Get excited everyone! Our first committee week leading up to the January 14th start of the 2020 legislative session took place this week. The big news was the designation of Representative Chris Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican, as Speaker-Designate. This means he will be the Speaker of the House for the 2021 – 2022 term.
He highlighted a number of important things during his speech, but the most pertinent news for REALTORS® was his remarks concerning the environment. Not only did he reinforce the importance of protecting and preserving our natural resources, but he also called on lawmakers to “stop being afraid of words like ‘climate change’ and ‘sea level rise.’” He added that “Floridians want good jobs, clean water, and ample, sandy beaches, and they want to know we are working on practical ways to mitigate the risk of flooding in our coastal communities.”
The other news of the week that is important to REALTORS® were the updates provided to legislators on affordable housing. There were three separate legislative committees that received updates and information on this topic.
The House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee heard presentations from the Florida Housing Finance Coalition and the Florida League of Cities. Both groups provided information on the subject and encouraged lawmakers to fully fund the State and Local Government Housing Trust Funds to help them be as successful as possible.
The House Business & Professions Subcommittee heard from a variety of “tiny home” manufacturers and had a panel discussion on the subject. The main takeaway from this meeting was that these builders need lawmakers to break down the barriers of state and local regulation of tiny homes so they can be more accessible to Floridians.
Lastly, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development heard presentations from the Florida Housing Coalition and the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. Both groups gave detailed breakdowns of Florida’s affordable housing needs and encouraged full funding of the State and Local Government Housing Trust Funds.
Overall, it was a very busy start to the committee week process filled with many productive meetings with legislators. Stay tuned for my next legislative update which will be on Friday, October 18th, following the conclusion of the next committee week.
Vice President of Public Policy