Spring is in the air, which means our elected state officials are in Tallahassee diligently considering, debating, and hopefully, actually reading thousands of proposed bills. The 60-day regular session began on Tuesday, March 8, and there are several draft bills that may have an effect on developers, property owners, and professionals involved in real estate and land development. Jay Brady, who covers state and local government issues for Gulf Coast Business Review, recently wrote an informative article regarding some of these bills, entitled “Business Bills to Watch.” It’s an excellent collection of proposed bills that deserve attention from the business community.


With apologies to Mr. Letterman, my Top 10 list of bills to watch that may affect land use, real estate, real property rights, and those whose professions relate to these topics includes:

  1. SB 174/HB7001: Growth Management  clarifying and confirming aspects of 2009’s controversial SB360 “Community Renewal Act.”
  2. HB 239: Numeric Nutrient Criteria  opposing federal DEP numeric nutrient criteria rules and supporting state rules based on a total maximum daily loads program.
  3. SB 288 Design Professionals – seeks to limit construction defect tort liability of licensed engineers, surveyors, architects, interior designers and landscape architects.
  4. HB 407: Residential Building Permits – prohibiting local governments from requiring certain types of inspections prior to issuing a residential building permit.
  5. SB 410 Impact Fees – reenacting law requiring the government to bear the burden of proof by a preponderance of the evidence in actions challenging impact fees.
  6. SB 434/HB 531: Assessment of Residential Property – providing tax exemptions for property value and improvements related to wind-resistance and renewable energy.
  7. SB 630 Use of Public Moneys and Property – requiring referendum approval prior to expending public funds that provide a benefit to professional sports teams.
  8. HB 945: Growth Management  providing guidance in creating and implementing plans for rural land stewardship areas.
  9. SB 998: Property Rights  revising the notice requirements and clarifying when a final decision by a local government occurs within the context of a  “Bert Harris” claim.
  10. SB 1072 Real Property – revising procedures for a person to claim real property as exempt from forced sale under Florida’s homestead provisions.

No one truly knows which of these bills will be “made into sausage” and become law. In addition, it’s extremely likely that there will be significant revisions, additions or deletions over the next two months, so check back with the Legal Scoop for my post-legislative round-up after the end of this legislative session.