2015 Legislative Session Update: Week Four

2015 Session Updates ,

‚ÄčLegislative session is almost halfway over and FAA’s priorities are moving full steam ahead. Here is an update of ourprogress in Tallahassee this past week.

Service Animals: House Bill 71 sponsored by Rep. Jimmie T. Smith has passed its third reading of the house with a vote of 112 yeas to 0 nays. The senate companion, SB 414, sponsored by Sen. Thad Altman, passed the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism on Monday, March 30.

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 fine and/or community service.

Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure: Senate Bill 524, sponsored by Sen. Darren Soto, passed through the Senate judiciary committee, and is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Banking and Insurance committee. The house companion, HB 779 sponsored by Rep. Mia Jones, is now in the house judiciary committee.

How this affects you: This bill creates a state level solution to the now expired federal ”Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure Bill.” The bill requires that a new owner of a recently foreclosed property give tenants a notice to vacate the residence at least 90 days before the purchaser intends to occupy the residence. In situations in which a lease existed and the purchaser did not intend to occupy the residence, the tenant can continue to stay until the end of the lease.  This bill continues the practice that a lease supersedes a foreclosure, unless the new owner intends to occupy the property.

On the federal level, recently, over 38 FAA members from Florida traveled to Washington DC to take part in the annual Capitol Conference and enjoy a day of grassroots lobbying on Capitol Hill. FAA had appointments with both Senate offices as well as meetings with 26 members of Congress. Our members discussed our top federal priorities: immigration reform to allow greater guest workers in the construction industry, corporate tax reform, and section 8 housing reform to lessen the regulatory burdens placed on apartment communities which participate in the voluntary federal housing program.

FAA members were also treated to a private dinner at the Florida House of Capitol Hill with special guest Congressman John Mica (R) Orlando, FL.