Working Paper 98
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No.CMS-9319422. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
This study centers on the issuance of the governor’s executive order and the development and passage of legislation based on the recommendations of the Lewis Committee. In the regular 1993 legislative session, two separate bills were introduced, enrolled, and enacted which incorporated the vast majority of recommendations advocated by the Lewis Committee. These were House Bill No. 911, later enacted as Chapter 93-211, Laws of Florida, and Senate Bill No. 1858, later enacted as Chapter 93-128.
Increased population concentrations or population density can cause congestion on streets and highways. In the event of hurricane warnings, the larger concentrations of people "can have aprofound effect on the efficiency and safety of evacuations" when inhabitants are ordered away from the coast to avoid both winds and storm surges (IIPLR, 1995: 9).
In 1993, Florida not only had the most people at risk from hurricanes, it also had the most coastal property exposed to wind storms. While the population had increased by 37 percent over the fourteen year period between 1980 and 1993, the value of insured coastal property exposures has increased more dramatically. In 1980, the value of insured residential property was approximately $178 billion and in 1993 $418 billion, an increase of 135 percent. During the same time period, insured commercial property increased from $155 billion in 1980 to $453 billion or 192 percent. In the area struck by Hurricane Andrew and neighboring counties (Dade, Broward and Palm Beach) in southeast Florida, $370 billion of total insured property (42 percent of the state’s total) was exposed in 1993 to potential wind damage.
To attract and hold investment capital in Florida, the citizens in 1924 amended the state constitution to prohibit a state income tax and a state inheritance tax. Both historians (e.g., Dovell ) and avowed promoters of Florida’s growth(e.g., Stockbridge and Perry, ) claim these amendments were instituted during the south Florida land boom as an overt appeal to wealthy citizens of other states.
There were several consequences to Florida's elimination of income and inheritance taxes. First, it not only attracted wealthy citizens, it also attracted the elderly and fiscal conservatives, two groups who opposed taxes but who did not necessarily reduce their demand for state services when they became Florida citizens. Second, it limited the services that could be provided by both state and local governments, thereby placing the state in a difficult position, unable to meet citizen demands for service and unable to generate enough additional tax revenues to increase services. MacManus (1991) believes, as in the past, “the centra challenge to Florida's public sector will be to raise sufficient revenue to meet expenditure needs associated with continued growth”(p. 273).
When Florida was a territory and immigrants who purchased land in the territory required additional capital to cultivate their new lands, there was a long debate concerning whether Florida should issue bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the territory to support the development of private banks within the territory (Dovell, 1955). Until 1828, there were no officially chartered banks in Florida, and the territorial governors typically opposed any and all attempts of the legislature to permit them. Eventually the legislature overturned a governor’s veto and began chartering banks. New banks, however, had trouble raising sufficient capital to meet the demand for loans, so they turned to the territory for assistance. In support of their requests, the territory next began issuing bonds to the sum of almost $4 million in aid of three banks, the Bank of Pensacola, the Union Bank of Tallahassee, and the Southern Life Insurance and Trust Company of St. Augustine. Unfortunately, during the 1830's, banking was a risky business, and the three banks were unable to make sufficient payments to the territory so interest and principal on the bonds could be paid when they came due. As a result of the banks' defaults, the obligation to pay fell upon the territory.
In 1838, following the national Panic of 1837, opponents of territorial supported banks controlled the territorial government and had a majority elected to a convention to write a state constitution that would go into effect when Florida became a state. They included one long article (Article XIII) in the 1838 constitution entirely devoted to banks and other corporations. Provision 13 of Article XIII stated that the "General Assembly shall not pledge the faith and credit of the State to raise funds in aid of any corporation whatsoever." When Florida became a state, the legislature, in accordance with this provision, repudiated the territorial debt and, to this day, outstanding territorial bank bonds have not been redeemed.
After experiencing rising state debts caused by the issuance of reconstruction bonds following the Civil War, conservatives in state government decided to prohibit bonded indebtedness. In the 1885 state constitution, Article IX, Section 6, which remained in effect until 1969, the legislature could only issue state bonds "for the purpose of repelling invasion or suppressing insurrection, or for the purpose of redeeming or refunding bonds already issued, at a lower rate of interest." To surmount these constitutional limitations, the legislature, on a very few occasions, asked the voters to amend the constitution to approve the use of general obligation bonds for specific purposes. For example, in 1963, the voters authorized the sale of state bonds to construct buildings on universities and other schools and also permitted the issuance of bonds to purchase land for conservation purposes (Florida Senate, 1996).
