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2024 Legislative Priorities

1. Disconnect Switches

  • Objective: Revisit 2023 legislation to allow HVAC contractors to work on both the line and load sides of a disconnect switch.

2. Sales Tax Exemption for HVAC Equipment

  • Objective: Secure an exemption for HVAC equipment from tangible personal property tax, aligning it with exemptions already available for real property.

3. Introduction to Trades

  • Objective: Collaborate with lawmakers to introduce a middle school course that provides eighth-grade students with an introductory subject in trades.

4. Direct Funding for Apprenticeships

  • Objective: Advocate for a direct grant to registered apprenticeship programs for workforce education dollars, bypassing Local Education Agencies (LEAs).

5. Building Code Challenge

  • Objective: Ensure that prevailing parties in building code challenges can recuperate their fees.

6. Sales Tax Holiday

  • Objective: Establish a year-long sales tax holiday for HVAC equipment purchases up to $7,500.

7. Tort Reform

  • Objective: Continue efforts to legislate against frivolous lawsuits affecting the industry.

2024 Legislative Accomplishments - Priority Bills

HB 0481 Building Construction Regulations and System Warranties by Maggard/Hooper 

  • Streamlines building construction regulations and system warranties, specifically targeting HVAC systems' warranty and registration processes. It also requires clear communication that registration is optional and eliminates the need for contractor documentation for warranty purposes. The bill expands the scope of work for specified HVAC system contractors to include specified line-side repairs or replacements and the repair or replacement of specified components for dedicated HVAC circuits under specified conditions.

HB 0149 Continuing Contracts by Alvarez 

  • Raises the maximum estimated construction cost for projects under a continuing contract with a governmental entity to $7.5 million. This maximum cost will be adjusted annually based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), with updated amounts published on the Department of Management Services' website.

HB 0917 Career and Technical Education by Snyder – APPROVED by Governor

  • Amends multiple statutes to revise career and technical education, licensure qualifications, and minor employment exemptions in Florida, and repeals the Florida Talent Development Council. Additionally, it mandates the publication of a statewide asset map for career and technical education, modifies the definition of "journeyworker," and authorizes counties and municipalities to issue journeyman licenses without additional exams or fees, while repealing the Florida Talent Development Council.

Miscellaneous Bills

HB 0623 Home Warranty Transfers by Steele/Burgess 

  • Mandates builders to provide warranties for newly constructed homes, covering construction defects for one year after conveyance of title or occupancy, and defining key terms such as "builder," "material violation," and "newly constructed home." The warranty excludes defects covered by manufacturer warranties, normal wear and tear, house settling within acceptable practices, damages by owners, or acts of God, and allows enforcement through private civil actions by purchasers against non-compliant builders.

HB 0049 Employment and Curfew of Minors by Chaney/Burgess – APPROVED by the Governor

  • Adjusts employment restrictions for minors in Florida, particularly those 16 and 17 years old, and revises meal break requirements, allowing them to work before 6:30 a.m. or after 11 p.m. on school nights with certain hour limitations that can be waived. The law also specifies restrictions for minors 15 or younger, exempts certain minors from these restrictions, and authorizes the department to grant waivers and establish penalties for employer violations.

HB 0433 Employment Regulations by Esposito/Trumbull APPROVED by the Governor

  • The bill seeks to establish statewide preemption over employment regulations and workplace heat exposure requirements, invalidating local government ordinances that exceed or conflict with state or federal labor laws. It prohibits local governments from setting different minimum wages or influencing wage policies in business contracts, while allowing them to set higher standards for their own employees, and mandates state regulation of workplace heat exposure if OSHA hasn't acted by July 1, 2028.

SB 7032 Education by Education Postsecondary APPROVED by the Governor 

  • Establishes the Graduation Alternative to Traditional Education (GATE) Program to provide an alternative pathway for students who have withdrawn from high school before graduation, offering waived payments for certain fees and stipend eligibility under specific conditions. The program sets eligibility criteria, mandates parental consent for withdrawal of students under 18, requires the Department of Education to disseminate information and provide career planning tools, and introduces a scholarship program to financially support institutions by reimbursing specific student fees and costs.

