Overview of 2021 Legislation that Impacts the City

by Yvonne Lopez | Jun 01, 2021
  1. Building Inspections

     HB 667         
    Effective date: July 1, 2021

    The bill amends Section 553.79, Fla. Stat. to require local building enforcement agencies to allow requests for inspections to be submitted electronically, such as by E-mail, electronic fill-in form, or downloaded application. A local enforcement agency must refund 10 % of the permit and inspection fees if the inspector or building official determines the work fails an inspection but fails to provide, within five days, a reason that is based on compliance with state or local requirements, indicating why the work failed the inspection.  If any permit and inspection fees are refunded, the surcharges provided in Sections 553.721 or 468.631, Fla. Stats. must be calculated based on the permit and inspection fees after the refund.  In addition, the bill clarifies that a governmental entity may perform virtual inspections at its discretion but that it may not perform virtual inspections for structural inspections on threshold buildings.

  2. Construction Permits

    HB 1059   
    Effective date: October 1, 2021

    The bill amends Section 166.033, Fla. Stat., to require local governments to review additional information for an application for a development permit or development order within specified time-frames. It requires local governments to post certain building permit information on their websites, including the following: each type of application and required documentation; procedures for processing, reviewing and approving applications; and the status of each application. It requires local governments to provide for electronic submission of all parts of the application and payments. The local government only has 3 chances to ask for more information.  The applicant must respond as follows:  1. Once within 30 days after receipt of a request, the applicant must provide the information, and the local government has 30 days to review and make a second request for information.  2.  If the local government makes a second request, the applicant has 30 days to submit the additional information and the local government only has 10 days to review.  3.  If the local government makes a third request, the applicant has 30 days to submit the additional information and the local government only has 10 days to review.  The bill requires a local government that fails to meet established deadlines for reviewing building permit applications to reduce the fee for such permits for every business day that it misses the deadline. It provides that if a local government denies an application for a single-family residential dwelling, it must allow the applicant 10 business days to correct the application. Local government must refund 10% for each day late in approving applications after deadline of 30 days with single-family, then 10 days after which City must reduce permit fee by 20% for 1st business day and 10% for each day for the next 5 business days (up to 70%).  If any building permit fees are refunded per this subsection, the surcharges in Sections 468.631 or 553.71, Fla. Stats. must be recalculated based on the amount of the building permit fees after the refund.  For other development other than single-family residential dwelling, the fees are 10 % per business day after 120 days following the receipt of completed application unless parties agree to an extension of time.  This applies to the following building permit applications: accessory structure; alarm permit; nonresidential buildings less than 25,000 square feet; electric; irrigation permit; landscaping; mechanical; plumbing; residential units other than single-family unit; multifamily residential not exceeding 50 units; roofing; signs; site-plan approvals and subdivision plats not requiring public hearings or public notice; and lot grading and site alteration associated with the permit application set forth in this subsection.

    Master Building Permit Application.  If Building Department fails to approve or deny a Master Building permit application within 120 days after receiving completed application, it must reduce building permit fee by 10% each business day it fails to meet deadline unless applicant agrees to longer time period.

    It further prohibits a local government from requiring an applicant to provide a copy of a contractor’s contract with owners, subcontractors, or suppliers as a condition of application for a building permit for commercial property.

