HB 57 – Relating to Percentage of Elector Votes Required to Approve an Amendment or a Revision
On Monday, April 8, HB 57 by Representative Rick Roth (R-Palm Beach Gardens) was heard in the House State Affairs Committee and was reported favorably with 15 yeas and 6 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.
This bill changes the vote threshold for amendments and revisions to Florida’s constitution from the current 60% of elector votes to 66 and 2/3%.
HB 57 will now move to the House Judiciary Committee.
AIF supports the measures contained in this bill to prevent interest groups’ circumvention of the legislature in revising Florida’s constitution.
SB 772 – Relating to Liens Against Motor Vehicles and Vessels
On Monday, April 8, SB 772 by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee and was reported favorably with 6 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
Currently, towing companies and auto repair shops, among others, may impose a lien on automobiles for towing and storage charges, as well as unpaid repair costs. The current statute requires the lienor to give the auto owner and all parties that have a financial interest in the auto notice of the lien and the public sale of the auto to cover paying off the lien.
Unfortunately, some “bad actors” in Florida have been abusing our current system by:
- Manipulating the time period for sending the notice of lien and notice of sale to eliminate the owner or finance company’s ability to pay the charges and recover the auto;
- Sending empty envelopes to the entity that has lien on the auto for providing the financing of the auto;
- Imposing very high administrative fees for perfecting the lien and enforcing the lien;
- Adding unreasonable or fraudulent charges to the towing or repair bill to justify the sale of the auto and keeping all proceeds of the sale.
SB 772 will now move to the Senate Rules Committee.
AIF supports legislation that prevents the increase in insurance rates. When ‘bad actor’ companies take advantage of the current lien laws, insurance rates become improperly inflated and has a harmful effect on many sectors of the business community.
SB 862 – Relating to Lessor Liability Under Special Mobile Equipment Leases
On Monday, April 8, SB 862 by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) was heard before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was reported favorably with 5 yeas and 1 nay. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
Florida’s Dangerous Instrumentality Doctrine (DID) was created in the early 20th century, a time where automobiles began traveling on public roads. The doctrine has been expanded far beyond the borders of its original intent and now applies to off-highway vehicles such golf carts, tractors, and construction equipment. The doctrine holds owners or lessors liable for the harm caused by an operator, even when the lessor is not in control of the equipment or vehicle at the time of the incident. Florida is the only state in the country where DID is applied in this manner.
This bill provides that lessors of special mobile equipment are not liable for the acts of the lessee or lessee’s agent or employee if the lease agreement requires the lessee to maintain insurance with limits of at least $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury liability and $50,000 for property damage liability, or at least $500,000 for combined property damage liability and bodily injury liability. Special mobile equipment are vehicles not designed or used primarily to transport persons or property and that are only incidentally operated or moved over a highway. Examples include ditch digging apparatus, well-boring apparatus, road construction and maintenance machinery, drag-lines, self-propelled cranes, and earthmoving equipment.
SB 862 will now move to the Senate Rules Committee.
AIF supports the protection of owners and lessors from vicarious liability which is harmful to Florida’s business community.
SB 1730 – Relating to Community Development and Housing
On Tuesday, April 9, SB 1730 by Senator Tom Lee (R-Brandon) was heard in the Senate Infrastructure and Security Committee and was reported favorably with 7 yeas and 1 nay. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
This bill amends various statutes relating to growth management, restricts the ability of a county or municipality to adopt and enforce inclusionary housing ordinances or regulations, and sets timeframe parameters for building application approval or denial. After receiving a development permit application, the county and municipality must review the application for completeness and issue a response within 30 days. The bill also requires the collection of impact fees, which are an important source of revenue for local governments to fund infrastructure projects. Additionally, the bill prohibits a local government from charging an impact fee for the development or construction of affordable housing but provides an exception under certain circumstances.
SB 1730 will now move to the Senate Rules Committee.
