The Bottom Line: 2017 Legislative Session Summary

Late Friday evening, the Florida Legislature completed most if its business passing individual bills. Later today, both the House and Senate will convene to pass the budget. Since the budget and its conforming and implementing bills are “Conference Reports,” they cannot be amended. Below is a brief status report on FHBA’s Legislative Priorities. A more detailed report will be forthcoming. Please consider the information as preliminary. This week, staff will commence reviewing final language of the bills that passed and more detailed, finalized reports will follow.

Building Code Process – Code-Lite/Workforce – Building Code Administrators & Inspectors
All of these FHBA priorities were put into one bill; HB 1021 by Representative Avila. If approved by the Governor, it will become law on July 1, 2017. Note: the building code process changes require the Florida Building Commission to use Florida’s code as the foundation and then review and update considering model changes recommended by the ICC and other national code organizations.

HOA/Bulk Buyer – PASSED
HB 653, by Representative Moraitis, (removing the automatic sunset of the Condominium bulk buyer liability provisions) is headed to the Governor. Upon approval by the Governor, it will become law on July 1, 2017.

Estoppel Certificates – PASSED
SB 398, by Senator Passidomo, (reducing the growing costs associated with obtaining an estoppel certificate) is headed to the Governor. If approved by the Governor, it will become law on July 1, 2017.

Building Code Surcharge & Licensure Delinquency Fee Reduction – PASSED
HB 741, by Representative Trumbull, (reducing the surcharge that DBPR assesses on building permits by ½%) is headed to the Governor. If approved by the Governor, it will become law on July 1, 2017.

Public Notification of Pollution Spills – PASSED
SB 1018, by Senator Grimsley, (defining the term reportable pollution release – limited to substances for which a storage permit must be received – and placing the burden on DEP to report such releases to the press), is headed to the Governor. If approved by the Governor, it will become law on July 1, 2017.

Injured Worker Public Record Exemption – PASSED
HB 1107, by Rep. Albritton, exempts from public record personal information of injured or deceased workers. This means trial attorneys will no longer be able to access the personal information of injured workers and market the idea of a law suit. If approved by the Governor, it will become law on July 1, 2017.

Appropriations
• Sadowski Trust Fund – $100,000,000
• Unlicensed Activity – $250,000 additional funding
• Grants/SEBC – $925,000
• Workforce Task Force – $150,000
• Affordable Housing Workgroup – $100,000 (which provides that at least one member be a residential contractor)
• Florida Gulf Coast University Construction Management Program – Included in the Closing the Talent Gap funding of $1.7 million.

Statue of Repose – PASSED
HB 377, by Representative Leek, (defining the date of completion in construction contracts) is headed to the Governor. This is an issue originally supported by FHBA. But, as the bill got amended and a recent court decision was released, FHBA expressed concerns this approach would not benefit residential construction. If approved by the Governor, it will become law on July 1, 2017.

Workers Comp – FAILED
The House and Senate could not agree on a worker’s compensation reform package this year.

Construction Defects/Notice & Right to Cure – FAILED
HB 1271, by Trumbull, and SB 1164, by Senator Passidomo: These bills would have restored the original intent of law which is to avoid litigation by giving contractors the opportunity to repair a homeowner’s claim of a construction defect. Sen. Greg Steube, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, agreed to work with us on the outstanding issues over the interim.