Florida Senate - 2017                             CS for SB 1304
       By the Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation;
       and Senators Stewart and Torres
       592-04103A-17                                         20171304c1
    1                        A bill to be entitled                      
    2         An act relating to Florida black bears; creating s.
    3         379.3018, F.S.; providing a short title; defining
    4         terms; prohibiting the issuance of a permit
    5         authorizing the recreational hunting of Florida black
    6         bears mothering cubs under 100 pounds; specifying a
    7         penalty for the unlawful harvesting of saw palmetto
    8         berries on state lands; authorizing the Fish and
    9         Wildlife Conservation Commission to designate and
   10         update certain habitats; amending s. 590.125, F.S.;
   11         prohibiting prescribed burns in certain designated
   12         habitats during specified times; providing an
   13         effective date.
   15  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   17         Section 1. Section 379.3018, Florida Statutes, is created
   18  to read:
   19         379.3018 Florida black bear habitat restoration.—
   20         (1)SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Florida
   21  Black Bear Protection Act.”
   22         (2)DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   23         (a)“Florida black bear” means the subspecies Ursus
   24  americanus floridanus.
   25         (b)“State lands” means all lands under public ownership or
   26  control, including state forests, state parks, and conservation
   27  easements authorized by the state.
   28         (3) HUNTING PROHIBITION.—The commission may not allow any
   29  person issued a recreational hunting permit authorizing the
   30  hunting of Florida black bears to kill a Florida black bear
   31  mothering cubs under 100 pounds pursuant to such permit.
   32         (4)SAW PALMETTO BERRY HARVESTING.—Regardless of the value
   33  of berries stolen, a person unlawfully harvesting saw palmetto
   34  berries on state lands commits petit theft of the second degree,
   35  punishable as provided in s. 812.014.
   36         (5)DESIGNATION OF HABITATS.—The commission may, on state
   37  lands, designate and update as necessary using a science-based
   38  approach:
   39         (a)Florida black bear habitats in which female bears are
   40  likely to be denning during the month of February; and
   41         (b)Sensitive habitats containing critical food sources for
   42  Florida black bears.
   43         Section 2. Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of section
   44  590.125, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   45         590.125 Open burning authorized by the Florida Forest
   46  Service.—
   48  PURPOSE.—
   49         (b) Certified prescribed burning pertains only to broadcast
   50  burning for purposes of silviculture, wildland fire hazard
   51  reduction, wildlife management, ecological maintenance and
   52  restoration, and agriculture. It must be conducted in accordance
   53  with this subsection and:
   54         1. May be accomplished only when a certified prescribed
   55  burn manager is present on site with a copy of the prescription
   56  and directly supervises the certified prescribed burn until the
   57  burn is completed, after which the certified prescribed burn
   58  manager is not required to be present.
   59         2. Requires that a written prescription be prepared before
   60  receiving authorization to burn from the Florida Forest Service.
   61         a. A new prescription or authorization is not required for
   62  smoldering that occurs within the authorized burn area unless
   63  new ignitions are conducted by the certified prescribed burn
   64  manager.
   65         b. Monitoring the smoldering activity of a certified
   66  prescribed burn does not require a prescription or an additional
   67  authorization even if flames begin to spread within the
   68  authorized burn area due to ongoing smoldering.
   69         3. Requires that the specific consent of the landowner or
   70  his or her designee be obtained before requesting an
   71  authorization.
   72         4. Requires that an authorization to burn be obtained from
   73  the Florida Forest Service before igniting the burn.
   74         5. Requires that there be adequate firebreaks at the burn
   75  site and sufficient personnel and firefighting equipment to
   76  contain the fire within the authorized burn area.
   77         a. Fire spreading outside the authorized burn area on the
   78  day of the certified prescribed burn ignition does not
   79  constitute conclusive proof of inadequate firebreaks,
   80  insufficient personnel, or a lack of firefighting equipment.
   81         b. If the certified prescribed burn is contained within the
   82  authorized burn area during the authorized period, a strong
   83  rebuttable presumption shall exist that adequate firebreaks,
   84  sufficient personnel, and sufficient firefighting equipment were
   85  present.
   86         c. Continued smoldering of a certified prescribed burn
   87  resulting in a subsequent wildfire does not by itself constitute
   88  evidence of gross negligence under this section.
   89         6. Is considered to be in the public interest and does not
   90  constitute a public or private nuisance when conducted under
   91  applicable state air pollution statutes and rules.
   92         7. Is considered to be a property right of the property
   93  owner if vegetative fuels are burned as required in this
   94  subsection.
   95         8. May not be conducted during the month of February in a
   96  habitat designated by the Fish and Wildlife Conservation
   97  Commission under s. 379.3018(5)(a).
   98         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2017.