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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title X
Chapter 120
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F.S. 120.52
120.52 Definitions.As used in this act:
(1) “Agency” means the following officers or governmental entities if acting pursuant to powers other than those derived from the constitution:
(a) The Governor; each state officer and state department, and each departmental unit described in s. 20.04; the Board of Governors of the State University System; the Commission on Ethics; the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; a regional water supply authority; a regional planning agency; a multicounty special district, but only if a majority of its governing board is comprised of nonelected persons; educational units; and each entity described in chapters 163, 373, 380, and 582 and s. 186.504.
(b) Each officer and governmental entity in the state having statewide jurisdiction or jurisdiction in more than one county.
(c) Each officer and governmental entity in the state having jurisdiction in one county or less than one county, to the extent they are expressly made subject to this chapter by general or special law or existing judicial decisions.

This definition does not include a municipality or legal entity created solely by a municipality; a legal entity or agency created in whole or in part pursuant to part II of chapter 361; a metropolitan planning organization created pursuant to s. 339.175; a separate legal or administrative entity created pursuant to s. 339.175 of which a metropolitan planning organization is a member; an expressway authority pursuant to chapter 348 or any transportation authority or commission under chapter 343 or chapter 349; or a legal or administrative entity created by an interlocal agreement pursuant to s. 163.01(7), unless any party to such agreement is otherwise an agency as defined in this subsection.

(2) “Agency action” means the whole or part of a rule or order, or the equivalent, or the denial of a petition to adopt a rule or issue an order. The term also includes any denial of a request made under s. 120.54(7).
(3) “Agency head” means the person or collegial body in a department or other governmental unit statutorily responsible for final agency action. An agency head appointed by and serving at the pleasure of an appointing authority remains subject to the direction and supervision of the appointing authority, but actions taken by the agency head as authorized by statute are official acts.
(4) “Committee” means the Administrative Procedures Committee.
(5) “Division” means the Division of Administrative Hearings. Any document filed with the division by a party represented by an attorney shall be filed by electronic means through the division’s website. Any document filed with the division by a party not represented by an attorney shall, whenever possible, be filed by electronic means through the division’s website.
(6) “Educational unit” means a local school district, a community college district, the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, or a state university when the university is acting pursuant to statutory authority derived from the Legislature.
(7) “Final order” means a written final decision which results from a proceeding under s. 120.56, s. 120.565, s. 120.569, s. 120.57, s. 120.573, or s. 120.574 which is not a rule, and which is not excepted from the definition of a rule, and which has been filed with the agency clerk, and includes final agency actions which are affirmative, negative, injunctive, or declaratory in form. A final order includes all materials explicitly adopted in it. The clerk shall indicate the date of filing on the order.
(8) “Invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority” means action that goes beyond the powers, functions, and duties delegated by the Legislature. A proposed or existing rule is an invalid exercise of delegated legislative authority if any one of the following applies:
(a) The agency has materially failed to follow the applicable rulemaking procedures or requirements set forth in this chapter;
(b) The agency has exceeded its grant of rulemaking authority, citation to which is required by s. 120.54(3)(a)1.;
(c) The rule enlarges, modifies, or contravenes the specific provisions of law implemented, citation to which is required by s. 120.54(3)(a)1.;
(d) The rule is vague, fails to establish adequate standards for agency decisions, or vests unbridled discretion in the agency;
(e) The rule is arbitrary or capricious. A rule is arbitrary if it is not supported by logic or the necessary facts; a rule is capricious if it is adopted without thought or reason or is irrational; or
(f) The rule imposes regulatory costs on the regulated person, county, or city which could be reduced by the adoption of less costly alternatives that substantially accomplish the statutory objectives.

A grant of rulemaking authority is necessary but not sufficient to allow an agency to adopt a rule; a specific law to be implemented is also required. An agency may adopt only rules that implement or interpret the specific powers and duties granted by the enabling statute. No agency shall have authority to adopt a rule only because it is reasonably related to the purpose of the enabling legislation and is not arbitrary and capricious or is within the agency’s class of powers and duties, nor shall an agency have the authority to implement statutory provisions setting forth general legislative intent or policy. Statutory language granting rulemaking authority or generally describing the powers and functions of an agency shall be construed to extend no further than implementing or interpreting the specific powers and duties conferred by the enabling statute.

(9) “Law implemented” means the language of the enabling statute being carried out or interpreted by an agency through rulemaking.
(10) “License” means a franchise, permit, certification, registration, charter, or similar form of authorization required by law, but it does not include a license required primarily for revenue purposes when issuance of the license is merely a ministerial act.
(11) “Licensing” means the agency process respecting the issuance, denial, renewal, revocation, suspension, annulment, withdrawal, or amendment of a license or imposition of terms for the exercise of a license.
(12) “Official reporter” means the publication in which an agency publishes final orders, the index to final orders, and the list of final orders which are listed rather than published.
(13) “Party” means:
(a) Specifically named persons whose substantial interests are being determined in the proceeding.
(b) Any other person who, as a matter of constitutional right, provision of statute, or provision of agency regulation, is entitled to participate in whole or in part in the proceeding, or whose substantial interests will be affected by proposed agency action, and who makes an appearance as a party.
(c) Any other person, including an agency staff member, allowed by the agency to intervene or participate in the proceeding as a party. An agency may by rule authorize limited forms of participation in agency proceedings for persons who are not eligible to become parties.
(d) Any county representative, agency, department, or unit funded and authorized by state statute or county ordinance to represent the interests of the consumers of a county, when the proceeding involves the substantial interests of a significant number of residents of the county and the board of county commissioners has, by resolution, authorized the representative, agency, department, or unit to represent the class of interested persons. The authorizing resolution shall apply to a specific proceeding and to appeals and ancillary proceedings thereto, and it shall not be required to state the names of the persons whose interests are to be represented.

