Monday, April 28, 2014 VOLUME 17 ISSUE 17
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A weekly report on the impact of the Legislative Session on business.                         

             WEEK 8: April 25, 2014 

 

As lawmakers returned to Tallahassee for the next to last week of the 2014 Legislative Session, they took swift action to hammer out a budget deal and advanced a number of bills outlined in the Florida Chamber's Competitiveness Agenda.

 

Budget negotiators in each chamber continue working to put the finishing touches on an estimated $75 billion budget. While lawmakers finalize these allocations, it does appear Florida will once again invest in economic development offices in China and Japan - an effort that will go a long way toward enhancing Florida's international trade efforts.

 

Additional highlights include:

 

TALENT & EDUCATION:

  • Early Learning: Building a workforce begins early and that's the message Mark Wilson, Florida Chamber President and CEO, and David Lawrence Jr., Chair of the Children's Movement of Florida and President of the early Childhood Initiative Foundation are sharing throughout Florida. Learn where Florida stands in early education efforts by visiting this week's Florida Chamber Foundation's Scorecard Stat.

 

  • K-12: The Florida Senate took important steps this week to further prepare Florida's students for jobs of the future by passing two Florida Chamber-backed education bills. Senators supported strengthening the Career and Professional Education program, which provides middle school students the opportunity to earn industry certifications while attending school, and expanding the list of acceptable internships for the Florida Bright Futures scholarship.

 

  • Education Success: Education Commissioner Pam Stewart highlights Florida's education successes, discusses statewide assessments and a proposed A-F school grading system on the latest edition of The Florida Chamber of Commerce's Bottom Line. "Florida is a leader in the area of education, and sometimes we forget that," said Education Commissioner Pam Stewart. "Having moved in 2013 from eleventh in the nation to sixth in the nation in student achievement speaks volumes about the hard work that's happening in Florida. To be second in the nation in AP participation is amazing work. Leading the nation in our Hispanic graduation rate is another thing I'm very proud of."

 

BUSINESS CLIMATE:

  • Lawsuit Abuse Reform: This week the Florida Chamber applauded lawmakers for putting small businesses ahead of personal injury trial lawyers when they passed a bill that prevents trial lawyers from making unreasonable claims against capital investors and lenders who have no role in daily decisions of businesses. It will also improve on Florida's dismal bottom 10 legal climate which, according to a Towers Perrin report, costs the average Florida family about $3,400 a year in lawsuit abuse taxes. Click here  to learn more about how when prices rise, Mary pays more.

 

  • Property Insurance Reform: Families and businesses are now better protected against "hurricane taxes" now that Citizens Property Insurance Corporation this week transferred more risk to the private reinsurance market. Citizens will have approximately $3.1 billion in reinsurance available in the event of a major storm or series of storms during the 2014 hurricane season, and therefore reduce the need for assessments on all insurance policy holders. Earlier this week, the Florida Chamber praised this news, and took the opportunity to encourage Florida to explore the global financial markets and transfer risk from Florida's Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.

 

  • Targeted Tax Reform: The Florida House this week passed a Florida Chamber-backed bill limiting burdensome taxes and creating equity in Florida's tax system. Recently, Florida's revenue collector attempted to collect the communications services tax (CST) from businesses that were sending information over their private network. This targeted tax reform bill clarifies when businesses are consumers, rather than providers, of communications services and does not subject them to taxation.

 

 

INFRASTRUCTURE:

  • Protecting Natural Resources:  This week, the Florida Senate removed long-term funding for its ambitious springs plan. SB 1576 wishes to provide funding for water quality standards, but recent estimates from Florida's Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) currently don't show these promised funds to be available and amendments added to the bill reduce the funding level all the way down to $10 million. We believe our natural resources should be protected by common-sense, sustainable reform, not by possibly negatively impacting Florida's agriculture, real estate, local governments, business industry and taxpayers with uncertain inadequate funding for springs programs and projects. Click here to learn more.

 

CIVIC & GOVERNANCE SYSTEMS:

  • Pension Reform: The Florida House voted this week to secure public pensions and protect taxpayers. Creating fiscally stable state and local governments through modern and sustainable retirement systems helps avoid a bankrupt future that too many state and local governments currently face. "Recent plan valuations from the overseer of the state's pension plan show that while Florida's pension fund gained $3.8 billion in assets, it also gained $6.2 billion in liabilities. This pattern is not sustainable," said Leticia Adams, Director of Infrastructure and Governance Policy for the Florida Chamber.

