FBMA Monitoring Report

Monday, April 3, 2017

Where We Are!

The week of April 3 is Week 5 of the Legislative Session. That means there are no more House subcommittees meeting, just Committees. It also means that the House and Senate will consider their respective budgets for the first time and have scheduled hearings for April 5. 

Workers Compensation

This was the week of fits and starts on workers’ compensation insurance. The House Commerce Committee scheduled a hearing for the House Bill, HB 7085, for March 29 and then pulled the bill from the agenda. The business workers comp coalition was prepared to have a new coalition amendment offered this time, but never had the opportunity. The Commerce Committee scheduled a second meeting of the Committee for March 30, but workers’ compensation was not on the agenda.

 The Senate bill, SB 1582 by Senator Bradley, has been agendaed for the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee for Monday, April 3. The House bill, HB 7085, is expected to be heard in the House Commerce Committee the week of April 3. FBMA will be meeting with House and Senate members to discuss the respective bills before they are heard. 

Building Code Bills

The week of March 27 saw lots of action on building code bills as CS/HB 901, HB 909 and CS/CS/SB 860 were all heard in House and Senate Committees. To confuse us all, each one is different.

CS/HB 901 now requires the Florida Building Commission to update the Florida Building Code every 5 years; requires the Commission to provide a fiscal impact statement when updating the Code; authorizes the Commission to update the Florida Building Code by adopting the National Electric Code under certain conditions; and revises the membership of the Florida Building Commission by reducing the number of Commissioners from 27 to 11 and revising membership qualifications.

CS/HB 909 revises laws related to building code administrators and inspectors; requires the Florida Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board to establish rules; and provides for building inspector internships.

CS/CS/SB 860 sets up building code inspector internships; provides that specified pool/spa contractors are not required to subcontract certain work related to power wiring; requires such contractors to subcontract all work requiring the installation, removal, replacement or upgrading of a circuit breaker; requires the Florida Building Commission to use the 6th and subsequent editions of the Florida Building Code as the foundation for the development of any updates to the Code; and requires the Commission to review, rather than update, the Florida Building Code every 3 years; 

Tax Cuts

The House Ways & Means Committee, chaired by Rep. Boyd, rolled out their proposed tax cut package on March 29. The proposal does the following which may be of interest:

 

  • Reduces the sales tax rate on rental of commercial real estate 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.
  • Sales tax holiday for from May 27, 2017 through June 4, 2017 for items related to disaster preparedness. During the holiday the following items are exempt from the state sales tax and county discretionary sales surtaxes:
    • A portable self-powered light source selling for $20 or less;
    • A portable self-powered radio, two-way radio, or weather band radio selling for $50 or less;
    • A tarpaulin or other flexible waterproof sheeting selling for $50 or less;
    • A self-contained first-aid kit selling for $30 or less;
    • A ground anchor system or tie-down kit selling for $50 or less;
    • A gas or diesel fuel tank selling for $25 or less;
    • A package of AA-cell, C-cell, D-cell, 6 volt or 9 volt batteries, excluding automobile and boat batteries selling for $30 or less;
    • A nonelectric food storage cooler selling for $30 or less;
    • A portable generator that is used to provide light or communications or preserve food in the event of a power outage selling for $750 or less; and
    • Reusable ice selling for $10 or less.
  • Increases the maximum amount of corporate tax credits that may be granted to a company in 2018 for research and development from $9 million to $20 million
The proposed tax package rolled out on March 29 in the House has a price tag of approximately $300 million. Additionally, Chairman Boyd alluded to more tax relief coming the week of April 3, related to homestead property exemptions and more.
The Senate has scheduled SB 484 Business Rent Tax Reduction for a hearing in the Senate Community Affairs Committee on April 3.

