Associated General Contractors Legislative Priorities List for 2014 Session

  1. Correct several problems with Chapter 558 “Construction Defects” to clarify numerous conflicts, onerous provision in responsibilities, definitions etc.

  2. Support granting state universities the authority to use public-private partnerships (PPPs) to help build and operate universityPPPs are contractual arrangements formed between a public entity and a private entity that allow for more significant private sector participation in the delivery and financing of public buildings and infrastructure projects, with each party sharing in the potential risks and rewards.  AGC has long supported expanding PPP opportunities for public entities in Florida, because PPPs provide a creative means to help address Florida’s growing infrastructure needs and to accelerate construction activity in the state.   Expanding upon the PPP program already operated by the Florida Department of Transportation, legislation supported by AGC successfully passed in 2013 to allow counties, cities, school boards, and regional entities to use PPPs.  As a follow-on to that effort, legislation filed for the 2014 Session would give state universities the authority to use PPPs (HB 541 by Rep. Greg Steube, R - Sarasota).

  3. Support alternative funding mechanisms for construction and capital improvements to schools, colleges, andFor several years now, Florida’s public schools, colleges, and universities have suffered deep cuts in state funding formerly dedicated to building, renovating, and maintaining facilities.  Much of the funding for such projects has historically come from a source called the Public Education Capital Outlay (“PECO”) fund.  PECO funds are generated through a 2.5 percent gross receipts tax on the sale of electricity and a 2.52 percent tax on communications services.  This revenue stream, established by a 1963 amendment to the state constitution, has dried up as consumers have bought more energy-efficient appliances and moved from land-line telephones to cell phones, and almost all anticipated PECO proceeds have already been bonded out.  PECO revenue has shrunk from a high of $1.2 billion in the 2007-2008 fiscal year to about $80 million for the 2013-2014 state budget.  Numerous proposals have been advanced to address these difficulties, including one from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to cut in half the 7% sales tax that private firms pay for electricity and use the remaining $250 million per year as a PECO source.

  4. Support increased funding of transportation and infrastructure projects that will spur economicIn the coming 2014 legislative session, Governor Scott will ask lawmakers to appropriate $8.8 billion in transportation funding.  The Governor’s  request would fully fund DOT’s five-year work plan, including $3.8 billion for major road projects on Interstates 75, 4 and 95, and the Florida Turnpike, as well as nearly $139 million in seaport improvements and $192 million for bridge improvements.

  5. Oppose any change to the state’s construction lien/bond laws that would negatively impact generalSuch proposed changes would include:  (a) fundamentally altering “prevailing party” attorney’s fees in suits over liens and bond claims, requiring an award of attorney’s fees from the general contractor if a subcontractor or material supplier recovered any amount at all in the litigation (even $1); and (b) mandating the use of a statutorily-prescribed form for the waiver of a subcontractor’s lien/bond claim, thus eliminating the general contractor’s ability to require additional terms by contract or to pass through additional terms insisted upon by the owner or lender.

  6. Support legislation to eliminate local government bidding preferences in favor of locally-basedAs in years past, legislation has been filed for 2014 (SB 612 by Sen. Alan Hays, R - Umatilla) that would prohibit local ordinances or regulations that grant a preference to a “local” bidder based upon the bidder maintaining a business office or principal place of business in the local jurisdiction, the bidder hiring personnel or subcontractors from within the jurisdiction, or the bidder paying local taxes, assessments, or duties.  This prohibition would apply to any local public construction project for which payment is to be made in whole or in part from funds appropriated by the state.

  7. Monitor workers’ compensation insurance clean-up legislation (HB 271 and SB 444) designed to increase system efficiencies, opposing amendments that might result in any increase in the premiums paid by Florida employers.

  8. Explore possible changes in the laws impacting construction litigation to more effectively allow general contractors to provide remediation in response to owner complaints and avoid unnecessary litigationAGC is actively working with a group of general contractors and construction attorneys to identify potential solutions.

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