HB 0267 Building Regulations by Esposito/DiCeglie 

  • Amends the Florida Building Code to simplify the process for installing replacement windows, doors, and garage doors by exempting the need for sealed drawings by design professionals, requiring installations to follow manufacturer's instructions, and submitting these instructions with permit applications. Additionally, it removes building permit requirements for specific residential dwellings, defines "private provider firm," revises permit issuance procedures and timelines, limits local audits of private providers, and allows local governments to use certain fees for technology upgrades. Standards for unvented attic assemblies are established, and reports on thermal efficiency standards are required to be delivered to the Legislature.
  • 30 Business Days: For structures under 7,500 sq. ft. (previously 120 days).
  • 60 Business Days: For structures over 7,500 sq. ft., signs, nonresidential buildings under 25,000 sq. ft., multifamily residences (max 50 units), site plans, and lot grading (previously 120 days).
  • 12 Business Days: For permits under an approved master plan or 30 days for single-family homes.
  • 10 Business Days: For single-family homes in Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery programs (previously 15 days) and applications using a private provider with a professional seal (previously 120 days).
  • 5 Business Days: To determine application completeness (previously 10 days).

Additional provisions include exceptions to fee reductions for applicant-caused delays, force majeure, or extraordinary circumstances, new auditing standards for local governments, and pathways for residential building inspector licensure. The Florida Building Commission will also review standards for unvented attics, effective July 1, 2025. This bill ensures faster, more efficient permitting processes, supporting community development and resilience.

HB 1335 Department of Business and Professional Regulation by Maggard/Hooper APPROVED by the Governor

  • The bill mandates online account creation and email communication for individuals and entities seeking licensure or permits from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and modifies various licensure requirements and procedures. It prohibits processing non-online applications, adjusts tobacco distributor bond amounts, deletes certain port mentor program requirements, expands engineering licensing exemptions, authorizes DBPR to act without board quorum, revises financial criteria for business licensure, modifies barber and cosmetology licensure eligibility, updates penalties and fund payments for construction recovery, and changes qualifications for alcoholic beverage licenses and prescription drug wholesale certification.

SB 0770 Improvements to Real Property by Martin/Trabulsy 

  • Enables program administrators to offer financing for qualifying improvements to residential and commercial properties when authorized by a county or municipality, requiring property owner consent, financial feasibility assessments, and specific disclosures. The bill introduces advertising regulations, prohibits misleading claims, and mandates annual reporting and operational audits. Existing contracts must comply with the new regulations, and financing agreements are unenforceable under certain conditions such as fraud.

SB 1600 Interstate Mobility by Collins/Plasencia 

  • Introduces reforms across various professions to streamline interstate mobility for licensed professionals moving to Florida and standardizes endorsement processes. The bill requires boards or the DBPR to assess the equivalency of out-of-state licenses, establish criteria for licensure by endorsement, and mandate applicants to cover fingerprint processing costs for criminal history checks. It also includes the MOBILE Act for healthcare fields, revises endorsement requirements, and mandates annual reporting by the DBPR on application outcomes and disciplinary actions.

SB 0812 Expedited Approval of Residential Building Permits by Ingoglia/McClain 

  • A bill mandates expedited approval processes for residential building permits and sets conditions for local government programs, applicant obligations, and rights. It requires counties and municipalities with specified populations to create programs by October 1, 2024, for expedited permit issuance before final plat recording, expanding to 75% of planned homes by 2027. The bill also introduces a two-step application process, allows the use of private providers, mandates performance bonds, and sets conditions for selling but not transferring ownership until final plat approval, while affirming applicants' vested rights and requiring indemnification of local governments.

SB 1628 Local Government Actions by Collins/McClure 

  • The bill mandates that bond referenda above $500 million by counties, districts, or municipalities must occur during general elections and updates provisions for the enactment of county and municipal ordinances. It specifies cost-sharing for referenda during regular elections, exempts certain ordinances from standard procedures, and details exceptions for ordinances related to development, emergencies, procurement, and compliance with state laws.

SB 1142 Occupational Licensing by Hooper/Mooney 

  • Extends dates and provides new registration guidelines for certain contractors in Florida, allowing for the issuance of registrations without examinations, delaying the establishment of voluntary licensure categories to July 1, 2025, and setting responsibilities and fees for the Construction Industry Licensing Board.

