2021 Florida Legislative Update for ASID & IIDA Update April 1st 2021





Updated on April 1, 2021

2021 Florida Legislative Update for ASID & IIDA

PLEASE NOTE: Highlighted language reflects new actions on a specific bill.

SB 344 “Legislative Review of Occupational Regulations” by Sen. Manny Diaz (R- Hialeah Gardens) was approved in its initial committee hearing last week. However, prior to passage, Sen. Diaz significantly amended his bill to remove all health care-related professions and occupations and converts 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. The bill did not have a committee hearing this week and still must be heard by two (2) more committees before it can advance to the Senate Floor 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 Per the bill, the statute that regulates registered interior designers – Chapter 481, Part I, F.S. - would be repealed on July 1, 2025, unless renewed by the Legislature. The bill 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.

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 members over concerns that it preempts local regulations.

HB 55 was on the House Calendar for consideration by the full House of Representatives on Thursday, March 31st. However, the bill was Temporarily Postponed by the Rep. Overdorf and was not heard. It remains on the House Calendar and is still available for consideration by the full House.

The Senate version, SB 284 "Building Design" by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) differs from HB 55 as Sen. Perry has added language to his bill to further exclude dwellings in Community Redevelopment Agencies, Planned Unit Developments, and Community Development Districts to placate some of the concerns of local governments. The bill has one more committee stop before it can advance for consideration by the full Senate.

HB 403 "Home-based Businesses" by Rep. Mike Giallombardo (R-Cape Coral) provides that local governments may not enact 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. It lays-out the criteria to be considered a home- based business and that these home-based businesses will only be subject to any applicable business tax in the county or municipality where it is located. As an example, the bill sponsor has stated that there are some municipalities that may charge more for a home-based business license (up to $500) in comparison to more traditional, brick-and mortar businesses.

Democratic members have expressed concerns with the bill over concerns that it could preempt local zoning requirements and was not specific enough to protect against unintended consequences, such as allowing vacation rentals (like Airbnb) which local governments have outlawed or placed restrictions on such rentals.

HB 403 was on the House Calendar for consideration by the full House on Thursday, March 31st. However, the bill was Temporarily Postponed by the Rep. Giallombardo and was not heard but It remains on the House Calendar for consideration.

The Senate version SB 266 “Home-based Businesses” by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) includes language that is not in the House version which clarifies that the home-based businesses may only have two non-resident employees or independent contractors and involve activities secondary to the property's use as a residential dwelling. SB 266 also 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. SB 266 has one more committee of reference before it can advance for consideration by the full Senate.

HB 667 “Building Inspections” by Rep. James Mooney, Jr. (R-Key West) 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.

HB 667 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 asan 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.

HB 667 was approved unanimously (17-0) by the House Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Thursday, April 1st but still has one more committee of reference before it can advance for consideration by the full House.

The Senate bill, SB 1382 “Building Inspections” by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville), was approved unanimously by a 5-0 vote of the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee this week. It has one more committee of references before it can move to the Senate Floor for consideration.

HB 735 “Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing” by Rep. Joe Harding (R-Ocala) was approved by the full House Thursday afternoon, April 1st by a vote of 82-32. The bill 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.

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.

HB 735 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 Senate companion SB 268 “Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing” by Sen. Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) was approved by 6-3 vote of the Senate Community Affairs Committee this week. The bill has been scheduled for a hearing by the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday, April 6th. If the committee approves the bill, its next stop would be the full Senate for final consideration.

HB 15 “Taxation” by Rep. Chuck Clemons (R-Gainesville) was approved unanimously (23-0) by the House Commerce Committee this week. The bill will require out-of-state retailers and marketplace providers with no physical presence in Florida to collect Florida’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 into Florida.

HB 15 was amended to match the Senate version - SB 50 “Taxation” by Sen. Joe Gruters (R- Sarasota) – with language that would direct all revenue generated under this legislation to replenish Florida’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund (UCTF), which has been significantly depleted due to the pandemic’s effects in Florida. In addition, other language was added that would cut Florida’s business rent tax rate by more than half, from 5.5% to 2%. That would kick in only after the UCTF is restored to pre-pandemic levels, largely benefiting small businesses.Florida is the only state to charge sales tax on commercial rentals of real property. HB 15 is now on the House Calendar available for consideration by the full House.

The Senate version, SB 50 by Sen. Gruters was approved by the Senate by a 30-10 vote last week. SB 50 has been sent to the House for consideration where it will be amended with the language that cuts Florida’s business commercial rent tax rate from 5.5% to 2%. As a reminder, a bill must pass both the House and Senate with identical language for the Governor to sign the bill in to law. However, it is unclear if the legislation will have the support of Gov. Ron DeSantis as he has stated in the past that he does not support tax increases.

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.

Today marks the end of the 5ᵗʰ week of the Florida Legislative Session. The Legislature is now on Easter/Passover break with their scheduled return to Tallahassee on Tuesday, April 6th. There are four (4) 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


Eli Nortelus: Eli@NorRob.com // (850) 459-6506

David Roberts: David@NorRob.com // (850) 443-4820

If any ASID FSC members have any questions, please contact Christian J. Alexander, Government Affairs Chair / Legislative Liaison @ cja@christianjalexander.com

Thank you!