Florida's annual legislative session is racing towards the halfway point.
While numerous bills affecting community associations and homeowners are drafted and filed every year, few make it through the committee process, destined for a date on the House or Senate floor, or onto the Governor's desk. It takes significant collaboration between bill sponsors, committee chairs, and advocacy groups to push bills forward.
This week, The Community Association Network, brings you an update on several key pieces of legislation that have moved further ahead through committees in the past few days.
As it has for the past 3 Legislative Sessions, the Estoppel Bill remains a top priority for The Community Association Network, our Board and our community association members. Fortunately, some positive changes were made this week, as a result of good-faith negotiation with the bill sponsors, Senator Passidomo and Representative Donalds. The amended language will help protect homeowners from fee increases, and ensure associations are fairly paid for the work that they do or expenses they incur.
SB 398 passed the Senate Rules Committee on a 10-1 vote, and is now headed to the full Senate. We are continuing to work with both bill sponsors, and we're thankful that they've been so receptive to the needs of Florida's community associations.
We'll continue to keep you updated, should anything change further on the proposed estoppel legislation.
HB 653: Community Associations & Life Safety
As we've mentioned previously, this bill deals with fire sprinkler systems for condominium and cooperative buildings. It provides a complete exemption from retrofitting a fire sprinkler or similar life-safety system for buildings under 75 feet tall, without a vote. Unit owners of buildings over 75 feet tall may waive the requirement for fire sprinkler and engineered life-safety systems.
Rep. Moraitis' bill passed the House Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee on a 10-4 vote, and next heads to the House Commerce Committee.
SB 744: Community Associations & Life Safety
As the "companion" bill to HB 653, this bill is substantially similar to the House bill. It also makes changes to provisions of condominium and association bylaws, and to rules for posting notices on association websites.
Sen. Passidomo's bill passed the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on a 10-0 vote, and next heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
HB 425: Vacation Rentals
This bill had a closer vote in committee than many other this week. It preempts local governments from enacting any new law or ordinance that regulates vacation rentals based on classification, use, or occupancy. Local ordinances passed before June 1, 2011 will be allowed to stand; those passed after that date will become void and unenforceable.
Rep. LaRosa's bill passed the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee on a 9-6 vote, and heads next to the House Commerce Committee.
Next week marks the halfway point of the legislative session, and while it's been relatively quiet for community associations thus far, plenty of dealing and horse trading can still occur in the second half of Session.
As always, The Community Association Network will keep you updated on the latest from Tallahassee, and we'll let you know if it's time for action on behalf of our associations and homeowners.