SB 0382 Continuing Education Requirements 

  • Requires state boards or the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to allow distance learning for fulfilling continuing education requirements and mandates exemptions for certain long-term licensees from these requirements. The bill also prohibits centralized examinations, allows prorating or waiving requirements for new licensees, and mandates rule adoption for implementation, including emergency rules with a six-month effectiveness and renewal option.

SB 1688 Career-themed Courses by Osgood/Dunkley APPROVED by the Governor 

  • Enhances the Florida Career and Professional Education Act by revising strategic plan requirements, annual review data inclusion, and informational provisions to students and parents. The bill mandates strategies for promoting career and technical education, requires the Department of Education to collect performance data on industry-certified programs, and obligates school districts to inform students and parents about available career courses during middle school course selection.

HB 0705 Public Works Projects by Shoaf/Grall 

  • Expands the definition of "public works project" and revises the applicability of prohibitions on restrictive bidding practices by the state or its political subdivisions. The bill defines public works projects as activities funded by local or state funds for constructing, maintaining, or improving various facilities, excludes incidental services that do not require a construction contracting license, and prohibits geographic restrictions on contractors in the bidding process, except for projects solely funded by a county or municipality
2024 Legislative Priorities
2023 Legislative Priorities

Ensuring HVAC Warranties Honor Full Terms:

The Problem: In Florida, most manufacturer warranties are tied to the person, not the property. This means that when a residential property is sold, the HVAC manufacturer warranty may not necessarily transfer to the new property owner.

Legislation Passed: HB 1203 - Registration and Transfer of HVAC Warranties
by Rep. Maggard and Senator Boyd

The bill ensures that regardless of ownership, the HVAC manufacturer’s warranty is tied to the property. HVAC warrantors must honor the original terms regardless of the property owner and may not charge a transfer fee when the property is sold. The bill ensures that this transfer does not extend the original warranty term and requires a licensed contractor who installs an HVAC system to document the installation through an invoice or receipt to the customer.
Bill Text | Bill Summary 

Supporting Skilled Workers Through Tax Relief on Tools and Equipment:

The Problem: Specialized tools and equipment amount to substantial costs for skilled trade workers.

Legislation Passed: HB 7063 - Taxation

The Legislature’s 2023 Tax Package established a seven-day sales tax holiday for skilled trade worker tools and equipment, including certain hand and power tools, work boots, safety equipment, shop lights, toolboxes and belts, and plumbing and electrical equipment.
Bill Text | Bill Summary 

Investing in the Future Workforce by Expanding Career and Technical Education Opportunities:

The Problem: Florida needs to place more emphasis on developing tomorrow’s talent in the skilled labor trades. Without sufficient investment, Florida will face a labor shortage and skill gap in this industry, which should be addressed via early recruitment and work-based learning opportunities.

Legislation Passed: SB 240 - Education by Sen. Hutson

This comprehensive education bill ensures that high school students have greater access to explore skilled trades as a career pathway through educational credit opportunities, increased funding for Career and Technical Education programs, and additional support for businesses offering work-based learning opportunities to students.
Bill Text | Bill Summary 

Authorizing Florida’s School Voucher Funding for Apprenticeship Programs:

The Problem: Florida’s school voucher scholarship programs allow eligible students to attend private schools that better serve their needs, but are limited in options for pursuing CTE programs.

Legislation Passed: HB 1 - Education by Rep. Plascencia and Sen. Simon

The bill expands the authorized use of Florida Tax Credit (FTC) scholarship funds to cover tuition and fees for eligible students to pursue approved pre-apprenticeship programs.
Bill Text | Bill Summary 

Limiting the Time-Period for Contractor Liability in Construction Defect Cases:

The Problem: Under the Statute of Repose, property owners could bring an action for a construction defect within 10 years, regardless of when it was discovered.

Legislation Passed: SB 360 - Causes of Action Based on Improvements to Real Property
by Sen. Hutson/Rep. Snyder

The bill reduces the Statute of Repose from 10 years to 7 years and revises the list of potential commencement dates for the Statute of Repose to ensure it runs based on the earliest date rather than the latest.
Bill Text | Bill Summary 

2023 legislative summary

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