Florida Session Update

Advocacy News ,
 Florida Legislative Session Update #2
 
This is the second in a series of several email updates regarding the 2020 Florida legislative session. For more information regarding the legislation FAA is watching in 2020, please click here to see FAA's 2020 Legislation tracker or email amanda@faahq.org.
 

FAA's 2020 Legislative Priorities on the Move:

Protect the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund (SB 306/HB 381)
  • SB 306 passed out of the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee with a favorable recommendation by an 8-0 vote on February 3. The bill now advances to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development for further consideration.
  • This important legislation would prevent the legislature from sweeping monies from the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund for other purposes within the state budget.
  • At this time, HB 381 has not been scheduled for a hearing in the House.
 
Reduce Emotional Support Animal Fraud (HB 209/SB 1084)
  • HB 209 is currently awaiting consideration in its final committee, the House Judiciary Committee.
  • SB 1084 was originally scheduled for its second committee hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee on February 3. Due to lengthy debate regarding other legislation that was on the agenda, the committee did not have a chance to hear debate. We are pleased to report that SB 1084 is back on the committee agenda for February 10.
  • This important legislation would establish a criminal penalty for falsifying an emotional support animal and codify the right for property owners to ask for reliable documentation from a licensed professional when an individual's disability related need is not readily apparent.
 

Other Legislation FAA is Watching in 2020

Housing Discrimination Complaints
  • HB 175 is now awaiting final consideration in the House Judiciary Committee and SB 374 is currently on the Senate floor on second reading.
  • This legislation would allow someone who believes they are a victim of housing discrimination to bypass the administrative complaint process and proceed straight to legal action, which would increase legal costs for property owners.
  • FAA is once again strongly opposing this legislation. The government affairs team will continue to discuss the negative implications of this policy change with leadership in the House and Senate.
 
E-Verify
  • Governor DeSantis has asked the legislature to pass a bill that would require all employers to participate in the federal E-Verify program. E-Verify is a federal database that was designed to aid employers in identifying undocumented immigrants who are ineligible to work in the U.S. 
  • SB 664, which would require all Florida employers to register with and use E-Verify, is scheduled for its first committee hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 11. This legislation is highly controversial and is expected to be amended during this initial committee deliberation.
  • SB 664 does not have a companion bill in the House at this time.
  • The FAA government affairs team will continue to monitor this legislation and communicate future updates as they arise.
 
Preemption of Local Licensing
  • HB 3 recently passed out of its final committee, the House Commerce Committee, on January 30th. This bill now advances to the House floor. The Senate companion bill, SB 1336, recently passed out of the Senate Community Affairs Committee on February 3. The bill is now awaiting further consideration in the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee.
  • This bill prohibits local governments from requiring a license for a person whose job scope does not substantially correspond to that of a contractor or journeyman. This would prevent local governments from imposing licensing requirements for painting, flooring, cabinetry, interior remodeling, tile, marble, granite, or terrazzo installation, plastering, stuccoing, or caulking to name a few examples.
  • FAA strongly supports the passage of this legislation and is hopeful HB 3 will have a floor vote on the House floor soon.
 
Subscribing Wittiness Requirement
  • HB 469 recently passed by a unanimous vote in the House on February 5. The Senate companion bill, SB 1224, is currently on second reading on the Senate floor.
  • HB 469/SB 1224 would remove the subscribing witness requirement for leases that exceed one year. 
  • This legislation is important for FAA members because lease renewals, which are often completed via an electronic signature, routinely exceed one year. When using an electronic signature the witness requirement that currently exists in state law can be problematic.
 
Evictions During State of Emergencies
  • A committee substitute for HB 321 recently passed out of the House Civil Justice Committee with a favorable recommendation by an 11-0 vote on February 4. HB 321 now advances to the House Oversight Committee for further consideration. The Senate companion bill, SB 480, has not had a committee hearing at this time.
  • As introduced these bills would prohibit a writ, process, warrant, order, or judgment relating to a residential eviction from being served during a state of emergency declared by the President, Governor, or governing body of a political subdivision. The legislation as introduced would also impose a 15 day waiting period after the end of a declared state of emergency before an eviction could be served.
  • During HB 321's initial committee hearing, Rep. Grieco (the bill sponsor) introduced a substitute that included drastic changes to the bill language. The substitute Rep. Grieco presented would prohibit a sheriff from serving or executing a writ of possession in a county that is under a hurricane watch or hurricane warning until five days after the termination of the hurricane watch or hurricane warning. The committee voted to advance this revised version of the bill on February 4th.
  • There is concern that this legislation could be misused to unjustly delay or complicate the eviction process. The FAA government affairs team is closely monitoring this legislation and will be sharing the industry's concerns with committee leaders in the House and Senate.
 
Affordable Housing
  • A committee substitute for HB 1339 recently passed out of the Local, Federal, & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee with a favorable recommendation by a 12-0 vote on February 3. HB 1339 now advances to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration. The Senate companion bill, SB 998, passed out of the Community Affairs Committee in January and is awaiting consideration in the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee.
  • HB 1339/SB 998 would make a series of changes related to housing. If enacted, the bills would provide local governments with the ability to approve the development of affordable housing on any parcel of land that is zoned for residential, commercial, or industrial use. The bills would also impose additional impact fee reporting requirements on local governments and establish biannual affordable housing workshops, among other changes.
  • FAA is closely monitoring this legislation and talking to legislators in the House and Senate about the other housing affordability policy solutions that the apartment industry supports. This includes the need for counties to be able to grant property tax exemptions at the local level for affordable housing.