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Business Observer Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022 3 weeks ago

Legislative preview: liens, bonds and corporate taxes among many issues

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State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, maintains his status as one of the more prolific legislators for filing proposed bills.
by: John Haughey Contributor

As of mid-December, more than 2,630 bills, resolutions and memorials had been pre-filed for Florida’s 2022 legislative session, which begins its 60-day run Jan. 11.

There were nearly 3,100 bills filed by Florida lawmakers for the 2021 session. By the time the Legislature adjourned in late April, 468 were passed in one chamber and 275 in both, with 267 becoming law.

A smattering of significant pre-filed 2022 proposals that could affect Florida business owners, commercial landowners, employers and workers includes the following:

House Bill 439:Proposal filed by Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, would establish a ‘Small Business Saturday’ sales tax holiday on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Senate companion, Senate Bill 712, is sponsored by Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami.

Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami.

SB 1250: Filed by Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, the proposed bill would make materials used by businesses and homeowners for “mitigation retrofit improvements” on their properties eligible for sales tax refunds from the state. Rep. Nick DiCeglie, R-Indian Rocks Beach, has filed a House companion, HB 863.

• SB 1090: Sponsored by Gruters, the bill adopts the 2022 U.S. Internal Revenue Code for incorporation into the state’s tax code, which on Jan. 1 returns to a 5.5% corporate tax rate from a temporary 3.5% rate. Florida adopted most measures in the federal 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act without concurrent tweaks in state tax code. As a result, businesses saw taxes increase after garnering higher “adjusted federal income” because federal and state codes weren’t reconciled. SB 1090 would revise the time-frame during which the adjusted corporate tax rate exceeded forecasted collections; provide for retroactive operation; and remedy adjustments in respect to bonus depreciation.

HB 233: Proposal filed by Rep. Matt Willhite, D-Wellington, would require point-of-sale retailers to accept cash for goods and services. Senate companion, SB 408, is sponsored by Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park.

SB 336: Sponsored by Sen. Lori Berman, D-Boynton Beach, the proposal seeks to amend Article 9 of Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) to clarify that regulations related to the discharge of account debtors do not apply to ownership interests in a general partnership, a limited partnership or a limited liability company. HB 519, filed by Rep, Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, also addresses UCC rights of third parties.

Rep. Josie Tomkow, R-Polk City

SB 228: The proposed bill, sponsored by Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez, R-Doral, proposes that a residential or commercial property owner may apply to the Resiliency Energy Environment Florida (REEF) program for funding to finance a qualifying improvement and may enter into an assessment financing agreement with a local government. The House version, HB 101, is carried by Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay.

SB 406: Sponsored by Sen. Lori German, D-Boynton Beach, the proposed bill addresses “secured transactions” and seeks to ensure Floridians who have pledged general assets to secure a loan cannot unwittingly place protected assets, such as IRAs and pension benefits, at risk without a specific written waiver.

SB 512: Filed by Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills, the proposal is this year’s version of the annual attempt to preempt local regulation of vacation rental homes and their digital marketing platforms to the state. Rep. Jason Fischer, R-Jacksonville, has filed House companion, HB 325.

Sen. Danny Burgess, R-Zephyrhills

SB 924: Filed by Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Orange Park, the proposal would reduce room number requirements for hotels and square footage requirements for restaurants to be eligible for a liquor license. Rep. Josie Tomkow, R-Polk City, has filed a similar bill in the House, HB 715.

HB 87: Sponsored by Rep. Kevin Chambliss, D-Homestead, the proposal would revise the period of time when a conviction, or any other adjudication, for crime can be grounds for denial of licensure in specified professions from five years to two years. Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, has filed a Senate companion, SB 1118.

HB 719: Sponsored by Rep. David Smith, R-Winter Springs, the proposal would require the Florida Building Commission to adopt state building code requirements for swim-up bars at commercial and public swimming pools.

SB 446: Filed by Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, the proposal would lift state preemption on local governments establishing their own minimum wages. Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, has filed a House version, HB 6047.

Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota

HB 589: Filed by Rep. Joe Harding, R-Williston, the proposal seeks to create sales tax exemptions for contractors hired for public works infrastructure projects. Sen. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, has filed the Senate version, SB 930.

HB 41: Sponsored by Rep. Toby Overdorf, R-Palm City, the proposal requires “litigation financiers” to register with the Florida Department of State and file surety bonds, among other provisions.

HB 123: Filed by the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee, the proposal relates to consumer finance loans and would authorize those licensed, and those applying for a license, to make and collect loans under the Florida Consumer Finance Act after providing a surety bond, certificate of deposit or letter of credit in lieu of liquid assets. Gruters, filed a Senate companion, SB 546.

HB 275: Filed by Rep. Juan Fernandez-Barquin, R-Miami, the proposal would revise the definition of "loss run statement” in insurance claims and specify what entities must receive requests for loss run statements and that insurers must provide loss run statements, among other provisions. Sen. Doug Broxson, R-Pensacola, is sponsoring a Senate companion, SB 156.

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