 

Status of FBMA Tracked Bills

Bill Number/Subject

Topic (Original bill, not as amended)

Action

HB 47 Texting While Driving

Revises penalties for violations of Florida ban on texting while driving

1/9/17 Referred to Committee on Transportation

SB 76 Limitations on Property Tax Assessments

Proposes an amendment to the State Constitution to remove a future repeal of provisions that limit annual assessment increases for non-homestead real property

3/17/17 Now in Appropriations

SB 90 Renewable Energy Source Devices

Revises the definition of renewable energy source device; prohibits the consideration of value of the device in determining assessed value of real property; exempts from tangible personal property

3/17/17 Now in Finance & Tax

SB 144 Use of Wireless Communications Devices While Driving

Revises penalties for violations of Florida ban on texting while driving

3/23/17 In Transportation Committee

SB 160 Minimum Wage

Revises the formula for adjusting state minimum wage

1/10/17 Referred to Committees

HB 197 Small Business Financial Assistance

Creates Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program

1/23/17 In Local/Federal/Veterans Affairs Subcommittee

HB 223 Tax on Commercial Real Property

Provides certain exemptions from tax imposed on rental or license fees charged for use of commercial real property

1/23/17 In Ways and Means Committee

HB 227 Electrical and Alarm System Contracting

As passed by the House:

Electrical contractors and alarm system contractors must be certified or registered under the Electrical Contractors’ Licensing Board in order to operate in Florida. Electrical contractors and alarm system contractors are permitted to perform contracting only within the scope of their practice.

The bill allows certified electrical and alarm system contractors to act as a prime contractor for contracts that

contain work outside the scope of the contractor’s license, provided the majority of the work is within the scope

of the contractor’s license, and they subcontract the remaining work to other licensed contractors. This provision mirrors current law that allows contractors to act as a prime contractor under similar circumstances.

3/30/17 Referred to Senate Committees

SB 276 State Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Provides additional credit against corporate income tax for businesses hiring certain persons convicted of a felony

2/8/17 Under review by the Revenue Estimating Conference

HB 319 Discrimination in Labor and Employment

Prohibits discrimination based on gender identity

2/6/17 In Careers & Competition Subcommittee

SB 330 Local Business Taxes

Provides an exemption from the local business tax for specified veterans, spouses of veterans, the spouse of

active service members, and low-income individuals if the individual

completes and signs a Request for Fee Exemption.

Removes provisions that:

  • Prohibited municipalities and counties from levying a local business tax that was not adopted before a certain date;
  • Limited the rate of the local business tax; and
  • Set maximum limits of certain transfer fees.

 

3/28/17 In Finance & Tax Subcommittee

SB 410 Employment Discrimination

Prohibits discrimination based on gender identity

2/1/17 Referred to Committees

SB 484 Tax on Sales, Use and Other Transactions

Reduces the tax levied on rental or license fees charged for the use of real property

3/29/17 On Community Affairs Committee Agenda for 4/3/17

SB 486 Tax exempt Income

Increases the amount of income that is exempt from corporate income tax

2/9/17 Referred to Committees

HB 599 Public Works Projects

Prohibits state and political subdivisions that contract for public works projects from imposing restrictive conditions on certain contractors

3/29/17 Favorable by the Government Accountability Committee

HB 691 Florida Building Code

Prohibits certain technical amendments to the Code from being rendered void in certain circumstances; specifies that such amendments are subject to review when new editions of the Code are issued

2/15/17 In Careers & Competition Subcommittee

HB 717 Imported or Domestic Drywall

Extends repeal date of authority of property appraisers to adjust assessed value of specified properties affected by imported or domestic drywall.

2/15/17 in Local Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee

HB 741 DBPR

Revises delinquency fee that professional board or DBPR imposes on delinquent status licensee; revises surcharge that DBPR assesses on building permits.

3/29/17 Favorable by Commerce Committee

HB 801 Unsafe Tires

Prohibits installation, for compensation, of certain automobile or light truck tires; specifies what constitutes unsafe used tires; provides that violations of are deceptive & unfair trade practices.

2/23/17 in Careers & Competition Subcommittee

CS/CS/SB 860 Building Code Administrators and Inspectors

As passed by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee:

 

Amends s.489.113(3), F.S.,

to:

  • Remove the requirement for pool/spa contractors to subcontract electrical work for the installation, replacement, is connection, or reconnection of power wiring in certain circumstances;
  • Require pool/spa contractors to subcontract all electrical work that requires the installation, removal, replacement, or upgrading of a circuit breaker; and
  • Provide that the revised subcontracting requirement for pool/spa contractors does not apply to other contractor classifications or professions
Revises the terms “building code administrator,” “building official” and “building code inspector” to include persons under contract with the local government or state agency, in addition to employees of the local government or state agency.

