water quality criteria and to cover the costs of
107surveillance and other field services and related support
108activities associated with any permit or plan approval issued
109pursuant to this chapter. The department shall review the fees
110authorized under this chapter at least once every 5 years and
111shall adjust the fees upward, as necessary, within the fee caps
112established in this paragraph to reflect changes in the Consumer
113Price Index or similar inflation indicator. The department shall
114establish by rule the inflation index to be used for this
115purpose. In the event of deflation, the department shall consult
116with the Executive Office of the Governor and the Legislature to
117determine whether downward fee adjustments are appropriate based
118on the current budget and appropriation considerations. However,
119when an application is received without the required fee, the
120department shall acknowledge receipt of the application and
121shall immediately return the unprocessed application to the
122applicant and shall take no further action until the application
123is received with the appropriate fee. The department shall adopt
124a schedule of fees by rule, subject to the following
126     1.  The fee for any of the following may not exceed
128     a.  Hazardous waste, construction permit.
129     b.  Hazardous waste, operation permit.
130     c.  Hazardous waste, postclosure permit, or clean closure
131plan approval.
132     d.  Hazardous waste, corrective action permit.
133     2.  The permit fee for a drinking water construction or
134operation permit, not including the operation license fee
135required under s. 403.861(7), shall be at least $500 and may not
136exceed $15,000.
137     3.  The permit fee for a Class I injection well
138construction permit may not exceed $12,500.
139     4.  The permit fee for any of the following permits may not
140exceed $10,000:
141     a.  Solid waste, construction permit.
142     b.  Solid waste, operation permit.
143     c.  Class I injection well, operation permit.
144     5.  The permit fee for any of the following permits may not
145exceed $7,500:
146     a.  Air pollution, construction permit.
147     b.  Solid waste, closure permit.
148     c.  Domestic waste residuals, construction or operation
150     d.  Industrial waste, operation permit.
151     e.  Industrial waste, construction permit.
152     6.  The permit fee for any of the following permits may not
153exceed $5,000:
154     a.  Domestic waste, operation permit.
155     b.  Domestic waste, construction permit.
156     7.  The permit fee for any of the following permits may not
157exceed $4,000:
158     a.  Wetlands resource management-(dredge and fill and
159mangrove alteration).
160     b.  Hazardous waste, research and development permit.
161     c.  Air pollution, operation permit, for sources not
162subject to s. 403.0872.
163     d.  Class III injection well, construction, operation, or
164abandonment permits.
165     8.  The permit fee for a drinking water distribution system
166permit, including a general permit, shall be at least $500 and
167may not exceed $1,000.
168     9.  The permit fee for Class V injection wells,
169construction, operation, and abandonment permits may not exceed
171     10.  The permit fee for domestic waste collection system
172permits may not exceed $500.
173     11.  The permit fee for stormwater operation permits may
174not exceed $100.
175     12.  Except as provided in subparagraph 8., the general
176permit fees for permits that require certification by a
177registered professional engineer or a professional geologist may
178not exceed $500, and the general permit fee for other permit
179types may not exceed $100.
180     13.  The fee for a permit issued pursuant to s. 403.816 is
181$5,000, and the fee for any modification of such permit
182requested by the applicant is $1,000.
183     14.  The regulatory program and surveillance fees for
184facilities permitted pursuant to s. 403.088 or s. 403.0885, or
185for facilities permitted pursuant to s. 402 of the Clean Water
186Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. ss. 1251 et seq., and for which the
187department has been granted administrative authority, shall be
188limited as follows:
189     a.  The fees for domestic wastewater facilities shall not
190exceed $7,500 annually. The department shall establish a sliding
191scale of fees based on the permitted capacity and shall ensure
192smaller domestic waste dischargers do not bear an inordinate
193share of costs of the program.
194     b.  The annual fees for industrial waste facilities shall
195not exceed $11,500. The department shall establish a sliding
196scale of fees based upon the volume, concentration, or nature of
197the industrial waste discharge and shall ensure smaller
198industrial waste dischargers do not bear an inordinate share of
199costs of the program.
