2013 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

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2013 Legislative Session Wrap Up

During the 2013 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 2013 Legislative Session.

The 2013 Florida Legislative session came to an end on May 3. More than 1,800 bills were filed during the 2013 Legislative Session and about 15 percent of those actually passed both Chambers.

By The Numbers: 2013 Bill Filing and Passage Statistics

Senate & House Bills Filed Passed Both Chambers
Concurrent Resolutions 7 1
Resolutions (One Chamber) 148 0
General Bills 1591 259*
Local Bills 66 24
Joint Resolutions 14 0
Memorials 22 2
Totals 1848 286
*SB328 & HB39

Accountancy Bill Passes Florida Legislature

Senate Bill 328 (SB328) sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, R-St. Petersburg, and its House companion Bill 39 (HB39), sponsored by the late Rep. Clay Ford and Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Pensacola, unanimously passed their respective Chambers. Together, the legislation expands, renames the Minority Scholarship program and implements a Peer Review process in Florida. Here is a summary:

  • Changes the name of the Certified Public Accountant Education Minority Assistance Program to the Clay Ford Scholarship Program.
  • The bill will increase the maximum amount awarded by the Clay Ford Scholarship Program and allow for the scholarships to be awarded twice per year.
  • The bill will require a licensed firm that performs certain accounting services under s. 473.302(8)(a) to undergo a peer review every three years as a condition of the firm licensure renewal.
  • The bill brings Florida CPA firm licensure requirements closer in line with the rest of the country by implementing more of the Uniform Accountancy Act.  Only Florida and Delaware do not require a firm to undergo peer review as a condition of firm license renewal which currently puts Florida CPA firms at a competitive disadvantage.
  • The bill provides for a phase in of the peer review provision by 2015.

The legislation was approved and signed by Governor Scott June 14, 2013.

Board of Accountancy Legislative News

The FY 2013-14 budget passed by the House and Senate on May 3, 2013 and signed by Governor Rick Scott on May 20, 2013 includes important funding for the Board of Accountancy (BOA). With support from the FICPA, the 2013-14 state budget includes $200,000 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 $1,080,000 to 204 students who were enrolled in their fifth year of an accounting education program.

The legislature funded an additional $539,564 in FY 2013-14 in response to the report provided by the BOA as directed by legislation passed in the previous session. This funding will allow the BOA to hire additional personnel to help with processing applications, answering questions from licensees and will go a long way in reducing the processing time.

Board of Accountancy Appointments
Governor Rick Scott announced the re-appointment of Stephen C. Riggs III to the BOA .

Board of Accountancy Confirmations
The Florida Senate confirmed the following BOA members during the 2013 Session: Cynthia Borders-Byrd, Maria E. Caldwell, David Dennis, Martin G. Fennema, Stephen C. Riggs III and Harold Steve Vogel.


FICPA Bill Track

Regulation/DBPR

CIRA

Passed
SB120 Relating to Condominiums - Latvala
Addresses the ghost unit issue and presale issue of condominiums; allows condominium units to come into existence regardless of requirements or restrictions in a declaration; extends the amount of time that a clerk of the circuit court may hold a sum of money before notifying the registered agent of an association that the sum is still available and the purpose for which it was deposited; changes the requirements relating to the circumstances under which a declaration of condominium or other documents are effective to create a condominium; revises the conditions under which a developer may amend a declaration of condominium governing a phase condominium; provides for an extension of the 7-year period for the completion of a phase, etc. Effective Date: Upon becoming a law.

HB57 Relating to Department of Business and Professional Regulation - Porter
Clarifies funding requirements for Florida Homeowners' Construction Recovery Fund; authorizes DBPR to transfer certain funds from Florida Building Code Administrators & Inspectors Board to Florida Homeowners' Construction Recovery Fund.
Effective Date: October 1, 2013

HB77 Relating to Landlords and Tenants - Porter
Revises exclusions from applicability of Florida Residential Landlord & Tenant Act; provides that right to attorney fees may not be waived in lease agreement; provides that attorney fees may not be awarded in claim for personal injury damages based on breach of duty of premises maintenance; revises & provides certain landlord disclosure requirements; provides requirements for disbursement of advance rents; provides limited rebuttable presumption of receipt of security deposits; revises landlord's obligation to maintain premises with respect to screens; provides that enforcement of right or duty under Florida Residential Landlord & Tenant Act by civil action does not preclude prosecution of criminal offense; revises procedures for termination of rental agreement by landlord; provides that landlord does not waive right to terminate rental agreement or to bring civil action for noncompliance by accepting partial rent; provides period to institute action before exemption involving rent subsidies is waived begins upon actual knowledge; revises requirements for termination of tenancy with specific duration; provides conduct for which landlord may not retaliate.
Effective Date: July 1, 2013