 

Current law states that these positions had to be employees of the government or agency.
  • Removes a provision which authorized certain municipal or county employees to perform plan review or inspection as a certified building official under an interagency service agreement with a jurisdiction of population 50,000 or fewer.
  • Requires the FBCAIB to establish minimum standards for, and a procedure to determine the eligibility of, internships for specified candidates.
  • Clarifies that the DBPR may review and approve home inspector examinations by a nationally recognized entity only if those examinations meet the rule and certification standards of the DBPR.
  • Changes the effective date of the bill from July 1, 2017, to October 1, 2017.
  • Adds a provision that changes the process by which revisions are made to the Florida Building Code and requires the Commission to adopt the Florida Building Code by a three-fourth vote of the members present.

3/30/17 Passed Regulated Industries Committee on 3/28/17; Now in Appropriations

CS/HB 901 Florida Building Commission

The bill as passed by the Careers Committee:

  • Requires the Commission to update the Florida Building Code every 5 years;
  • Allows the Commission to update the Code at any time to adopt the most current version of the NEC if waiting to adopt the most current version of the NEC until the beginning of the Code’s five-year cycle would likely cause undue hardship to stakeholders or would threaten the public’s health, safety and welfare;
  • Reduces the number of members on the Commission from 27 to 11;
  • Amends the qualifications of the Commission member who is an architect from a licensed architect to a licensed architect with at least 5 years of experience in the design of Group R designated buildings at or above 210 feet in height from the lowest level of emergency access. 
  • Amends the qualifications of the Commission member who is an electrical contractor from an electrical contractor to an electrical engineer.
  • Requires the Commission to provide a fiscal impact statement when it updates the Code.

 

3/28/17 Favorable by Careers & Competition Subcommittee

CS/HB 909 Building Code Administrators & Inspectors

Authorizes building code administrator or building official to perform plan review or inspection when acting as building official under certain interagency service agreements; revises eligibility requirements for examination for certification as building code inspector or plans examiner to include internship certification program; revises provisions related to provisional certificates to remove eligibility condition; requires board to establish rules.

 

 

 

 

3/28/17 Favorable by Oversight Subcommittee; Now in Commerce Committee

SB 940 Growth Management

Requiring local governments to address the protection of private property rights in their comprehensive plans; requiring the comprehensive plan to include a private property rights element that sets forth principles, guidelines, standards, and strategies to achieve certain objectives; requiring the state land planning agency to approve the private property rights element adopted by each local government if it is substantially in a specified form,

3/29/17 On Committee agenda for Senate Community Affairs 4/3/17

HB 945 Minimum Wage

Revises formula for adjusted state minimum wage.

3/1/17 in Careers & Competition Subcommittee

SB 948 Assessment of Properties Affected by Imported or Domestic Drywall

Extending the expiration date of provisions specifying requirements for property appraisers to adjust assessed values of certain properties that are affected by certain imported or domestic drywall, etc.

3/22/17 In Finance & Tax Committee

SB 1000 Fire Safety Standards

Authorizing certain buildings to have specified balcony guard openings,

3/23/17 in Banking and Finance Committee

HB 1021 Construction

Defines "recognized certifying entity"; provides applicability of certain standards & criteria for solar energy systems manufactured or sold in state; provides for solar energy systems to be certified pursuant to certain standards; requires DBPR to provide certain funds allocated to University of Florida School of Construction Management for specified purposes; prohibits local enforcement agencies from charging certain fees; requires Florida Building Commission to amend certain provisions of Florida Building Code; prohibits county, municipality, special taxing district, public utility, or private utility from requiring separate water connection or charging specified water or sewage rate under certain conditions; prohibits local government from requiring permit for painting residence; requires DOE in conjunction with DEO to create study for specified purposes; requires CareerSource Florida, Inc. to fund certain construction training programs; provides program requirements.

