2017 Weekly Legislative Update – 4/28/2017
Permanent Non-Homestead Property Tax Cap
The House version of the joint resolution that would place a constitutional amendment on the 2018 general election ballot to permanently extend the annual 10 percent non-homestead property tax cap was filed by Representative Colleen Burton on January 23, 2017. This bill, House Joint Resolution 21, is the companion to Senate Bill 76, sponsored by Senator Tom Lee. The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) has not placed a fiscal impact on this joint resolution. The REC will continue to meet to discuss this, and many other bills, each week throughout the legislative session.
Bill Status: The joint resolution has been passed by both chambers. Voters will now decide its outcome during the 2018 general election. The senate passed it on April 26 by a vote of 35-0. The House passed it on March 23 by a vote of 110-3.
Business Rent Tax Reduction
Governor Scott’s proposed budget includes a 25 percent reduction in the business rent tax which would amount to a 1.5 percent cut. If included in the final budget this cut would result in $454 million in savings for Florida business owners.
House Bill 463 by Representative Holly Raschein was filed on January 24, 2017. This bill will provide tenants with relief from the “double taxation” or “tax on tax” that occurs when tenants pay their landlord’s property taxes. This is an alternate business rent tax cut proposal that is directed at those commercial tenants who have leases that separately state they pay their landlord’s property taxes as part of their lease payments. Senate Bill 704 by Senator Rene Garcia was filed on February 6, 2017. This bill is similar to House Bill 463.
These bills were scored on March 3, 2017 by the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC). The REC placed an estimate of $172.8 million recurring fiscal impact to the state on these bills.
Senate Bill 484, by Senator Hukill and Co-Sponsored by Senator Bean, would reduce the state sales tax rate that is charged on commercial leases from 6% to 5%.
Bill Status: Senate Bill 704 passed the Community Affairs Committee by a vote of 5-1. The bill now moves to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance & Tax.
Bill Status: Senate Bill 484 passed the Community Affairs committee by a vote of 5-2. The bill now moves to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance & Tax.
Bill Status: House Bill 7109 passed the full House by a vote of 117-0. This bill includes a reduction of the business rent tax from 6% to 4.5% for two years, beginning January 1, 2018, then maintains a permanent tax rate reduction from 6% to 5.5% beginning January 1, 2020. This bill has been sent to the Senate and will be heard in Appropriations on Monday, May 1st at 8:00 am.
Cap Estoppel Certificate Fees
The House and Senate versions of the estoppel certificate bills have been filed by Representative Byron Donalds and Senator Kathleen Passidomo. House Bill 483 and Senate Bill 398 cap the fees that community association management companies can charge for estoppel certificates, and they include a standard estoppel certificate form to ensure the same information is provided to owners across Florida.
Bill Status: SB 398 passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 117-0. It has now passed both legislative chambers and will soon be sent to the Governor for his approval.
Increase Funding of the Affordable Housing Trust Funds
Senate Bill 854 sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes and House Bill 1013 by Representative Wengay Newton would create an affordable housing taskforce assigned to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. The 13-member board would be charged with developing recommendations for addressing the state’s affordable housing needs.
The recommendations will include review of market rate developments; affordable housing developments; land use for affordable housing developments; building codes for affordable housing developments; states’ implementation of the low-income housing tax credit; private and public sector development and construction industries; and rental market for assisted rental housing.
An amendment was filed and passed on the Senate version that would include a Realtor® on the task force. An identical amendment will be added to the House version at the next committee stop.
Bill Status: Senate Bill 854 passed out of the Community Affairs Committee by a 7-0 vote. The bill now moves to the Appropriations Committee.
Bill Status: House Bill 1013 passed out of the Local, Federal and Veteran Affairs Subcommittee by a 12-0 vote. The bill now moves to the Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.