HB7025 Relating to Timeshares – Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee
Specifies that certain provisions relating to condominium board elections do not apply to timeshare condominiums; revises formula requirements for calculating reserves for accommodations & facilities of real property timeshare plans; requires successor in interest to be listed as owner of timeshare interest under certain conditions; requires estoppel letter in certain timeshare resale transfer transactions; prohibits certain activities related to offering timeshare interest transfer services; requires resale transfer agreements to contain specified information; requires establishment of escrow account for certain purposes; provides requirements & duties of escrow agent; providing penalties; revises procedure for trustee foreclosure of assessment & mortgage liens; revises conditions under which trustee may sell foreclosed encumbered timeshare interest; revises & providing notice requirements; provides for perfection of notice; provides requirements for notice of lis pendens; provides exceptions for actions for failure to follow trustee foreclosure procedure.
Effective Date: July 1, 2013

HB7119 Relating to Homeowners Associations - Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee
Provides grounds for disciplinary actions against community association managers; requires official records to be maintained within specified distance of association for specified time; requires association directors to file with association secretary written certification that they have read certain association documents, will uphold documents, & will uphold their fiduciary responsibility to members; requires association to provide copies of amendments to governing documents to members under certain conditions; provides additional circumstances for authorizing members to elect majority of association board members; provides public policy regarding amendments to governing documents in associations under developer control; defines term "previous owner" to exclude certain associations from provisions relating to liability of previous owners of parcels for unpaid assessments, etc.
Effective Date: July 1, 2013

HB 383 Relating Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Compact
Provides legislative findings & intent; provides purposes; provides for establishment of Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission; provides responsibilities of commission; specifies commission as instrumentality of compacting states; provides for venue; specifies commission as separate, not-for-profit entity; provides powers of commission; provides for organization of commission; provides for membership, voting, & bylaws; designates Commissioner of Insurance Regulation as representative of state on commission; allows Commissioner of Insurance to designate person to represent state on commission; provides for management committee, officers, & personnel of commission; provides authority of management committee; provides for legislative & advisory committees; provides for qualified immunity, defense, & indemnification of members, officers, employees, & representatives of commission; provides for meetings & acts of commission; provides rules & operating procedures; provides rulemaking functions of commission; provides for opting out of uniform standards; provides procedures & requirements; provides for commission records & enforcement; provides that commission is subject to certain state tax requirements; authorizes commission to adopt rules; requires OIR to prepare & submit report by certain date to Legislature on effect of compact on consumer protections.
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

Requires an independent CPA audit as well as a management and performance audit.

 

Taxes

Passed
SB356 Relating to Ad Valorem Tax Exemptions – Thrasher
Provides that certain leasehold interests and improvements to land owned by the United States, a branch of the United States Armed Forces, or any agency or quasi-governmental agency of the United States are exempt from ad valorem taxation under specified circumstances; providing that such leasehold interests and improvements are entitled to an exemption from ad valorem taxation without an application being filed for the exemption or the property appraiser approving the exemption, etc.
Effective Date: Upon becoming a law and shall apply retroactively to January 1, 2007.

HB423 Relating to Tax On Sales, Use & Other Transactions - Adkins   
Provides exception to sales tax for dyed diesel fuel used in vessels for commercial fishing & aquacultural purposes; provides exception from sales tax collected by licensed sales tax dealer for dyed diesel fuel used in vessels for commercial fishing & aquacultural purposes; provides sales tax exemption for dyed diesel fuel used in vessels for commercial fishing & aquacultural purposes.
Effective Date: July 1, 2013

Failed
SB316 Relating to Taxes – Detert
Reducing the tax rate applied to the sale of communications services; reducing the tax rate applied to retail sales of direct-to-home satellite services; revising the term "mail order sale" to specifically include sales of tangible personal property ordered through the Internet; providing that certain persons who make mail order sales and who have a nexus with this state are subject to this state’s power to levy and collect the sales and use tax when they engage in certain enumerated activities, etc.
Effective Date: Except as otherwise expressly provided in this act and except for this section, which shall take effect upon this act becoming a law, this act shall take effect July 1, 2013.

 

State and Local Government

Passed
HB 655 Relating to Employment Benefits- Precourt
Prohibits political subdivisions from requiring employers to provide certain employment benefits; prohibits political subdivisions from requiring, or awarding preference on basis of, certain wages or employment benefits when contracting for goods or services; provides for applicability & future repeal of certain ordinances; conforms provisions to constitutional requirements relating to state minimum wage; creates Employer-Sponsored Benefits Study Task Force; directs Workforce Florida, Inc., to provide administrative & staff support services for task force; requires task force to submit report to Governor & Legislature by specified date; provides for future repeal of task force; provides that act does not prohibit federally authorized or recognized tribal government from requiring employment benefits under certain conditions, etc. Effective Date: July 1, 2013

 

Florida Elections Code

Passed
HB 569 Relating to Campaign Finance - Schenck
Repeals provisions relating to certification & political activities of CCEs; prohibits CCE from accepting contribution after certain date; provides for revocation of certification of each CCE on certain date; requires Division of Elections to provide certain notifications to CCEs; provides that tickets or advertising for campaign fundraiser must comply with requirements of political advertisements circulated before election; revises reporting requirements for candidates, political committees, & electioneering communications organizations; increases limitations on contributions made to certain candidates; revises information used to determine when debit cards are considered bank checks; increases amount of funds that certain candidates may transfer to office account; authorizes certain candidates to retain specified amount of funds for reelection to same office; establishes requirements & conditions for retained funds; provides procedures for disposition of such funds in certain circumstances; requires Division of Elections to submit proposal for mandatory statewide electronic filing system for certain state & local candidates to Legislature by specified date; authorizes positions & provides appropriations.
Effective Date: November 1, 2013

Allows a CPA to file financial disclosure forms for an elected public official and be compensated for services out of the office account.