AIF supports legislative efforts to maintain our state’s infrastructure and assist Florida’s workforce with access to affordable housing.
HB 17 – Relating to Damages
On Tuesday, April 9, HB 17 by Representative Tom Leek (R-Daytona Beach) was heard in the House Judiciary Committee and was reported favorably with 12 yeas and 6 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
Florida currently has the highest tort system costs among U.S. states as a percentage of state GDP, at 3.6%. In 2016, the total amount paid in costs and compensation within Florida's tort system averaged $4,442 for each Florida household.
A flawed tort system generates exorbitant damages and unpredictability, causing:
- Increased economic costs and increased risks of doing business;
- Higher insurance premiums;
- Increased healthcare costs and declining availability of medical services; and
- Deterrence of economic development and job creation activities.
HB 17 will now move to the House floor.
AIF supports tort reforms which will dramatically reduce the costs of the tort system in Florida while providing a better business climate in the state.
SB 7096 – Relating to Constitutional Amendments
On Tuesday, April 9, SB 7096, sponsored by the Senate Judiciary Committee, was heard in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development and was reported favorably with 5 yeas and 3 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
This bill changes the process for amending the constitution by citizen initiative by:
- Requiring petition gatherers to be Florida residents and registered with the Secretary of State;
- Disqualifying petitions collected by unregistered petition gatherers from counting toward the number of petitions required for an initiative amendment to appear on the ballot;
- Prohibiting compensation to petition-gatherers on a per-signature basis; and
- Requiring the ballot for an initiative amendment include:
- A bold-font, capitalized statement regarding the financial impact to the state if the Financial Impact Estimating Conference determines that the measure will increase costs, decrease revenue, or have an indeterminate fiscal impact;
- A “yes” or “no” determination by the Florida Supreme Court as to whether the policy in the amendment could instead be accomplished by the Legislature instead of through the initiative amendment; and
- The name of the amendment’s sponsor and the percentage of contributions received by the sponsor from in-state contributors.
SB 7096 will now move to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AIF supports legislation that adds transparency and accountability to amending the Florida constitution by citizen imitative.
HB 7103 – Relating to Property Development
On Wednesday, April 10, HB 7103 by the House Judiciary Committee, was heard in the House State Affairs Committee and was reported favorably with 14 yeas and 8 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.
Property development in Florida is governed in part by both the Community Planning Act and the Florida Building Code. The Community Planning Act governs how local governments create and adopt local comprehensive plans, implement land development regulations, and issue development orders and permits. Every local government must enforce the Building Code and issue building permits. Local governments impose impact fees to fund local infrastructure needed to expand local services to meet the demands of population growth caused by development.
This bill changes property development regulations by:
- Restricting counties and municipalities from adopting or imposing certain mandatory affordable housing ordinances;
- Imposing time limits for a county or municipality to review a development order or permit application;
- Reducing the time period building departments have to review a permit application when a private provider approves the plans;
- Prohibiting a building official from replicating plan reviews or inspections performed by a private provider;
- Amending how a local government may impose impact fees.
HB 7103 will now move to the House floor.
AIF supports legislative efforts to remove onerous regulations imposed on any part of Florida’s business community.
HB 3 – Relating to Preemption of Local Regulations
On Thursday, April 11, HB 3 by Representative Michael Grant (R-Port Charlotte was read a third time on the House floor and passed with a vote of 88 yeas and 24 nays.
This bill aims to preempt authority to the state and away from local governments when it comes to business regulations. Both big and small businesses must abide by the rules and regulations set in place by their local governments, regardless of if that rule or regulation differs from city to city, or county to county. This circumstance causes those who conduct business in multiple cities or counties throughout the state to abide by a myriad of rules that are inconsistent and must be complied with in order to continue their business. AIF believes that preempting business regulation to the state will allow for a streamlined system that businesses, (old and new, small and large) can easily follow when conducting business across the State of Florida.
HB 3 is now in Senate messages.
AIF supports legislation that will streamline business regulation throughout the state.