Week Nine
April 30, 2021
As the 2021 Legislative Session comes to a close, the Florida League of Cities legislative team would like to give a big THANKS to each of you for your efforts during this session. You all went above and beyond in your efforts to protect Home Rule. 

Now that session is over, remember to thank your legislators for their votes to defend Home Rule and hold accountable those who voted against local control. 

Join the FLC Advocacy Team for a post-session update on the League's priority issues on May 6 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Registration is now open for our 2021 Post-Legislative Session Webinar. Click here to register online.

Below is a brief summary of some of the key bills impacting cities. A final report and bill summaries on all bills affecting municipalities will be prepared and released in the coming weeks. 
Sales Tax Fairness Signed by the Governor (Support)
CS/CS/SB 50 (Gruters) was signed by the governor on April 19, Chapter No. 2021-002, and will go into effect July 1, 2021. The bill requires out-of-state retailers and marketplace providers with no physical presence in Florida to collect sales tax on taxable items delivered to purchasers in Florida if the out-of-state retailer makes a substantial number of sales in Florida. Ensuring that in-state retailers are treated equitably and that Florida's sales and use tax laws are equally enforced is a priority for the League of Cities. (Hughes)
Vacation Rentals Shut Down for Another Year (Oppose CS/HB 219, Neutral on CS/CS/SB 522)
CS/CS/SB 522 (Diaz) died in the Senate Rules Committee. The original bill would have preempted all regulations of vacation rentals to the state, including the inspection and licensing of vacation rentals. The League worked with various stakeholders to amend the bill throughout session to narrow the preemption. The bill would have protected existing vacation rental regulations but preempt cities from specifically regulating advertising platforms.

The House companion, CS/HB 219 (Fischer), died in the House Ways and Means Committee. CS/HB 219 would have undone any local registration, inspection or licensing requirements specific to short-term rentals adopted since 2011. (Taggart) (Cook)
COVID-19 Liability Signed by the Governor (Support)
CS/SB 72 (Brandes) was signed by the governor on April 5, Chapter No. 2021-001, and is effective upon becoming law. This bill adds lawsuit protections for businesses, local governments, universities and other public entities that may be facing exposure to claims related to COVID-19. (Cruz)
Sovereign Immunity Died in Committee (Oppose)
HB 1129 (Fernandez-Barquin) and SB 1678 (Diaz) would have increased the statutory limits on liability for tort claims against government entities. Current law sets the statutory limits at $200,000 per claim and $300,000 per incident. The bill would have increased these limits to $500,000 per claim and $1 million per incident. (Cruz)
Attorney General Interference Bill Fizzles (Oppose)
CS/SB 102 (Burgess) and CS/HB 1053 (Overdorf) would have authorized the attorney general to take over or abate local government civil actions that involve multiple local government plaintiffs on "matters of great governmental concern." The bills were retroactive and could have adversely affected existing legal actions relating to opioids and PFAS chemicals. (O'Hara)
Impact Fee Bill Awaiting the Governor’s Signature (Oppose)
This week, CS/CS/CS/HB 337 (DiCeglie) was watered down and substituted for CS/CS/CS/SB 750 (Gruters) and passed both chambers. CS/CS/CS/HB 337 restricts the allowable expenditures of impact fee revenue and caps how much impact fees can be raised on a yearly basis. Impact fees are collected by local governments to fund local infrastructure to meet the demands of population growth. CS/CS/CS/HB 337 is now awaiting action by the governor and will take effect upon becoming law. (Cruz)
Energy Preemptions Bill Awaiting Action by the Governor (Oppose)
This week the legislature passed two bills dealing with energy infrastructure. CS/CS/HB 839 (Fabricio) expressly preempts local governments from banning gas stations and associated infrastructure necessary to provide fuel to gas stations. The bill also prohibits local governments from requiring gas stations to provide electric vehicle charging stations. The bill will take effect upon becoming law.

The second bill, CS/CS/HB 919 (Tomkow), will preempt local governments from prohibiting or restricting various types of fuel sources. Originally as filed, both bills would have broadly preempted any local government action on the issues above. Throughout session, the League worked with the various stakeholders as well as the bill sponsors to significantly narrow the scope of the preemption. The bill will take effect July 1, 2021. (O'Hara)
Senate Reclaimed Water Bill Waiting for Governor's Signature (Oppose)
CS/SB 64 (Albritton) requires certain wastewater utilities to develop plans by November 2021 for eliminating surface water discharges within a 10-year time frame. The bill does not accommodate adverse impacts to local utility customers or technical or environmental feasibility, but the bill's original five-year compliance deadline was extended to 10 years. CS/SB 64 passed both chambers last week and is now awaiting action by the governor. (O'Hara)
Confusion Reigns Over Home-Based Businesses (Oppose)
This week, CS/HB 403 (Giallombardo) was substituted for CS/CS/SB 266 (Perry) and was amended before passing both chambers. Throughout this session, the League worked with various stakeholders as well as the bill's sponsor to try to make significant changes to the bill. CS/HB 403 allows a commercial business to open in a residential home and preempts commonsense local limitations such as hours of operation. Today, the last day of session, the bill passed with controversy in the Senate on a 19-18 vote. A rules challenge was filed on the vote in the Senate because three senators failed to vote who were present in the chamber. The point was well-taken, but because the bill was immediately sent to the House, there was no ability to reconsider it. The House adjourned without sending the bill back to the Senate. As we know more, the League will keep you updated. (Cruz)
Emergency Powers of Political Subdivisions Passes Both Chambers (Oppose)
This week, CS/CS/SB 2006 (Burgess) was amended and passed both chambers. The bill amends the State Emergency Management Act to address threats posed by pandemics or other public health emergencies. The bill requires any emergency order issued by a local government to be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling public health or safety purpose and be limited in scope to reduce any infringement on individual rights. All emergency orders (except those relating to hurricanes or other weather-related emergencies) automatically expire seven days after issuance and may be extended by a majority vote of the governing body in seven-day increments for a total duration of 42 days. The bill is now awaiting action by the governor and will take effect July 1, 2021. (Dudley)
Watered Down Building Design Bill Heads to the Governor (Neutral) 
CS/CS/HB 401 (Fetterhoff) passed both chambers and is now headed to the governor. The League worked with various stakeholders throughout session to water down the original building design preemption. The bill now allows cities to continue applying design standards through the use of PUDs or an architectural or design review board if the city has one. This bill will take effect July 1, 2021. (Taggart)
Governmental Actions Affecting Private Property Rights Headed to the Governor (Oppose)
This week, CS/CS/HB 421 (Tuck) amending the Bert Harris Act passed both chambers and is now awaiting action by the governor. The bill amends current law to provide procedures and remedies to landowners whose property is inordinately burdened by a local government regulation. Of concern to cities, the bill amends the term "action of a governmental entity" to now include the passing of an ordinance or regulation that diminishes a property owner's property value, even if that ordinance or regulation is not applied to the property. The bill will take effect on October 1, 2021. (Cruz)
Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing Passes Both Chambers (Oppose)
HB 735 (Harding) expressly preempts the licensing of occupations to the state and supersedes any local government licensing of occupations. However, any licensing of occupations adopted prior to July 1, 2021, will continue to be effective until July 1, 2023, at which time it will expire. Any licensing of occupations authorized by general law is exempt from the preemption. HB 735 was a priority of the speaker of the House and will take effect July 1, 2021. (Cruz)
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