3/27/17 Favorable by Appropriations Committee

SB 1038 Assignment of Property Insurance Benefits

Prohibiting certain awards of attorney fees to certain persons or entities in suits based on claims arising under property insurance policies; providing that an assignment agreement is not valid unless specified conditions are met

2/23/17 Referred to committees

HB 1107 Public Records/Workers’ Compensation

Provides exemption from public records requirements for personal identifying information of injured or deceased employees contained in certain notices or reports filed with DFS; authorizes division to disclose such information under specified circumstances; provides for future review & repeal of exemption; provides statement of public necessity.

3/28/17 Favorable in Oversight Subcommittee

SB 1148 Unemployment Compensation

Requiring the Department of Economic Opportunity to designate an alternative base period in certain circumstances for benefit years commencing after a specified date; requiring employers to provide wage information to support an individual’s eligibility for benefits upon request of the department; providing a penalty for employers who fail to timely provide that information;

3/6/17 Referred to Committees

SB 1156 Corporate Income Tax

Adopting the 2017 version of the Internal Revenue Code,

3/15/17 in Appropriations

SB 1218 Property Repair

Defining the terms “professional water damage restorer” and “water damage restoration”; requiring the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to license applicants who are qualified to practice water damage restoration; prohibiting personal lines residential or commercial residential property insurance policies from prohibiting the post-loss assignment of benefits,

3/29/17 On Banking and Insurance Committee Agenda 4/3/17

HB 1261 Annual Corporate Reports and Fees

Authorizes domestic & foreign corporations to submit biennial reports to DOS; establishes biennial report filing fee & biennial supplemental corporate fee.

3/20/17 Favorable by Oversight Committee

CS/HB 1271 Construction Defect Claims

Provides additional requirements for notices of claim, inspections & notices of acceptance or rejection of settlement offers; requires, rather than authorizing, certain persons to serve copies of notices of claim to certain professionals; revises provisions relating to tolling certain statutes of limitations.

3/28/17 Favorable by Civil Justice Subcommittee.

HB 1309 Growth Management

Requires local governments to address protection of private property rights in their comprehensive plans; requires comprehensive plan to include private property rights element; requires counties & municipalities to adopt or amend land development regulations consistent with private property rights element; provides deadlines; requires state land planning agency to approve private property rights element if it is substantially in specified form.

3/10/17 in Agriculture and Property Rights Subcommittee

SB 1312 Construction

Providing applicability of certain standards and criteria for solar energy systems manufactured or sold in the state; providing for solar energy systems manufactured or sold in the state to be certified pursuant to National Renewable Energy Laboratory standards; prohibiting a county, municipality, special taxing district, public utility, or private utility from requiring a separate water connection or charging a specified water or sewage rate under certain conditions

3/28/17 Favorable by Communications Committee p.m. 301S

HB 1343 Tax on Sales, Use and Other Transactions

Redefines term "dealer" for purposes of sales & use tax, to include certain persons who do not have place of business in this state & sell into this state certain personal property, products, or services.

3/10/17 in Careers & Competition Subcommittee

SB 1372 Electrical and Alarm System Contracting

Specifying that provisions regulating certified electrical contractors and certified alarm system contractors do not prevent such contractors from acting as a prime contractor or from subcontracting work to other licensed contractors under certain circumstances

3/14/17 Referred to Committees

HB 1411 Renewable Energy Source Devices

Prohibits consideration of just value of property attributable to renewable energy source device in determining assessed value of any real property; deletes provision relating to applicability as of specified date; exempts renewable energy source device from tangible personal property tax; provides for expiration

3/10/17 in Energy & Utilities Subcommittee

HB 1421 Property Insurance Assignment Agreements

Provides requirements & limitations of assignment agreements; provides court to award attorney fees in certain cases; provides burden of proof; provides payment obligations under assignment agreements; specifies certain residential property insurance policies may not prohibit assignment of post-loss benefits.

3/14/17 in Commerce Committee

HB 1441 Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board

Revises composition of board.

