FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2014 - (Page 13)

Advocating L for You egislative advocacy lies at the heart of FFA's mission. The 2014 state legislative session opened on Tuesday, March 4, and is scheduled to end on Friday, May 2. FFA's priority issues, as recommended by FFA's Governmental Relations Committee and approved by its Executive Committee, are highlighted below. At this printing, session is approaching its midpoint. To find out how these priority issues fared at the end of session, please visit the State Issues page under the Advocacy tab of our website, www.FloridaForest.org. Sales Tax Relief and Greenbelt Protection SB 312 by Sen. Simpson; HB 575 by Rep. Albritton Issue: State sales tax on farm and forestry equipment was repealed in 2005; however, replacement parts remain taxable. Given today's challenging economy, producers are maximizing the life of their equipment and buying more replacement parts. Sales tax relief is needed as some parts for farm and forestry equipment are significantly expensive. This legislation expands the sales tax exemption on power farm and irrigation equipment to include replacement parts and repairs. Several other issues beneficial to the forest industry are addressed as well: * Protects the Greenbelt status on agricultural lands participating in water storage programs; * Provides a grace period of 25 days for farmers who miss the deadline to file for a Greenbelt agricultural classification; and * Allows landowners to establish baseline wetland conditions before implementing Best Management Practices. Florida Forestry Association Position: The Association supports legislation that repeals the state sales tax on replacement parts for farm and forestry equipment. Ag Lands and Practices Act SB 1464 by Sen. Simpson; HB 703 by Rep. Patronis Issue: The Ag Lands and Practices Act prohibits a governmental entity from adopting or enforcing any ordinance regulating a farm or forestry activity beyond adopted Best Management Practices or where such activity is regulated by a state or regional body. Wetlands ordinances adopted before 2003, however, are the sole exception; they continue to be enforceable. This legislation clarifies that any change made to a wetlands ordinance adopted prior to 2003 constitutes a new ordinance and renders it unenforceable. Florida Forestry Association Position: The Association supports legislation that preempts a local government's authority to enforce a wetlands protection ordinance adopted prior to 2003. Amber Strobe Lights on the Rear of Log Trailers SB 218 by Sen. Grimsley; HB 345 by Rep. Beshears Issue: In an effort to increase visibility and safety when unloaded, some log carriers have mounted flashing amber strobe lights to the rear of the log trailer. Citations have been issued because the law does Florida Forests 13 Spring/Summer 2014 not provide an exemption to allow amber lights on log trailers. Florida Forestry Association Position: The Association supports legislation allowing a log trailer to display a flashing amber light on the rear of the trailer. Natural Resource Protection SB 1576 by Sen. Dean; HB 1313 by Rep. Brodeur Issue: Florida's natural resources are vital to our forest industry, our economy and our way of life. Recognizing that the state's springs and other natural resources are being stressed by our growing population and the services and materials required, several legislators have offered bold initiatives to address the state's critical water quality and quantity issues. FFA has long supported programs such as Best Management Practices (BMPs) that protect, preserve and conserve our water and other natural resources. Both the state and the private sector have significant investments in these programs; sound science and research data validate their success in addressing potential impacts from forestry operations on our water supply. Florida Forestry Association Position: The Association supports efforts to restore and improve Florida's natural resources and believes the solution can be found in existing programs. Commercial Motor Vehicle Review Board SB 1092 by Sen. Simpson; HB 537 by Rep. Beshears Issue: Currently the Commercial Motor Vehicle Review Board consists of three representatives from http://www.FloridaForest.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2014

Executive Outlook
Woman of the Year in Agriculture
Leading Forestry Forward
Advocating for You
Teamwork: The Forestry Community Develops the New Austin Cary Forest Learning Center
Snapshots: Membership Matters
Advertisers’ Index/ Advertisers.com

FLORIDAForests - Spring/Summer 2014