HB7013 Relating to Elections – Boyd
Revises qualifications for late voter registration; provides limitation on number of words for certain ballot summaries in joint resolutions proposed by Legislature; requires person to provide name, mailing address, & telephone number of registered agent of voting systems vendor to DOS under certain circumstances; authorizes DOS to suspend all sales or leases or use in election of defective voting system; revises list of permissible sites available for early voting; requires supervisor to provide elector with specific reason his or her ballot was rejected; revises methods of selecting canvassing board members; provides for date of Presidential Preference Primary.
Effective Date: January 1, 2014.

 

Trust Issues

Passed
HB229 Relating to Land Trusts – Rodriguez
Provides requirements relating to vesting of ownership in trustee; revises rights, liabilities, & duties of land trust beneficiaries; provides exclusion & applicability; revises provisions relating to land trust transfers of real property & vesting of ownership in trustee; prohibits operation of statute of uses & doctrine of merger to execute land trust or to vest trust property under certain conditions; provides conditions under which beneficial interest is deemed real property; authorizes certain beneficial ownership methods; provides for perfection of security documents; provides that trustee’s legal & equitable title to trust property is separate & distinct from beneficiary's beneficial interest in land trust & trust property; prohibits lien, judgment, mortgage, security interest or other encumbrance against one interest from automatically attaching to another interest; provides that appointment of guardian ad litem is not necessary in certain foreclosure litigation affecting title to trust property of land trust; provides for determination of applicable law for certain trusts; provides applicability relating to UCC financing statements; provides requirements for recording effectiveness; revises & provides scope of Florida Trust Code.
Effective Date: upon becoming a law

 

Other Bills of Interest

Passed
HB691 Relating to Personal Identification Theft – Ahern
Defines "personal identification information"; provides that it is unlawful for person to intentionally or knowingly possess, without authorization, any personal identification information of another person; provides penalties; provides that possession of identification information of multiple individuals gives rise to an inference of illegality; provides enhanced criminal penalties for possession of such information of multiple persons; provides exemptions; creates affirmative defensives; provides that act does not preclude prosecution for unlawful possession of personal identification information of another person under any other law. Effective Date: October 1, 2013

SB166 Relating to Annuities – Richter
Provides that recommendations relating to annuities made by an insurer or its agents apply to all consumers not just to senior consumers; increases the period of time that an unconditional refund must remain available with respect to certain annuity contracts; makes such unconditional refunds available to all prospective annuity contract buyers without regard to the buyer's age, etc.
Effective Date: October 1, 2013

HB95 Relating to Charitable Contributions – Holder
Defines "charitable contribution" & "qualified religious or charitable entity or organization"; provides that transfer of charitable contribution that is received in good faith by qualified religious or charitable entity or organization is not fraudulent transfer; provides exceptions. Effective Date: July 1, 2013

HB87 Relating to Mortgage Foreclosures – Passidomo
Revises limitations period for commencing action to enforce claim of deficiency judgment after foreclosure action; provides for applicability to actions commenced on or after specified date; provides time limitation for commencing certain actions; provides legislative intent; specifies required contents of complaint seeking to foreclose on certain types of residential properties with respect to authority of plaintiff to foreclose on note & location of note; authorizes sanctions against plaintiffs who fail to comply with complaint requirements; provides for nonapplicability to proceedings involving timeshare interests; requires court to treat collateral attack on final judgment of foreclosure on mortgage as claim for monetary damages; prohibits such court from granting certain relief affecting title to foreclosed property; provides for construction relating to rights of certain persons to seek specified types of relief or pursue claims against foreclosed property; limits amount of deficiency judgment; revises class of persons authorized to move for expedited foreclosure to include lienholders; defines "lienholder"; provides requirements & procedures with respect to order directed to defendants to show cause why final judgment of foreclosure should not be entered.


Effective Date: upon becoming a law

Help ensure the success of our profession, become a Florida CPA/PAC member today. For more information about FICPA advocacy or Florida CPA/PAC, contact the FICPA Governmental Affairs Team: (800) 342-3197 (800) 342-3197, Ext. 203 (in Florida), (850) 224-2727 (850) 224-2727, Ext. 203, or govaffairs@ficpa.org

About the Florida CPA/PAC
The Florida CPA/PAC is an entity completely separate from the FICPA. The Florida CPA/PAC is supported solely by the voluntary contributions of FICPA members and others. The Florida CPA/PAC is registered as a corporation with the Florida Division of Corporations, and as a Committee of Continuous Existence with the Division of Elections within the Florida Department of State. Learn more about the Florida CPA/PAC and how you can help protect the profession.