Legislative Update - December 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December Committee Week

The Florida Legislature met the week of November 30 to conduct Committee business and legislators held a variety of fundraisers for re-election during the evenings. Of interest to FBMA members:

  • SB 170 Renewable Energy Source Device passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee on December 1. The bill exempts a renewable energy source device from tangible personal property tax. A similar bill in the House (HB 195) also passed the House Finance & Tax Committee on December 1.

  • SB 404 Small Business Financial Assistance passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development on December 3. The bill creates the Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program to encourage small businesses to hire veterans.
  • HB 535 Building Codes passed the House Business and Professions Subcommittee on December 2. Nine amendments were adopted. Of note the amendments:

    • Prohibit local enforcement agencies from charging builders fees for proving they have a license, recording or filing of a license or providing evidence of workers compensation coverage

    • Require the Florida Building Commission to define “fire separation distance”

    • Add walls to the list of exposed mechanical equipment or appliances fastened to a roof or installed on the ground in compliance with the Florida Building Code that are deemed to be compliant with wind resistance requirements of the Florida Building Code and deleting the expiration date for the provision

    • Requiring the Florida Building Commission to adopt into the Florida Building Code a provision relating to the Section 406 Alternative Performance Path, Energy Rating Index of the 2015 International Energy Conservation Code, as an option

    • Requiring the Florida Building Commission to put in the Florida Building Code that openings and roof overhand projections shall be permitted on the exterior wall of a building located on a zero lot line when the building exterior wall is separated from an adjacent building exterior wall by a distance of 6 feet or more and the roof overhang projection is separated from an adjacent building projection by a distance of 4 feet or more, with 1 hour fire resistive construction on the underside of the overhang required, unless the separation between projections is 6 feet or more.

    • The bill now goes to the Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee in the House.

  • Governor Personally Pitches $1 Billion in Tax Cuts to the Legislature

In a first ever happening, Governor Scott presented his own proposal for $1 billion in tax cuts to the Florida House Finance & Tax Committee on December 1. The Governor stood at the podium for 1.5 hours to explain his proposals and take questions from every member of the Committee. The proposal includes permanent elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, a reduction in the tax on commercial leases and rents, elimination of the corporate tax on manufacturers and retailers, a 9-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday, and a 10-day back to school sales tax holiday. The halls were a buzz afterwards; the personal touch made a HUGE impact on lawmakers.

Bill Number




HB 535


Building Codes

Revises educational provisions for building code inspectors, plans examiners, & building code administrators; revises provisions related to the Florida Building Code; revises provisions regarding the Florida Building Code Compliance and Mitigation Program; restricts application of the Building Code for certain aspects of construction; revises provisions related to portable pools; revises provisions regarding the authority of building officials to issue building permits; revises provisions regarding appeal boards; revising provisions addressing certain fire service access elevators; authorizing DBPR to develop code-related training; creating a task force to study electrical safety in swimming pools.

HB 775


Relating to Emergency Preparedness and Response

Provides tax exemption for certain tangible personal property related to disaster preparedness; provides expiration date & appropriation; directs Division of Emergency Management to create statewide system to facilitate transport & distribution of essentials & restoration of utility services throughout state during declared emergency; defines "essentials"; directs division to create certification system for certain persons & employers; authorizes certain activities by certified persons during curfew; authorizes law enforcement officer to specify permissible route of ingress or egress for certified person.

HB 873 / SB 1064

Diaz / Flores

Relating to Special Facility Construction Account

Revises provisions of Special Facility Construction Account relating to receipt of funds, criteria for requests, pre application review, consultants, & repayment of school district's share of project costs.

Nancy Stephens, CAE, DPL 12/15/2015

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