Florida League of Cities

Business Damages Against Local Government – PASSED 

CS/SB 620 (Hutson) allows a business that has been engaged in a lawful business in a municipality for at least three years to claim business damages from the municipality if it enacts or amends an ordinance or charter provision that will cause a reduction of at least 15% of the business’ profit as applied on a per-location basis of a business operated within the jurisdiction. The bill provides three ways for a municipality to cure the business’ claim and avoid paying damages: repeal the ordinance or charter provision; amend the ordinance or charter provision; or grant a waiver to the business from enforcement of the ordinance or charter provision. The bill provides exemptions from business damages claims for various ordinances and charter provisions: ordinances required to comply with, or expressly authorized by, state or federal law; emergency ordinances, declarations or orders adopted pursuant to the state Emergency Management Act; a temporary emergency ordinance that remains in effect for no more than 90 days; ordinances or charter provisions enacted to implement: Part II of Chapter 163 (including zoning, development orders and development permits); the Florida Building Code; the Florida Fire Code; a contract or an agreement, including contracts or agreements relating to grants or other financial assistance; debt issuance or refinancing; procurement; budgets or budget amendments, including revenue sources necessary to fund the budget. The bill specifies that in action to recover damages, the courts may award attorney fees and costs to the prevailing party. The bill is prospective and apply to ordinances and charter provisions enacted or amended after the legislation becomes law. CS/SB 620 passed the Senate (22-14) and the House (69-45) and is awaiting action by the Governor. (O’Hara)