Florida Senate - 2018                                     SB 156
       By Senator Stewart
       13-00240-18                                            2018156__
    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 Fish and Wildlife Conservation
    5         Commission from allowing the recreational hunting of
    6         Florida black bears mothering cubs that weigh less
    7         than 100 pounds under a black bear hunting permit;
    8         specifying a penalty for the unlawful harvesting of
    9         saw palmetto berries on state lands; authorizing the
   10         Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to designate
   11         certain habitats and to update such habitat
   12         information as necessary; amending s. 590.125, F.S.;
   13         prohibiting prescribed burns in certain designated
   14         habitats during specified times; providing an
   15         effective date.
   17  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   19         Section 1. Section 379.3018, Florida Statutes, is created
   20  to read:
   21         379.3018 Florida black bear habitat restoration.—
   22         (1)SHORT TITLE.—This section may be cited as the “Florida
   23  Black Bear Protection Act.”
   24         (2)DEFINITIONS.—As used in this section, the term:
   25         (a)“Florida black bear” means the subspecies Ursus
   26  americanus floridanus.
   27         (b)“State lands” means all lands under public ownership or
   28  control, including state forests, state parks, and conservation
   29  easements authorized by the state.
   30         (3) HUNTING PROHIBITION.—The commission may not allow any
   31  person who is issued a recreational hunting permit that
   32  authorizes the hunting of Florida black bears to kill under such
   33  permit a Florida black bear mothering a cub that weighs less
   34  than 100 pounds.
   35         (4)SAW PALMETTO BERRY HARVESTING.—Regardless of the value
   36  of berries stolen, a person unlawfully harvesting saw palmetto
   37  berries on state lands commits petit theft of the second degree,
   38  punishable as provided in s. 812.014.
   39         (5)DESIGNATION OF HABITATS.—The commission may, on state
   40  lands, designate and update as necessary using a science-based
   41  approach:
   42         (a)Florida black bear habitats in which female bears are
   43  likely to be denning during the month of February; and
   44         (b)Sensitive habitats containing critical food sources for
   45  Florida black bears.
   46         Section 2. Paragraph (b) of subsection (3) of section
   47  590.125, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:
   48         590.125 Open burning authorized by the Florida Forest
   49  Service.—
   51  PURPOSE.—
   52         (b) Certified prescribed burning pertains only to broadcast
   53  burning for purposes of silviculture, wildland fire hazard
   54  reduction, wildlife management, ecological maintenance and
   55  restoration, and agriculture. It must be conducted in accordance
   56  with this subsection and:
   57         1. May be accomplished only when a certified prescribed
   58  burn manager is present on site with a copy of the prescription
   59  and directly supervises the certified prescribed burn until the
   60  burn is completed, after which the certified prescribed burn
   61  manager is not required to be present.
   62         2. Requires that a written prescription be prepared before
   63  receiving authorization to burn from the Florida Forest Service.
   64         a. A new prescription or authorization is not required for
   65  smoldering that occurs within the authorized burn area unless
   66  new ignitions are conducted by the certified prescribed burn
   67  manager.
   68         b. Monitoring the smoldering activity of a certified
   69  prescribed burn does not require a prescription or an additional
   70  authorization even if flames begin to spread within the
   71  authorized burn area due to ongoing smoldering.
   72         3. Requires that the specific consent of the landowner or
   73  his or her designee be obtained before requesting an
   74  authorization.
   75         4. Requires that an authorization to burn be obtained from
   76  the Florida Forest Service before igniting the burn.
   77         5. Requires that there be adequate firebreaks at the burn
   78  site and sufficient personnel and firefighting equipment to
   79  contain the fire within the authorized burn area.
   80         a. Fire spreading outside the authorized burn area on the
   81  day of the certified prescribed burn ignition does not
   82  constitute conclusive proof of inadequate firebreaks,
   83  insufficient personnel, or a lack of firefighting equipment.
   84         b. If the certified prescribed burn is contained within the
   85  authorized burn area during the authorized period, a strong
   86  rebuttable presumption shall exist that adequate firebreaks,
   87  sufficient personnel, and sufficient firefighting equipment were
   88  present.
   89         c. Continued smoldering of a certified prescribed burn
   90  resulting in a subsequent wildfire does not by itself constitute
   91  evidence of gross negligence under this section.
   92         6. Is considered to be in the public interest and does not
   93  constitute a public or private nuisance when conducted under
   94  applicable state air pollution statutes and rules.
   95         7. Is considered to be a property right of the property
   96  owner if vegetative fuels are burned as required in this
   97  subsection.
   98         8. May not be conducted during the month of February in a
   99  black bear habitat designated by the Fish and Wildlife
  100  Conservation Commission under s. 379.3018(5)(a).
  101         Section 3. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.