2015 Legislative Session Update: Week Five
We have just finished week five of legislative session and although it was a short week for lawmakers, there was movement on three issues important to FAA:
Funding to reduce homelessness in Florida: SB 1500 sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala has passed the Children, Family and Elder Affairs Committee and will be heard in the Appropriations Subcommittee of Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development. The house companion HB 379, sponsored by Rep. Kathleen Peters is currently in the house Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee.
How this affects you: SB 1500 expands rapid re-rehousing funds for homeless families by amending the current State Apartment Incentive Loan Program (SAIL). This bill increases mandates that “At least 75 percent of the funds made available in each county and eligible municipality from the local housing distribution must be reserved for construction, rehabilitation, or emergency repair of affordable, eligible housing.” This would increase the funding amounts going toward the SAIL program statewide and would provide a positive economic benefit to affordable communities.
Service animals: Senate Bill 414 sponsored by Sen. Thad Altman is now in Community Affairs and its House companion, HB 071, by Rep. Jimmie T. Smith has passed the House.
How this affects you: This bill mandates that a service animal be kept under control of its handler and authorizes the removal of an animal from an apartment community if the animal is not under the handler’s control, is not housebroken, or poses a serious threat to others. The bill also strengthens the penalties for falsely claiming a pet is a service animal, making the offense a misdemeanor punishable by a fine or community service or both.
Unlawful Detention by a Transient Occupant: HB 305, sponsored by Rep. Shawn Harrison has been placed on its second reading in the house. Its Senate companion, SB 656 sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, passed the Regulated Industries committee favorably.
How this affects you: HB 305 reforms the current process for evicting a transient occupant of a property (an occupant who is not on a lease and is not a permanent resident of the property). The bill would alleviate the need for a court order to remove the transient, and would allow a law enforcement official to eject the occupant immediately on grounds of criminal trespass, as long as the current lease holder or owner filed of a sworn affidavit regarding possession of the property.