  3. Home-based Businesses

    HB 403E
    Effective date:  July 1, 2021

    The bill creates Section 559.955, Fla. Stat. relating to home-based businesses. It provides that local governments may not take any action to license or otherwise regulate a home-based business except as authorized in the bill.  It specifies a home-based business that operates from a residential property: may operate in an area zoned for residential use; may not be regulated or licensed in a manner that is different from other businesses except as provided; and is only subject to applicable business taxes under Chapter 205, Fla. Stat. in the county and municipality where it is located. The bill provides that a business is considered home-based if it operates from a residential property and meets specified criteria as follows:  1.  The employees who work at the residential dwelling must also reside there, except up to two people who do not reside at the dwelling may work there (in addition to any remote employees).  2.  Parking related to the business complies with local zoning and the need for parking may not be greater in volume than would normally be expected at a residence.  A local government may regulate the use of vehicles or trailers associated with the business, provided the regulations are not more stringent than those applicable to residences where no business is conducted. Vehicles and trailers associated with a home-based business must be parked in legal parking spaces that are not located within the right- of-way, on or over a sidewalk, or on any unimproved surfaces at the residence. Local governments may regulate the parking or storage of heavy equipment that is visible from the street or neighboring property.  3.  The use must appear consistent with uses of residential areas that surround the property as viewed from the street. External modifications of a residential dwelling must conform to the character and aesthetics of the neighborhood.  Retail transactions may not be conducted at a structure other than the dwelling.  4. The business activity must be secondary to the property’s use as a residential dwelling.  5.  The business activities must comply with relevant local or state regulations regarding signage and equipment or processes that create noise, vibration, heat, smoke, dust, glare, fumes or noxious odors and similar external impacts. Local regulations about external impacts may not be more stringent than those that apply to a residence where no business is conducted. 6.   Business activities must comply with local, state, and federal regulations with respect to the use, storage, or disposal of corrosive, combustible or other hazardous materials. The bill provides a way for an adversely affected home-based business owner to challenge local government action in violation of the bill’s requirements and authorizes prevailing party attorney fees and costs. Local requirements related to transient public lodging establishments (vacation rentals) are not superseded by the bill.  Further, the bill does not supersede:  any current or future declaration of condominium under Chapter 718, Fla. Stat., cooperative document adopted under Chapter 719, Fla. Stat. or declaration of covenant adopted pursuant to Chapter 720, Fla. Stat.

  4. Preemption of Firearms & Ammunition Regulations

    SB 1884; Chapter 2021-15, Laws of Florida
    Effective date: July 1, 2021

    The bill revises the current law preemption of local government regulation of firearms and ammunition in Section 790.33, Fla. Stat. to provide that written or unwritten policies are subject to statutory provisions allowing for recovery of damages if such policies violate the statutory preemption. In addition, it provides that a plaintiff challenging a local government regulation concerning firearms is considered a prevailing plaintiff for purposes of recovering attorney fees when a governmental entity voluntarily changes a regulation while the regulation is being challenged.

  5. Requirements for Recycling
    SB 664; Chapter 2020-149,
    Laws of Florida
    Effective date: July 1, 2020

This bill amended Section 403.706, Fla. Stat. and passed last year, but will likely apply to us in the future.  For each contract between a city and a residential recycling collector or recovered material processing facility executed or renewed after October 1, 2020; each contract between a residential recycling collector and a city for the collection or transport of residential recyclable material, and each request for proposal or other solicitation must include all of the following:

  1. The respective strategies and obligations of the county or municipality and the residential recycling collector to reduce the amount of contaminated recyclable material being collected.
  2. The procedures for identifying, documenting, managing, and rejecting residential recycling containers, truck loads, carts, or bins that contain contaminated recyclable material.
  3. The remedies authorized to be used if a container, cart, or bin contains contaminated recyclable material.
  4. The education and enforcement measures that will be used to reduce the amount of contaminated recyclable material.
  5. A definition of the term "contaminated recyclable material" that is appropriate for the local community.

Each contract between a recovered materials facility and a city for processing residential recyclable material, and each request for proposal or other solicitation must include all of the following:

     1. The respective strategies and obligations of the county or municipality and the facility to reduce the amount of contaminated recyclable material being collected and processed.

2.  The procedures for identifying, documenting, managing, and rejecting residential recycling containers, truck loads, carts, or bins that contain contaminated recyclable material.