 

QUALITY OF LIFE:

  • Medical Tourism: The Florida Senate this week took steps to highlight Florida's world-class healthcare providers by passing a Florida Chamber-backed medical tourism bill. Florida Chamber members like Sylvester Center at the University of Miami, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Jacksonville, UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health, Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Baptist Health South Florida, Florida Hospital Corporation and more champion innovative initiatives for their patients to succeed - effectively cutting down costs and recovery times. Florida's focus must now be on marketing these institutions both nationally and internationally in order to fuel Florida's competitive growth.

 

Next week marks the final week of the 60 day legislative session. The Florida Chamber will continue to reach out throughout the week to keep you informed and to ask for your support as your legislative priorities reach the finish line.

 

Each week during the 2014 Legislative Session, the Florida Chamber provides a synopsis of legislative action involving the 2014 Competitiveness Agenda. Here is a summary for Week 8. 

 

 

 

IN THIS ISSUE

Talent Supply & Education

Innovation & Economic Development

Infrastructure & Growth Leadership

Business Climate & Competitiveness

Civic & Governance Systems

Quality of Life and Quality Places

 

TALENT SUPPLY & EDUCATION

At the Florida Chamber, we believe a quality education and workforce development system is Florida's best long-term economic development strategy. We need to work toward filling the gap created between Florida's current education system and the needs of Florida's employers by diversifying our economy and creating job opportunities for future generations.

 

 

 

 

Florida GI Program

Chamber Insider: Line

 

HB 7015: Representative Jimmie T. Smith (R-Lecanto)

Signed Into Law by Governor Rick Scott 

 

Provides in-state tuition to veterans, allows businesses to give hiring preferences to veterans and protects military bases from encroachment.

 

Florida is known as a military and veteran friendly state, and the Florida Chamber is committed to helping vets find jobs in our state's competitive economy.  A highly-skilled, well-trained talent pool that spans many global industries is important to Florida's economy.

 

No further action. This bill was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on March 31, 2014..

 

 

 

 

 

Financial Literacy

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 212: Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) 

Now in Senate Appropriations; One Committee Hearing Remains

 

HB 367: Representative Heather Fitzenhagen (R-Fort Myers)

Awaits its First Committee Hearing; Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

 

Requires each student to earn one-half credit in personal financial literacy and money management.

 

Studies show nearly half of Florida's high school seniors lack understanding of financial basics like income, credit, insurance and more. Florida's businesses suffer when our young adults lack the fundamental financial knowledge to contribute to Florida's economy. Sound personal finances are a top factor employers consider when hiring.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

 

Education Acceleration/Middle School Reform

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 850: Senator John Legg (R-Lutz)

Passed the Florida Senate

 

Prepares students for future jobs by strengthening the Career and Professional Education academy program.

 

Students can earn a high school diploma while earning college credits and industry certifications, further ensuring they are ready to enter the workforce.

 

Passed out of the Florida Senate. 

 

 

 

 

 

Education Accountability

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1642: Education Committee

In House Messages 

 

HB 7117: Representative Janet Adkins (R-Fernandina Beach)

On the House Calendar

 

 

Creates a transparent A-F school grading system.

 

This bill improves Florida's current A-F grading system to ensure teachers and students are accurately assessed. While implementing higher internationally benchmarked educational standards, it is important that Florida can accurately assess Florida's K-12 system. This will allow us to put our children first and ensure their success in and beyond Florida's K-12 system.  

 

SB 1642 was sent to House messages, while the House did not take action on HB 7117. 

 

 

 

 

Charter Schools

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1528: Senator Rob Bradley (R-Orange Park) 

In Senate Appropriations Committee; One Committee Hearing Remains

 

HB 7083: Representative Manny Diaz, Jr. (R-Hialeah)

Passed the Florida House; Referred to Three Senate Committees

 

Creates a pathway for school districts and charter schools to resolve contract disputes while allowing for greater collaboration.

 

Pursuing education reforms that allow parents options and diversity will empower parents to take the lead on choosing the best option for their children.

 

The Florida House passed HB 7023, sent it to the Florida Senate where it was referred to three committees. The Senate did not take action on SB 1528. 