In Florida's current constitution, whichbecame law in 1969, Florida continued to restrict the issuance of general obligation bonds. The "full faith and credit of the state" may only be pledged to capital outlay projects after being authorized by law and then ratified by the electorate.
Without having the opportunity to raise funds through personal income taxes and also having a strong predilection against increasing general revenue obligations or issuing general obligation bonds, three of the most common sources of state revenue, Florida has been forced to rely on revenue bonds (which identify explicit revenue to repay borrowing and do not require voter confirmation) and user taxes as its primary means of public financing or it has consented to increased local taxation and bonding for specific purposes. Starting in the 1920's, precedents have included earmarking the proceeds from automobile licenses and gasoline tax for highway construction and later to finance the Highway Patrol, school construction and other government needs, earmarking a portion of the proceeds from the sale of reclaimed land to redeem Drainage District bonds, and the enactment of a cigarette tax to improve state institutions (Florida Senate, 1996).
After the state income and inheritance taxes were constitutionally abolished, the legislature also began permitting the local governments to issue revenue bonds or raise taxes to support economic endeavors which would accrue to their benefit (Stockbridge and Perry, 1926). In 1925, counties were permitted to issue bonds for the construction of public cold storage warehouses so oranges and other fruit could be stored and sold year round in northern cities. Also in 1925, counties and municipalities were permitted to raise property taxes to create and support publicity campaigns to attract new residents and businesses.
Finally, in 1971, the legislature submitted and the voters ratified an amendment to the state constitution to tax the income of corporations (Florida Senate, 1996).
Since 1885, and surviving a constitutional rewrite in 1968, the division of executive functions has remained, and the state has been jointly run by the governor and the six member cabinet (D’Alemberte, 1991). Rosenthal (1990), in his comparative evaluation of state governors and legislatures, concluded that "Florida's cabinet system probaly imposes as severe a constitutional limitation on gubernatorial power as exists in the states" (p. 23)
Chapter 14 of the current Florida Statutes provides the general authorities for the governor. Sections 14.021 and 14.022 authorize the governor to promulgate and enforce emergency rules and regulations and to use emergency powers to quell violence. The state Division of Emergency Management (DEM), housed in the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), whose secretary reports directly to the governor, provides assistance to the governor in implementing these powers. The specific powers and authorities of the emergency management division are set forth in Chapter 252, part 1 of the Florida Statutes, entitled the "State Emergency Management Act."
Executive Order 80-29, dated April 14, 1980, directed state departments, agencies, offices, and units of state and local government to develop and implement disaster preparedness plans in the event of natural and manmade disasters. The Division of Emergency Management was empowered to coordinate these activities and to direct all departments and agencies to perform specific functions in the state Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan (CEMP). When Hurricane Andrew struck, the state operated under the 1990 edition of the CEMP and had not yet developed a State Hazard Mitigation Plan.
As a measure of gubernatorial power, governors can and often have formed independent committees, commissions, or study groups by executive order to investigate matters which are administered under their supervision and then develop priorities and recommendations that can either be implemented in executive agencies or submitted to the legislature for action. For example, since 1967, when Governor Kirk formed the first committee to investigate environmental quality in Florida, many governors have taken an active role in promoting environmental issues. (See, for example, Governor's Conference on Environmental Quality, 1967 and Governor's Commission for a Sustainable South Florida, 1995.)
A critical element which makes the legislative system function effectively is the existence of full-time year-around staff assigned to all standing committees. Many of the committees have been able to attract and retain extremely competent staff, and thus committee bills reflect the expertise of these staff members.
One potential cause of bill derailment is sectional conflict where members of the two legislative bodies from different parts of the state may oppose legislation seen as favoring a specific geographical region. Historically, in the state senate, before the federal judiciary mandated apportionment according to a “one person, oe vote” rule, the less populated north was able to rule the senate, leading to a situation where leaders in the senate, called “por choppers,” diverted state funds to projects in their rural districts (Tebeau, 1971). As a legacy from this time, there are unmarked divisions between the northern, central, and southern parts of the state, and bills which are interpreted as benefiting only one region have a difficult time gaining sufficient support for passage.
The final recommendation of the DCA was a proposed state hazard mitigation program to be managed by Bureau of Disaster Preparedness (now the Division of Emergency Management) within DCA. It contained three elements, 1) hurricane evacuation planning, 2) the development and maintenance of the Florida Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan, and 3) the development of administrative rules to define procedures which must be followed by local governments to produce uniformly developed local and state emergency management plans and a state plan review process.
