This will be an active week for many of the bills CALL has been tracking for the past several weeks. Below is a summary of some of the House and Senate Committees that will be meeting this week and the community association-related bills those committee members will be considering.
On March 25th, the Civil Justice Committee considered HB 565 (Housing Discrimination) and HB 1153 (Biometric Information Privacy), filed by Rep. Bobby Dubose (D – Dist. 94 – Broward), which defines “biometric identifiers” and ”biometric information” to include retina scans, voice and fingerprints, and hand/face scans, and establishes requirements and restrictions on private entities who collect and store this sensitive information. If passed, the bill would significantly restrict the type of security measures an association can implement and, more specifically, how community associations obtain and store information used to identify residents and guests within the community. For example, if this bill were to pass, associations that currently use certain types of security cameras or devices (i.e.: eye or finger print scanners) to identify individuals arriving at the community’s entrance would either have to remove the device(s) or obtain written consent from each person from whom information is collected. The bill also imposes monetary penalties for the improper collection, storage, or disclosure of an individual’s biometric information. Senator Gary Farmer (D – Dist. 34 – Broward) is sponsoring the identical Senate Bill 1270 which is currently in the Innovation, Industry & Technology Committee but is not presently on agenda for consideration.
The Civil Justice Committee voted 14 to 1 in favor of HB 1153 which is now headed to the Commerce Committee.
Since security cameras are used as effective deterrents to crime in many community associations, it will be important to closely monitor this bill to ensure that it does not prevent associations from continuing to provide the type of security their residents expect.
Also on Monday, March 25th, the Children, Families and Seniors Committee considered HB 721 (Emotional Support Animals) which already passed through the Civil Justice Committee with a unanimous vote of 14 Yeas. The Children, Families and Seniors Committee voted unanimously in favor of the bill with a vote of 15 Yeas. The last stop for HB 721 is the Judiciary Committee which will be meeting on Thursday, March 28th and Wednesday, April 3rd.
Check out our previous CALL Alert on HB 721. Click Here for CALL Alert. Association leaders and residents have been clamoring for legislation which would help weed out the clearly fraudulent Emotional Support Animal (ESA) requests which have become problematic in so many Florida communities.
The Business & Professions Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, March 26th to consider HB 723, Rep. Donald’s version of the condominium retrofit bill which was previously highlighted in our CALL Alert dated March 4th, 2019 and HB 1075, which is the major Community Association omnibus bill filed by Rep, Anthony Rodriguez (R– Dist. 118 – Miami-Dade). Click Here for CALL Alert. This will be the first time that either bill has been considered in committee. Also meeting this Tuesday is the Government Operations and Technology Committee with an agenda including Rep. Michael Greico’s (D– Dist. 113 – Miami-Dade), HB 647 related to Engineered Life Safety Systems, which barely received a passing vote of 8 Yeas to 7 Nays in the Business & Professions Committee earlier this month. If HB 647 passes the Gov’t Operations & Technology Committee this week it will be headed to the Commerce Committee next for consideration.
The highly anticipated SB 182 which allows the sale and use of the flower form of marijuana passed the House last week by a vote of 101 to 11 and has been signed into law by Governor DeSantis as of March 18th. Speak to your Association Attorney about what this new law means in terms of enforcing any smoking and nuisance restrictions in your association.
On Monday, the Criminal Justice Committee considered considered and passed (4-1) Senator Jason Pizzo’s (D – Dist. 38 – Miami-Dade), SB 610 (with amendments) which further defines and imposes criminal penalties for fraudulent voting, kickbacks and document inspection requests in Condominium Associations. Click Here for CALL Alert. The Judiciary Committee also met on Monday to discuss SB 1246, (Senator T. Wright – R – Dist. 14 – Volusia), which if passed would require mandatory nonbinding arbitration in construction defect cases. This will be the first time both bills are considered in committee. After the Committee’s review, SB 1246 has been temporarily postponed.
The Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee has a busy agenda on Tuesday, March 26th, which includes SB 1128 (Emotional Support Animals) which is the identical companion bill to HB 721 sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz (R – Dist. 36 – Miami-Dade). SB 1128 received a favorable vote of 5 Yeas and no opposition in the Agriculture Committee. If passed this week, the bill is headed to the Rules Committee for final committee review. Also on the agenda is the Vacation Rental Preemption Bill, SB 824, also sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz, which would preempt the State from regulating short term rental vacations such as those advertised on internet based platforms like Airbnb. This is the first time SB 824 will be considered in committee. If passed, this bill could handcuff associations who wish to restrict or prohibit short-term rental activity in their communities.
Sen. Pizzo’s retrofit bill (SB 1152) successfully passed the Innovation Industry and Technology Committee by a vote of 8-1 and is currently in Community Affairs but is not on the agenda for consideration at present. Similarly, SB 908 (Ed Hooper – R – Dist. 16 – Pasco/Pinellas), passed without opposition (7 Yeas) in the Business & Professions Committee and is currently in Community Affairs pending review.
Stay tuned this week as we continue to update you on the status of these and more bills with the potential to impact your community. If you want to watch the action live, please use the Live Camera feed which can be found on the CALL website here: Click Here for Florida Senate Feeds. Also, please encourage your fellow board members and residents to contact the Committee Members hearing these bills by using CALL’s Legislator Connect feature here: Click Here for Legislator Connect.
Very Truly Yours,
Donna DiMaggio Berger