Florida Legislative Update for ASID & IIDA -Updated April 23, 2021
Updated on April 23, 2021
2021 Florida Legislative Update for ASID & IIDA – Week 8
PLEASE NOTE: Highlighted language reflects new actions on a specific bill.
1) Legislative Review of Occupational Regulations:
SB 344 Legislative Review of Occupational Regulations” by Sen. Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) – In its only committee hearing, this bill was significantly amended to remove all health care-related professions and occupations and convert the bill into a review rather than a repeal or Sunset of any of the professions.
The House version HB 471 “Legislative Review of Occupational Regulations” by Rep. Alex Rizo (R-Hialeah) remains a Sunset Review and would establish a schedule for the systematic review of occupational regulatory programs to determine whether the program should be allowed to expire, be fully renewed, or be renewed with modifications. Per the bill, the statute that regulates registered interior designers, would be repealed on July 1, 2025, unless renewed by the Legislature.
A sunset review is a provision within a statute or regulation requiring the statute or regulation to expire or cease to be effective on a certain date unless the legislature takes proactive action to renew the statute or regulation. A sunset review allows regulations to be periodically examined to determine if they are necessary or if the need to be changed, improved, or reduced.
The good news is that these bills are effectively dead with only one week left in the 2021 Legislative Session. SB 344 has only been heard in one committee while HB 471 has not heard in any of its four committees of reference.
2) Home-based Businesses:
HB 403 "Home-based Businesses" by Rep. Mike Giallombardo (R-Cape Coral) was approved by the House by a 78-38 vote on Wednesday. April 21st and has been sent to the Senate for their consideration.
HB 403 prohibits local governments from enacting or enforce any ordinance, regulation, or policy, or take any action to license or otherwise regulate a home-based business in a manner that is different from other businesses in a local government's jurisdiction. The bill provides that home-based businesses will only be subject to applicable business taxes in the county and municipality where the home-based business is located.
To be considered a home-based business, the bill requires that:
· the business operates, in whole or in part, from a residential property;
· the employees of the home-based business reside in the residence, except for up to two employees that do not reside at the residence;
· parking for the business activities of the home-based business complies with local zoning requirements;
· as viewed from the street, the use of the residential property is consistent with the uses of the residential areas that surround the property, but incidental and short-term business uses and activities are permitted; and
· the activities of the home-based business are secondary to the property’s use as a residential dwelling.
The Senate version, SB 266 “Home-based Businesses” by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville), has been placed on the Senate Calendar and is available for consideration by the full Senate.
However, SB 266 differs from HB 403 by including requirements that a home-based business should not have any external modifications that detract from the residential appearance, and use no equipment or process that creates noise, vibration, heat, smoke, dust, glare, fumes, or odors that are plainly detectable from the street or neighboring properties.
The bill also provides requirements home-based businesses must comply with to operate in an area zoned for residential use. These requirements address the following areas:
- may only have two non-resident employees or independent contractors;
- restricts the amount of traffic and parking a home-based business may generate;
- restricts the type of vehicles and heavy equipment allowed to operate and park at a home-based business; and
- prohibits local governments from imposing any restrictions on home-based business hours between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm., and
- must comply with all relevant regulations concerning the use, storage, or disposal of any corrosive, combustible, or other hazardous or flammable materials or liquids.
These bills have faced strong opposition from many Democratic legislators and local county and municipal governments who have expressed concerns that the bill preempts local zoning requirements.
3) Building Inspections:
HB 667 “Building Inspections” by Rep. James Mooney, Jr. (R-Key West) was approved by the full House by unanimous vote (118-0) on April 21st and has been sent to the Senate for their consideration.
The Senate version, SB 1382 “Building Inspections” by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville), has been placed on the Senate Special Order Calendar for consideration on Monday, April 26th.
These bills require local building enforcement agencies to allow requests for inspections to be submitted electronically. The accepted methods of electronic submission include e-mail, an electronic fill-in form available on the building department’s website or a third-party submission software, or a form that can be downloaded on a mobile device.
The bill clarifies that any government entity with authority to enforce the Building Code may perform virtual inspections at its discretion. However, it prohibits a government entity from performing a virtual inspection for structural inspections on threshold buildings. A “virtual inspection” is defined as an inspection that uses visual or electronic aids to allow a building official or inspector to perform an inspection without having to be physically present at the job site during the inspection.
Also, the bill provides that a local enforcement agency must refund 10 percent of the permit and inspection fees if:
- the inspector or building official determines the work, which requires the permit, fails an inspection; and
- the inspector or building official fails to provide a reason that is based on compliance with the Florida Building Code, the Florida Fire Prevention Code, or local ordinance, indicating why the work failed the inspection within 5 days.
Procedurally, it is likely that when SB 1382 is heard by the full Senate, HB 667 will be taken up and substituted for SB 1382 and then voted on by the Senate. A bill must pass both the House and Senate with identical language and since HB 667 has already passed the House, and if it is approved by the Senate with no changes, it will then go to the Governor for his signature. If the Senate amends the bill, it will then go back to the House for their concurrence.
4) Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing
SB 268 “Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing” by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) has been placed on the Senate Special Order Calendar for consideration on Monday, April 26th.
The House companion, HB 735 “Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing” by Rep. Joe Harding (R-Ocala), was approved by the full House by a vote of 82-32 on April 1st and has been sent to the Senate for their consideration.
The bills expressly preempt the licensing of occupations to the state and supersedes any local government licensing of occupations. However, any licensing of occupations adopted prior to July 1, 2021, will continue to be effective until July 1, 2023, at which time it will expire. Any licensing of occupations authorized by general law is exempt from the preemption.
The bills have been called the “Deregulation Bill - Part 2” in some media reports, referring to the 2nd phase of deregulating occupations and professions that began with last Session’s Deregulation bill HB 1193 that was signed into law.
The bills prohibits local governments from requiring a license for a person whose job scope does not substantially correspond to that of a contractor or journeyman licensed by the Construction Industry Licensing Board, and specifically precludes local governments from requiring a license for: painting, flooring, cabinetry, interior remodeling, handyman services, driveway or tennis court installation, decorative stone, tile, marble, granite, or terrazzo installation, plastering, stuccoing, caulking, canvas awning installation, and ornamental iron installation.
The bill also authorizes counties and municipalities to issue journeyman licenses in the plumping, pipe fitting, mechanical and HVAC trades, as well as, the electrical and alarm system trades, which is the current practice by counties and municipalities. The licensing of these specific local journeyman is exempt from the preemption in the bill.
Procedurally, it is likely that when SB 268 is heard by the full Senate, HB 735 will be taken up and substituted for SB 268 and then voted on by the Senate. A bill must pass both the House and Senate with identical language and since HB 735 has already passed the House, and if it is approved by the Senate with no changes, it will then go to the Governor for his signature. If the Senate amends the bill, it will then go back to the House for their concurrence.
5) Building Design:
HB 55 "Building Design" by Rep. Toby Overdorf (R-Stuart) prohibits local governments from adopting land development regulations that require specific building design elements for single- and two-family dwellings unless certain conditions are met.
The bill defines these "building design elements" to mean exterior color, type or style of exterior cladding, style or material of roof structures or porches, exterior nonstructural architectural ornamentation, location or architectural styling of windows or doors, location and orientation of the garage, and number, type, and layout of rooms. Rep. Overdorf stated that this bill is needed to prevent local governments from placing costly design and aesthetic requirements on the building homes on single-lots outside of a development or a community redevelopment area. However, the bill has received opposition from Democratic legislators and county and municipal governments over concerns that it preempts local regulations.
HB 55 was discussed by the full House of Representatives on Friday, April 23rd and is expected to be heard again and approved on Monday, April 26th.
The Senate version,SB 284 "Building Design" by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) was amended in its last committee to match the language in HB 55 by excluding dwellings in Community Redevelopment Agencies, Planned Unit Developments, and Community Development Districts. There is no change on the status of SB 284. It has one more committee stop before it can advance for consideration by the full Senate.
6) Taxation – Online Sale Tax
SB 50 was signed into law on Monday, April 19th by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The bill requires out-of-state retailers and marketplace providers with no physical presence in Florida to collect the state’s sales tax on sales of taxable items delivered to purchasers in Florida if the out-of-state retailer or marketplace provider makes a substantial number of sales in Florida. In the bill, a substantial number of sales means conducting any number of taxable remote sales in an amount exceeding $100,000 during the previous calendar year.
The legislation is projected to raise about $1 billion of previously uncollected sales tax revenue due from out-of-state retailers which will be deposited in Florida’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund (UCTF) annually until the trust fund is replenished to pre-pandemic levels. The UCTF has been significantly depleted due to the pandemic’s effects on Florida’s economy.
Replenishing the UCTF will prevent an automatic increase in unemployment assistance taxes facing Florida businesses, while ensuring that the trust fund remains solvent for employees when they need to claim their unemployment benefits.
The legislation will also reduce Florida’s business commercial business rent tax rate by over 50%, from the current 5.5% to 2%. Florida is the only state to charge sales tax on the total rent charged under a commercial lease of real property. However, this tax reduction will kick-in only after the UCTF is restored to pre-pandemic levels or on December 31, 2025, whichever occurs earlier. This tax reduction and the replenishing of the UCTF will benefit the state’s small businesses. The bill takes effect on July 1, 2021.
This completes the 8th week of the 9-week Florida Legislative Session, and it is scheduled end on Friday, April 30, 2021.
Please let me know if you have any questions on these bills or any other legislation.
David J. Roberts
Nortelus Roberts Group
NOTE: I’ve been asked how you can watch the committee meetings or the Florida House and Senate in session. The Florida Channel which is a government-access television network operated by WFSU-TV and the Florida State Legislature that you can watch either live on local public television stations or visit stream it online or to watch previous meetings in their video library.
Also, here are the websites for both the House and Senate for further bill information:
If any ASID FSC members have any questions, please contact Christian J. Alexander, Government Affairs Chair / Legislative Liaison @ firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you!