200     c.  The department may establish a fee, not to exceed the
201amounts in subparagraphs 5. and 6., to cover additional costs of
202review required for permit modification or construction
203engineering plans.
204     Section 7.  Subsection (1) of section 403.0877, Florida
205Statutes, is amended to read:
206     403.0877  Certification by professionals regulated by the
207Department of Business and Professional Regulation.-
208     (1)  Nothing in this section shall be construed as specific
209authority for a water management district or the department to
210require certification by a professional engineer licensed under
211chapter 471, a professional landscape architect licensed under
212part II of chapter 481, a professional geologist licensed under
213chapter 492, or a professional surveyor and mapper licensed
214under chapter 472, for an activity that is not within the
215definition or scope of practice of the regulated profession.
216     Section 8.  Subsection (1) of section 469.004, Florida
217Statutes, is amended to read:
218     469.004  License; asbestos consultant; asbestos
220     (1)  All asbestos consultants must be licensed by the
221department. An asbestos consultant's license may be issued only
222to an applicant who holds a current, valid, active license as an
223architect issued under chapter 481; holds a current, valid,
224active license as a professional engineer issued under chapter
225471; holds a current, valid, active license as a professional
226geologist issued under chapter 492; is a diplomat of the
227American Board of Industrial Hygiene; or has been awarded
228designation as a Certified Safety Professional by the Board of
229Certified Safety Professionals.
230     Section 9.  Subsection (2) of section 627.706, Florida
231Statutes, is amended to read:
232     627.706  Sinkhole insurance; catastrophic ground cover
233collapse; definitions.-
234     (2)  As used in ss. 627.706-627.7074, and as used in
235connection with any policy providing coverage for a catastrophic
236ground cover collapse or for sinkhole losses:
237     (a)  "Catastrophic ground cover collapse" means geological
238activity that results in all the following:
239     1.  The abrupt collapse of the ground cover;
240     2.  A depression in the ground cover clearly visible to the
241naked eye;
242     3.  Structural damage to the building, including the
243foundation; and
244     4.  The insured structure being condemned and ordered to be
245vacated by the governmental agency authorized by law to issue
246such an order for that structure.
248Contents coverage applies if there is a loss resulting from a
249catastrophic ground cover collapse. Structural damage consisting
250merely of the settling or cracking of a foundation, structure,
251or building does not constitute a loss resulting from a
252catastrophic ground cover collapse.
253     (b)(f)  "Professional Geologist" means a person, as defined
254by s. 492.102, who has a bachelor's degree or higher in geology
255or related earth science with expertise in the geology of
256Florida. A professional geologist must have geological
257experience and expertise in the identification of sinkhole
258activity as well as other potential geologic causes of damage to
259the structure.
260     (c)(e)  "Professional engineer" means a person, as defined
261in s. 471.005, who has a bachelor's degree or higher in
262engineering with a specialty in the geotechnical engineering
263field. A professional engineer must have geotechnical experience
264and expertise in the identification of sinkhole activity as well
265as other potential causes of damage to the structure.
266     (d)(b)  "Sinkhole" means a landform created by subsidence
267of soil, sediment, or rock as underlying strata are dissolved by
268groundwater. A sinkhole may form by collapse into subterranean
269voids created by dissolution of limestone or dolostone or by
270subsidence as these strata are dissolved.
271     (e)(d)  "Sinkhole activity" means settlement or systematic
272weakening of the earth supporting such property only when such
273settlement or systematic weakening results from movement or
274raveling of soils, sediments, or rock materials into
275subterranean voids created by the effect of water on a limestone
276or similar rock formation.
277     (f)(c)  "Sinkhole loss" means structural damage to the
278building, including the foundation, caused by sinkhole activity.
279Contents coverage shall apply only if there is structural damage
280to the building caused by sinkhole activity.
