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Florida is about halfway through this year’s legislative session and, so far, two bills are standing out for the pool/spa industry:

Scope of work: Two FSPA-backed bills are expected to help clear confusion about what tasks can be performed by licensed pool/spa contractors in Florida. Some confusion has surrounded issues such as when a licensed electrician must be brought in, along with whether or not pool/spa contractors can build retaining walls to shore soil. In the past, some pool/spa builders have even been told they can’t build decks, perform excavation or install rebar.

Senate Bill 922 and House Bill 525 are written to clarify such issues, as well as simplify and modernize the language to make the scope of work easier to understand and interpret.

“We are feeling optimistic,” said Dallas Thiesen, senior director of government affairs for the Florida Swimming Pool Association. “We’ve done the legwork with all the stakeholders, legislators and their staff to make sure all questions have been answered. We’re hoping to see it start moving soon.”

Homeowners construction recovery fund: Another set of FSPA-supported bills expands the fund meant to provide aid to homeowners who have been abandoned mid-project by contractors because of bankruptcy or other reasons.

Senate Bill 1544 and House Bill 1335 would increase the maximum available per claim to $30,000, with a lifetime cap of $600,000 for a single contractor. The current ceilings are $15,000 per project and $150,000 per contractor.

“The fund ... is a way to help make consumers whole in the worst case,” Thiesen said. “Our goal is to prevent these things from happening, but we have to be realistic and make sure that fund is available for consumers, should the worst happen.”

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