3. The remedies authorized to be used if a container or truck load contains contaminated recyclable material.

4.  A definition of the term "contaminated recyclable material" that is appropriate for the local community.

 6.    Establishment of the Resilient Florida Grant Program
        SB 1954; Chapter 2021-28,  Laws of Florida 
        Effective date: May 12, 2021

The bill provides for grants (if funded) to a county or municipality to fund the costs of community resilience planning and necessary data collection for such planning, including comp plan amendments & necessary corresponding analyses that address Section 163.3178(2)(f), Fla. Stat.; vulnerability assessments (must encompass the entire municipality) that identify or address risks of flooding and sea level rise; the development of projects, plans, and policies that allow communities to prepare for threats from flooding and sea level rise; and project to adapt critical assets to the effects of flooding and sea level rise.  Regional Resiliency Entities may be created and funded to assist local governments.

Municipalities (and Counties) may, by September 1, 2021 and each September 1 thereafter, submit a list of proposed projects, consistent with the statute, that address risks of flooding or sea level rise identified in vulnerability assessments that meet the statutory requirements.  Requires a minimum 50% cost-share.  Statute sets out criteria, application requirements, and projects that are not eligible.

The bill also requires the Department of Environmental Protection to:

  1. Initiate rule-making by August 1, 2021 to implement the program.

     

  2. Develop a Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience Plan with a 3-year planning horizon, identifying ranked projects to address risks of flooding and sea level rise to coastal and inland communities, by December 1, 2021 and each December thereafter.

     

  3. Complete the development of a comprehensive statewide flood vulnerability and sea level rise data set sufficient to conduct a comprehensive statewide flood vulnerability and sea level rise assessment by July 1, 2022.

     

  4. Complete a comprehensive statewide flood vulnerability and sea level rise assessment that identifies inland and coastal infrastructure, geographic areas, and communities in the state that are vulnerable to flooding and sea level rise and the associated risks by July 1, 2023.

     

  5. Update the comprehensive statewide flood vulnerability and sea level rise data set and assessment every 5 years, or more frequently if determined necessary.

Further, the bill establishes the Florida Flood Hub for Applied Research and Innovation within the University of South Florida College of Marine Science, to organize data, develop statewide open source hydro-logic models for physically based flood frequency estimation and real-time forecasting of floods, future groundwater elevation conditions, and economic damage and loss estimates.  The Hub will also coordinate research funds, establish community-based programs to improve flood monitoring and prediction along major waterways, and support ongoing flood research.

Finally, the bill modifies the requirements for the Office of Economic and Demographic Research’s annual assessment of Florida’s water resources and conservation lands to include an analysis of future expenditures by federal, state, regional, and local governments to minimize the adverse economic effects of inland and coastal flooding, including the costs of resilience efforts to address flooding associated with sea level rise, high tide events, storm surge, flash flooding, storm water runoff, and increased annual precipitation over a 50-year planning horizon.

7.      Tobacco and Nicotine Products
         SB 1080; Chapter 2021-14, Laws of Florida
         Effective date: October 1, 2021

The bill revises the regulation of the retail sale of tobacco products and nicotine products in Section 210.095, Fla. Stat. (Remote Sales) and Section 569.101, Fla. Stat. (Retail Sales). The bill increases the minimum age to lawfully purchase and possess tobacco products and nicotine products from 18 to 21 years of age, except the exemption in current law for underage persons in the military and persons acting in the scope of lawful employment is maintained. The bill creates a separate licensing structure for, the retail sale of “nicotine dispensing devices” and nicotine products. The bill requires applicants for a retail tobacco products dealer permit and a retail nicotine products dealer permit to be at least 21 years of age. The bill preempts to the state the establishment of a minimum age for purchasing or possessing tobacco or nicotine products and the regulation of the marketing, sale, or delivery of tobacco or nicotine products. In addition, the bill amends Section 386.212, Fla. Stat. to prohibit smoking and vaping by any person under 21 years of age on or near school property, and requires age verification before a sale or delivery of tobacco products and nicotine products to persons who appear to be under 30 years of age.  Finally, the legislation provides that possession of tobacco products under the age of 21 is a first degree misdemeanor and delivering or selling tobacco products to an individual under the age of 21 is a second degree misdemeanor.

