2010 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

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When a session ends, usually the House Speaker, the Senate President and the Governor gather on the fourth floor of the capitol to celebrate and take credit for all the session's accomplishments. This year, however, was not an ordinary legislative session.

Governor Charlie Crist left town before the 2010 session had concluded. It was the first time in four years that he was not present at the end of a Session. In fact, the two chambers didn't even adjourn together; the House adjourned a couple of hours before the Senate.

Lawmakers leave behind a $70 billion budget for Gov. Crist to review, as well as two vacant seats on the Public Service Commission (PSC). The Florida Senate refused to confirm two PSC appointees, one of whom was FICPA member Ben A. "Steve" Stevens III, CPA.

Now that Crist has filed to run for the U.S. Senate as an Independent, and the political rhetoric is at an all time high, it is anyone's guess if the Governor will use the veto pen one last time in order to gain some political capital as he begins his quest to become the next U.S. Senator from Florida.

During the 2010 Legislative Session the Governmental Affairs Team worked to ensure that the FICPA's Legislative and Regulatory Policies were upheld. Whether working with other business groups to push for greater legal reform or working with DPBR to ensure the Board of Accountancy was properly funded, the FICPA legislative team looked out for the best interest of the profession. Following is a summary of legislation that passed and failed and was tracked by FICPA during the 2010 Legislative Session.

Board of Accountancy Legislative News

The FY 2010-11 budget passed by the House and Senate on April 30, 2010 includes important funding for the Board of Accountancy (BOA). With support from the FICPA, the 2010-11 state budget includes $100,000 to fund the Board of Accountancy's Minority Scholarship Program and $200,000 for the Unlicensed Activity Campaign. Both programs are funded from a portion of license fees:

  • $5 from each CPA license fee is earmarked to combat unlicensed activity.
  • $3 from each CPA license fee is earmarked for minority scholarships.

Since the passage of FICPA-supported legislation in 1998 that created the Minority Scholarship Program, the Board of Accountancy has approved $741,000 to 138 studentswho were enrolled in their fifth year of an accounting education program.

The legislature funded an additional $66,758 for "Other Personal Services" in FY 2010-11. This funding will allow the BOA to hire additional personnel to help with processing applications and will go a long way in reducing the processing time.

Board of Accountancy Appointments

Governor Charlie Crist announced the appointment of Eric W. Robinson to the BOA. Robinson, a CPA from Venice (Peacock, Robinson & Hanks, CPA), succeeds Marshall Gunn and has been appointed for a term beginning Feb. 17, 2010, and ending Oct. 31, 2013.  

Board of Accountancy Confirmations

The Florida Senate confirmed the following BOA members during the 2010 Session: Teresa W. Borcheck, Cynthia Borders-Byrd, Maria E. Caldwell, William H. Durkin, Stephen C. Riggs III and Eric W. Robinson.

FICPA Bill Track

Regulation/DBPR

Passed
HB 713 Relating to Department of Business & Professional Regulation – Workman
Assigns certain programs to regulation by DBPR's Division of Professions; specifies that DBPR is responsible for regulation of certain professions and administration of certain examinations; authorizes DHSMV to issue reproductions of driver's licenses to DBPR; revises certain licensing and continuing education requirements; authorizes temporary licensure of spouses of active duty service members, etc.
Effective date: 07/01/2010

Taxation/DOR

Passed
HB 7157 Relating to Taxation - Finance & Tax Council
Revises & creates various provisions of law relating to DOR's authority and duty to collect state taxes and administer and enforce state's tax laws; revises provisions excluding certain sales of tangible personal property to contractors from application of exemption for sales made to governmental entities under certain circumstances, etc.
Effective date: Upon becoming law except as otherwise provided

HB 5801 Relating to Taxation - Finance & Tax Council
Directs DOR to develop and implement amnesty program for taxpayers subject to state and local taxes; provides time periods, program guidelines, eligible participants, and for waiver of penalties and interest; provide that DOR may release confidential taxpayer information relating to corporation having outstanding tax warrant to DBPR, etc.
Appropriation: $2,776,025.
Effective date: Upon becoming law except as otherwise provided

HB 7033 Relating to Unemployment Compensation - Murzin
Establishes temporary state extended benefits for weeks of unemployment; provides for state extended benefits for certain weeks and for periods of high unemployment; reduces amount of exempt wages beginning Jan. 1, 2010; increases amount of exempt wages beginning Jan.1, 2012; suspends exempt wages adjustment when repayment of federal advance is owed, etc.
Appropriation:
$1,547,504. Signed by Governor on 3/2/10

HB 7219 Relating to Corporate Income Tax - Abruzzo
Provides for adoption of 2010 version of Internal Revenue Code; provides for retroactive operation.
Effective date: Upon becoming law

