Florida Senate - 2016                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 324
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              
                   Comm: RS            .                                
                  02/09/2016           .                                

       The Committee on Finance and Tax (Simpson) recommended the
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Between lines 556 and 557
    4  insert:
    5         Section 2. Subsection (5) of section 153.03, Florida
    6  Statutes, is amended to read:
    7         153.03 General grant of power.—Any of the several counties
    8  of the state which may hereafter come under the provisions of
    9  this chapter as hereinafter provided is hereby authorized and
   10  empowered:
   11         (5) To acquire in the name of the county by gift, purchase
   12  as hereinafter provided, or by the exercise of the right of
   13  eminent domain, such lands and rights and interests therein,
   14  including lands under water and riparian rights, and to acquire
   15  such personal property as it may deem necessary for the
   16  efficient operation or for the extension of or the improvement
   17  of any facility purchased or constructed under the provisions of
   18  this chapter and to hold and dispose of all real and personal
   19  property under its control.; Counties may also exercise such
   20  eminent domain rights pursuant to an action initiated under s.
   21  367.072. provided, However, that no county shall have the right
   22  to exercise the right of eminent domain over any such lands or
   23  rights or interests therein or any personal property owned by
   24  any municipality within the state nor to exercise such right
   25  with respect to any privately owned water supply system or
   26  sewage disposal system including without limitation ponds,
   27  streams and surface waters constituting a part thereof, provided
   28  any such system is primarily used, owned or operated by an
   29  industrial or manufacturing plant for its own use as a water
   30  supply system or in disposing of its industrial wastes.
   31         Section 3. Section 367.072, Florida Statutes, is amended to
   32  read:
   33         367.072 Petition to revoke certificate of authorization;
   34  condemnation.—The Legislature finds that it is in the public
   35  interest that water service be of good quality, be priced at a
   36  rate that is commensurate with the market and the quality of
   37  service provided, and be consistent with the standards set forth
   38  in this chapter. Furthermore, the Legislature declares that the
   39  residents of the state have a right to participate in the
   40  selection of their water service provider. Therefore, a
   41  utility’s certificate of authorization to provide water service
   42  may be revoked if, after its customers file a petition to revoke
   43  a certificate of authorization with the commission, the
   44  commission finds that revocation is in the best interest of the
   45  customers in accordance with this section. Upon the filing of
   46  such petition, and owing to the demonstrated dissatisfaction
   47  with the water service received by such customers, the county
   48  where the customers are located also may deem it a public
   49  necessity that the utility be brought under county ownership,
   50  and may, upon its own election, begin condemnation by eminent
   51  domain proceedings against the utility. As used in this section,
   52  the term “customer” means an individual whose property is
   53  serviced by a single meter or a person whose name appears on the
   54  bill for a master meter.
   55         (1)(a) If the commission receives a letter from the
   56  customers of a utility stating their intent to file a petition
   57  pursuant to this section, the commission staff, within 10 days
   58  after receipt of the letter, shall notify the utility of the
   59  customers’ intent to file a petition.
   60         (b) Commission staff shall send to the customers
   61  instructions regarding the information required on the petition
   62  and the subsequent process the commission will follow. The
   63  petition must be filed within 90 days after the receipt of the
   64  instructions. Commission staff shall review the petition and
   65  notify the customers within 10 days after receipt of the
   66  petition that the petition is sufficient for the commission to
   67  act or that additional information is necessary. The customers
   68  must file a cured petition within 30 days after receipt of the
   69  notice to cure and provide a copy of the petition to the
   70  utility. If the customers fail to file or refile a petition
   71  within the allotted time, the commission shall dismiss the
   72  petition with prejudice, and the customers may not file another
   73  petition for 1 year after the dismissal.
   74         (c)Upon receipt of a properly filed petition, the
   75  commission shall send to the county where the customers are
   76  located a copy of the petition and notify such county of its
   77  right to initiate condemnation by eminent domain proceedings
   78  pursuant to this section and s. 153.03.
   79         (2) A petition must:
   80         (a) State with specificity each issue that customers have
   81  with the quality of water service, each time the issue was
   82  reported to the utility, and how long each issue has existed;
   83  and
   84         (b) Be signed by at least 65 percent of the customers of
   85  the service area covered under the certificate of authorization.
   86  A person whose name appears on the bill for a master meter may
   87  sign a petition if at least 65 percent of the customers,
   88  tenants, or unit owners served by the master meter support the
   89  petition, in which case documentation of such support must be
   90  included with the petition.
   91         (3) If the petition is in compliance with this section and
   92  the issues identified within the petition support a reasonable
   93  likelihood that the utility is failing to provide quality of
   94  water service, the utility shall thereafter be prohibited from
   95  filing a rate case until the commission has issued a final order
   96  addressing the issues identified in the petition. The utility
   97  shall use the following criteria in preparing a response to the
   98  commission, addressing the issues identified within the petition
   99  and defending the quality of its water service:
  100         (a) Federal and state primary water quality standards or
  101  secondary water quality standards pursuant to s. 367.0812; and
  102         (b) The relationship between the utility and its customers,
  103  including each complaint received regarding the quality of water
  104  service, the length of time each customer has been complaining
  105  about the service, the resolution of each complaint, and the
  106  time it has taken to address such complaints.
  107         (4) The commission shall evaluate the issues identified in
  108  the petition, the utility’s response as to whether it is
  109  providing quality of water service, and any other factor the
  110  commission deems relevant.
  111         (5) Based upon its evaluation, the commission shall:
  112         (a) Dismiss the petition, in which case the decision must
  113  be supported by clear and convincing evidence and is subject to
  114  ss. 120.569 and 120.57; or
  115         (b) Require the utility to take the necessary steps to
  116  correct the quality of water service issues identified in the
  117  petition. The commission shall set benchmarks within a
  118  timeframe, not to exceed 3 years, and may require the utility to
  119  provide interim reports describing its progress in meeting such
  120  benchmarks. The commission may extend the term 3 years for
  121  circumstances that delay the project which are not in the
  122  control of the utility, such as natural disasters and obtaining
  123  permits necessary for meeting such benchmarks; or
  124         (b)(c) Notwithstanding s. 367.045, revoke the utility’s
  125  certificate of authorization, in which case, any condemnation
  126  proceedings initiated pursuant to this section must be dismissed
  127  and a receiver must be appointed pursuant to s. 367.165 until a
  128  sale of the utility system has been approved pursuant to s.
  129  367.071.
  130         (6) The commission shall adopt by rule the format of and
  131  requirements for a petition and may adopt other rules to
  132  administer this section.
  134  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  135  And the title is amended as follows:
  136         Between lines 63 and 64
  137  insert:
  138         amending s. 153.03, F.S.; clarifying that counties may
  139         initiate eminent domain over water utilities under
  140         certain circumstances; amending s. 367.072, F.S.;
  141         revising legislative findings; authorizing counties to
  142         initiate condemnation proceedings under certain
  143         circumstances; requiring the Florida Public Service
  144         Commission to notify counties of certain petitions;
  145         requiring dismissal of condemnation proceedings under
  146         certain circumstances;