2015 Legislative Session Update: Week Seven

2015 Session Updates ,

We have just finished week seven of legislative session and we down to the final two weeks! Here are all the important movements on FAA’s priority issues.

Building Codes and Maintenance: SB 1232, sponsored by Sen. Wilton Simpson, passed the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee on Wednesday. Its companion, HB 915 sponsored by Rep. Dane Eagle, passed the House Regulatory Affairs Committee on Tuesday. To hear FAA government affairs director Courtney Barnard give testimony on the bill before the House Committee, please click here. Discussion about this bill begins at time 3:37:00.

How this affects you: SB 1232/ HB 915 allow apartment workers who hold a Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technicians (CAMT) to perform HVAC, water heater, and AC repairs costing less than $1,000. Currently, maintenance workers are not legally allowed to perform any work in AC or HVAC units. This bill would reduce costs for apartment communities by enabling them to utilize on-site employees rather than outsourcing to contractors.

Affordable Housing Month: Senate Resolution 174, sponsored by Senator Arthenia Joyner, and House Resolution 9081, sponsored by Representative Mia Jones, created special recognition for affordable housing during the month of April. April will now be considered “Affordable Housing Awareness Month”.

Service Animals: Senate Bill 414 sponsored by Sen. Thad Altman is on the Senate Calendar for its second reading 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 passed the house. Its Senate companion, SB 656 sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, been placed on the Senate Special Orders Calendar for its third reading.

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 a sworn affidavit regarding possession of the property.

Protecting Tenants in Foreclosure: Senate Bill 524, sponsored by Sen. Darren Soto, passed through the Senate Rules Committee. The house companion, HB 779 sponsored by Rep. Mia Jones, passed through all of its committees and has been placed on the house calendar for a second reading.

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 30 days before the purchaser intends to occupy the residence. In situations in which a lease exists and the purchaser does 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.