CS/CS/SB 170 (Trumbull) imposes new requirements on municipalities for adopting and enforcing ordinances. First, the bill requires a municipality to prepare a business impact estimate before adopting an ordinance and specifies the minimum content that must be included in the statement. The bill exempts the following ordinances from this requirement: ordinances required to comply with federal or state laws or regulations; ordinances relating to the issuance or refinancing of debt; ordinances relating to the adoption of budgets or budget amendments, including revenue sources necessary to fund the budget; ordinances required to implement a contract or agreement, including grants or financial assistance; Emergency ordinances; ordinances relating to procurement; ordinances enacted to implement Part II, Ch. 163, including land development regulations, zoning, development orders, development agreements and development permits; ordinances enacted to implement Sections 190.005 and 190.046 (CDDs); ordinance enacted to implement the Florida Building Code; and ordinances enacted to implement the Florida Fire Prevention Code. The business impact estimate must be posted on the municipality's website no later than the date of publication of notice of the proposed ordinance. Second, the bill requires a municipality to suspend enforcement of an ordinance that is the subject of a civil action challenging the ordinance's validity on the grounds that it is arbitrary or unreasonable or expressly preempted by state law. This requirement applies only if: the action was filed within 90 days of the ordinance's effective date, suspension of the ordinance was requested in the complaint and the municipality was served with a copy of the complaint. If the municipality prevails in the civil action, the municipality may enforce the ordinance unless the plaintiff appeals the decision and obtains a stay of enforcement from the court. Third, the bill authorizes the award of attorney fees, costs and damages to a prevailing plaintiff in a civil action commenced after October 1, 2023, in which an ordinance is alleged to be arbitrary or unreasonable. Attorney fees, costs and damages are capped at $50,000. The bill authorizes a court to impose sanctions upon a party for filing a paper, pleading or motion for an improper purpose (such as to harass or delay). The bill requires courts to prioritize and expedite the disposition of cases in which enforcement of an ordinance is suspended. The bill exempts ordinances listed above from the stay of enforcement provision. Additionally, the bill clarifies current law relating to notice and publication of ordinances by specifying that consideration of an ordinance properly noticed may be continued to a subsequent meeting if the date, time and place of the subsequent meeting is publicly stated. This provision is retroactive.
Effective date: October 1, 2023, except as otherwise specified. (O'Hara)