Legislative Briefings

Legislative Update

April 8, 2021

 The Office of the City Attorney is closely monitoring the following legislation for municipal impact during the ongoing 2021 session of the Florida legislature:

Vacation Rentals, House Bill (“HB”) 219 and Senate Bill (“SB”) 522:

  • Proposed legislation would preempt local government’s ability to regulate short-term rentals.
    • City Council sent letter on February 18, 2021, voicing opposition to this legislation.
    • SB 522 was amended to allow local government the ability to license and inspect certain properties.
    • HB 219 contains full preemption of City. The Florida League of Cities (“League” or “FLC”) opposes HB 219 due to preemption of home rule authority of cities, and is neutral on SB 522, as amended.

Home-Based Businesses, HB 403 and SB 266:

  • Prohibits local governments from enacting or enforcing any ordinance or regulating a home-based business in a manner that is different from other businesses.
    • Could void the City’s “Home Occupation” Ordinances, Section 64-13, and would abrogate certain zoning restrictions.
    • FLC opposes HB 403 on preemption grounds.
      • HB 403 was temporarily postponed on 2nd reading as of 3/31/21.
      • SB 266 was favorably amended, and would give back local authority on parking, signage, exterior storage, and licensing. FLC supports this amendment as helping to improve the bill for cities, but does not support the legislation overall.

Building Design, HB 55 and SB 284:

  • Preempts local governments from adopting zoning and development regulations that require specific building design elements for single- and two-family dwellings.
    • Precludes local government design review and authority for residential buildings, with few exceptions.
      • If passed, City could not regulate exterior color, style or material of roof structures or porches; exterior architectural ornamentation; location or architectural styling of windows or doors; and number, type, and layout of rooms.
    • FLC opposes the legislation on preemption grounds.
      • HB 55 is ready for full House vote. Temporarily postponed on the House floor on 3/31/21.
      • FLC hopes to amend SB 284. SB not been currently been scheduled for Senate Rules Committee agenda.

Utility Pole Regulation. HB 1567/SB 1944

  • Would grant broad authority to the Public Service Commission (“PSC”) to regulate and enforce rates, charges, terms, and conditions in situations where double or redundant poles occur.
    • SB 1944 contains very broad definitions of “pole” and “pole attachments”
      • Broad language in SB 1944 is problematic and could have unintended consequences for cities.
      • Has passed 2/3 committees.
    • HB 1567 is in State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee agenda as of 04/05/21. SB 1944 is in Senate Appropriations Committee as of 03/31/21.
      •  HB 1567 is in State Administration & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee agenda as of 04/05/21. SB 1944 is in Senate Appropriations Committee as of 03/31/21.
    •  FLC Opposes SB 1944; and is neutral on HB 1567.

Marine Vessels and Discharges into Waterways, HB 639/SB 1086

  • Vast and sweeping legislation that expands Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission’s (“FWC”) authority to address derelict vessels and discharges from vessels; creates new category of “nuisance vessel”; prioritizes early removal of “at-risk” vessels, among many other provisions.
    • This legislation originated with the FWC to address discharges into waterways and problem of derelict vessel removal.
    • HB 639 is in State Affairs Committee as of 04/01/21.
    • SB 1086 is in subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, & General Government.

Airport Funding SB 1466/ HB 1143

  • Revises funding for aviation development projects at publicly owned and operated airports.
  • Would result in funding at the current funding levels for certain Florida airports, including Vero Beach Regional. Introduced by Senator Hutson and Representative Grall, with support from Senator Mayfield.
    • City Council passed Resolution supporting this legislation, joined by the Town of Indian River Shores, Indian River County, and the City of Sebastian.
      • HB 1143 passed the House on 04/01/21 (115-0).
      • SB 1466 was amended in a way which is unfavorable to the City.
    • HB 1143 will be sent to the Senate for consideration. Best case scenario: Senate will pass the House version of the bill.

Code Enforcement, HB 883 and SB 60:

  • Would prohibit code enforcement officers from investigating and enforcing a potential code violation if the complaint is received anonymously.
    • Any person who reports a code violation would have to provide their name and address to the City prior to any enforcement proceedings.
      • SB 60 was amended to allow for enforcement of anonymous complaints if they pose an imminent threat to public health, safety, or welfare or imminent destruction of habitat or sensitive resources.
      • League is watching SB 60 (as amended), and is opposed to HB 883, which does not contain the public health, safety or welfare amendment, at this time.

Elimination of Regional Planning Councils, SB 62

  • Would remove Regional Planning Councils from Florida law.
  • City Council sent letter to legislative delegation supporting Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council.
  • No companion bill, highly unlikely to pass or become law.

Public Records, SB 400 and HB 913:

  • Would prohibit a city, after receiving a public records request, from filing an action for declaratory judgment against the individual or entity making the request.
  • The bills would prevent cities from seeking clarification from the courts about whether a record is exempt or exempt and confidential.
    • FLC opposes.

Important Dates:

  • April 20, 2021.    50th day – last day for regularly scheduled committee meetings. Rule 2.9(2))
  • April 30, 2021. 60th day – last day of Regular Session (Article III, section 3(d), State Constitution)