Florida Legislative Update: Week 8

Posted By: Amanda M Gill Advocacy News ,
After a fast and furious week in Tallahassee, the 2019 session came to an end on Saturday. I am pleased to report that two of FAA's priority bills are on their way to Governor DeSantis' desk!
Below is a brief rundown of FAA's 2019 legislative priorities, the budget as it relates to affordable housing funding, and other legislation of interest for the apartment industry. If you are interested in a more detailed discussion regarding the 2019 session, please click here to tune in for our Post-Session Legislative Update Call on May 20 at 11am.
Amanda Gill
Government Affairs Director
Florida Apartment Association


FAA Priority Legislation
House Bill 721/Senate Bill 1128: Reducing Emotional Support Animal Fraud and Abuse
  • HB 721 (Rep. Killebrew) was on the House floor but the bill did not receive a vote before the end of session.
  • SB 1128 (Sen. Diaz) was on the Senate floor but the bill did not receive a vote before the end of session.
  • These companion bills would have reduced emotional support animal fraud by allowing a housing provider to request written documentation signed by a licensed provider to verify the individual's disability or disability-related need. In addition, this legislation would have established a penalty for misrepresenting a pet as an emotional support animal.
  • A special thanks to the many FAA members who sprang into action to advocate on behalf of this legislation by sending more than 480 emails to all 40 Senators urging them to pass SB 1128 during the final days of the 2019 Session. While FAA is disappointed that the House and Senate failed to vote on this legislation before the end of session, the association should be very proud of this grassroots advocacy effort. You can rest assured that this policy priority will remain high on our to-do list for the 2020 legislative session.
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. As a result, HB 207 is now awaiting Gov. DeSantis' signature.
  • If signed into law, SB 144/HB 207 will 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. The passage of this legislation represents an important legislative win for multifamily development!
Senate Bill 1730/HB 7103: Inclusionary Zoning Preemption
  • SB 1730 (Sen. Lee) passed its final committee stop (Senate Rules) on April 23 and advanced to the Senate floor. However, the Senate decided to take up the House companion bill in lieu of SB 1730 on May 3.
    • 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 to 37 vote and was amended and passed by the Senate on May 3. HB 7103 will now be presented to Governor DeSantis for signature.
    • Sen. Lee offered an amendment for HB 7103, which mirrored the amendment outlined above.
    • If signed into law, the amended version of HB 7103 will 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. The passage of this legislation is a crucial legislative victory for multifamily development!

Other FAA Advocacy Successes
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 advance rent to the aggregate amount he/she would otherwise pay in 60 days rent.
  • Before both bills advanced to the floor, the cap on security deposits and advance rent was removed from both HB 891 and SB 620. Therefore, the version of SB 620 that passed the Senate on April 26 and the House on May 1 did not include this cap.
  • SB 620 will now be presented to the Governor for signature and this legislation is expected to be signed into law.
HB 565 (Rep. Williams)/SB 958 (Sen. Rouson): Housing Discrimination
  • HB 565/SB 958 would have amended 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 died in the House Judiciary Committee, which was the bill's final committee stop before reaching the House floor.
  • SB 958 died in the Senate Governmental Oversight Committee, which was the bill's second to last committee stop.

FY 2019-20 Budget Highlights

The House and Senate reached an agreement on a $91.1 billion budget for FY 19-20. Below is a brief update regarding the financial resources that were provided for affordable housing initiatives.

As you may recall from previous email updates, the House's initial budget proposal restricted all of the affordable housing funding to Hurricane Michael impacted areas. FAA joined other members of the Sadowski Affordable Housing Coalition in advocating for statewide affordable housing funding.
The FY 19-20 budget provides $200.6 million for Florida's affordable housing programs, which is $76.9 million more than last year's budget. However, it is important to note that full funding of the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund would have been $332 million. This means $132 million was swept from the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund and placed into General Revenue for other purposes within the state budget.
Affordable Housing Allocations Include:
  • $115 million for affordable housing initiatives in Hurricane Michael impacted areas.
  • $77.6 million for affordable housing initiatives statewide, which includes funding for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program and the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) Program.
  • $8 million for Jacksonville's Urban Core Workforce Housing project.