Legislative Session Wrap Ups

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2014 Legislative Session Wrap Up

During the 2014 Legislative Session the Governmental Affairs Team worked to ensure that the FICPA's Legislative and Regulatory Policies were upheld. Whether working with other businessgroups 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 2014 Legislative Session.

The 2014 Florida Legislative session came to an end on May 2. More than 1,800 bills were filed during the 2014 Legislative Session and about 15 percent of those actually passed both Chambers.

By The Numbers: 2014 Bill Filing and Passage Statistics

Senate & House Bills Filed Passed Both Chambers
Concurrent Resolutions 7 2
Resolutions (One Chamber) 123 0
General Bills 1540 229*
Local Bills 78 26
Joint Resolutions 23 1
Memorials 40 6
Totals 1811 264
*SB328 & HB39

CPA Bill Passes Unanimously and Approved by the Governor

Senate Bill 796 (SB796) sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala, R- St. Petersburg, and its companion House bill 725 (HB725), sponsored by Representative Jim Boyd R-Bradenton, unanimously passed on the legislature on April 28, 2014. The bill clarifies several licensure requirements under Florida Statute 473 and institutes a streamlined process for CPA licensees to fulfill their CPE requirements and reactivate their license.

Here is a summary:

  • Amends 473.306, F.S., to allow exam applicants to fulfill the Board of Accountancy’s “Good Moral Character” requirement prior to application for licensure.
  • Amends 473. 306(2), F.S., to adjust the 160 quarter hour education requirement an exam applicant is required to fulfill to the correct amount of 180 quarter hours that equals the full 120 semester hours that is required.
  • Creates a one-time amnesty to reactivate a license by notifying the board of their intention by December 31, 2014 and completing 120 hours of continuing professional education by June 30, 2016.

The Legislation was signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 13, 2014 and will take effect on July 1, 2014.

Board of Accountancy Legislative News

The FY 2014-15 budget passed by the House and Senate on May 2, 2014 and signed by Governor Rick Scott on June 2 includes important funding for the Board of Accountancy (BOA). With support from the FICPA, the 2014-15 state budget includes $200,000 to fund the Board of Accountancy's Minority Scholarship Program and $100,000 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.
  • $10 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 $1,317,000 to 221 students who were enrolled in their fifth year of an accounting education program.

The legislature also approved additional funds in FY 2014-15 budget in response to the report provided by the BOA as directed by legislation passed in the previous session.

Board of Accountancy Appointments/Confirmations
Governor Rick Scott announced the re-appointment of Eric Robinson, CPA of Robinson, Hanks, Young & Roberts to the BOA and the first time appointment of FICPA past President Jim Lane, CPA of Averett, Warmus, Durkee.

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



HB807 Relating to Residential Properties - Moraitis
Provides that timeshare projects are not subject to annual inspection requirements; providing that a condominium association that does not own any units classified as timeshare projects is not required to apply for or receive a public lodging establishment license; providing that timeshare projects within separate buildings or at separate locations but managed by one licensed agent may be combined in a single license application; authorizing an association to inspect and repair abandoned condominium units; defining the term "previous owner" for purposes of provisions relating to the liability of condominium unit owners for assessments, etc
Effective Date: July 1, 2014.

HB7037 Relating to Residential Communities – Spano and others
Revises the term "community association management"; providing powers and duties of community association managers and community association management firms; requiring a release of lien to be in a specific form; deleting a provision providing for the expiration of certain liens; providing requirements for the execution of a claim of lien, etc.
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB440 Relating to Condominiums - Altman
Limits the application of certain requirements relating to bylaws to residential condominiums and their associations and boards; exempting nonresidential condominiums from mandatory arbitration unless specifically provided for in their declarations; specifying that residential condominiums are classified as residential property; authorizing the developer to modify the plot plan as to unit or building types; extending by year the time limitation for classification as a bulk assignee or bulk buyer, etc
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB489 Relating to Subsurface Rights – Spano and others
Requires seller to provide prospective purchaser with subsurface rights disclosure summary when selling certain residential property; provides form for disclosure summary; requires disclosure summary to be included or incorporated by reference in contract for sale; defines "subsurface rights" & "seller."  
Effective Date: October 1, 2014

