Title: Sunset/Sundown Review of Water Management Districts
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00000845/00001
 Material Information
Title: Sunset/Sundown Review of Water Management Districts
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
Abstract: Sunset/Sundown Review of Water Management Districts By L.M. Buddy Blain
General Note: Box 7, Folder 3 ( Vail Conference 1988 - 1988 ), Item 16
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: WL00000845
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text


L. M. Buddy Blain

Sunset/Sundown review has become quite popular with state
legislatures during the past ten years. In 1976 Florida passed
its first "REGULATORY SUNSET ACT" calling for review of
legislation relating to regulation by the state of professions,
occupations, businesses, industries and other endeavors. Two
years later it passed a complementary "SUNDOWN ACT" which
mandates the review of of laws establishing advisory bodies,
commissions and boards of trustees which are adjuncts to
executive agencies of the state.

These laws enable the legislature to force the review of state
regulatory programs and advisory boards, commissions and boards
by the simple technique of repealing laws on a prospective basis.
In other words, a law regulating a profession will be repealed,
but such repeal is to take effect at some future date, often
several years into the future. Fifteen months before the repeal
date arrives, the SUNSET or SUNDOWN review starts. The
appropriate legislative committee is required to make
recommendations to the legislature not later than February 1
prior to the repeal date as to whether or not the law should be
reenacted and, if so, whether or not it should be amended.

In the event that the reviewed law is not reenacted in some form,
the law goes off the books when the repeal date arrives and the
activity or board is terminated.

The Florida "REGULATORY SUNSET ACT" and the Florida "SUNDOWN ACT"
relate solely to state regulation of professions, occupations,
businesses, industries and other endeavors, and to advisory
bodies, commissions and boards of trustees which have been
created by specific statutory enactment as adjuncts to executive
agencies of the state. Definitions in the act do not include
"agencies" as defined in Section 20.03(11), Florida Statutes.

By omitting "agencies" the legislature did not extend the
SUNSET/SUNDOWN ACTS to local and regional governmental entities
although many such agencies are involved in regulatory
activities. The activities are local or regional in nature; the
agencies are not created as adjuncts to executive agencies of the


In 1982 the legislature, pursuant to the REGULTORY SUNSET ACT,
repealed, effective October 1, 1988, the following sections of
the Water Resources Act relating to water well contractor

2. 4

licenses and to well construction permits:

(1) Section 373.323 Water well contractor licenses
(2) Section 373.326 Exemptions
(3) Section 373.329 License fees
(4) Section 373.333 Enforcement
(5) Section 373.336 Penalties
(6) Section 373.339 Grandfather provisions
(7) Section 373.342 Well construction permits

Well contractor licenses and well construction permits can be
granted by DER but this authority has been delegated by DER to
the water management districts.


In 1984 the legislature, pursuant to the SUNDOWN ACT, repealed,
also effective October 1, 1988, the following sections of the
Water Resources Act relating to the makeup, residency and powers
of the water management district governing boards and basin

(1) Governing Boards
(a) Section 373.073 Make up and residency
(b) Section 373.076 Vacancies; removal
(c) Section 373.079 Oath, organization and
(d) Section 373.083 General powers and duties
(e) Section 373.103 Powers vested by DER

(2) District Works
(a) Section 373.084 Operated by other
government agencies
(b) Section 373.085 Used by others
(c) Section 373.086 Providing for
(d) Section 373.087 Aquifer storage
(e) Section 373.089 Sale of Lands
(f) Section 373.093 Leases
(g) Section 373.096 Releases
(h) Section 373.099 Execution of instruments

(3) Basin Boards
(a) Section 373.0693 Basins; Basin Boards
(b) Section 373.0695 Duties

Water management districts are not executive agencies of the
state. Water management districts, although created by specific
statutory enactment, are not adjuncts to executive agencies of
the state.

Each district is a separate, independent, multi-county taxing


district, created or preserved under the Water Resources Act of
1972 as amended in 1973. The first two districts, one in
existence since 1949 and the other since 1961, were preserved and
continued. Others were created in 1973. Each district is
governed by a nine-member board, which has authority to employ
staff, to enter into contracts, to sue and be sued, to issue
orders and to do various other activities relating to water
management. These water management districts have many
proprietary responsibilities as well as their regulatory
authority. The proprietary duties appear to have been overlooked
in the desire to "sunset" the regulatory functions.

SUNDOWN ACT review of laws which create water management district
basin and district governing boards, and prescribe powers and
duties is simply inappropriate under existing state law. (It
might be appropriate to pass a law which would "sunset" the rules
and regulations of the water management districts on some
specific date, but that is not what the current law does. It
repeals the laws which create the boards and empowers them to

If the laws establishing the governing boards and the basin
boards of water management districts are not reenacted during the
1988 legislative session, there will be no governing body, or any
other entity, for that matter, to conduct the affairs of a water
management district after September 30, 1988. There will be no
governing body to hire and fire district employees (or even to
sign paychecks); there will be no governing body to levy ad
valorem taxes; and, there will be no governing body to operate
and maintain existing water control structures. The laws and
rules still will require that certain environmental permits must
be obtained, but there will be no place to get these permits.

Numerous factors will have an impact on the water management
SUNSET/SUNDOWN review process this year. Some of these factors

1. The Governor recently appointed a majority of governing
board members on each water management district, most of
whom are new members.

2. The debate last year on the SWIM legislation has left deep
scars on some who will be seeking further changes to the
laws governing these boards.

3. There are differences of opinion and internal friction
between some of the districts. There is competition for
leadership among staff and for representation by

4. There is a public perception by many that water management
districts may be "out of control", may "have too much money"


and may "have been adding staff too rapidly." There also is
the perception that the districts "aren't doing nearly

5. There has been an environmental lull which may result in a
backlash. Rallying points will be made about very emotional
water quality problems, both real and perceived, in both
ground and surface water. Active growth management advocacy
will become stronger.

6. The regional squabbles over water supply in several areas of
the state are continuing.

7. Some elected legislators desire to change selection of water
management district board members from appointive to
elective positions.

8. There is a quiet, but very strong, conflict between regional
decision making and Tallahassee-based decision making.

9. The Environmental Efficiency Study Commission has been
holding hearings prior to making its recommendations to the
state legislature, resulting in much debate about change in
responsibility and authority of water management districts.

The temptation to restructure and reorganize will be great. The
urge to "beat-up" on the water management district will be
irresistible. Everyone with a grudge will be taking pot shots at
water management. Everyone with a new idea, good or bad, will be
throwing it in the hopper. The next few months are crucial for
the future of water management in Florida.

In the opinion of many, Florida has the best, most comprehensive
institutional system for coping with water management problems of
any state in the United States. It would be foolhardy to allow
this system to disappear by default under misdirected



University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs