State Watch

Florida lawmakers fail to pass safety legislation after Surfside tragedy

Associated Press / Gerald Herbert

The Florida legislature failed to strike agreement on legislation targeting condo safety measures months after the partial collapse of a Surfside, Fla., condo building that left close to 100 people dead.

The proposed legislation required condo buildings to conduct “reserve studies” where engineers inform condo boards about how much money they recommend setting aside after doing periodic inspections. It also required condo inspections on aging buildings. 

The measure failed to make headway between both chambers of the Florida legislature on Friday, NBC News reported.

Older condo buildings are not required to undergo safety inspections under current Florida law, the network noted.

The news comes after state lawmakers vowed to take action on preventative steps for the future in the wake of the collapse.

“I’m not sure why it fell apart,” Senate President Wilton Simpson (R) said at a news conference, according to NBC News.

“Clearly, we did not get together with the House on that bill, and so unfortunately it did not pass.”

Lawmakers in the Senate struggled to overcome an impasse on the bill sponsored by state Rep. Daniel Perez (R) that would stop condo boards from waiving reserve funding, targeting a current loophole in Florida. But state senators argued condo owners would be financially burdened, the network reported.

“Many associations did not want the inability to waive reserves. And I think that they had a little bit more of an influence in the Senate than they did in the House,” Perez told NBC News. “That was not a negotiable piece for us. We were never going to negotiate the waiving of reserves, because that is part of the problem that caused the incident at Surfside.”

The impasse comes months after 98 people died in the partial Surfside condo collapse. The tragedy gripped newscasts as Florida officials regularly updated the public on its investigation and rising death toll.

It also became a rare sign of bipartisan unity between President Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who met together in South Florida following the tragedy.

Tags condo collapse Florida Joe Biden Ron DeSantis Surfside
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