 

 

 

 

Personal Learning Accounts

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1512: Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland);

Passed the Senate Appropriations Committee  

 

HB 5103: Representative Michael Bileca (R-Miami)

In the House Appropriations Committee; One Committee Hearing Remains

 

HB 7167: Education Appropriations Committee

In Senate Messages 

 

Improves the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program while increasing access to educational and medical services for students with disabilities. This bill furthers the Florida Chamber's long standing position of empowering parents to choose the best educational environment for their child.

 

Giving parents options and diversity will empower them to take the lead on choosing the

best option for their children.

  

SB 1512 passed its final committee, while HB 7167 was placed in Senate messages. The House did not take action on HB 5103.

 

 

Tax Credit Scholarship Programs

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1620: Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton)

Previously Withdrawn From Further Consideration

 

HB 7099: Representative Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne)

Previously Passed its Final Committee Hearing

 

HB 7167: Education Appropriations Committee

In Senate Messages 

 

Improves the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship program while increasing access to educational and medical services for students with disabilities. This bill furthers the Florida Chamber's long standing position of empowering parents to choose the best educational environment for their child.

 

Empowering parents with school choice options helps ensure a student's zip code does not determine the quality of education they receive and will help ensure a talented workforce for Florida's long-term economic development strategy.

 

HB 7167 was placed in Senate messages, while the legislature did not take action on HB 7099 or SB 1620. 

 

 

 

Public Private Partnership-Higher Education

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 900: Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)

In the Senate Appropriations Committee

  

HB 541: Representative Greg Steube (R-Sarasota)

In the House Appropriations Committee 

 

Establishes public private partnership procedures for state universities.

 

It encourages private businesses to partner with public universities to develop infrastructure.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

 

 

 

Digital Learning

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 790: Senator John Legg (R-Lutz)

On the Senate Calendar

 

 

Increases access to digital devices and broadband connections throughout Florida classrooms.

   

Expanding the use of cost-effective digital learning and virtual education throughout Florida's education system provides students with a competitive advantage to thrive in a technologically advanced economy.

 

Temporarily postponed in the Senate; retained on the Senate Special Order Calendar.

 

 

 

Bright Futures Scholarships

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 566: Senator John Legg (R-Lutz)

Passed the Florida Senate  

 

HB 557: Representative Patrick Rooney (R-Palm Beach Gardens)

In Higher Education and Workforce Subcommittee; Three Committee Hearings Remain  

 

High school students would be allowed to work in certain internships, for a nonprofit community service organization or volunteer for a candidate, to satisfy volunteer requirements for a Bright Futures Scholarship.

   

Further enhancing a student's skill set will help prepare Florida's future generation of workers for a competitive global economy.

 

The Senate passed SB 566, while the House did not take action. 

 

 

INNOVATION & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

With four out of five new jobs in Florida created by small businesses specializing in areas from international trade to rural economic development, Florida needs to stay the course of diversifying our economy.  

 

 

 

Capital Investment Tax Credit

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1156: Senator  Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland)

Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

HB 549: Representative Ben Albritton (R-Wauchula)

Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

 

Improves the eligibility requirements to receive Capital Investment Tax Credits.

 

Strengthening Florida's rapidly growing manufacturing industry will be the key to ensuring a robust global future.

 

The Legislature did not take action.

 

 

 

Florida GI Program

Chamber Insider: Line

 

HB 7015: Representative Jimmie T. Smith (R-Lecanto)

Signed Into Law by Governor Rick Scott

 

Provides in-state tuition to veterans, allows businesses to give hiring preferences to veterans and protects military bases from encroachment.

 

Florida is known as a military and veteran friendly state and the Florida Chamber is committed to helping vets find jobs in our state's competitive economy.  A highly-skilled, well-trained talent pool that spans many global industries is important to Florida's economy.

 

No further action. This bill was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on March 31, 2014.

 

 

Defense Contracting

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 596: Senator Evers (R-Pensacola)

In the Senate Appropriations Committee; One Committee Hearing Remains

 

HB 155: Representative Jimmie T. Smith (R-Lecanto)

On the House Calendar

  

Encourages prime contractors to use Florida-based subcontractors when contracting defense work.

