Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Last week, the Legislature held their final week of interim committee meetings. There are currently 1,182 bills filed for the 2023 Legislative Session. Below are some highlights from the last week of committee meetings:
Tort Reform – HB 837 was reported favorably by the House Civil Justice subcommittee after lengthy debate and public testimony. The bill aims to reduce litigation costs for insurers by requiring plaintiffs to disclose letters of protection, ending attorney-client privilege on treating physicians for plaintiffs, and eliminating the use of multipliers in calculating fees for attorneys and one-way attorney fees for insurance cases. It would also extend the threshold for making bad-faith claims against auto and liability insurers. The bill will next head to the House Judiciary Committee. There is currently no Senate companion.
Defamation – HB 991 would limit who is considered a public figure for the purposes of defamation lawsuits and makes it more difficult for media outlets to use anonymous sources in reporting. The bill has not yet been referred to committee and currently has no Senate companion.
Permitless Carry – Bills to allow permitless carry advanced in their respective chambers this week. The House Judiciary Committee reported HB 543 favorable and and will now be considered by the full House. The bill was amended to add the school safety provisions included in the Senate bill. SB 150 was reported favorably by the Senate Criminal Justice Committee. It will next be heard by the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee.
Condominiums – The Senate Regulated Industries Committee advanced SB 154 with technical amendments last week. The bill would revise structural inspection requirements for condominium and cooperative buildings and association financial reserves requirements. The bill comes after the committee held a workshop previously to discuss issues related to SB 4D which was passed by the Legislature in responses to the collapse of the Champlain Towers building in Surfside, FL.
Land Use Challenges – HB 359 was unanimously reported favorably by the House Local Administration, Federal Affairs & Special Districts Subcommittee. The bill would allow developers and local governments to seek attorney fees from residents or groups who lose in administrative law challenges to local land use decisions. The Senate companion, SB 540, has not yet been heard in committee.
The Legislature is off this week but will return next week for the opening of the 2023 Legislative Session on Tuesday, March 7th. Follow the five most significant issues on Friday of each week of the legislative session with the Rotunda Report.
I would be happy to speak with you about any of the issues above. For more information, please contact me.