Session Update: Week 3

Advocacy News ,
2019 Session Update: Week 3
 
During the third week of session, committees took action on FAA priority legislation and other bills that could impact the apartment industry. Below is a brief update regarding where FAA's 2019 priorities stand and information regarding other legislation of interest.
 
In an effort to help you stay up to date, we added a new page to the FAA website titled "2019 Legislation Tracker." Click here to visit this new page for a comprehensive list of the legislation that FAA is tracking this session.
 
As always if you have any questions regarding the legislative process or the bills outlined below, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at Amanda@faahq.org.
 
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) 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, Sen. Diaz) passed the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee by a unanimous vote. SB 1128 now advances to the Senate Rules Committee, 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 that is signed by a licensed provider and 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: Clarifying the Impact Fee Process
  • SB 144 (Sen. Gruters) passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on March 27. This legislation now advances to the Senate floor for consideration by the entire chamber.
  • If enacted, SB 144 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: Inclusionary Zoning Preemption
  • SB 1730 (Sen. Lee) passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee favorably on March 20 and now advances to the Infrastructure and Security Committee for further consideration.
  • HB 7103 (Rep. Fischer), which is the companion bill for SB 1730, was introduced on March 25 and referred to the House Judiciary and State Affairs committees.
  • 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. In addition, this legislation includes many of the same impact fee protections that are included in SB 144.
 
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. 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 the property and the service member with poor credit at risk.
  • In light of these concerns, FAA is having ongoing 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 that 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 following committees in the Senate: Military and Veterans Affairs and Space; Innovation, Industry, and Technology; and Rules. SB 620 has not had a hearing at this time.
 
HB 565 (Rep. Williams)/SB 958 Rouson: Housing Discrimination
  • If enacted, HB 565/SB 958 would amend Florida statute to allow individuals who believe they are a victim 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 March 25, HB 565 passed the Civil Justice Subcommittee and is now before the Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee for further consideration.
  • In light of this recent development, please rest assured that FAA is having conversations with the appropriate committee chairs in the House and Senate to prevent this legislation from advancing during the remainder of the 2019 session.
 
Budget Brief
 
This week, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees voted to approve their respective budget proposals. Below is a brief update regarding how these proposals impact the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
 
House Appropriations Committee Approves Budget Proposal
The House Appropriations Committee voted on March 27 to approve the House budget proposal. The budget approved by the committee is consistent with the draft proposal that was released last week, which allocates a mere $123.6 million for affordable housing. It is important to note that the limited funds appropriated in the House budget are earmarked exclusively for Hurricane Michael Recovery. The House budget includes:
 
  • $74.2 million for the Rental Recovery Loan Program to support the development of additional rental housing in hurricane impacted counties- similar to the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program.
  • $49.4 million for the Hurricane Housing Recovery Program to produce and preserve affordable housing for very low, low, and moderate income families in hurricane-impacted counties- similar to the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP).
 
Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Budget Proposal and Increases Funding
The Senate budget proposal that was released last week included $323.8 million for affordable housing. The budget that was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on March 27 includes a slight increase in funding for a total of $331.8 million. FAA is pleased to report the additional funding was allocated to the line item that funds the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program, which provides low-interest loans for developers that produce affordable apartment homes. The Senate budget includes:
 
  • $61.7 million for various programs including the SAIL program.
  • $170.1 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP).
  • $100 million for affordable housing initiatives associated with Hurricane Michael recovery ($90 million for a SHIP-like program and $10 million for a SAIL-like program).
 
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).
 
Click here to learn more about FAA's 2019 Legislative Priorities.