3/28/17 Favorable by House Careers Committee

SB 1582 Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Requiring carriers to authorize or decline, rather than respond to, certain requests for authorization within a specified time; revising conditions under which the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims must dismiss petitions for benefits; adding prospective loss costs to a list of reviewable matters in certain proceedings by appellate courts; requiring copies of prospective loss costs to be filed with the Office of Insurance Regulation

3/29/17 On Banking & Insurance Committee agenda for 4/3/17

SB 1684 Insurance Rates

Providing that certain attorney fees, costs, and expenses may not be considered expenses by the Office of Insurance Regulation when the office is determining whether a rate is excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory; providing that certain attorney fees, costs, and expenses may not be included in an insurer’s rate base and may not be used to justify a rate or rate change

3/29/17 On agenda in Banking and Insurance for 4/3/17

SB 1698 Annual Corporate Reports and Fees

Establishing a biennial report filing fee and a biennial supplemental corporate fee; authorizing domestic and foreign corporations to submit biennial reports to the Department of State

3/27/17 Favorable by Commerce and Tourism; Now in Transportation Subcommittee

SB 1742 Texting While Driving

Revising penalties for violations of the Florida Ban on Texting While Driving Law; providing enhanced penalties for such violations when committed in a school zone or school crossing; requiring each law enforcement agency in this state to adopt policies to prohibit the practice of racial profiling in the enforcement of this section

3/14/17 Referred to Committees

HB 2713 Building Code Enforcement Training Program

Provides appropriation for the program

3/14/17 in Appropriations Committee

HB 2717 Construction Industry Workforce Task Force

Provides an appropriation for the program

3/7/17 in Appropriations Committee

SB 7000 Florida Building Commission

Requires the commission to use the most recent published edition of the Florida Building Code as the foundation code; requiring a review rather than update; deleting a provision that specifies how long amendments or modifications to the foundation code remain effective

3/15/17 in Appropriations Committee

HB 7085 Workers Compensation (formerly HB IBS1)

Permits direct payment of attorneys by or for claimants

 

Increases total combined temporary wage replacement benefits(TTD/TPD)

From 104 weeks to 260 weeks.

 

Fills a benefit gap that happens when TTD/TPD ends, but the injured worker is

not at overall maximum medical improvement and/or no overall permanent impairment rating.

 

Allows a Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) to award an hourly fee that departs from the statutory percentage based attorney fee schedule. This is only permitted if the statutory fee is less than

40 percent or greater than 125 percent

of hourly rate customarily charged in the

local community with the JCC

determining the relevant facts.

 

If the departure fee is allowed, the JCC determines the hourly rate, using statutory factors and the number of

necessary attorney hours.

 

The allowed hourly rate for the departure fee payable by the

carrier is capped at $250 per hour, subject to an annual adjustment based upon the annual percentage change in the statewide average wage.

 

Makes the injured worker responsible for any remaining attorney fees if required by their retainer agreement; the retainer agreements must be filed with the JCCs, but are not subject to JCC approval.

 

Allows insurers to uniformly reduce premiums by no more than 5 percent, if they file an informational-only notice

within 30 days, subject to regulatory oversight.

 

Creates a mechanism to fill vacancies

on the Three -Member Panel; grants the Panel authority to fill gaps in statutory reimbursement when adopting

schedules of maximum reimbursement allowances for medical care.

 

Increases the requirements applicable to petitions for benefits; eliminates carrier paid attorney fees for services

occurring before the filing a petition;

attaches attorney fees 45 days,

rather than 30 days, following

the filing of a petition; requires a

JCC to dismiss a petition for lack of specificity, without prejudice, within 10

Days or 20 days, depending upon whether a hearing is required.

 

Eliminates the charge based reimbursement of health care facility

Outpatient medical care in favor of

reimbursing them at 200% (unscheduled

care) and 160% (scheduled surgery) of Medicare. If no Medicare

fee, then current reimbursement standards apply, which are incorporated into statute.

 

Requires the authorization or denial of medical care authorization requests, unless there is a material deficiency.

 

Provides for collecting additional

Information on attorney fees.

3/28/17 in Commerce Committee 

Nancy Stephens, CAE, DPL 4/3/2017

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Items in bold indicate required information.