8.      Combating Public Disorder
         HB 1; Chapter 2021-6, Laws of Florida 
         Effective date: April 19, 2021

The bill makes a variety of changes aimed at curbing riots and violent protests. The bill amends Section 768.28, Fla. Stat. to provide that a municipality has a duty to allow the municipal law enforcement agency to respond appropriately to protect persons and property during a riot or unlawful assembly. If the municipality breaches that duty, the bill provides the municipality is civilly liable for specified damages proximately caused by the municipality’s breach of that duty and sovereign immunity recovery caps do not apply. It also amends Section 166.241, Fla. Stat. to create a budget appeal process to challenge reductions in municipal law enforcement agencies’ budgets. The appeal process is similar to current law processes available to a county sheriff. If a municipality’s tentative budget reduces the operating budget of the municipality’s law enforcement agency, the state attorney or a member of the municipal governing body who objects to the reduction may file an appeal within 30 days of the tentative budget being posted. The municipality has five days to file a reply. Upon receiving a petition for appeal, the Executive Office of the Governor is directed to conduct a hearing on the appeal and make a recommendation to the Administration Commission (Governor and Cabinet). The Administration Commission is authorized to approve, amend, or modify the municipality’s law enforcement budget.  The Administration Commission’s decision is final.

In addition to provisions addressing municipal liability and law enforcement budgets, the bill increases existing penalties or establishes new criminal penalties for various offenses.  It increases penalties for specified burglary and theft offenses, assault and battery, and assault and battery against a law enforcement officer. It creates definitions for affray, riot, and inciting a riot and creates the offenses of aggravated rioting, aggravated inciting a riot, and mob intimidation. The bill establishes new penalties and increases existing penalties under Section 806.13, Fla. Stat. associated with injuring or removing a tomb, memorial, monument, or historic property. It enacts a new Section 836.115, Fla. Stat. to create the crime of cyber intimidation by publication, which prohibits a person from electronically publishing another person’s personal information with the intent to incite violence, commit a crime against, or threaten or harass the person (“doxing”). The bill enacts a new Section 870.07, Fla. Stat. to create an affirmative defense in a civil action for personal injury, wrongful death, or property damage when such action arose from injury or damage incurred by a participant in furtherance of a riot. It redefines the offense of obstruction of roadways to address portions of the law previously held unconstitutional. As revised, a person commits a pedestrian violation under Chapter 318, Fla. Stat. if he or she obstructs the normal use of a roadway by impeding traffic, standing on or remaining on the street, or endangering the safe movement of vehicles or pedestrians. Finally, the bill requires law enforcement officers to hold individuals committing crimes related to riots in jail until their first appearance.

 9.      Beverage Law
          SB 148; Chapter 2021-30, Laws of Florida 
          Effective July 1, 2021

The bill amends Section 561.20, Fla. Stat. to permit food service establishments with a “special instrument license” or an “SRX license,” to sell and deliver alcoholic beverage drinks prepared and sealed by the licensee as well as manufacture-sealed beer, wine, and liquor for off-premise consumption under certain conditions. The alcohol sale or delivery must be accompanied by the sale of food within the same order. The bill does not authorize a licensee to sell a bottle of distilled spirits sealed by a manufacturer. A dated receipt must be attached to the bag or container used to transport the beverage. An alcoholic beverage that is not in a container sealed by the manufacturer and transported in a motor vehicle must be placed in a locked compartment, a locked trunk, or the area behind the last upright seat in the vehicle. It further amends Section 562.11, Fla. Stat. to provide that persons under age 21 are prohibited from delivering alcoholic beverages.

 10.    Elections
         SB 90; Chapter 2021-11, Laws of Florida 
         Effective date:  May 6, 2021

The bill enacts Section 97.0291, Fla. Stat., which prevents the City – most practically, the City Clerk – from accepting or soliciting any donation (money, grants, property or personal services) that will fund elected-related expenses or any programs related to elections. This prohibition excludes the donated use of space for polling rooms or early voting sites.

