Week One
January 14, 2022
We hope you will join us for FLC Legislative Action Days on February 8-9, 2022 in Tallahassee. Click here to register. Contact Mary Edenfield with any questions.

The following is a brief synopsis of the key legislative actions and bill summaries for this week.

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Key Legislative Actions & Bill Summaries
Local Ordinances Passes First Committee (Oppose)
On Wednesday, CS/SB 280 (Hutson) passed on party lines 6-2 through the Senate Community Affairs Committee. The bill would amend the legal standards and process for assessing the validity of municipal ordinances and impose new substantive requirements on municipalities for adopting and enforcing ordinances. The bill is a substantial unfunded mandate. League staff has received important feedback from cities and worked diligently with the bill sponsor and other stakeholders to express a multitude of concerns with the bill. Consequently, the bill sponsor amended the bill to add several changes requested by the League. We are still seeking additional changes and will continue working with the sponsor. Click here to view a copy of a letter that was sent to the bill sponsor with specific objections and recommended changes. The bill will now move to its second and final committee stop, the Senate Rules Committee. (O'Hara)
Business Damages Moves Through Committee (Oppose)
This week, the House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee passed CS/HB 569 (McClure) on a vote of 12 to 5. The bill would authorize a business that has been engaged in a lawful business in the state for at least three years to claim business damages from a local government if the government enacts or amends an ordinance or charter provision that will cause a reduction of at least 15% of the business' profit. CS/HB 569 was amended to add a few exemptions for certain ordinances, but significant problems remain. Click here to view a copy of a letter outlining objections to these policy changes. The bill now heads to the House Local Affairs Subcommittee. The Senate companion, SB 620 (Hutson), will have its second and final committee hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, January 20. (O’Hara)
Additional Homestead Property Tax Exemption Bills Filed this Week (Oppose)
To kick off the 2022 Legislative Session, House Leadership unveiled a priority issue and of concern to cities, HJR 1 (Tomkow) and SJR 1746 (Brodeur) were filed this week. The bills propose an amendment to the Florida Constitution to authorize the Legislature to create an additional $50,000 homestead exemption to certain public employees. The bills specify that the homestead property must be owned by a classroom teacher, a law enforcement officer, a correctional officer, a firefighter, a child welfare service provider, an active-duty member of the United States Armed Services or a member of the Florida National Guard. Both bills are awaiting committee hearings. (Hughes)
Local Tax Referenda Requirements Passes Unanimously (Oppose)
On Wednesday, CS/HB 777 (Robinson, W.) passed unanimously through the House Public Integrity & Elections Committee. Of most concern, the bill would require referenda elections related to increases in municipal and county ad valorem tax millages to be held at the general election. The bill will now move to the House Ways & Means Committee. The Senate companion bill, SB 1194 (Boyd), is scheduled to be heard in the Community Affairs Committee on Tuesday, January 18. (Hughes)
Sovereign Immunity Up Next Week (Oppose)
HB 985 (Beltran), relating to Sovereign Immunity, will receive its first committee hearing in the House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee on Wednesday, January 19. The bill revises the statutory limits on liability for tort claims against the state and its agencies and subdivisions (which include cities). The bill seeks to increase the current statutory limits for claims to $1 million per person and no per-incident cap. The Senate Companion, SB 974 (Gruters), is waiting to be heard in its first committee reference, Senate Judiciary. (Cruz)
Short-Term Rentals Moves Through the Senate (Neutral)
SB 512 (Burgess) flew through the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Tuesday on a vote of 8-0. The bill protects existing vacation rental regulations adopted prior to June 1, 2011, but preempts cities from specifically regulating advertising platforms. Local governments with ordinances adopted after 2011 are authorized to create a local registration program and utilize the enforcement provisions outlined in the bill for noncompliance. The bill also contains some additional accountability measures for advertising platforms and Department of Business and Professional Regulation. FLC is working to advocate for changes that make this bill more workable for non-grandfathered cities. (Taggart)
Residential Home Protection – FLC Priority – Up Next Week (Support)
SB 518 (Brodeur), relating to tree protection ordinances and a League priority, will receive its first committee hearing in the Senate Community Affairs Committee on Tuesday, January 18. The bill would amend current law provisions that prohibit local governments from requiring permits for the removal of "dangerous" trees on residential property. This is the first of three committee stops for the bill. Click here to view a copy of the letter sent to the bill sponsor and committee members in support of the bill. The House companion, HB 1555 (McClain), is awaiting committee assignments. (Branch) (O'Hara)
Financial Disclosures for Elected Local Officials Bills Up Next Week (Oppose)
On Wednesday, CS/SB 510 (Brodeur) was on the Community Affairs agenda but was not considered by the Committee. The bill will get another opportunity to be heard by the Committee on Tuesday, January 18. The House companion, however, on Wednesday, was heard in the Public Integrity & Elections Committee HB 301 (Roach) and passed unanimously 18-0. The bills require all municipal elected officials and all city managers to file an annual full disclosure of financial interests (Form 6) with the Florida Commission on Ethics. HB 301 is scheduled to be heard in its second committee of reference, Local Administration & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee, on Tuesday, January 18. (Hughes)
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