2017 Legislative Session Update: Week Six

2017 Session Updates ,
This week marked the end of the sixth week of legislative session, and there are only 21 days until sine die. Many bills that could potentially affect the apartment industry are on the move! Here is an update of what happened in Tallahassee this week.

Property Tax Assessments: The Senate adopted HB 21, sponsored by Rep. Colleen Burton to replace SB 76, sponsored by Sen. Tom Lee. The newly adopted bill passed the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday and was moved to the full Senate for a vote. A favorable Senate vote would mean the bill will be added to the 2018 ballot. A bill must be “read’’ (brought before the full chamber for debate) three times before a vote. SB 76 had its second reading on April 13.This bill is one of the 2017 priorities decided by FAA members and presented to legislators at the annual Legislative Conference.

How this affects you: HB 21 and SB 76 will create a joint resolution to place the 10% non-homestead assessment cap language back on the ballot for voters in 2018. Apartment communities are considered non-homesteaded properties and benefit from a cap on how much taxable assessments can be raised each year. If the cap is not reauthorized, then yearly assessments can increase by any amount for non-homestead property. This could mean apartment owners would see a jump in their property taxes in 2019. Drastic property tax increases could also result in a loss of apartment industry jobs.

Housing Discrimination: FAA priority bills including SB 268, sponsored by Sen. Darryl Rouson, and its companion SB 742, sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, and HB 659, sponsored by Rep. Holly Raschein, have not been heard in any committees. FAA opposes all changes to administrative remedies regarding housing.

How this affects you: SB 268, SB 742, and HB 659 would allow a person who alleges housing discrimination to file a civil action for two years after an alleged incident before a complaint has been filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations or a local housing discrimination agency. This legislation would greatly increase the incidence of un-vetted civil suits against apartment communities in Florida.

What is happening next week: 

  • SB 76, the tax assessment bill, is expected to be read a third time and to be voted on by the full Senate chamber.

  • It is expected that HB 545, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Payne, which deals with law enforcement lease termination could be heard by the House Government Accountability Committee on Wednesday, April 19.

  • SB 1588, sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, which deals with expedited rental applications for service members and families, may be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, April 20.

FAA will continue to monitor committee schedules and advocate for our industry throughout the legislative session; if you have any questions or concerns, please email me at Courtney@faahq.org. For an in-depth update from FAA government affairs director Courtney Barnard and FAA lobbyist Kelly Mallette, please join us on the upcoming end-of-legislative update call on  Friday, May 12, at 2 p.m. Eastern time. Call-in information is:

Dial-in: 1-866-613-5223

Pass Code: 7647753

Sincerely,
 
 
Courtney Barnard
FAA Government Affairs Director