Wednesday, February 7 marks the midpoint of the legislative session. Many bills that could potentially affect the apartment industry are on the move! Here is an update of what happened in Tallahassee over the last two weeks:
Last week 161 FAA members traveled to Tallahassee to advocate on behalf of the apartment industry. The FAA Legislative Conference
successfully raised $7,900 for APAC
and members spent the day meeting with 160 legislator offices. The event was a success; thank you to everyone who participated and contributed to APAC
HB 529 (Doorstep Trash Collection): FAA priority bill HB 529, filed by Rep. Manny Diaz (FL-103, R), passed a vote of the full Florida House on Wednesday January 31. The Senate companion bill, SB 746 filed by Sen. Aaron Bean (FL-4, R), will be heard in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Thursday, February 8 between 12:30-2:30 p.m. The committee can be watched live here
on the Florida Channel. FAA government affairs director Courtney Barnard will be present to testify on the bill.
HB 529 / SB 746 impact the doorstep waste collection industry and clarify the legality of the trash collection services across Florida. The Florida Fire Prevention Code is ambiguous with regard to allowing trash containers to be placed temporarily in hallways and breezeways. The Florida Apartment Association, in conjunction with the doorstep waste collection industry, is seeking clarification of the code so business operations can continue normally.
The doorstep waste removal industry is made up of several independent businesses that provide more than 1,200 jobs across Florida and generate an economic impact of more than $68 million annually. Halting doorstep trash collection services would eliminate jobs and disrupt a valuable apartment service. Doorstep trash collection service is allowed across the United States and clarity in the Florida Fire Prevention Code will allow the industry to continue to do business.
HB 853 (Housing Discrimination Lawsuits): A bill that could negatively impact apartment owners, HB 853 filed by Rep. Davis ( FL- 13, D), was heard in the House Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee on Tuesday, January 30. The bill received 10 yay votes and 4 nay votes and is now moving to the House Judiciary Committee.
HB 853 and its companion SB 306, filed by Sen. Darryl Rouson (FL-19, D), 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 number of incidences of unvetted civil suits against apartment communities in Florida. This bill was previously filed in the 2017 session and was successfully halted by FAA.
FAA will continue to monitor legislation and advocate for our industry throughout the legislative session; if you have any questions or concerns, please email Courtney@faahq.org. For an in-depth update from FAA government affairs director Courtney Barnard, please join the 2018 mid- session update call on Thursday, February 8 at 11 a.m. Dial in information is as follows: Dial-in: 1-866-613-5223 Pass Code: 7647753