HB7015 Relating Military and Veteran Support – Smith (J) and others
Revises & creates provisions to benefit honorably discharged veterans & active service members with regard to Educational Dollars for Duty program; Florida Veterans' Walk of Honor & Florida Veterans' Memorial Garden; governmental & private employment preference; employment & training services; waiver of fees by DPBR & DOH from 24 to 60 months (including CPA license); residency in Florida State Veterans' Domiciliary Home & admittance to state veterans' nursing home; driver license & learner's permit exemptions & extensions; physician certificate for practice in areas of critical need; establishing certain charter schools; & waiver of certain state university, Florida College System institution, & career center fees; establishes Florida Is For Veterans, Inc. & Veterans Employment & Training Services Program in DVA; assigns various duties to Florida Is For Veterans, Inc., and VISIT Florida for marketing; provides appropriations. 
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB1450 Relating to Homeowners Associations Meetings – Simpson and Business & Professional Regulation Subcommittee
Requires a board meeting to be held at a location accessible to physically handicapped persons upon request of certain authorized persons; requiring a meeting of the members to be held at a location accessible to physically handicapped persons upon request of certain authorized persons, etc.
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

Taxes/Department of Revenue

SB5601 Relating to Taxation – Workman & Finance and Tax Subcommittee
Clarifies and updates which services are included under the definition "prepaid calling arrangement" and subject to a sales tax; provides for an additional tax on charges for, or the use of, certain electrical power or energy and the rate for such tax; increasing the amount of tax credits that may be granted for certain approved programs; providing for a sales tax holiday for certain Energy Star and WaterSense products; provides an exemption from the sales and use tax for sales during a specified period of certain tangible personal property related to hurricane preparedness, etc.
Effective Date: May 12, 2014
HB7081 Relating to Tax Administration – Caldwell & Finance and Tax Subcommittee
Revises provisions relating to ad valorem taxes, the tax on sales, use, & other transactions, electronic remittance & distribution of funds collected by clerks of court, automated sales suppression devices, & unemployment compensation.
Effective Date: May 12, 2014

HB943 Relating to Department of Revenue’s Certified Audit Program – Raulerson and others
Revised amounts of interest liability that DOR may abate for taxpayers participating in certified audit program; authorizes taxpayer to participate in certified audit program after DOR has issued notice of intent to conduct audit of taxpayer; reduces amount of interest that may be abated for taxpayer requesting to participate in program; specifies tax programs to be audited; revises procedures, deadlines, & notice requirements for certified audits; authorizes DOR to adopt rules prohibiting qualified practitioner from representing taxpayer in informal conference procedures under certain circumstances.  
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

SB176 Relating Tax on Sales, Use, Other Transactions – Hukill
Reduces the tax levied on rental or license fees charged for the use of real property effective on a certain date, etc.
Effective Date: July 1, 2014
SB966 Relating to Sales and Use Tax – Legg
Revises the method for calculating the amount of the tax, etc.
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

State and Local Government

 SB1648 Relating to Public Records and Meetings – General Government
Would have revised the general state policy on public records; providing that public records requests need not be in writing unless otherwise required by law; revising contract requirements between a public agency and a contractor; requiring each agency to provide training on the requirements of ch. 119, F.S.; specifying a reasonable cost of enforcement; providing that a party filing an action against certain agencies is not required to serve a copy of a pleading claiming attorney fees on the Department of Financial Services, etc.
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

Other Bills of Interest

HB685 Relating to Business Organizations – Rooney and others
Provides additional exceptions regarding requirement that LLC names be distinguishable from names of other entities or filings; divides ch. 607, F.S., into parts with existing provisions assigned to part I entitled "General Provisions," & creates two new parts, part II entitled "Social Purpose Corporations," relating to corporations with corporate purpose to create public benefit, & part III entitled "Benefit Corporations," relating to corporations with corporate purpose to create public benefit; provides that certain amendments entitle shareholders to appraisal rights.
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB5001 Relating to the General Appropriations Act – Appropriations
Provides moneys for annual period beginning July 1, 2014, & ending June 30, 2015, & supplemental appropriations for period ending June 30, 2014, to pay salaries & other expenses, capital outlay - buildings & other improvements, & for other specified purposes of various agencies of state government.
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

HB7005 Relating Transportation – Artiles and others
Revises notification requirements with respect to the suspension of the driver license of a child support obligor; revises requirements for audits on revenue and use of fees collected by specialty tag providers; revises the amount of funds to be made available annually from the State Transportation Trust Fund for the Intermodal Logistics Center Infrastructure Support Program; prohibiting a bus from stopping to load or unload passengers in a manner that impedes, blocks, or otherwise restricts the progression of traffic under certain circumstances; authorizes the court to order the placement of an ignition interlock device for certain first-time offenders of driving under the influence, etc.
Effective Date: July 1, 2014

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.