2017 Legislative Session Update: Weeks 1-3

Posted By: Courtney Barnard Advocacy News ,
This week marked the end of the third week of legislative session. Many bills that could potentially affect the apartment industry are on the move! Here is an update of what happened in Tallahassee last week. 

Property Tax Assessments: HB 21, sponsored by Rep. Colleen Burton passed through three committees and was voted on the House floor on Thursday, March 23. The bill passed after lively debate from Rep. Joe Geller with a vote of 110 yeas and 3 nays. The Senate companion, SB 76 sponsored by Sen. Tom Lee, has left the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Tax and Finance. FAA is waiting for the bill to be heard in the Appropriations Committee. This bill is one of the 2017 priorities decided by FAA members and presented to legislators at the annual Legislative Conference. 

How this affects you: HB 21 and SB 76 will create a joint resolution to place the 10% non-homestead assessment cap language back on the ballot for voters in 2018. Apartment communities are considered non-homesteaded properties and benefit from a cap on how much taxable assessments can be raised each year. If the cap is not reauthorized, then yearly assessments can increase by any amount for non-homestead property. This could mean apartment owners would see a jump in their property taxes in 2019. Drastic property tax increases could also result in a loss of apartment industry jobs.

Housing Discrimination: FAA priority bills including SB 268 sponsored by Sen. Darryl Rouson and its companion SB 742 sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala and HB 659 sponsored by Rep. Holly Raschein have not been heard in any committees. FAA opposes all changes to administrative remedies regarding housing.

How this affects you: SB 268, SB 742, and HB 659 would allow a person who alleges housing discrimination to file a civil action for two years after an alleged incident before a complaint has been filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations or a local housing discrimination agency. This legislation would greatly increase the incident of unvetted civil suits against apartment communities in Florida. 

Local Business Tax: HB 487 sponsored by Rep. Paul Renner passed through its first committee, the Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee. Its companion bill, SB 330 sponsored by Sen. Greg Steube has been assigned to committees.

How this affects you: HB 487 and SB 330 would limit the cost of a business tax at the county level to no more than $25. The bill also gives tax credits to companies that hire veterans. Passage of the bills could have a small, positive fiscal impact on apartments. 

What is happening in week four: HB 487 has been assigned to the Ways and Means Committee which meets on March 29. 

FAA will continue to monitor and advocate for our industry throughout the legislative session; if you have any questions or concerns, please email me at Courtney@faahq.org. For an in-depth mid-session update from FAA government affairs director, Courtney Barnard and FAA lobbyist, Kelly Mallette, please join us on the upcoming legislative update call on Friday, April 7 at 2 pm Eastern time. Call in information is:

Dial-in: 1-866-613-5223
Pass Code: 7647753 
 
Stay tuned for next week's update