2020 Legislative Session Begins in Tallahassee

Photo Credit: WCTV Tallahassee

Tomorrow morning, the 2020 Florida Legislative Session will kick off here in Tallahassee, giving lawmakers just 60 days to debate proposed legislation and pass a budget for our state. These 60 days go hand-in-hand with the Housing industry facing a gamut of issues brought forth by lawmakers from both sides of the “aisle.”

During this time, the FHBA legislative staff and leadership will convene weekly via conference call to discuss progress on priority legislation or new issues that arise. These calls are always open to all FHBA members interested in listening in. Please note that the weekly GA conference call schedule has changed and the legislative update conference calls will take place each Thursday at 4 p.m. EST. To participate in a call; dial 866-299-7949, and use participant code 800-261-9447# to log in.

What should you expect to hear discussed on these calls? The FHBA will focus on the passage of four priority pieces of legislation:


House Bill 637, Sponsored by Representative Nick DiCeglie (R-Pinellas) and Senate Bill 1066, Sponsored by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) will continue our quest to reign in local government abuse of impact fees. These bills focus on defining a capital expense, requiring the most recent data for impact fee calculations, limiting school impact fee calculations to the amount defined in state statute, and establishing a review committee to provide oversight of proposed fess and expenditures.


House Bill 459, Sponsored by Representative Toby Overdorf (R-Martin) and Senate Bill 54, Sponsored by Senator Keith Perry (R-Alachua) will prohibit local governments from adopting design and aesthetic ordinances for one- and two-family dwellings. (This will not apply to Historic Districts.) They will also establish a process to ensure that local governments adhere to the statutory procedure for enacting a local amendment to the building code.


Senate Bill 948, Sponsored by Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Marion) intendeds to eliminate frivolous lawsuits by defining a material violation and requiring those who wish to make a civil action against a builder to cite specific building code violation. Furthermore, it will require claims to be made under oath, and requires that the claimant afford the contractor the opportunity to inspect the defect under the notice and right to cure law.


Multiple local jurisdictions’ charter review processes are considering a proposal to grant natural elements human legal protections. In other words, any action that say, modifies a protected element like a river system, could be thwarted and any citizen could bring forth a cause of action. Legislation is being filed to preempt local governments from adopting and implementing these misguided ordinances.  Several business organizations along with the FHBA pleaded for a state response to pre-empt the job killing proposal. Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow ) is sponsoring SB 1382 and Representative Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) filed its companion HB 1199 prohibiting local governments from granting legal rights to environmental systems.

As always, FHBA priority legislation is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to potential laws that could impact the building industry. FHBA will continue to advocate on behalf of the profession and a healthy business climate.

A number of bills proposing regulation of professional licenses including those related to construction are once again a topic of discussion for our law makers. FHBA maintains the position that ensuring the health, safety and welfare of the public must remain a focus for the licensure process, and that adherence to Florida’s effective building code begins with ensuring our contractors understand the code.

If we are to be successful in Tallahassee this session, your legislators need to hear from you, their constituents. While the FHB PAC works to help elect building friendly legislators, these legislators appreciate and value the expertise offered to them by qualified professionals who live in their home districts. Please be sure to

to attend the FHBA Spring Conference here in Tallahassee, February 3-5, and make appointments to meet with your legislators in their Capitol offices.

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