It is that time of year, the beginning of summer break when members often ask what are the Governmental Affairs activities since the legislature in on its summer hiatus? Well, let me summarize this past week:
Building Commission Activities: FHBA Director of Governmental Affairs, Doug Buck, and Code Consultant, Joe Belcher, began a two week stint meeting with the Florida Building Commission (FBC) as they began work this week on what will become the 7th addition of the code. Not to worry, the new code will not take effect for at least 2 and 1/2 years. Because of changes to the code process adopted by the legislature in 2017, the process will take longer. But, there are no more automatic massive changes from the ICC. There will still be some changes, but the new process should allow us to more thoroughly evaluate the proposed changes.
You can find additional information on FHBA web site or attend the Code Committee meeting at the SEBC.
Rubio Tweets: You may be aware of a late last week by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in which he indicates that he does not understand the severity of the construction work force shortage. He tweeted the following:
#EVerify is a very important reform. And while it is true that we struggle to find U.S. workers for many agriculture jobs, that is NOT true of construction. Americans can & want to do construction work. politi.co/2l7kuId
FHBA worked in concert with NAHB and tweeted the following response:
Senator @marcorubio, @FHBAOfficial would be happy to meet with you to discuss construction workforce challenges in Florida. It’s one of the top headwinds facing the industry and slowing down economic growth. http://eyeonhousing.org/2018/06/april-construction-job-openings-remain-elevated/
In addition, Chuck Fowke (FHBA Member and NAHB Third Vice Chair) sent an e-mail to Senator Rubio’s staff reminding them that he met with them less than one month ago to discuss this very issue. NAHB lobbyists converges on Senator Rubio’s staff as well.
State Legislative Candidate Interviews: The FHBA is an active member of the State Chamber Political Institute. The institute is a non-profit political research organization. Amongst the research activities for members is the opportunity to interview legislative candidates. FHBA CEO, Rusty Payton attended two days of candidate interviews in Fort Lauderdale, interviewing 25 candidates. Much of the information gleemed at this interview and from the other sessions (which were attended by Rusty, FHBA Consultant Lobbyist Kari Hebrank and GOBA Governmental Affairs Director Lee Steinhauer) will be discussed at the July 11th PAC Board meeting being held at Rosen Shingle Creek.
Earlier last week, a joint delegation from FHBA and the Builders Association of South Florida (BASF) met with Speaker Designate, Jose Oliva in Miami Lakes. Significant policy discussions included property rights, tree ordinances and the need to reign in impact fees and what they for what they can fund. Attending for FHBA were First Vice President Bill Truex, Consultant Lobbyist Kari Hebrank and CEO Rusty Payton. From BASF were Ben Solomon, Chair of BASF; Carolina Herrera, President of BASF; Astrin Martin BASF Board member; and Truly Burton, BASF Executive Officer.
Public Service Commission: On rare occasion, FHBA interacts with the Public Service Commission (PSC) regarding issues affecting our industry. The FHBA filed public comments in support of underground distribution lines in new residential developments, because undergrounding appears to be the most cost-effect solution to preventing outages and optimizing the electric grid. Although the upfront cost to undergrounding may be higher, undergrounding saves the general body of rate-payers money by reducing physical damage to local electrical infrastructure, as well as, reducing utility’s operation and maintenance while optimizing revenue for the electrical utility by keeping the lights on. These savings should be accurately reflected in the formula used to allocate costs to developers. Our comments were developed by member of the FHBA Volume Builders Council and other large builders from around the state. To view a copy of the letter, click here.
Even though official legislative business has taken a summer hiatus, the FHBA’s Governmental Affairs program is fully engaged with political, regulatory and future legislative priorities.