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The Florida Statutes

The 2018 Florida Statutes

Title XXVIII
NATURAL RESOURCES; CONSERVATION, RECLAMATION, AND USE
Chapter 373
WATER RESOURCES
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F.S. 373.333
373.333 Disciplinary guidelines; adoption and enforcement; license suspension or revocation.
(1) The department shall adopt by rule disciplinary guidelines applicable to each specific ground for disciplinary action which may be imposed by the water management districts, providing each water management district and representatives of the water well contracting industry with meaningful opportunity to participate in the development of the disciplinary guideline rules as they are drafted. The disciplinary guidelines shall be adopted by each water management district. The guideline rules shall be consistently applied by the water management districts and shall:
(a) Specify a meaningful range of designated penalties based upon the severity and repetition of specific offenses.
(b) Distinguish minor violations from those which endanger public health, safety, and welfare or contaminate the water resources.
(c) Inform the public of likely penalties which may be imposed for proscribed conduct.

A specific finding of mitigating or aggravating circumstances shall allow a water management district to impose a penalty other than that provided in the guidelines. Disciplinary action may be taken by any water management district, regardless of where the contractor’s license was issued.

(2) Whenever the water management district has reasonable grounds for believing that there has been a violation of this part or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant hereto, it shall give written notice to the person alleged to be in violation. Such notice shall identify the provision of this part or regulation issued hereunder alleged to be violated and the facts alleged to constitute such violation.
(3) Such notice shall be served in the manner required by law for the service of process upon a person in a civil action or by registered United States mail to the last known address of the person. The water management district shall send copies of such notice only to persons who have specifically requested such notice or to entities with which the water management district has formally agreed to provide such notice. Notice alleging a violation of a rule setting minimum standards for the location, construction, repair, or abandonment of wells shall be accompanied by an order of the water management district requiring remedial action which, if taken within the time specified in such order, will effect compliance with the requirements of this part and regulations issued hereunder. Such order shall become final unless a request for hearing as provided in chapter 120 is made within 30 days from the date of service of such order. Upon compliance, notice shall be served by the water management district in a timely manner upon each person and entity who received notice of a violation, stating that compliance with the order has been achieved.
(4) The following acts constitute grounds for which disciplinary actions specified in subsection (5) may be taken by a water management district:
(a) Attempting to obtain, obtaining, or renewing a license under this part by bribery or fraudulent misrepresentation.
(b) Being convicted or found guilty, regardless of adjudication, of fraud or deceit; or of gross negligence, incompetency, or misconduct in the performance of work; or of a crime in any jurisdiction which directly relates to the practice of water well contracting or the ability to practice water well contracting. A plea of nolo contendere shall create a presumption of guilt to the underlying criminal charges, and the water management district shall allow the person being disciplined to present any evidence relevant to the underlying charges and the circumstances surrounding his or her plea.
(c) Allowing any other person to use the license.
(d) Violating or refusing to comply with any provision of this part or a rule adopted by the department or water management district, or any order of the water management district previously entered in a disciplinary hearing.
(e) Constructing, repairing, or abandoning a water well without first obtaining all applicable permits.
(f) Having had administrative or disciplinary action relating to water well construction, repair, or abandonment taken by any municipality or county or by any state agency, which action shall be reviewed by the water management district before the water management district takes any disciplinary action of its own.
(g) Practicing with a revoked, suspended, or inactive license.
(5) When the water management district finds a person guilty of any of the grounds set forth in subsection (4), it may enter an order imposing one or more of the following disciplinary actions:
(a) Denial of an application for licensure or for renewal of a license.
(b) Revocation or suspension of a license.
(c) Imposition of an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000 for each count or separate offense.
(d) Placement of the water well contractor on probation for a period of time subject to such conditions as the water management district may specify.
(e) Restriction of the licensee’s authorized scope of practice.
(6) When disciplinary action is taken against a contractor which results in suspension or revocation of the contractor’s license, a water management district shall notify each water management district of such action.
(7) The water management district shall reissue the license of a contractor whose license has been suspended or revoked upon determination by the water management district that the disciplined person has complied with all of the terms and conditions set forth in the final order.
(8) The water management district may impose through an order an administrative fine not to exceed $5,000 per occurrence against an unlicensed person if it determines that the unlicensed person has engaged in the practice of water well contracting for which a license is required.
History.s. 10, part III, ch. 72-299; s. 78, ch. 83-310; s. 1, ch. 84-94; s. 3, ch. 84-338; s. 2, ch. 84-341; ss. 17, 23, 24, ch. 88-242; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 604, ch. 95-148; s. 3, ch. 2006-87; s. 20, ch. 2009-243.