Florida legislators consider 135 hurricane-related bills

Key measures to protect lives, property could be voted on before May 3

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – We're 44 days away from the start of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season on June 1; meanwhile, dozens of hurricane safety-related bills are still up for consideration in the Florida Legislature.

State legislators have drafted a number of proposals that could help keep you, your family and your property safe when the next storm strikes the Florida Peninsula or Panhandle. 

A search of the Florida Legislature's website revealed that since the beginning of the year, state senators and representatives have included the word "hurricane" in 135 bills.

News4Jax looked into the most notable of those bills to find out when they could go into effect if passed by lawmakers.

  • STORM HARDENING - HB 797 / SB 796​
    • Would allow utility companies to raise rates to offset expenses related to hurricane-resilient infrastructure improvements like placing power lines underground after annual approval by the state's public service commission
    • Status Check: The bill is up for a vote any day on the Senate floor and it must be heard by one last committee before a vote in the lower chamber
    • As a means of protecting property and power lines, legislators are considering a bill that would allow residential property owners to trim and remove trees without a permit three months before the start of hurricane season -- lifting local tree protection regulations during that period.
    • Status Check: If approved during 2019 session, you'd have to wait until next year to trim or remove
    • Prohibits a person from restraining a dog outside and unattended during a natural disaster, such as hurricanes
    • Offenders could face a year in jail and be forced to pay up $5,000 in fines
    • Status Check: If the bill is supported by the upper chamber, the new law will go into effect July 1 of this year

While most of these bills seem to have onward movement, the last day of the Florida legislative session is quickly approaching.

State legislator's final day in regular session is set for May 3.