2013 Legislative Preview: Part 1

The Florida Legislature will go into its annual sixty day session on Tuesday, March 5. This may be a more “normal” session as compared to the previous few years when budget issues dominated the sessions. As usual there are a number of bills filed that touch on the construction industry. The information we have is based on bills that have been filed. This does not mean that other issues won’t pop up as amendments to existing bills. Also while we have identified specific bill numbers, the bills discussed often have companion bills in the other chamber that deal with the same or similar issues as the bills discussed below.

To review the current status of any bill you can go to http://www.flsenate.gov/ for Senate bills or http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/ for House bills. For Senate bills, there is a box at the top of the home page. Enter the bill number and it will take you to the section for that bill. For the House, click on “Bills” tab at the top of the home page, put the bill number in the box that appears and it will take you to the section for that bill.

House Bill 85 – Public/Private Partnership

This bill and several related bills are designed to provide guidance for local governments for utilizing public/private partnerships which would allow a private entity to develop a project for public use after reaching an agreement with the local government. There are a number of types of projects listed that would qualify for this public/private partnership arrangement. These include mass transit facilities, parking facilities, airport or seaport facilities, power generation facilities, and sporting or cultural facilities, among others. It sets the procedures for soliciting or dealing with unsolicited applications as well as the requirements for entering into the public private partnership. Among other things, the local government must ensure the provisions are made for the private entities to provide for performance and payment of subcontractors including but not limited to surety bonds, letters of credits, parent company guarantees and lender and equity partner guarantees. It does maintain the requirement for bonds to be issued under Florida Section 255.05.

This act would take effect July 1, 2013.

HB 85 Public Private Partnerships

Senate Bill 684 – Preferences in Award of State and State Funded Contracts

There already exists a requirement that any agency of the State of Florida grant a preference for a Florida business for any purchase of personal property. This bill would extend that preference requirement to construction services. It would also preempt any local preference ordinances or regulations for any purchase of personal property and construction services using, in whole or in part, funds appropriated by the State. House Bill 307 has the same preference for Florida contractors, but does not include the preemption of local preferences.

This act would take effect July 1, 2013.

SB 684 Preferences in Award of State Contracts

Senate Bill 286 – Liability Limitation of Design Professionals

This bill has been filed for several years. At present, design professionals are personally liable for any professional malpractice and they cannot disclaim that liability by contract. This bill would allow design professionals to contractually disclaim their personal liability for their negligent performance provided that certain requirements are included in the contract for their services.

This bill would take effect July 1, 2013.

SB 286 Limitation of Design Liability

Senate Bill 248 – Impaired Licensees

This bill places in the hands of the DBPR and the individual licensing boards the right to investigate complaints that a licensee has a mental or physical condition that could affect their ability to practice with skill and safety or in the case of an applicant the potential to practice with skill or safety.

This act would take effect July 1, 2013.

SB 248 Impaired Licensees

House Bill 57 – Funding of Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund

This would change the funding for the Florida Homeowners Construction Recovery Fund by deleting use of funds from the Professional Regulation Trust Fund which is generated by the 1/2 cent per square foot surcharge on building permits. Funding through another surcharge on permits has been retained. This bill would also permit the transfer of funds from the Building Code Administrators and Inspectors Board that are not necessary to fund the operation of the Board to the Florida Homeowners Construction Recovery Fund.

This bill will take effect October 1, 2013.

HB 57 Florida Homeowners Construction Recovery Fund

House Bill 47 – Smoke Alarms

This bill would require that effective January 1, 2014 any battery operated smoke alarm that is newly installed or replaced must be powered by a non-replaceable non-removable battery capable of powering the smoke alarm for at least ten (10) years.  This does not apply to electrically operated smoke alarms, a fire alarm system with a smoke detector, a fire alarm device that connects to a panel, or any similar device that uses a low power radio frequency wireless communications signal.

This would take effect July 1, 2013.

HB 47 Smoke Alarms

House Bill 63 – Carbon Monoxide Alarms

This bill would require that each K-12 public school facility that has a feature fixture or element that emits carbon monoxide as a by-product of combustion to install a carbon monoxide alarm in accordance with the Florida Building Code. It requires that this alarm be connected to the fire alarm system.

This would take effect July 1, 2013.

HB 63 Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Florida Bar
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