Legislative Session Update: 2/15/2019

The Legislature held its second committee week of February – there is one more week of committee hearings next week before the Legislature convenes Regular Session 2019 on March 5th. This week marked one year since the Parkland shootings and the Legislature continues to discuss school safety issues along with other priority issues. In addition, many of the member bills filed for Regular Session 2019 have begun initial committee hearings.

We provide the following update on issues and legislation currently being discussed for Regular Session 2019:

1. Retainage (HB 101 by Representative Andrade and CS/SB 246 by Senator Hooper). Representatives of Florida’s construction industry asked Representative Andrade (R-Pensacola) and Senator Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) to file legislation to address their concerns over slow payments to subcontractors and general contractors on large publicly financed construction projects. The legislation reduces the amount (referred to as retainage) a state or local governmental entity may withhold from payment to a contractor for construction services on projects over $200,000. The retainage amount is statutorily reduced from 10 percent to 5 percent for construction projects until the project is at least 50 percent complete. The bill also reduces the retainage from 5 percent to 2.5 percent for construction projects after the project has reached 50-percent completion.

The House and Senate bills were heard in their initial committee references this week and passed as a committee substitute with amendments. The amendments limited the impact of the legislation on local government entities. During those meetings, several county and city representatives spoke on record about their concerns with this reduction. We also had the opportunity to speak with Representative Andrade, and stated that we would like to continue to talk with him about concerns from Florida’s seaports. In addition, we have requested a meeting with Senator Hooper.

CS/SB 246 currently has two more scheduled committee references – Community Affairs; and Full Appropriations. The Senate bill has not been scheduled for its next hearing to date. CS/HB 101 also has two more scheduled committee references – Oversight, Transparency and Public Management; and Commerce. The House bill has not been scheduled for its next hearing to date.

We have heard from several of you about your concerns on the impact of this bill, and we will pass along any information you can provide us. We will continue to work with the sponsors of this legislation to address your concerns.

2. Preemption of Local Regulations (HB 3 by Representative Grant). Representative Grant (R-Tampa) has filed legislation to limit the ability of local governments to enact new regulations on a business or business entity after July 1, 2019. Much of the current language in the bill is broad, and it is difficult at this time to determine the actual impact of the legislation on current and future regulations. The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the House Business and Professions Subcommittee on Thursday, February 21st in 212 Knott Building at 10:30 a.m.

The House bill also has two more scheduled committee references – Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs; and Commerce. There are no identical bills filed in the Senate.

3. Transportation (HB 385 by Representative Avila). HB 385 was heard in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on February 13th, and passed as a Committee Substitute. The amendments to the legislation narrowed the application of the bill to the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority (MDX).

The House bill has two more House committee references: Ways and Means; and State Affairs.

4. FPC Lobby Group. We will hold a FPC Lobby Group meeting at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, February 18th.  The meeting will be at the Ericks Consultants Building on 205 South Adams Street.