CIRA

Passed
SB 1196 Relating to Community Associations - Fasano
Exempts certain elevators from specific code update requirements. Revises the limitations on the right of members to vote on corporate matters for certain corporations not for profit that are regulated under specified provisions. Specifies the maximum amount of any unit owner's loss assessment coverage that can be assessed for any loss. Creates the "Distressed Condominium Relief Act," etc.
Effective date: 07/01/2010

Failed
HB 327 Relating to Community Associations - Robaina
Revises definition of term "developer" to exclude bulk assignee or bulk buyer; revises jurisdiction of Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes to include bulk assignees and bulk buyers; creates "Distressed Condominium Relief Act"; specifies responsibilities, liabilities, duties, and limitations of bulk assignees and bulk buyers; provides for transfer of control of board of administration, etc.

HB 329 Relating to Condominium Foreclosures - Robaina
Requires certain condominium unit tenants to pay moneys owed on behalf of unit to association; provides liability; provides tenant's obligations to association; provides condominium associations with certain powers; requires mortgagee to request estoppel letter from association prior to filing foreclosure action; authorizes association to charge fee for production of estoppel letter, etc

SB 840 Relating to Community Associations - Sobel
Redefines the term "developer." Specifies that the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of the DBPR has jurisdiction with respect to bulk assignees and bulk buyers. Creates the "Distressed Condominium Relief Act." Specifies liabilities of bulk assignees and bulk buyers. Provides for the resolution of a conflict between specified provisions of state law, etc.

State and Local Government

Failed
SB 690 Relating to Local Government Accountability - Dean
Clarifies when the DCA may institute procedures for declaring that a special district is inactive. Specifies the level of detail required for each fund in the sheriff's proposed budget. Amends specified provision relating to the review of the actuarial reports and statements of retirement plans of governmental entities by the DMS. Deletes a time restriction on preparing and presenting a tentative county budget, etc.

SB 1130 Relating to Local Government Revenue Intercept Act - Constantine
Provides that a local government may authorize by resolution or ordinance the DOR to intercept certain revenues in order to replenish the debt service reserve or other payment for local goverment bonds. Provides certain requirements for such resolution or ordinance. Specifies certain obligations and restrictions on the local government with respect to such interception. Authorizes the DOR to adopt rules, etc.

HB 155 Relating to Tax on Sales, Use, and Other Transactions - D. Bullard
Provides for one percent increase in sales tax rate; revises brackets for calculating sales tax amounts; provides for distribution of revenues from additional one percent increase in tax rate; provides for future one percent decrease in sales tax rate; provides for future revision of brackets for calculating sales tax amounts, etc.

Budget

Passed
HB 5001 Relating to Appropriations - Full Appropriations Council
Provides moneys for annual period beginning July 1, 2010, & ending June 30, 2011, to pay salaries, and other expenses, capital outlay - buildings, and other improvements, and for other specified purposes of various agencies of state government.
Appropriation: $67,212,517,894
Effective date: 07/01/2010 except as otherwise provided

HB 5003 Relating to Implementing 2010-11 General Appropriations Act - Full Appropriations Council   
Implements 2010-2011 General Appropriations Act; provides legislative intent; incorporates by reference certain calculations of the Florida Education Finance Program for 2010-2011 fiscal year; authorizes transfer of funds, upon certain approval, for fixed capital outlay from Survey Recommended Needs-Public Schools appropriation category to Maintenance, Repair, Renovation and Remodeling appropriation category, etc.
Effective date: 06/29/2010 except as otherwise provided

Trust Issues

Passed
SB 926 Relating to Trust - Richter 
Limits the duties and liability of certain trustees with respect to contracts for life insurance. Provides for the application and nonapplication of certain provisions of state law. Prohibits the compensation of a trustee for the performance of certain activities. Expands the list of delegable investment functions for certain fiduciaries, etc.
Effective date: 07/01/2010

SB 998 Relating to Trust Adminstration - Thrasher
Limits a personal representative's entitlement to payment from a trust of certain estate expenses and obligations. Deletes certain notice requirements relating to court review of a trustee's employment of certain persons. Prohibits state agencies and local governments from requiring the disclosure of certain characteristics of persons associated with certain charitable organizations, trusts, and foundations, etc.
Effective date: Upon becoming law except as otherwise provided

Other Bills of Interest

Passed
SB 6 Relating to Education Personnel - Thrasher
Authorizes the release of child abuse records to certain employees and agents of the Department of Education. Requires school districts to develop and implement end-of-course assessments. Creates the Performance Fund for Instructional Personnel and School-Based Administrators. Limits bonuses under the Dale Hickam Excellent Teaching Program to individuals who remain continuously employed in a public school in this state, etc. Vetoed by the Governor on 4/15/10.

