Florida Legislative Update: Week 7

Posted By: Amanda M Gill Advocacy News ,

We are now in the final two weeks of the regularly scheduled 2019 session. It remains to be seen if the Legislature will finalize the budget in time for the session to end as planned on May 3. You can rest assured that FAA will continue to monitor developments related to the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund very closely as the Legislature works to finalize a spending plan.

 

Below is a brief rundown of the status of FAA's 2019 priorities and some other items 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.

 

Sincerely,

 

Amanda Gill

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) is now on the House floor.
  • SB 1128 (Sen. Diaz) is now 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

  • 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 sent the bill to the Senate floor where it passed by a vote of 39 to 1 on April 4. HB 207 is awaiting Gov. DeSantis' signature.
  • 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.

 

Senate Bill 1730/HB 7103: Inclusionary Zoning Preemption

  • SB 1730 (Sen. Lee) passed its final committee stop (Senate Rules) on April 23 and will now advance to the Senate floor.
    • As introduced, SB 1730 would prohibit local governments from enacting inclusionary zoning mandates. However, at the request of local governments and Sen. Pizzo, Sen. Lee offered an amendment to SB 1730 that would modify the inclusionary zoning preemption language included in the bill. The amendment, which was adopted on April 10, would allow local governments to have an inclusionary zoning mandate but in exchange, the local government must provide incentives to fully offset all costs to the developer for its affordable housing contribution.
  • HB 7103 (Rep. Fischer) passed the House on April 25 by a 72- 37 vote and will now advance to the Senate.
    • If HB 7103 is signed into law, local governments would be prohibited from enacting any inclusionary zoning mandates 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.
    • An amendment, which was offered by Rep. Fischer, was adopted on the House Floor to exempt the Florida Keys, which are covered in S.380.0552 of Florida Statutes from this preemption.

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 and advanced rent to the aggregate amount he/she would otherwise pay in 60 days rent.

How does this legislation impact apartment communities?

  • In the event an applicant has poor credit, he/she may be asked to pay a full month's security deposit depending on the property's policies. This amount when combined with the advanced rent payment and/or prorated rent due upon move-in could be in violation of the 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.

How has FAA worked to address this concern?

  • 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, this substitute removed the provision capping the security deposit and advanced rent.
    • The amended version, which does not include the security deposit cap, is now awaiting a vote on the House floor.
  • FAA was able to secure an amendment for SB 620 when the bill was before the Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee on April 10 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.
  • FAA is pleased to report that while SB 620 was awaiting a vote on the Senate Floor, Sen. Broxson offered an amendment which stripped the security deposit cap from the bill.
    • The amended version of SB 620, which does not include the security deposit cap, passed the Senate today by a 39-0 vote.

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.
  • HB 565 is currently in the House Judiciary Committee, which is the bill's final committee stop.
  • SB 958 is currently in the Senate Governmental Oversight Committee, which is the bill's second committee stop.

How will this legislation impact apartment communities?

  • FAA strongly opposes this legislation because it will increase litigation costs for apartment communities with frivolous and unvetted housing discrimination complaints.

How has FAA worked to address this concern?

  • In light of the industry's serious concerns, FAA communicated with legislators in the House and Senate to prevent this legislation from advancing further during the remainder of the 2019 session.
  • The last day for regularly scheduled committee meetings was April 23. Therefore, it is unlikely that these bills will see any further action during the 2019 session.

Budget Update

 

The House and Senate have begun conference negotiations. During this process, the House and Senate Conference Committees will offer budget proposals until the chambers come to a mutual agreement regarding a spending plan. Below is an update regarding how the current proposal would impact the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

 

As of April 25, the House and Senate have reached an agreement regarding funding for Florida's traditional affordable housing programs. Offer #2 for both the House and Senate includes:

  • $31 million for affordable housing programs, which includes the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) Program,
  • $46.5 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program, and
  • $8 million for the Jacksonville Urban Core Workforce Housing Project.

 

At this time, the House and Senate have not reached an agreement regarding affordable housing funding for areas impacted by Hurricane Michael. Please stay tuned for future updates on these line items as budget negotiations continue.


Please note the funding levels listed above are based on the House/Senate Conference Committee proposal labeled, "Offer #2." This is the most recent offer that was on the table as of COB on April 25. Click here to read a copy of the full proposal.


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.