Last week, during the Florida Senate’s very first floor debate of the 2023 legislative session, freshman Senator Alexis Calatayud, an incredible and thoughtful legislator from Miami presented SB 102, called the “Live Local Act.” Senate President Passidomo handpicked Senator Calatayud to lead the Live Local Act initiative with a press conference before session touting the revolutionary concepts in the bill. It is a comprehensive, market-driven plan for attainable housing policies that creates a missing-middle tax exemption for developments that set aside at least 70 units below market rate for affordable housing. We detailed the proposal in last week’s newsletter.
During that earlier press conference, Senator Passidomo, who frequently drives Hwy 41 in Lee and other Southwest Florida counties, shared her vision that many strip malls closed during COVID are still idle. She said it just made sense to transform those structures into housing for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that many are near hospitals and schools, so nurses and teachers could walk to work.
However, a point of controversy for the bill has been its elimination of the power of local governments to pass rent control policies or similar measures. Democratic Senators Thompson, Powell and Pizzo also expressed zoning concerns, particularly with an amendment expanding mixed-use zoning areas to include industrial-zoned property, something Senator Powell described as dangerous and potentially an economic justice concern.
Regardless of the opposition, many Senators praised Senator Calatayud and Senate President Passidomo on the bill and it passed the Senate unanimously and now awaits action in the House. It appears the House will also be moving its own bill soon, and the Governor has signaled he will sign a bill of this nature if/when it reaches his desk. However, LMA continues to stress that workforce housing isn’t affordable if the occupants can’t afford the property insurance to live in it. The legislature and Governor must address reinsurance costs this session!
You’ll notice fewer stories in this newsletter and those during the legislative session, as we focus our efforts at monitoring relevant legislation to report. Keep reading so you can get all the news of this past week’s legislative action, insight on what to expect this week, plus developments in Florida’s property insurance marketplace!