281     Section 10.  Subsections (2), (3), and (6) of section
282627.707, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
283     627.707  Standards for investigation of sinkhole claims by
284insurers; nonrenewals.-Upon receipt of a claim for a sinkhole
285loss, an insurer must meet the following standards in
286investigating a claim:
287     (2)  Following the insurer's initial inspection, the
288insurer shall engage a professional engineer or a professional
289geologist to conduct testing as provided in s. 627.7072 to
290determine the cause of the loss within a reasonable professional
291probability and issue a report as provided in s. 627.7073, if:
292     (a)  The insurer is unable to identify a valid cause of the
293damage or discovers damage to the structure which is consistent
294with sinkhole loss; or
295     (b)  The policyholder demands testing in accordance with
296this section or s. 627.7072.
297     (3)  Following the initial inspection of the insured
298premises, the insurer shall provide written notice to the
299policyholder disclosing the following information:
300     (a)  What the insurer has determined to be the cause of
301damage, if the insurer has made such a determination.
302     (b)  A statement of the circumstances under which the
303insurer is required to engage a professional engineer or a
304professional geologist to verify or eliminate sinkhole loss and
305to engage a professional engineer to make recommendations
306regarding land and building stabilization and foundation repair.
307     (c)  A statement regarding the right of the policyholder to
308request testing by a professional engineer or a professional
309geologist and the circumstances under which the policyholder may
310demand certain testing.
311     (6)  Except as provided in subsection (7), the fees and
312costs of the professional engineer or the professional geologist
313shall be paid by the insurer.
314     Section 11.  Section 627.7072, Florida Statutes, is amended
315to read:
316     627.7072  Testing standards for sinkholes.-The professional
317engineer and the professional geologist shall perform such tests
318as sufficient, in their professional opinion, to determine the
319presence or absence of sinkhole loss or other cause of damage
320within reasonable professional probability and for the
321professional engineer to make recommendations regarding
322necessary building stabilization and foundation repair.
323     Section 12.  Subsection (1) of section 627.7073, Florida
324Statutes, is amended to read:
325     627.7073  Sinkhole reports.-
326     (1)  Upon completion of testing as provided in s. 627.7072,
327the professional engineer or the professional geologist shall
328issue a report and certification to the insurer and the
329policyholder as provided in this section.
330     (a)  Sinkhole loss is verified if, based upon tests
331performed in accordance with s. 627.7072, a professional
332engineer or a professional geologist issues a written report and
333certification stating:
334     1.  That the cause of the actual physical and structural
335damage is sinkhole activity within a reasonable professional
337     2.  That the analyses conducted were of sufficient scope to
338identify sinkhole activity as the cause of damage within a
339reasonable professional probability.
340     3.  A description of the tests performed.
341     4.  A recommendation by the professional engineer of
342methods for stabilizing the land and building and for making
343repairs to the foundation.
344     (b)  If sinkhole activity is eliminated as the cause of
345damage to the structure, the professional engineer or the
346professional geologist shall issue a written report and
347certification to the policyholder and the insurer stating:
348     1.  That the cause of the damage is not sinkhole activity
349within a reasonable professional probability.
350     2.  That the analyses and tests conducted were of
351sufficient scope to eliminate sinkhole activity as the cause of
352damage within a reasonable professional probability.
353     3.  A statement of the cause of the damage within a
354reasonable professional probability.
355     4.  A description of the tests performed.
356     (c)  The respective findings, opinions, and recommendations
357of the professional engineer or the professional geologist as to
358the cause of distress to the property and the findings,
359opinions, and recommendations of the professional engineer as to
360land and building stabilization and foundation repair shall be
361presumed correct.
362     Section 13.  Paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section
363627.7074, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
364     627.7074  Alternative procedure for resolution of disputed
365sinkhole insurance claims.-
366     (1)  As used in this section, the term:
367     (b)  "Neutral evaluator" means a professional engineer or a
368professional geologist who has completed a course of study in
369alternative dispute resolution designed or approved by the
370department for use in the neutral evaluation process, who is
371determined to be fair and impartial.
372     Section 14.  This act shall take effect July 1, 2011.

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.