What's Next on the FSPA Government Relations Agenda

By Dallas Thiesen, FSPA Senior Director of Government Affairs / Dallas@FloridaPoolPro.com


This year FSPA accomplished two major government relations goals, the passage of Senate Bill 222 creating a subcontracting license exemption for swimming pool and spa subcontractors, and the establishment of the Florida Swims Specialty License Plate to help fund FSPA’s Florida Swims Foundation swim lesson programs. 

With two major public policy goals accomplished, what is next for FSPA’s government relations program? At the June 2022 Board of Directors meeting in Tampa, FSPA Board members serving on the Builders Council, Commercial Council, and Service Council met and discussed the major issues facing the Florida swimming pool and spa industry. As a result of that meeting the FSPA Board of Directors tasked the FSPA government relations team with researching and developing the following issues and FSPA is seeking input from all FSPA members to help in the policy development process.

Construction Recovery Fund Cap

A portion of every construction permit fee paid in the State of Florida is contributed to the State Construction Recovery Fund (the fund). The fund was created by the Florida Legislature to help consumers who are financially damaged by contractors and is administered by the Construction Industry Licensing Board (CILB). Under the law authorizing the fund, payouts to damaged consumers are capped at $15,000 per incident for customers of Division II contractors and $50,000 for customers of Division I contractors. With increased demand for construction and material supply shortages over the last few years construction costs have skyrocketed which caused more consumer claims to run up against the statutory caps on recovery through the fund. The CILB has expressed an interest in raising the recovery cap for Division II and Division I.

Currently the FSPA government relations team is working with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the parent agency of the CILB, to develop a legislative proposal that would raise the recovery caps of the fund to levels that are more in line with current construction costs.

Liability Protections for Taking Over Abandoned Jobs

Recently there have been contractors who have left their clients with abandoned job sites and partially finished jobs. Many contractors are understandably weary of taking over jobs started by other contractors due to liability and warranty concerns. This leaves consumers with few options when their contractor abandons the project.

In an effort to ease contractor concerns overstepping into unfinished projects and to give consumers more options to get their construction projects finished, FSPA is working with legislative policymakers to research and develop a statutory liability limitation for contractors who take over jobs abandoned by other contractors. The goal would be to codify liability protections for contractors to make them more willing to take on abandoned jobs and help Florida consumers finish their projects.

Unlicensed Contracting Solutions

A perennial problem for the Florida construction industry is the prevalence of unlicensed contractors and the poor quality of work they produce. In an effort to address unlicensed contracting with public policy changes, the FSPA government relations team is working to develop several policy proposals aimed at this issue. The first area of development is the potential strengthening of criminal penalties for unlicensed contracting. FSPA is working with legislators who have filed bills in recent legislative sessions on this topic and working with the DBPR to assess this possibility. The other area of development is working with the state of Florida to see what can be done to support or encourage local law enforcement and states' attorneys in the arrest and prosecution of individuals engaged in unlicensed contracting.

All of these issues are in the development stage and FSPA wants to hear the opinions of all FSPA members on the best way to tackle these issues. If you would like to give your opinion on any of these topics or have suggestions on other government relations issues that you would like FSPA to address, please email Dallas@FloridaPoolPro.com with your comments and concerns.