Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs 9 more bills. Here's what each one does

TALLAHASSEE, Florida. – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed another package of nine bills on Tuesday addressing issues such as homeowners associations, financial exploitation and HVAC systems.

All nine bills were received by DeSantis' office last week, along with 18 others. DeSantis has until June 5 to decide on the remaining bills.

News4JAX's sister station, WKMG in Orlando, has looked at the individual bills and their contents:

HB59 — HOA Rules and Agreements

House Bill 59 changes the regulations for homeowners associations.

Specifically, the bill requires HOAs to provide each of their members—and in the future, all new members—with a physical or digital copy of their rules and agreements by October 1.

In addition, the law requires HOAs to provide their members with a current copy of their rules each time they are updated.

The law comes into force on July 1.

HB141 – Economic development

House Bill 141 repeals several requirements related to the Regional Rural Development Grants Program.

This program is designed to help rural communities leverage their resources to attract new businesses to their areas.

HB 141 makes the following changes:

  • Eliminates the requirement that grants received by a regional development organization must be matched each year by non-governmental funds equal to 25% of government contributions

  • Eliminates the obligation of local governments and private companies to provide financial or in-kind contributions to the regional organization

  • Removes the requirement that the Florida Department of Commerce consider the applicant's demonstrated need for assistance when admitting participants to the program

The law comes into force on July 1.

HB149 — Ongoing contracts

House Bill 149 increases the limit for ongoing contracts covered by the Consultants' Competitive Negotiation Act (CCNA).

Passed in 1973, the CCNA requires state and local governments to purchase the services of professionals such as architects and engineers based on qualifications, not just price.

In addition, the CCNA does not prohibit ongoing contracts, i.e. contracts in which a contracted company provides services for several projects.

This bill increases the maximum limit for continuing contracts under the CCNA from an estimated construction cost per project of $4 million to $7.5 million (plus an annual increase based on the Consumer Price Index).

The law comes into force on July 1.

HB293 — Hurricane Protection for HOAs

House Bill 293 improves hurricane protection for homeowners associations.

This law requires HOAs to establish hurricane protection specifications for each building they manage. These specifications may include factors such as the color and style of hurricane protection products.

In addition, HOAs are prohibited from denying property owners' requests to install or replace hurricane protection devices – as long as they meet the HOA's adopted specifications.

According to the Legislative Analysis, “hurricane protection” includes roofing systems, fixed or roll-up storm shutters, impact-resistant windows and doors, polycarbonate panels, reinforced garage doors, erosion control, fixed outdoor generators, and fuel tanks.

The law came into force upon its signing.

HB481 — HVAC system regulations

House Bill 481 addresses building codes for HVAC systems.

The law expands the scope of work of certain HVAC contractors to include certain line-side repairs or replacements and the repair/replacement of certain HVAC circuit components.

In addition, the law prohibits making the warranty for an HVAC system contingent on product registration. Instead, the full term of such a warranty begins on the date a contractor installs the system.

The law comes into force on July 1.

HB535 — Low-voltage electric fences

House Bill 535 clarifies regulations regarding low-voltage electric fences.

Specifically, the law makes it clear that a non-electric fence or wall may only be completely enclosed by a low-voltage electric fence on the outside, but does not have to be completely enclosed on both sides.

In addition, the law requires that a low-voltage electric fence must be 60 cm higher than the non-electric fence or the wall around the fence.

In addition, the law requires local authorities to permit low-voltage electric fences in areas not zoned exclusively for single-family or multi-family homes.

The law comes into force on July 1.

HB705 — Public construction projects

House Bill 705 changes the definition of “public works” in state law.

Current regulations prohibit states or local governments that use state funds to contract for public works projects from imposing certain requirements on contractors for those projects.

Under HB 705, the definition includes all projects funded with local funds as well as state-appropriated funds. The bill also clarifies that the definition does not include any goods, services or work related to these projects.

The law comes into force on July 1.

SB556 — Protection against financial exploitation

Senate Bill 556 would provide more protections for certain adults ages 65 and older, as well as vulnerable adults who may be victims of financial exploitation.

Under this law, financial institutions may delay the withdrawal or transaction of funds from an account of a designated or vulnerable adult under the following conditions:

  • There is reasonable suspicion that this is a financial exploitation of the adult person concerned.

  • The financial institution will notify all parties authorized to conduct business through the account (as well as trusted contacts) in writing within three business days of becoming aware of the delay.

  • A government-chartered financial institution shall notify the Office of Financial Regulatory Affairs of the delay within three business days of becoming aware of the delay.

  • The financial institution must initiate an internal investigation into the facts that led the employee to believe that financial exploitation was involved.

A withdrawal/transaction delay expires after 15 business days, but can be extended for an additional 30 business days.

The law will come into force on 1 January 2025.

SB644 — Rural emergency hospitals

Senate Bill 644 introduces a new hospital designation: “Rural Emergency Hospital.”

Under this law, the license expiration date for rural hospitals licensed in fiscal year 2010-2011 or fiscal year 2011-2012 is postponed from June 30, 2025, to June 30, 2031.

The law comes into force on July 1.

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Anna Harden

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