Section  99.021, Fla. Stat., was amended to add a newly created subparagraph (c) that requires any person seeking to qualify for office as a candidate for any political party must, at the time of subscribing to the oath or affirmation, state in writing that he or she has been a member of that political party for 365 days before the beginning of qualification and any person seeking to qualify for office as a candidate with no party affiliation must, at the time of subscribing to the oath or affirmation, state in writing that he or she has had no registered party affiliation for 365 days before the beginning of the qualifying period for the specific election in which they are running. (To remove a current political affiliation, a new voter’s registration application must be submitted and processed by the Broward SOE.)

Changes to Section 101.051, Fla. Stat., include amendments to increase the distance that solicitors must stand away from polling places and early voting sites from 110 feet to 150 feet; and it requires the same protections now for drop box locations also.

Changes to Section 101.62, Fla. Stat., provides that a vote-by-mail ballot must be requested with proof of identification required.

Changes to Section 102.031, Fla. Stat., include adding traditional good order requirements to drop box locations, and not simply polling places and early voting sites; it adds to the definition of “solicitation” to very broadly include “engaging in any activity with the intent to influence or the effect of influencing a voter;” last, it clarifies that even the owner of land where a polling place or early voting site is located cannot stop a candidate or a candidate’s designee from soliciting voters outside the no-solicitation zone during polling hours.

Section 104.0616, Fla. Stat., was amended to include grandchild as part of one’s “immediate family” and thereby clarifying the prohibition that handling more than two (2) vote-by-mail ballots of other electors per election, not including immediate family members constitutes a first degree misdemeanor.

11.   Code Enforcement SB 60    
       Effective date:  July 1, 2021

The bill amends Section 162.06, Fla. Stat. the general code enforcement procedure statute, to add paragraph (b) prohibiting the initiation of an enforcement case solely upon an anonymous complaint. A reporting individual must provide their name and address to the local government before a case may be initiated. An exception to this prohibition exists when the code inspector has reason to believe that the violation presents an imminent threat to public health, safety, or welfare or imminent destruction of habitat or sensitive resources. (The exact same language was added to Sections 162.21 and 166.0415, Fla. Stats.)

12.    Florida Building Code/Design Standards
         HB 401
         Effective date:  July 1, 2021

Section 163.3202, Fla. Stat. is amended to add a new paragraph (5) with several sub-paragraphs. Among the new language is a definition for “Building design elements” that delivers a very broad common sense meaning of design elements. There is a general prohibition on imposing design elements on single-family or two-family dwellings, EXCEPT when: a) the property is designated as historic or within a historic district; b) it pertains to a regulation to implement the National Flood Insurance Program; c) it complies with the Florida Building Code (and Broward Amendments); d) the property is located in a CRA; e) it pertains to regulations to protect coastal wildlife; f) the dwelling is located in a PUD or master planned community created by the local governing body; or g) the dwelling is subject to a local government design review or architectural review board.

Section 553.73, Fla. Stat. was amended to clean-up existing substantive language and emphasize the process for modifying the Florida Building Code through local amendments. The new language in paragraph (4)(l) broadly allows an affected party (owner or builder) to seek a non-binding advisory opinion from the Florida Building Commission on whether a local regulation, law, ordinance, policy, land use or zoning provision is a de facto local amendment to the Florida Building Code. The process for obtaining an advisory opinion includes the local entity’s opportunity to defend its position. It was explicitly added in this section that a local government cannot use preliminary FEMA maps to impose land use and permit changes.

Section 553.79, Fla. Stat., was amended to include new language prohibiting a local government from requiring a contract between a builder and an owner for the issuance of a building permit. My understanding is that the City does not require this. The application requires any documentation to show value of the project (to determine permit fees, when relevant) – this could be a simple quote, unsigned – and a letter of authority or limited power of attorney (to show landowner authorization of the contractor). If the applicant wishes to provide the contract, which contains both the value and proof of authority, that is the applicant’s option.

