Florida Legislative Update for ASID & IIDA - Post Session Update May 10, 2021
Updated on May 10, 2021
PLEASE NOTE: Highlighted language reflects new actions on a specific bill.
1) Legislative Review of Occupational Regulations -
Status: Both bills are Dead!
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 Per the bill, the statute that regulates registered interior designers, would be repealed on July 1, 2025, unless renewed by the Legislature.
2) Home-based Businesses - Status: PASSED!
HB 403 "Home-based Businesses" by Rep. Mike Giallombardo (R-Cape Coral) has now been listed as being an Enrolled Bill, which is legislative parlance for a bill that has passed both the House and Senate and has been signed by the chief legislative officers (the Senate President and Speaker of the House). If you recall from the last report, there was some uncertainty of the final status of HB 403 as the Legislative Session came to an end.
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. Also, a home-based business will only be subject to applicable business taxes in the county and municipality where the home-based business is located. A home-based business that operates from a residential property may operate the business in an area zoned for residential use. In addition:
- the employees of the home-based business who work at the residential dwelling must also reside in the residence, except for up to two employees that do not reside at the residence;
- provides that any local regulations on noise, vibration, heat, smoke, dust, glare, fumes, or noxious odors may not be more restrictive for home-based businesses than other residential property;
- does not prohibit local governments from enacting or enforcing noise ordinances;
- requires that local regulations of home-based business parking not be more stringent than other residential property;
- removes ability for local government to regulate hours of operation of a home-based business;
- requires the use of the residential property, as viewed from the street, to be consistent with surrounding residential properties and conform to the residential character and architectural aesthetics of the neighborhood; and
- must comply with all relevant local, state or federal regulations with respect to the use, storage, or disposal of any corrosive, combustible, or other hazardous or flammable materials or liquids.
The effective date of the bill is July 1, 2021.
3) Building Design – Status: The individual bills failed to Pass but bill language was added to HB 401 “Florida Building Code” by Rep. Elizabeth Fetterhoff (R-DeLand).
HB 55 "Building Design" by Rep. Toby Overdorf (R-Stuart) and SB 284 "Building Design" by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) 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.
The primary bill - HB 401 “Florida Building Code”:
- Prohibits building departments from requiring building contracts in permit applications.
- Discourages local governments from bypassing the local technical amendment process to the Florida Building Code by allowing an affected party the opportunity to submit a complaint to the Florida Building Commission for a non-binding advisory opinion.
- Authorizes the Florida Building Commission to correct errors in the code by simplifying the procedures and not opening the process up to special interest.
4) Building Inspections: Status: Passed
HB 667 “Building Inspections” by Rep. James Mooney, Jr. (R-Key West) was unanimously passed by the full Senate 39-0 on Monday, April 26th.
This bill requires 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, using 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. However, it prohibits a government entity from performing a virtual inspection for structural inspections on threshold buildings.
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.
- The effective date of the bill is July 1, 2021.
5) Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing – Status: Passed
HB 735 “Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing” by Rep. Joe Harding (R-Ocala), was approved by the Senate by a vote of 22-18 on Tuesday, April 27th. The Senate bill SB 268 “Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing” by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) was substituted by HB 735 on the Senate Floor. HB 735 had previously passed the House by a vote of 82-32.
HB 735 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 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. The bill shall take effect on July 1, 2021.
6) Taxation (Online Sale Tax) – Status: Passed and Signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, April 19th. 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.
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. 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.
FINAL BILL ACTION:
The bills in this update that have passed both the House and Senate will be sent to the Governor for his action; he may sign the bill, allow it to become law without his signature, or veto the bill. However, this process will could take anywhere from 4-8 weeks, as the Legislature sends the bills piecemeal to the Governor. There were about 275 bills that passed this Session plus the state budget.
Also, the Legislature will return the week of May 17 – 21 for a Special Legislative Session to approve the recently negotiated and signed the Gaming Compact between the State of Florida and the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and to considered other ancillary gaming legislation. No other legislation will be considered.
Please let me know if you have any questions on these bills or any other legislation.
David J. Roberts
Nortelus Roberts Group
NOTE: You watch previous committee meetings or previous Florida House and Senate sessions by visiting the Florida Channel at https://thefloridachannel.org The Florida Channel is a government-access television network operated by WFSU-TV and the Florida State Legislature.
Also, here are the websites for both the House and Senate for further bill information:
- Florida House of Representatives - www.MyFloridaHouse.gov
- Florida Senate - www.FLSenate.gov