The advisory committee argued that “federal and state programs including flood insurance, transportation programs, sewage treatment facility funding, and disaster relief, have subsidized growth in sensitive coastal barrier areas” and should be modified to end the subsidization, thereby shifting the risk from hurricane damage from the public to those private individuals residing on the coast (p. 2). They also warned that current construction and design practices were “inadequate to protect lives, property and natural resources in the event of major hurricanes and in recognition of long-term shoreline erosion” (p. 2). As a consequence of these observations, they specifically recommended that the state consider denying building permits in high erosion areas and that local governments establish special tax assessments for all beachfront development which would be placed in a reserve fund to help pay for post-disaster acquisition of damaged properties (p. 10).
Because of the success of the 1987 conference, there has been an annual conference every year where new information and training sessions have been provided to attendees instead of periodic conferences which had been called prior to then. In the years up to Hurricane Andrew, FEPA supported the enhancement of emergency management in the state and lobbied for its position.
During the first meeting of the task force, held on August 21, 1989, Representative Reddick outlined the objectives of the task force as:
In order to meet the objectives, the task force operated as four distinct subcommittees,
who were tasked to develop recommendations which could serve as the basis for a comprehensive committee bill submitted in the 1990 regular legislative session. When the subcommittees reported their findings, they included 45 bulleted recommendations in their final report constituting a detailed set of prescriptions needed by the state to overcome existing weaknesses and to provide the state with an adequate coordinated response to emergency situations. Their work assumed greater public import after the subcommittees were formed in light of the fact that both Hurricane Hugo and the Loma Prieta earthquake occurred during deliberations and according to the task force “underscored our inability to handle such emergencies promptly and properly”(Speaker's Task Force on Emergency Preparedness, 1990: 1).
Key findings included:
Key recommendations included:
To guarantee that the programs and policies mandated in the bill would be carried out, the bill specified that funds deposited in the trust fund be allocated as follows:
If enacted, all the state agencies would be mandated and receive the funds to carry out the recommendations of the Speaker’s Task Force not specifically addressed in this proposed legislation.
House Bill No. 3669 did not fare well in the legislature. It was passed by the House. However, it died in the Senate Committee on Finance and Taxation, the acknowledged stumbling point being the creation of the trust fund. It was also believed by many in the Senate that hurricanes were a south Florida concern and should not be subsidized by property owners in other parts of the state. The insurance industry was also opposed because a surcharge was considered a bad precedent and it did not want private insurance rates to include what amounted to public taxes.
In 1992, a virtually identical bill to House Bill No. 3669 in 1990, House Bill No. 1023, sponsored by Representative Bloom and the House Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Emergency Preparedness, was introduced. It too failed to secure House approval. The bill died in the House Committee on Finance and Tax ostensibly because of the existence of the trust fund.
What became evident in the first weeks after Andrew was that the FEMA and the overall federal response as well as the Florida response were uncoordinated, confused, and often inadequate (FEMA, 1993). Consequently, in a desire to discover why and to make recommendations for improvement, the Congress requested the National Academy of Public Administration to evaluate the federal emergency management system and FEMA (NAPA, 1993), FEMA requested its Inspector General to conduct a post-disaster audit (FEMA, 1993), and Governor Chiles issued an executive order (92-242) establishing the Governor’s Disaster Planning and Response Review Committee “to evaluatecurrent state and local statutes, plans and programs for natural and man-made disasters, and to make recommendations to the Governor and the State Legislature” not later than January 15,1993. The national emergency management system was acknowledged as being broken, and both the federal government and the state wanted to know why and what should be done to improve it.
The “LewisCommittee,” as it wascalled, met eight times between October and December, 1992, received oral testimony from over 45 persons, took written testimony and recommendations from over 100 persons and organizations, and from this information developed 94 specific recommendations which were delivered in its final report on January 15, 1993 (Governor’s Disaster Planning and Response Review Committee,1993). It specifically examined “preparedness before Hurricane Andrew andresponse and recovery efforts during the first two weeks after landfall”so that it might isolate problems and suggest remedies whose implementation would “give Florida one of thebest emergency management systems in the United States (p. i). Recommendations were provided for activities which occurred “before thestorm” and which occurred “after the stor When recommendations required legislative action, they described statutory changes and/or funding necessary to implement them; otherwise, they advised how state agencies, local governments, and others should operate in the future. Of the 94 recommendations, 38 required legislative action.