The term “party” does not include a member government of a regional water supply authority or a governmental or quasi-judicial board or commission established by local ordinance or special or general law where the governing membership of such board or commission is shared with, in whole or in part, or appointed by a member government of a regional water supply authority in proceedings under s. 120.569, s. 120.57, or s. 120.68, to the extent that an interlocal agreement under ss. 163.01 and 373.713 exists in which the member government has agreed that its substantial interests are not affected by the proceedings or that it is to be bound by alternative dispute resolution in lieu of participating in the proceedings. This exclusion applies only to those particular types of disputes or controversies, if any, identified in an interlocal agreement.

(14) “Person” means any person described in s. 1.01, any unit of government in or outside the state, and any agency described in subsection (1).
(15) “Recommended order” means the official recommendation of an administrative law judge assigned by the division or of any other duly authorized presiding officer, other than an agency head or member of an agency head, for the final disposition of a proceeding under ss. 120.569 and 120.57.
(16) “Rule” means each agency statement of general applicability that implements, interprets, or prescribes law or policy or describes the procedure or practice requirements of an agency and includes any form which imposes any requirement or solicits any information not specifically required by statute or by an existing rule. The term also includes the amendment or repeal of a rule. The term does not include:
(a) Internal management memoranda which do not affect either the private interests of any person or any plan or procedure important to the public and which have no application outside the agency issuing the memorandum.
(b) Legal memoranda or opinions issued to an agency by the Attorney General or agency legal opinions prior to their use in connection with an agency action.
(c) The preparation or modification of:
1. Agency budgets.
2. Statements, memoranda, or instructions to state agencies issued by the Chief Financial Officer or Comptroller as chief fiscal officer of the state and relating or pertaining to claims for payment submitted by state agencies to the Chief Financial Officer or Comptroller.
3. Contractual provisions reached as a result of collective bargaining.
4. Memoranda issued by the Executive Office of the Governor relating to information resources management.
(17) “Rulemaking authority” means statutory language that explicitly authorizes or requires an agency to adopt, develop, establish, or otherwise create any statement coming within the definition of the term “rule.”
(18) “Small city” means any municipality that has an unincarcerated population of 10,000 or less according to the most recent decennial census.
(19) “Small county” means any county that has an unincarcerated population of 75,000 or less according to the most recent decennial census.
(20) “Unadopted rule” means an agency statement that meets the definition of the term “rule,” but that has not been adopted pursuant to the requirements of s. 120.54.
(21) “Variance” means a decision by an agency to grant a modification to all or part of the literal requirements of an agency rule to a person who is subject to the rule. Any variance shall conform to the standards for variances outlined in this chapter and in the uniform rules adopted pursuant to s. 120.54(5).
(22) “Waiver” means a decision by an agency not to apply all or part of a rule to a person who is subject to the rule. Any waiver shall conform to the standards for waivers outlined in this chapter and in the uniform rules adopted pursuant to s. 120.54(5).
History.s. 1, ch. 74-310; s. 1, ch. 75-191; s. 1, ch. 76-131; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 12, ch. 77-290; s. 2, ch. 77-453; s. 1, ch. 78-28; s. 1, ch. 78-425; s. 1, ch. 79-20; s. 55, ch. 79-40; s. 1, ch. 79-299; s. 2, ch. 81-119; s. 1, ch. 81-180; s. 7, ch. 82-180; s. 1, ch. 83-78; s. 2, ch. 83-273; s. 10, ch. 84-170; s. 15, ch. 85-80; s. 1, ch. 85-168; s. 2, ch. 87-385; s. 1, ch. 88-367; s. 1, ch. 89-147; s. 1, ch. 91-46; s. 9, ch. 92-166; s. 50, ch. 92-279; s. 55, ch. 92-326; s. 3, ch. 96-159; s. 1, ch. 97-176; s. 2, ch. 97-286; s. 1, ch. 98-402; s. 64, ch. 99-245; s. 2, ch. 99-379; s. 895, ch. 2002-387; s. 1, ch. 2003-94; s. 138, ch. 2003-261; s. 7, ch. 2003-286; s. 3, ch. 2007-196; s. 13, ch. 2007-217; s. 2, ch. 2008-104; s. 1, ch. 2009-85; s. 1, ch. 2009-187; s. 10, ch. 2010-5; s. 2, ch. 2010-205; s. 7, ch. 2011-208; s. 8, ch. 2012-116; s. 14, ch. 2013-173.