Preserve Our Waterways: Septic-to-Sewer Conversion
House Bill 551 sponsored by Representative Charlie Stone and Senate Bill 874 by Senator Dana Young relate to onsite sewage treatment (septic). These bills would put into place Governor Scott’s proposal to help local governments fund septic-to-sewer conversions, muck dredging, and large storm water improvement projects by appropriating $20 million annually through 2026. In the current version of the bills, counties within the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee estuaries would be eligible to receive these funds.
Bill Status: Senate Bill 874 passed the Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee unanimously, and is now waiting to be heard in Appropriations subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources.
Bill Status: House Bill 551 is currently waiting to be heard in Natural Resources & Public lands subcommittee; however, it is not likely this subcommittee will meet again during the 2017 legislative session.
*Note: Both legislative chambers have since included funding for septic-to-sewer conversions in their budgets.
Septic Tank Disclosures
House Bill 285 and Senate Bill 1748 sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine and Sen. Linda Stewart also relates to onsite sewage. Recently, there was an amendment to this bill requiring that disclosure language be placed into a closing contract regarding the property having an onsite sewage treatment system. The disclosure will encourage the buyer to get the system inspected. The Florida Realtors were successful in shortening the disclosure language.
Bill Status: House Bill 285 was successfully passed by the House.
Bill Status: Senate Bill 1748 was last heard in the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation committee. With two more committee stops, this bill still has a long way to go.
House Bill 425 sponsored by Rep. Mike La Rosa allows local laws, ordinances, or regulations to regulate activities that arise when a property is used as a vacation rental provided the regulations apply uniformly to all residential properties without regard to whether the property is used as a vacation rental. The bill retains the current preemption that local governments cannot prohibit vacation rentals or regulate the duration or frequency of vacations rentals.
As a result, local governments will be precluded from creating regulations that would distinguish vacation rentals from other residential properties. The above provisions do not apply to any local law, ordinance, or regulation that was enacted by a local government on or prior to June 1, 2011, including amendments that are less restrictive, or that reduce the local regulatory burden on vacation rentals owned, in whole or in part, by a person who is currently serving on active duty or temporary duty in a branch of the United States Armed Services, or a disabled veteran with a service-connected disability rating of 30 percent or more, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
Any local regulation adopted after June 1, 2011 that prohibits or regulates vacation rentals, including those adopted pursuant to the standards under the 2014 law, will be preempted, and will be void and unenforceable, if the regulation does not apply uniformly to all residential properties.
Senate Bill 188 sponsored by Senator Greg Steube allows local laws, ordinances, or regulations that were in existence on or before June 1, 2011, that prohibit vacation rentals or regulate the duration or frequency of rental of vacation rentals, to be amended to be less restrictive. These grandfathered regulations may also reduce local regulatory burdens on vacation rentals owned in whole or in part by a person who is currently serving on active duty or temporary duty in a branch of the United States Armed Services.
This also applies to vacation rentals owned by a disabled veteran with a service connected evaluation of such disability of 30 percent or more, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The senate version no longer preempts regulation of vacation rentals to the state.
Bill Status: House Bill 425 was successfully passed by the House on 4/28/17. It is currently waiting in Senate messages.
Bill Status: Senate Bill 188 passed out of the Rules Committee by a 11-1 vote. The bill now moves to the Senate floor.
Senate Bill 10 and House Bill 761 sponsored by Sen. Bradley and Rep. Altman, are bills pertaining to the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. The Senate sponsor recently filed a strike-all and the bill was essentially rewritten. The new version of the bill will allow for water storage of land which is already owned by the South Florida Water Management District. Although the new version of the bill does not call for 60,000 acres, there will be the opportunity for 280,000+ acre feet of water storage. It would seem that all the stakeholders on this issue are optimistic it will come in for a landing.
Bill Status: Senate Bill 10 was voted off the Senate floor on 4/12/2017. It is currently waiting in House messages.
Bill Status: House Bill 761 is currently awaiting to be heard in the Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee; however, there is no guarantee that this committee will be meeting again during the 2017 legislative session. It is very probable that there will be a proposed committee substitute bill. This potential bill will be a comprehensive environmental bill.
*Note: The Florida Realtors does not have a position on this legislation.