Section 553.791, Fla. Stat. was amended to provide for virtual/electronic procedures for all aspects of the building permit process, including virtual inspections; subparagraph (2)(b) was added to allow permittees to use private plans reviewers/inspectors and to require local jurisdictions to reduce permit fees in the amount saved for not having to perform those functions– flat fee or percentage based reduction. If inspection services are completed by a private provider, only a reasonable administrative fee may be charged for administrative processing of that inspection. The City will be notified in advance, through an acknowledgment statement by owner, that a private inspector will be performing those services. The private inspector must provide a written/electronically signed affidavit of inspection to the City’s Building Official. Newly added paragraph (10) allows emergency inspection services to be completed without first notifying the City, and requires a timeline for after-the-fact reporting. Newly added paragraph (21) gives the City the option to use private inspectors for its own capital improvement or other projects.

Section 553.80, Fla. Stat. contains strict accounting requirements for collection and use of building permit fees. Specifically, new language in paragraph (7)(a)2. states that excess funds in the collection account (that do not reflect the average operating budget to enforce the Florida Building Code over the span of the previous 4 years) must be rebated or used to reduce fees or used to pay for physical improvements of buildings used by the building code staff (and must be designated by the City Commission for such use and cannot be earmarked for more than 4 consecutive years), or used for training programs for building officials, inspectors or plans examiners.

Section 553.842, Fla. Stat. simply adds the notion that the product approval criteria may include suspension of approvals, as well as the previous language involving revocation of approvals. Not directly relevant to the City, only important to note that some previously approved products might have such approvals suspended in the similar fashion as the revocation process.

13.    Impact Fees
         SB 337
        Effective date: Upon becoming law

The bill amends Section 163.31801, Fla. Stat. to provide new definitions of “infrastructure” and “public facilities” which will impact what types of projects impact fees may be used for.  The bill requires that in-kind improvements be credited against impact fees and that impact fees be used to provide facilities to serve the parties who paid the impact fees.  All impact fee credits regardless of whether the credit was established before or after the bill’s effective date, are assignable and transferable.  The bill requires that impact fee increases up to 25% be implemented in two equal annual increments and impact fee increases between 25 and 50 percent be implemented in four equal installments. The bill prohibits an increase of an impact fee greater than 50% and provides that an impact fee may not be increased more than once every four years. The bill provides a limited exception to the maximum if, based on a study showing that extraordinary circumstances require the additional increase (completed within 12 months preceding increase), the local government holds at least two publicly noticed workshops, and adopts the increase by a 2/3 vote. The impact fee increase limitations are retroactive to January 1, 2021. Finally, the bill expands the items that must be addressed in the Chief Financial Officer’s annual affidavit that must be submitted with the annual financial or audit report.

14.    Bert Harris - Relief from Burdens on Real Property Rights
         HB 421
         Effective date - October 1, 2021

The bill amends Section 70.001, Fla. Stat. to revise the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act in favor of private property owners by expanding the definition of real property to include any legal interest in land, including surface, subsurface, and mineral estates, and shortening the local government review period for responding to claims from 150 to 90 days and specifying that written settlement offers are presumed to protect the public interest. The bill creates a process for a property owner to notify a government that a law or regulation imposes a limitation on the allowable uses of his or her property. The property owner does not have to file an application and have the application be denied prior to filing a claim and allows a property owner to challenge an unlawful exaction as soon as he or she must comply with the exaction, without waiting for a written notice of the action from the government. At the property owner’s option, the court, rather than a jury, shall determine damages. The bill also amends the attorney fee provisions of the Act by allowing a prevailing claimant to recover attorney fees incurred from the time the claimant files notice with the government instead of from the time the claimant files suit. The bill specifies that a property owner entitled to relief under the Act maintains entitlement to pursue the claim if the owner filed a claim under the Act but subsequently relinquishes title to the subject real property before the claim reaches final resolution. Finally, the bill specifies that it applies to claims brought in response to government actions taken on or after July 1, 2021 (90 days before the bill’s effective date).