In principle, the Lewis Committee promoted the implementation of four key solutions:
In addition, it pleaded for increased funding for emergency preparedness and recovery programs, proposing that the legislature establish an Emergency Management Preparedness and Assistance Trust Fund and a dedicated funding source (surcharges on property insurance policies) similar to what was proposed in House Bill No. 3669 in 1990.
Because the state had just experienced a major disaster and those on the Lewis Committee and its technical advisory committee had first-hand knowledge concerning the state’s emergency management strengths and weaknesses, the 94 recommendations were an expanded list of the recommendations first offered by the Speaker’s Task Force in 1990 ut increased and refined to take into account actual experiences and technical advances since 1990. If all were implemented, there would be an enhanced Division of Emergency Management, an explicit chain of command, a knowledgeable public, plans developed for evacuation and sufficient shelter, including that for special needs persons, communications systems linking federal, state, and local governments and agencies, refuges of last resort, mandatory county plans for post-disaster response and recovery, a training program for state and local officials and emergency personnel, and the capability for working with the federal government and coordinating post-disaster programs including the collection of timely damage assessment data, the coordination of medical services, enhanced security, and effective volunteer coordination, and finally sufficient funds to meet the present and future state emergency management needs.
During hearings, House Bill No. 911 was amended three times to clarify language and alter details; however, it eventually was passed by the House committees on Community Affairs, Finance and Taxation, and Appropriations and the full House virtually in tact. When it was sent to the Senate, companion Senate Bill No. 1858 was wending its way through Senate committees. After securing adoption of the bill with some technical amendments by the Senate committees on Community Affairs, Finance, Taxation, and Claims, and Appropriations, it was sent to the floor of the Senate for a vote by the full body. However, when on the floor, Senate supporters of the bill amended both House Bill No. 911 and Senate Bill No. 1858. At that time, they feared that opponents might again defeat the intended legislation because inclusion of the funding mechanism was opposed by Senators from the central and northern parts of the state. To at least get the substantive changes recommended by the Lewis Committee adopted, House Bill No. 911 was amended by removing all sections which referred to funding and Senate Bill No. 1858 was rewritten to include only the funding sections. Before a final vote could be taken by the Senate, several counties in the central and northern parts of the state were hit by a fierce winter storm on March 13 which convinced Senators in those areas that hurricane threats and emergency management were not just south Florida concerns. By April 1, both bills were overwhelmingly approved and sent to the House for ratification. The Senate versions of both bills were approved by the House on April 2 and later signed by the Governor.
Positive legislative action was the result of many factors, including:
The legislation also followed the recommendations of the Lewis Committee because the legislative rules and the short session mitigated against substantive amendments to the bills.
As stated before, the main factor which argued for the defeat of the legislation was the notion that hurricanes and therefore emergency management were south Florida regional concerns. When central and northern Florida senators held that view, they did not believe that their constituents should subsidize the south Floridians through state-funded programs and were able to defeat legislation which would mandate surcharges on policyholder's casualty insurance premiums throughout the state.
Having sufficient funds to carry out the legislative mandates and executive agency recommended changes of the Lewis Committee, the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) (1993) prepared a progress report at the end of 1993, detailing how each of the 94 recommendations made by the Lewis Committee were being implemented and specified their current status. In February, 1995, the DCA (1995) issued a report summarizing state and local emergency management capabilities.
According to the 1993 DCA progress report, approximately 25 of the 94 recommendations had been accomplished, and all but three had been actively undertaken. Only two were noted as having no action started, and one, to broaden civil liability protection for good Samaritans, was noted as the only recommendation of 38 which the legislature failed to act on. The progress report showed that the state was actively implementing the Lewis Committee recommendations and would have most, if not all, in place shortly. In an attachment, the progress report also included a discussion concerning the development of the state’s first hazard mitigation plan (409 Plan) required by the federal Stafford Act and how the Lewis Committee recommendations were being integrated into it.
By 1995, DCA (1995) reported that it had virtually completed the implementation of the Lewis Committee recommendations and the state should shift priorities to “refocus onmitigation...to reduce [Florida’ vulnerability to loss of life and property” (p. 3). Highlighting the four areas that the Lewis Committee sought to strengthen, the DCA (1995) noted that:
While the results of the two DCA reports look encouraging, Florida has not yet to experience another major disaster to test its readiness. Only time will tell how successfully the recommendations of the Lewis Committee have been implemented. One disaster expert commented that "things have gone reasonably well in disasters since Andrew but they went reasonably well before Andrew too."
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*The author conducted this research while affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Questions or comments about this study can be sent to the author at email@example.com