Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Below is a high-level update of significant bills and issues that occurred during the 2023 Florida Legislative session’s sixth week, April 10-14.
Bill to Permanently Ban
COVID Precautions Begins to Move
The House Health and Human Services Committee reported HB 1013 favorably in its first committee hearing. The bill would prohibit businesses, government entities and schools from requiring masks or vaccinations. The bill would also prohibit employment decisions based on those requirements. The Senate companion bill, SB 252, is also moving through the Senate committee process.
Senate Passes Condo Bill
The full Senate unanimously passed SB 154. Created last year, the bill continues to make changes to the new inspection requirements for condominium and cooperative buildings that are three or more stories in height. It allows those buildings to get their first major inspection for structural issues after 30 years instead of 25 in some cases, a response to a lack of qualified inspectors. It also removes a requirement that condominium owners covered by Citizens Property Insurance obtain flood insurance. The House Commerce Committee will hear the companion bill, HB 1395, on Monday, April 17. This would be the bill’s last committee stop before the House floor.
House Tax Package Advances
The House Ways and Means Committee reported HB 7063 favorably. The bill, worth $1.4 billion, includes a 1% cut to the business rent tax for 13 months and several sales tax holidays, including an expansion of the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday. The bill does not include a one-year sales tax exemption on basic household items under $25, a priority of Governor DeSantis. The Senate has filed a placeholder for its tax package, SB 7062, and will be heard by the Senate Finance and Tax Committee this week.
Interests of Foreign Countries Bill Passes Senate
The Senate unanimously passed SB 264. The bill prohibits companies tied to countries of concern such as China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba and North Korea from doing business with the state or local government entity. It also blocks foreign countries of concern and their agents from owning farmland or property within 20 miles of a military installation. The House companion, HB 1355, is in its final committee.
Governor Signs Construction Defects Bill
The Governor signed SB 360 relating to causes of action based on improvements to real property last week. The bill shortens the time for residents to file lawsuits, from ten years to seven years, involving construction defects in their homes. So far this session, the Governor has signed 15 bills into law.
I would be happy to speak with you regarding issues this session that could impact your business. For more information, please contact me.