SB 2 Relating to Class Size Requirements for Public Schools - Gaetz
Proposes amendments to the State Constitution to revise class size requirements for public schools and to provide an effective date. Will be on the November 2010 Ballot.

SB 4 Relating to Education Accountability - Detert
Amends a provision relating to secondary school redesign, to delete obsolete provisions and to conform to changes made by the act. Revises requirements for middle grades promotion. Provides that successful completion of a high school level Algebra I, Geometry, or Biology I course is not contingent upon a student's performance on the end-of-course assessment. Revises requirements for high school graduation. Creates the Credit Acceleration Program, etc. Effective date: 07/01/2010. Signed by the Governor on 4/20/10

HB 689 Relating to Negligence - Aubuchon
Provides that if person slips and falls on transitory foreign substance in business establishment, injured person must prove that establishment had actual or constructive knowledge of condition and should have taken action to remedy it; provides that constructive knowledge may be proven by circumstantial evidence, etc.
Effective date: 07/01/2010. Signed by the Governor on 4/14/10

HB 437 Relating to Contingency Fee Agreements/DLA and Private Attorneys - Eisnaugle
Prohibits DLA from entering into contingency fee contract with private attorney unless AGO makes written determination prior to entering into such contract that contingency fee representation is both cost-effective and in public interest; requires written determination to include certain findings, etc.
Effective date: 07/01/2010. Signed by the Governor on 4/14/10

SB 1752 Relating to Economic Development - Gaetz
Requires an agency or entity that receives county funds for economic development purposes pursuant to a contract to submit a report on the use of the funds. Authorizes counties and municipalities to extend economic development ad valorem tax exemptions under certain circumstances. Provides an exemption from the use tax for an aircraft that temporarily enters the state or is temporarily in the state for certain purposes, etc.
Appropriation: $35,039,943
Effective date: Upon becoming law except as otherwise provided

SB 2126 Relating to Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program - Negron
Makes operation of the program contingent upon available funds. Revises certain eligibility criteria. Revises tax credit grant provisions. Specifies a tax credit cap. Provides for increasing the tax credit cap under certain circumstances. Provides for unused amounts of tax credits to be carried forward. Revises provisions governing the rescission of taxpayer tax credits. Authorizes DOR to adopt emergency rules, etc.
Appropriation: $140,494
Effective date: 07/01/2010 except as otherwise provided. Signed by the Governor on 4/22/10

HB 963 Relating to Seaports - Ray
Provides for application and issuance of port conceptual permits; provides requirements and procedures relating to such permits for DEP and Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund; revises matching-fund requirements for projects to rehabilitate certain structures; requires DOT to include certain projects and funding allocations in legislative budget requests; provides for transfer of budget between certain projects, etc.
Effective date: 07/01/2010 except as otherwise provided

Failed
HB 7209 Relating to Reorganization of the Public Service Commission - Precourt
Revises requirements for nomination by Public Service Commission Nominating Council for appointment to commission; prohibits attempts by certain persons to sway judgment of commissioners; provides for Commission on Ethics to receive and investigate complaints of violations pursuant to specified procedures; provides requirements for nomination by said nominating council for appointment to commission, etc.
Note: When this bill reached the House floor it contained a provision requiring that at least one of the Commissioners be a CPA.

SB 2502 Relating to Corporate Income Taxes - Gelber   
Limits deductions of certain intangible expenses, licensing fees, and management fees paid by a taxpayer to a related entity. Creates exceptions to the limitations on deductions. Limits the number of times certain items may be added or subtracted from taxable income. Provides that the failure of a taxpayer to add certain amounts to a taxpayer's income or provide complete information in a tax return is negligence, etc.

HB 675 Relating to Taxation - Rehwinkel Vasilinda
Recreates annual intangible personal property tax at specified rate; provides for application of specified collection, administration, and enforcement provisions to taxation of specified leaseholds; authorizes DOR to adopt emergency implementing rules; prohibits specified deductibles for specified water's edge group members for corporate income tax purposes, etc. Appropriation: Indeterminate

HB 1083 Relating to Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement - Rehwinkel Vasilinda
Urges U.S. Congress to enact legislation to give states that have complied with Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement authority to require out-of-state sellers to collect each such state's sales and use tax.

HB 1241 Relating to Tax on Sales, Use, and Other Transactions - Patronis
Provides definitions relating to tourist development tax and tourist impact tax, transient rentals tax and convention development tax, and municipal resort tax; provides separate statement of tax requirements on various documents; revises requirements for charging, collecting, and remitting such taxes; authorizes DOR to compensate county governments for providing specified information, etc.

For more information about legislative or regulatory issues, please contact the FICPA's Governmental Affairs team at (850) 224-2727, Ext. 203 or via e-mail at govaffairs@ficpa.org.