Legislative Update: Week 4 (February 3-7)

Legislative Update: Week 4 (February 3-7)

Appropriations: This week both the House and Senate passed their respective budgets out of the Appropriations Committee.  The Senate proposed a $92.8 billion budget that includes a 3% pay raise for state workers, the first in years.  The House proposed a $91.3 billion that is $1.3 billion lighter than the Senate.  Both chambers included $500 million for teacher pay raises, with 80% being used to increase the minimum salary to $47,500 per the Governor’s budget proposal.

Vacation Rentals: This week HB 1101 by Representative Jason Fischer passed favorably in the Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee in an 8-5 vote. There is a companion bill in the Senate, SB 1128 by Senator Manny Diaz, that has also passed favorably in the Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee in an 8-2 vote.  This legislation preempts all regulation of vacation rentals to the State’s Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR), including, but not limited to the inspection and licensing of vacation rentals.  Under current law, local governments may not prohibit vacation rentals, or regulate the duration or frequency of rental vacation rentals.

A vacation rental is defined as a unit in a condominium or cooperative or a single, two, three, or four family house that is rented to guests more than three times a year for periods of less than 30 days or one calendar month, whichever is shorter.  This means that any homeowner who advertises vacation rentals through digital sites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, etc., must secure a Vacation Rental Dwelling License from the DBPR and verify compliance quarterly. Currently, vacation rentals are licensed by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants within DBPR.  HB 1101 moves to the House Commerce Committee, its last stop before the House floor.  SB 1128 must go through Commerce and Tourism and Rules before it makes it to the Senate floor.

Abortion: This week SB 404 by Senator Kelli Stargel was heard on the Senate floor and passed favorably in a 23-17 vote along party lines.  Said legislation is now in the House waiting to be heard.  This bill would require parental consent of at least one parent before a minor can get an abortion.  Doctors who perform abortions without the parental consent of a girl under 18 would face up to five years in prison for a third-degree felony.  This bill would also allow for a pregnant girl to petition the court for an abortion if a parent does not provide consent.  In addition, the consent requirement is removed in cases of medical emergencies when there isn’t enough time to obtain written permission from a parent. The House companion, HB 265 by Representative Erin Grall has been placed on the calendar for second reading.

Occupational Licensing: This week SB 1336 by Senator Keith Perry passed favorably in the Community Affairs committee in a 4-0 vote.  This bill would preempt local governments from requiring occupational licenses that are not mandated by the state.  The legislation would affect a broad range of trade classes including, “flooring, cabinetry, painting, interior remodeling, driveway or tennis court installation, decorative stone, tile, marble, granite, or terrazzo installation, plastering, stuccoing, caulking, canvas awning, installation, and ornamental iron installation.”  A similar bill in the House, HB 3 by Representative Michael Grant, passed favorably in all its referred committees and awaits a vote by the full House.

Panic Alarms: This week HB 23 by Representative Michael Gottlieb passed favorably in an 8-4 vote.  The bill creates “Alyssa’s Law,” which requires each public elementary, middle, and high school campus, including charter schools, to have a mobile panic alarm system for life-threatening emergency situations, such as active shooter situations, beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.  School employees must be able to activate the alarm from any building or location on campus.

The law would be named after Alyssa Alhadeff, one of the seventeen people killed during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February 2018.  Activating the panic alarm sends a message to 911 so emergency personnel and law enforcement can quickly respond.  The bill is now in the Education Committee, its last stop before the House floor.  The Senate companion, SB 70 by Senator Lauren Book, passed favorably in its first committee and is now in its second committee, Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, with its final stop being the full Appropriations Committee before reaching the Senate floor.