Florida Legislative Update: Week 6
Earlier today, FAA hosted a Mid-Session Legislative Update webinar. If you were unable to join us for the call, please click here to listen to a recording of the meeting at your convenience.
We are now in the final weeks of the 2019 session and we expect floor activity in the House and Senate to ramp up over the next two weeks. 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.
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 out of its last committee (House Judiciary Committee) as amended on April 16 and is now on the House floor.
- During the meeting on April 16, Rep. Killebrew offered two amendments. The first amendment mirrored the language added to SB 1128 (See below for more information on this amendment). In addition, Rep. Killebrew offered a second amendment to clarify the ability of out-of-state practitioner to certify the need for an emotional support animal. This language was added in response to concerns that a significant portion of the Florida population lives in another state for part of year and thus, may have a provider who treats their disability or disability related need in another state.
- On April 10, the Senate companion bill (SB 1128, Sen. Diaz) was considered by the Senate Rules Committee.
- During the committee meeting, Sen. Diaz offered an amendment that was adopted to clarify a property owner's right to deny an emotional support animal accommodation request if the animal poses a direct threat to the safety/health of others or poses a direct threat of physical damage to the property of others which cannot be reduced or eliminated by another reasonable accommodation. Click here for a copy of the Substitute for SB 1128, which includes these changes.
- SB 1128 was passed unanimously by the Senate Rules Committee on April 10 as amended and 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 currently 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
- On April 9, the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee considered SB 1730(Sen. Lee). 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 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.
- On April 10, the Infrastructure and Security Committee voted to adopt the amendment for SB 1730 and passed the bill. SB 1730 now advances to its final stop, which is the Senate Rules Committee.
- HB 7103 (Rep. Fischer) passed the House State Affairs Committee, which was the bill's final committee stop, by a 14 to 8 vote on April 10. HB 7103 is now on the House floor awaiting a vote.
- 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.
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 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.
- This legislation passed its final committee, the State Affairs Committee, on April 18 and is now on the House floor.
- 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.
- The amended version of SB 620 passed the Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee on April 10. SB 620 now advances to the Rules Committee, its final committee stop, for further consideration on April 23.
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.
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?
- HB 565 is awaiting consideration by the Judiciary Committee, which is the bill's final stop before reaching the House floor, for further consideration. We are pleased to report this legislation was not placed on the Judiciary Committee's meeting agenda this week.
- SB 958 is awaiting consideration by the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, which is the bill's second committee stop. In order for this legislation to advance to the Senate floor, it will have to pass the Senate Rules Committee as well.
- In light of the industry's serious concerns, FAA is continuing to have ongoing dialogue with legislators in the House and Senate to prevent this legislation from advancing further during the remainder of the 2019 session.
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.