Florida Legislative Update: Week 4
It was an exciting week in Tallahassee for the apartment industry. During the fourth week of session, one of FAA's 2019 legislative priorities (HB 207/Impact Fees) was passed by both the House and Senate! This legislation will now proceed to the governor's desk and FAA is hopeful it will be signed into law. In addition, both the House and Senate passed their respective budget proposals, which means the conference process will begin and budget negotiations will remain a major focus in the coming weeks.
Below is a brief rundown of the status of FAA's 2019 priorities and some other items of interest that we are tracking this session. For a more comprehensive list of the legislation we are monitoring, please click here to visit the 2019 Legislation Tracker on the FAA website.
As always if you have any questions regarding FAA's advocacy efforts, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at Amanda@faahq.org.
Government Affairs Director
Florida Apartment Association
FAA Priority Legislation on the Move
House Bill 721/Senate Bill 1128: Reducing Emotional Support Animal Fraud and Abuse
- HB 721 (Rep. Killebrew) passed its second committee (House Children and Family Committee) on March 25. HB 721 now advances to its final committee stop, which is the House Judiciary Committee, for consideration.
- On March 26, the Senate companion bill (SB 1128, Diaz) passed the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee by a unanimous vote. SB 1128 will be discussed by the Senate Rules Committee on April 10, which is the bill's last committee stop before it is eligible to be considered by the entire chamber on the Senate floor.
- If enacted, these companion bills would reduce emotional support animal fraud by allowing a housing provider to request written documentation signed by a licensed provider, which verifies the individual's disability or disability-related need. In addition, this legislation would establish a penalty for misrepresenting a pet as an emotional support animal.
Senate Bill 144 (Sen. Gruters)/HB 207 (Rep. Donalds): Clarifying the Impact Fee Process
- If enacted, SB 144/HB 207 would establish consistency by allowing impact fees to be collected only when building permits are issued and would earmark impact fee revenue for acquiring or improving capital facilities to serve the population associated with the new development.
- HB 207 recently passed the House on March 27 by a vote of 101 to 12.
- Senate leadership withdrew HB 207's committee assignments and advanced this legislation to the Senate floor where it passed by a vote of 39 to 1 on April 4. As a result, HB 207 will now be presented to Gov. DeSantis for signature.
Senate Bill 1730/HB 7103: Inclusionary Zoning Preemption
- SB 1730 (Sen. Lee) passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee favorably on March 20. The Infrastructure and Security Committee plans to consider this legislation at the meeting on April 9.
- HB 7103 (Rep. Fischer) passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 11 to 7 on April 3 and now advances to the House State Affairs Committee.
- If SB 1730 or HB 7103 is signed into law, local governments would be prohibited from enacting mandatory inclusionary zoning policies that require a specific proportion of the new apartment homes constructed within the municipality’s jurisdiction to be deemed “affordable housing" and rented for less than market rent.
Other Legislation to Watch
HB 891 (Rep. Ponder)/SB 620 (Sen. Broxson): Military Friendly Initiatives
- One of the provisions in the legislation as introduced (HB 891/SB 620) would cap a service member's security deposit andadvanced rent to the aggregate amount he/she would otherwise pay in 60 days rent. Based on FAA's research, this legislation would be the first of its kind in the United States.
- In the event an applicant has poor credit, he or she may be asked to pay a full month's security deposit depending on the property or company's policies. This amount when combined with the advanced rent payment and/or prorated rent due upon move-in could be in violation of 60 day cap, which would put both the property and the service member with poor credit at risk.
- In light of these concerns, FAA had discussions with the bill sponsors regarding the unintended negative effects of this proposal as introduced.
- On March 26, a committee substitute, HB 891 C1, was adopted and passed by the Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.
- FAA is pleased to report, the substitute that was adopted by the committee removed the provision capping the security deposit and advanced rent. The revised version of HB 891 now advances to the House Appropriations Committee for further consideration.
- The Senate companion bill (SB 620) was referred to the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs and Space; Innovation, Industry, and Technology; and Rules committees.
- FAA was able to secure an amendment for SB 620 to clarify the cap should be based on two months rent (rather than 60 days) and added language that excludes prorated rent from the cap established in this legislation. SB 620 now advances to the Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee for further consideration.
HB 565 (Rep. Williams)/SB 958 (Sen. Rouson): Housing Discrimination
- If enacted, HB 565/SB 958 would amend Florida statute to allow individuals who believe they are victims of housing discrimination to proceed straight to legal remedies, without going through the free administrative complaint process.
- You may recall similar legislation was introduced last session. Once again, FAA strongly opposes this legislation because it will increase costs for apartment communities with frivolous and unvetted lawsuits.
- On April 1, HB 565 passed the Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee and is now before the Judiciary Committee, which is the bill's final stop before reaching the House floor, for further consideration.
- SB 958 was scheduled for its first hearing on April 8 in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- In light of these recent developments, FAA is continuing to have conversations with legislators in the House and Senate to prevent this legislation from advancing during the remainder of the 2019 session.
HB 3 (Rep. Grant): Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing Requirements
- If enacted, HB 3 would prohibit local governments from requiring a license for a person whose job scope does not substantially correspond to that of a contractor or journeyman licensed by the state. The bill also specifically prevents local governments from requiring a license for the following jobs: painting, flooring, cabinetry, interior remodeling, driveway or tennis court installation, and decorative stone, tile, marble, granite, or terrazzo installation, plastering, stuccoing, caulking, canvas awning installation, and ornamental iron installation.
- The apartment industry supports this legislation as it would protect apartment communities and supplier members from over regulation by local governments.
- HB 3 passed its committee assignments with favorable recommendations and is now on Second Reading on the House floor. However, the Senate companion bill, SB 1748(Sen. Perry), has not had a hearing at this time.
House Approves Budget Proposal
The House voted on April 4 to approve a budget proposal that amounts to $89.9 billion in overall funding. This budget allocates a mere $123.6 million for affordable housing. It is important to note that all of the affordable housing funds appropriated in the House budget are earmarked exclusively for Hurricane Michael Recovery.
Senate Approves Budget Proposal
The Senate voted on April 4 to approve a budget proposal that amounts to $90.3 billion in overall state funding. This budget includes $331.8 million in funding for affordable housing initiatives. It is important to note, the Senate budget also earmarks $100 million out of the $331.8 million for Hurricane Michael relief efforts associated with housing that was destroyed by the storm.
NOTE: The budget negotiation process is ongoing. Please stay tuned for future updates.
FAA's 2019 Legislative Priorities
- Protect the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund and pass SB 70 (Sen. Mayfield) or HB 1103 (Rep. Plasencia).
- Prohibit mandatory inclusionary zoning and encourage voluntary incentive programs to stimulate affordable housing development with the passage of SB 1730(Sen. Lee) or HB 7103 (Rep. Fischer).
- Reduce emotional support animal fraud and abuse with the passage of HB 721(Rep. Killebrew) or SB 1128 (Sen. Diaz).
- Clarify the impact fee process with the passage of SB 144(Sen. Gruters) or HB 207(Rep. Donalds).
Click here to learn more about FAA's 2019 Legislative Priorities.