Florida Senate - 2019 SB 134 By Senator Stewart 13-00129-19 2019134__ 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 Florida black bear hunting 8 permit; specifying a penalty for the unlawful 9 harvesting of saw palmetto berries on state lands; 10 authorizing the Fish and Wildlife Conservation 11 Commission to designate certain habitats on state 12 lands and to update such habitat information as 13 necessary; amending s. 590.125, F.S.; prohibiting 14 prescribed burns in certain designated habitats during 15 specified times; providing an effective date. 16 17 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 18 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 a 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.— 50 (3) CERTIFIED PRESCRIBED BURNING; LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS AND 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, 2019.