2,089 bills have been filed
for the 2021 session so far, of which 46% of the bills filed at this point are
House appropriations requests. Over the past few years, the total number of
bills filed has averaged approximately 3,500 bills, so it is anticipated that
many more bills are waiting to be filed in advance of the 2021 legislative
session. Of the general bills filed in 2020, only 11% ultimately passed both
chambers. There is one committee week left before the opening day of the
2021 session, March 2nd.
SB 74, which would provide healthcare workers with lawsuit protection related
to the COVID-19 pandemic cleared its first committee on Wednesday with a 6-4
vote in Senate Judiciary. The committee rejected four proposed changes to the
bill, including an amendment that would have excluded healthcare facilities
with a history of citations and another that would have lengthened the period
for filing suits. The bill goes next to the Senate Health Policy Committee, the
second of three committee references.
SB 78 was approved Wednesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 6-4
party-line vote with Republicans in favor. The bill would require additional
steps by union members to confirm they want to remain part of the union and
have their dues deducted. The bill currently does not have a House companion.
On Tuesday SB 122 passed its second committee, Appropriations Subcommittee on
Health and Human Services, on a 7-4 vote. The bill would extend the length of
time that a newborn can be surrendered from 7 days to 30 days, and would allow
hospitals to use approved baby boxes for accepting surrendered newborns.
HB 7, SB 72 - Civil Liability for Damages Relating to
HB 7: On Committee
agenda - Judiciary Committee, 02/16/21, 4:00 pm, 404 H (2nd of 3 committees)
SB 72: On Committee agenda - Commerce and Tourism, 02/15/21, 3:30 pm, 110 S
(2nd of 3 committees)
These bills provide several COVID-19-related liability protections for
businesses, educational institutions, government entities, religious
organizations, and other entities. Under the bill, a covered entity that makes
a good faith effort to substantially comply with applicable COVID-19 guidance
is immune from civil liability from a COVID-19-related civil action.
The bill also provides that for any COVID-19-related civil action against a
covered entity, a plaintiff must:
- Plead his or her complaint with particularity.
- Submit, at the time of filing suit, a physician's affidavit
confirming the physician's belief that the plaintiff's COVID-19-related
injury occurred because of the defendant's conduct.
- Prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant
was at least grossly negligent.
The bill's liability
protections do not apply to a health care provider, such as a hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility, or
other healthcare-related entity. The bill provides a one-year statute of limitations
for COVID19-related claims. For a plaintiff whose cause of action has already
accrued, the one-year period does not begin to run until the bill becomes
3395 - Florida Swims: Swimming Lessons
Appropriates $200,000 to fund the Florida Swims: Swimming Lessons.
SB 124, HB 703 - Residential Swimming Pool
Requiring that new residential swimming pools meet 2 safety requirements,
rather than just 1, to pass the final inspection and receive a certificate of
completion. Prohibiting a property owner from transferring ownership of a
parcel that includes a swimming pool unless certain the new requirements are
SB 332 - Unlicensed Contracting
Revising the criminal penalties for persons who engage in contracting or
advertise themselves as contractors without proper registration or
SB 338 - Specialty Contracting Services
Allows swimming pool contractors to use individuals who will work under the
supervision and scope of the contractor’s license. Similar to the Jim Walters
exemption, safety and quality will be ensured by requiring oversight of these
individuals by a licensed swimming pool contractor.
SB 344, HB 471 - Legislative Review of
Establishes a schedule for a systematic review of the costs and benefits of
occupational regulatory programs. The Legislature intends to review each
program before the scheduled date on which each occupational regulatory program
is set to expire through scheduled repeal to determine whether to allow the
program to expire, renew the program without modifications, renew the program
with modifications, or provide for other appropriate actions.
Any occupational regulatory program that expires through scheduled repeal in
accordance with this act may not be subsequently regulated by a local
government. The regulation of any occupation repealed by this act is preempted
to the state unless local regulation of such occupation is expressly authorized
SB 358 - Water Safety
Requiring district school boards and the governing authorities of private schools
to require children going into kindergarten to present a water safety and
swimming certificate beginning in a certain school year. Providing an exemption
from certain water safety and swimming certifications for a child whose parent
follows a specified procedure. Takes effect beginning with the 2022-2023 school
SB 366 - Apprenticeship and Pre Apprenticeship
Revising the general duties of the Department of Education with regard to
apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs; revising the membership of the
State Apprenticeship Advisory Council; providing that apprenticeship or pre-apprenticeship
program sponsors are responsible for the selection and training of certain
personnel, as approved by the department.
SB 378, HB 585 - Payment for Construction
SB 378: On Committee agenda - Governmental Oversight and Accountability, 02/17/21,
9:00 am, 37 S (2nd of 3 committees)
HB 585: No movement
Increasing the interest rate for certain payments for purchases of construction
services; specifying that a person, firm, or corporation who fails to make
certain payments relating to public projects commits misapplication of
constructions funds and is subject to criminal penalties; increasing the
interest rate for overdue payments for the purchase of construction services.
SB 902, HB 463 - Public Pool Regulations
Exempts from supervision or regulation pools serving condominium, cooperative,
and homeowners’ associations with no more than 32 units or parcels, which are
not operated as a public lodging establishment.
The addition of homeowners’ associations is the key change in this bill
HB 401, SB 1146 - Florida Building Code
The department may not require compliance with rules relating to the swimming pool
lifeguard standards for pools serving assisted living facilities.
SB 268, HB 735 - Preemption of Local
The licensing of occupations is expressly preempted to the state. Current local
government licensing of occupations expires on July 1, 2023.
SB 270, HB 21- Construction Defects
HB 21: On Committee agenda - Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee,
02/17/21, 10:00 am, 404 H (1st of 3 committees)
SB 270: On Committee agenda - Judiciary, 02/15/21, 2:30 pm, 412 K (1st of 3
Establishes additional requirements for submitting a construction defect claim.
SB 960 - Residential Swimming Pools
Requires a home inspector to report whether a swimming pool meets the
requirements for pool safety devices. Requires pools with a young child at the
residence to have a barrier in place any time the pool is not being used. The
seller of a home with a pool must provide the buyer with information on the
requirements for pool safety in law.
SB 1042, HB 791 - Vocational Pathways
The bill is aimed at enhancing existing Career and Technical Education and
programs are overseen by the Florida Department of Education. Additionally, it
will ensure more
postsecondary pathways are accessible to empower Florida’s students.