2015 Florida Construction Legislation Update
The regular Florida legislative session is almost concluded. The House adjourned on Tuesday and the Senate is in session until Friday. A special session to address the state budget is expected but not yet set. I previously addressed two construction related bills being considered this year: HB 87/SB418 related to construction defects, as noted here, and HB 501/SB 1158 related to shortening the statute of repose from 10 years to 7 years, as noted here.
The Chapter 558 bill, HB 87, was amended to address many of the concerns raised in my prior blog post. The amended bill passed the House on a vote of 112 to 0. The House bill was substituted for the “companion” Senate bill, SB 418, and passed 35-4. The bill will be sent to the Governor for his consideration. The Governor will have 7 days to veto, sign or allow the bill to become law without his signature, IF his office officially receives it during session (by May 1); if not sent to him until after May 1st, he will have 15 days to act. It is expected that the governor will not veto this legislation and that the changes to Chapter 558 will take effect on July 1, 2015. Although not perfect, the Chapter 558 bill, is significantly better than it was. The text of the final bill can be found here.
The other pending construction bill, HB 501/SB 1158 regarding Statute of Repose, appears to be done for the year as it was not considered and passed in either chamber. Although the bills could be considered as part of the special session, that is not likely. The good news is that this legislation appears to be dead for this year. The bad news is that this type of anti-owner legislation will come back, in the near future if not next year. It will be important for all owners, public or private, in construction projects to watch for such legislation and oppose vigorously.