The Florida Home Builders Association (FHBA) is pleased to report that FIVE of your SIX 2010 Top Legislative Priorities passed during the just-completed Legislative Session.
Specifically, lawmakers passed legislation that:
“With the passage of these great bills, lawmakers have put the brakes on Florida’s decline,” said David Hart, Vice President of Legislative and Governmental Affairs for FHBA. “They recognize that Florida’s building industry is vital to our state’s economy, and took positive actions to create a more hospitable environment for private sector job growth.”
Despite the strong successes achieved in the 2010 Legislative Session, FHBA is disappointed that lawmakers could not move legislation lifting the cap on the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund across the finish line. The affordable housing measure had majority support in both the House and Senate; however an unfriendly amendment was added to the bill which ultimately caused the bill to die.
Below is a brief synopsis of your FHBA legislative victories:
With the passage of SB 846 by Sen. Mike Bennett (R-Bradenton), the installation of mandatory residential fire sprinklers in one- and two-family dwellings will not be added to the Florida Building Code. Without the passage of this good bill, the Florida Building Commission would have been forced to include mandatory residential fire sprinklers in the 2010 Florida Building Code because of a directive from the International Code Congress. Florida is one of more than 20 states that filed legislation to block this mandate. Special thanks to Rep. Robert Schenck (R-Spring Hill) for sponsoring the House companion legislation.
With the passage of SB 1196 by Sen. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey), investors wishing to make bulk condominium purchases of more than seven units will no longer have to accept the legal and financial liabilities of the original developer. For too long, investors have sat on the sideline – choosing not to buy condo’s in bulk – during a time when Florida desperately needed their help to reduce inventory and return stability to the market. The passage of SB 1196 by Sen. Fasano removes the condo bulk-buyer barriers and will help ensure a stronger economic recovery. Special thanks to Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-Ft. Lauderdale) for sponsoring the House companion legislation.
Despite Florida’s 12.3 percent unemployment rate, some state agencies have moved forward with rulemaking efforts that would thwart job growth and eliminate even more jobs. But under a bill passed by the Florida Legislature, those job killing regulations will be prevented. With the successful passage of HB 1565 by Rep. Chris Dorworth (R-Heathrow), state agencies will be required to complete a Statement of Estimated Regulatory Costs when these rules have a negative economic impact on Florida’s private sector job growth and small businesses. If the regulatory impact is more than $1 million statewide, the rule must then be reviewed and ratified by the legislature to become effective. Special thanks to Sen. Bennett for sponsoring the Senate companion legislation, and to Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach) for serving as the prime House co-sponsor.
Permit Extension & DRI Exemptions
Because the growth management reform law that resulted from the 2009 Legislative Session is tied up in a lawsuit, there has been great uncertainty in the development industry. Under SB 1752, better known as the Jobs Bill, that uncertainty has been removed. This good bill contained the Florida Home Builders Association’s (FHBA) growth management “patch” language which provides certainty to building professionals that took a permit extension or DRI exemption in reliance on the 2009 growth management bill – SB 360. SB 1752 by Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Milton) provides additional benefits to the building industry and Florida’s economy. Specifically, it opens the window for additional permits to be extended, encourages Florida-based manufacturers to invest in machinery and equipment, accelerates tax credits for capital-intensive industries in return for adding new, high-paying jobs, and addresses needs of Florida’s space industry. It should be noted that FHBA’s growth management “patch” language was originally in HB 7099 by Rep. Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange). However, HB 7099 died because of an unfriendly amendment. FHBA appreciates Rep. Hukill’s hard work and support.
Performance-Based Septic Treatment Systems
When lawmakers passed Florida’s $69 billion budget (HB 5001), it included $2 million for Phase II of the Department of Health (DOH) Septic Tank Nitrogen Reduction Study – a strong step toward reducing cost burdens on current and future homeowners. The funding will allow DOH to field-test different technologies and strategies in a variety of soils and locations throughout Florida in both wet and dry seasons. Funding this study was vital. That’s because various state agencies and local governments in Florida have looked at establishing strict nitrogen limitations for existing and new onsite septic systems. Recently, the federal EPA has proposed even more strict numeric nitrogen limitations on Florida water bodies. If not the federal government, DEP will be proposing nitrogen limits early next year. Eventually, these rules are expected to have the effect of mandating high-performance treatment technology for onsite systems – costing upwards of $15,000 per home (new and existing). In addition to the burdensome cost of this system, it has not been proven to achieve nitrogen reduction levels in Florida’s climate. Without completion of this study, builders and homeowners will have no alternatives available to handle new government mandates coming down the pike. Estimates for upgrading homeowners to high performance, engineer-designed septic systems in the Wekiva region alone are well into the billions of dollars. New nitrogen restrictions with no other solutions than high-performance systems will amount to an overbearing regulatory burden and fee increase to citizens and businesses.
Next Stop: Governor Crist
The Florida Legislature will forward the above bills to Governor Crist. The Governor will have 15 days from receipt of each bill to either sign, veto, or allow it to become law without his signature.
“We thank Florida lawmakers for the strong support they showed the building industry during the 2010 Legislative Session, and now shift our focus to ensuring each measure is signed into law by Governor Charlie Crist,” said Hart.
FHBA appreciates the grassroots support of each and every member that played a role in achieving these victories. Your phone calls, letters and emails made a significant impression with lawmakers and helped ensure your priorities were received favorably. We could not have done it without you.
Web Design & SEO by TAMMANYtechs.com