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Condo safety measure introduced in House during Florida special session

TALLAHASSEE - As Florida lawmakers meet in a special session this week to grapple with property insurance issues like rising rates and cancelations, another topic has made it to the agenda.

Condominium safety reform in the wake of the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside.

While this was an issue that the legislature failed to tackle during the regular session, there does appear to be an agreement to do something during this session to make condos and highrise structures throughout the state safe.

CBS4 News learned that several key members got together in Tallahassee on Monday night, including state Senators Lauren Book and Jen Bradley, along with state Representative Danny Perez, to come up with an agreement that they could move forward with.

On Tuesday, a measure was introduced in the House appropriations committee that expanded the session beyond property insurance to include condo reforms. It was overwhelmingly approved.

A measure in the Senate is sure to follow.

According to CBS4's Jim DeFede, there has always been an agreement between the House and the Senate on most of the bill that was proposed during the regular session. It included improving the types of inspections that we're done, making them more frequent, and requiring them not just in Miami-Dade and Broward but statewide.

The issue that caused a problem was reserve funds, the money that buildings set aside to make critical repairs.

The Senate version of the reform measure wanted to allow the building's association to have the ability to waive those fees with two thirds of the residents' vote. That would make it tougher for buildings to afford needed repairs.

The House, in particular Rep. Danny Perez, was against the waiving of reserves.

It now appears the Senate has changed its stance and agreed to no waiving of fees in most instances for condo associations. Senator Jason Pizzo is expected to propose that amendment to the Senate's version sometime on Tuesday.

While nothing is final yet, senators and representatives in both parties are optimistic that something can be done.

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