15.    Emergency Management
        SB 2006
; Chapter 2021-8
        Effective Date: July 1, 2021
        Laws of Florida  except as otherwise specified                                                  

SB 2006 amends Chapter 22, Fla. Stat. to require any local government emergency order that limits or restricts a business or individual’s rights or liberties be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling public health or safety purpose and limits the duration of any such emergency order to 7 days unless extended by a majority vote of the governing body, but then still not exceeding a total of 42 days.  This restriction does not apply to orders issued in response to hurricanes or other weather related emergencies.   Emergency orders must be filed with the clerk within 3 days of approval or they will be automatically void.  The bill allows the governor to invalidate any local emergency order if he or she determines that the local order unnecessarily restricts individual rights or liberties.  Local emergency orders must be posted on a dedicated webpage accessed by a conspicuous link on the local government’s webpage and a link to the dedicated webpage must be provided to the Florida Division of Emergency Management.  The bill prohibits governmental entities, educational institutions, and businesses from requiring proof of vaccination and imposes fines of up to $5,000 per incident for violating the prohibition.  

The bill requires any agency or political subdivision that accepts grants, loans, funds, payments, services, equipment, supplies, or materials under Section 252.37, Fla. Stat. to submit in advance a detailed spending plan to the Legislature (does not apply to the receipt of funds from the federal government as part of an expedited project worksheet in anticipation of emergency response expenditures). If an emergency situation precludes advanced submission of a spending plan, the bill requires its submission within 30 days of initiating any expenditures. The spending plan must be resubmitted every 30 days as long as the emergency continues and funds continue to be disbursed. A detailed spending plan is not required for emergency response activities, including emergency response that includes emergency protective measures or debris removal. Instead, the agency or political subdivision must provide the legislature notice of all expenditures in aggregate categories incurred in the emergency response no later than 30 days after the expenditure is incurred. The entity must also provide the Legislature a copy of any project worksheet submitted to FEMA within 7 days of its submission.

In addition, the bill amends the State Emergency Management Act to address public health emergencies. The bill declares that during an extended public health emergency there is a presumption that K-12 schools and businesses, to the greatest extent possible, should remain open as long as the health, safety and welfare of the students, school employees, and customers can be protected. 

16.    Social Media Deplatforming
         SB 7072; Chapter 2021-32, Laws of Florida
         Effective date: July 1, 2021

 The bill amends Section 106.072, Fla. Stat. to establish violations for social media “deplatforming” of a political candidate or journalistic enterprise, establishing fines for violations - $250,000 per day for deplatforming candidates for statewide office and $25,000 per day for deplatforming candidates for other offices. The bill also regulates “shadowbanning” and censoring or applying post-prioritization algorithms.  Social media platforms that willfully provide free advertising for a candidate must inform the candidate of such in-kind contribution. The bill also enacts Section 287.137, Fla. Stat. to require the state to publish and update quarterly an antitrust violator vendor list of the persons and affiliates who have been disqualified from public contracting and purchasing based on being convicted or held civilly liable for an antitrust violation. It prohibits a public entity from accepting a bid or proposal from, awarding a new contract to, or transacting new business with any person or affiliate on the antitrust violator vendor list. Beginning July 1, 2021, purchasing procedures and contracts described in Section 287.058, Fla. Stat. to must contain a statement informing persons of the prohibitions relating to persons or affiliates on the antitrust violator vendor list.

17.   Social Media Platform Activities
        SB 7074; Chapter 2021-33, Laws of Florida
        Effective date: July 1, 2021

The bill amends Section 287.137, Fla. Stat. (linked to SB 7072 above) to make confidential and exempt from public records information collected for the Attorney General and the Department of Legal Affairs investigations into whether a social media platform has committed an antitrust violation and whether a social media platform has failed to meet certain requirements before restricting speech by users.

These Legislative Updates were provided via a memo from the City Attorney's Office to the City Commission and adapted from the following additional sources:
  1. “2021 Legislative Update” by Rebecca A. O’Hara and Edward G. Labrador for the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Bar (May 2021) and 
  2. “2021 Legislative Session Wrap-Up” by Melanie Brown-Woofter and Shane Messer for the Florida Behavioral Health Association and the Florida Counsel for Behavioral Healthcare (May 2021).