HB 403 (Giallambardo) would amend the legal standards and process for assessing the validity of municipal ordinances and imposes new substantive requirements on municipalities for adopting and enforcing ordinances. The bill is a substantial unfunded mandate.
First, the bill requires a municipality to prepare a business impact statement before adopting an ordinance and specifies the minimum content that must be included in the statement. Emergency ordinances are exempt. The statement must be posted on the municipality's website concurrent with a publication of notice of the proposed ordinance.
Second, the bill requires a municipality to suspend enforcement of an ordinance that is the subject of a civil action, including any appeals, challenging the ordinance's validity on the grounds that it is preempted by state law, is arbitrary or unreasonable, or is otherwise prohibited by law. This requirement applies only if: the action was filed within 20 days of the ordinance's effective date; suspension of the ordinance was requested in the complaint, and the municipality was served with a copy of the complaint.
Third, the bill authorizes the award of attorney fees and costs to a prevailing plaintiff in a civil action commenced after October 1, 2022, in which the adoption or enforcement of an ordinance is alleged to be arbitrary or unreasonable or prohibited by law other than by express preemption (i.e., is impliedly preempted or is in conflict with state law). Ordinances adopted to implement Part II of Chapter 163 (comprehensive planning and land development regulation), section 553.73 (Building Code), or section 633.202 (Fire Code) are exempt from this provision.
Fourth, the bill specifies factors a court must consider in determining whether an ordinance is arbitrary or unreasonable, including: the extent to which the ordinance protects public health, safety and welfare; the impact of the ordinance on the personal rights and privileges of municipal residents; the total economic impact of the ordinance; and the business impact statement prepared by the municipality. It requires courts to prioritize and expedite the disposition of cases in which enforcement of an ordinance is suspended. It authorizes the award of attorney fees and costs pursuant to section 57.112. The court prioritization and new legal standard do not apply to emergency ordinances or the exempt ordinances listed above.
Status: OPPOSE. HB 403 will be considered by the House Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Wednesday, December 1.