Legislative Update for ASID Florida South Chapter – Update for April 16th 2021

Updated on April 16, 2021


2021 Florida Legislative Update for ASID & IIDA – Week 7


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) was approved in its initial committee hearing on March 17th. Prior to passage, Sen. Diaz significantly amended his bill 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. SB 344 is now a review-only bill; it is no longer a Sunset bill

There is no change on the status of the bill. It has not had a committee hearing since mid-March and still must be heard by two (2) more committees before it can advance for consideration by the full Senate.

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 Per the bill, the statute that regulates registered interior designers – Chapter 481, Part I, F.S. - would be repealed on July 1, 2025, unless renewed by the LegislatureThe bill still has not been heard in any of its four committees of reference.

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 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.

 2) Home-based Businesses:

HB 403 "Home-based Businesses" by Rep. Mike Giallombardo (R-Cape Coral) has been placed on the House Special Order Calendar for Tuesday, April 20th for consideration by the full House.

HB 403 preempts areas of regulation for home-based businesses to the state and forbids counties and municipalities from prohibiting, restricting, regulating, or licensing a home-based business in a manner that is different from other businesses in a local government's jurisdiction.

The bill specifies that a home-based business must comply with all local regulations related to parking, hours of operation, and business activities conducted outside of the primary residential structure, and all relevant local, state, and federal regulations regarding the use, storage, or disposal of any corrosive, combustible, or other hazardous or flammable materials or liquids.

To be considered a home-based business under the bill, a business must be subordinate to the use of the dwelling for residential purposes, require no 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 a home-based business 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.

 Democratic legislators and local county and municipal governments have expressed concerns that the bill preempts local zoning requirements.  

 The Senate version, SB 266 “Home-based Businesses” by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville), was approved by the Senate Rules Committee on April 14th by a 12-2 vote. This is the last committee stop for the bill and it is now available to be heard by the full Senate.

 3) Building Inspections:

HB 667 “Building Inspections” by Rep. James Mooney, Jr. (R-Key West) has been placed on the House Special Order Calendar for Tuesday, April 20th for consideration by the full House.

HB 667 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 management 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.

The Senate version, SB 1382 “Building Inspections” by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville), was approved by a unanimous vote (20-0) of the Senate Appropriations Committee on April 15th. This is the last committee of reference and the bill is available for consideration by the full Senate.

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 Calendar and it is available for consideration by the full Senate.

SB 268 expressly preempts 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. 

This bill has 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 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 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.

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.

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 been approved by 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.

There is no change on the status of HB 55. It was on the House Calendar for consideration by the full House but was Temporarily Postponed by the Rep. Overdorf. The bill has not been heard by the full House yet, but it remains on the House Calendar and is still available for consideration. 

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 approved on a vote of 27-12 by the Florida Senate on April 9th. 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.

SB 50 has been presented to Gov. Ron DeSantis and he has until April 19th to act on the bill. He may sign the bill, veto it, or allow it to become law without his signature. The bill takes effect on July 1, 2021.

As background, 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision in South Dakota v. Wayfair has opened the door for states to now collect sales tax on online sales.  Previously, a company needed a nexus or physical presence in a state for that state to be able to collect sales tax on online sales. But the Supreme Court ruling in Wayfair struck down that standard and opened the door for Florida to consider this legislation. Forty-one other states have already adopted similar measures.

This completes the 7th week of the 9-week Florida Legislative Session. This leaves two more weeks to go until the scheduled end on Friday, April 30, 2021.

 Please let me know if you have any questions on these bills or any other legislation.

 Respectfully submitted,

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 https://thefloridachannel.org to 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 @ cja@christianjalexander.com Thank you!