 

Providing greater opportunities to Floridians will help communities and Florida's economy grow. When families and communities do well, so does the state of Florida.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

 

Enterprise Zone Act

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 472: Senator Joe Abruzzo (R-Wellington)

In Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee; Three Committee Hearings Remain 

 

HB 141: Representative Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach)

In House Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee; Four Committee Hearings Remain

 

Extends the sunset time for Enterprise Zone Acts.

 

Enterprise Zone Acts encourage development in underutilized areas and help prevent blight. Further encouraging job growth will help ensure communities and families succeed.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

Rural Economic Development

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1116: Senator Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring)

Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

HB 611: Representative Halsey Beshears (R-Apalachicola)

Three Committee Hearings Remain 

 

Encourages development in rural areas and rebrands rural economic programs.

 

Proactively supporting economic development organizations will bring new opportunities to Floridians by attracting new jobs.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

 

Entertainment Industry Tax Credit

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1640: Commerce and Tourism

In Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax;
Two Committee Hearings Remain

 

HB 983: Representative Manny Diaz, Jr. (R-Hialeah)

Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

Encourages film industry growth in Florida.

 

Encouraging innovations in emerging industries will lead the way toward a technologically advanced and competitive business climate. By fueling the growth of technology and innovation in the private sector, we can create a globally competitive and diverse economy.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

INFRASTRUCTURE & GROWTH LEADERSHIP

More than 94 million visitors come to Florida each year and it's estimated that by 2030, more than six million new residents will call Florida home. We must prepare for this growth in smart and sustainable ways. Securing Florida's future will require changing the way we view issues such as water and energy supply, agriculture, land development, roads, bridges, ports and telecommunications.

 

 

 

Reclaimed Water

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 536: Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) 

In House Messages 

 

HB 601: Representative Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville)

On the House Calendar

  

Authorizes agencies to work with Water Management Districts to study obstacles for needed infrastructure.

 

Enacting strong water quality standards now will protect Florida's natural resources for the future.

 

SB 536 was placed in House messages, while HB 601 was placed on the House calendar. 

 

 

 

Springs

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1576: Senator Charles Dean (R-Inverness) 

Passed Senate Appropriations 

 

HB 1313: Representative Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford)

Three Committee Hearings Remain

  

Establishes the Florida Springs and Aquifer Act and identifies springs in need of protection.

 

Enacting strong water quality standards now will protect Florida's natural resources for the future.

 

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB 1576, the House did not take action on HB 1313. 

 

 

 

Agriculture Water

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 312: Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) 

Passed Senate Appropriations Committee; On the Special Order Calendar

  

SB 1630: Senator Bill Montford (D-Apalachicola)

Passed Senate Appropriations Committee; Placed on the Senate Calendar 

 

HB 575: Representative Ben Albritton (R-Wauchula)

In Finance and Tax Committee; Two Committee Hearings Remain

  

Provides exemptions for agriculture land owners participating in water storage programs.

 

Developing alternative water supplies promotes sustainable economic growth.

 

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB 312 and SB 1630. SB 1630 was placed on the Senate Calendar while SB 312 was placed on the Senate Special Order Calendar. The House did not take action on HB 575.

 

 

 

Freight Logistics Zones

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 136: Senator Jeremy Ring (D-Margate) 

In the Appropriations Committee; One Committee Hearing Remains

 

HB 3: Representative Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville)

Passed the Florida House; Referred to Four Senate Committees

 

 

It provides a definition for freight logistics zones, allows counties to designate geographic areas as freight logistics zones and provides priority funding and incentives for certain projects within freight logistics zones.

 

Funding infrastructure needs and creating strategic intermodal systems helps to improve major trade and freight corridors in order to meet Florida's long-term needs.

 

The House passed HB 3 and it was forwarded to the Florida Senate where it was referred to four committees. 

 

 

 

Fuel Terminals

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1070: Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby)

Passed the Florida Senate; Now in House Messages 

 

HB 947: Representative Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville)

On the House Calendar

 

 

Certain fuel terminals would be permitted under local government comprehensive plans.

 

Investing in sustainable and reliable infrastructure systems will help ensure Florida can meet its long-term needs.

 

The Florida Senate passed SB 1070 and certified it to the Florida House.

 

 

Transportation

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 696: Transportation Committee

On the Senate Special Order Calendar

 

HB 7175: Economic Affairs Committee

Passed the Florida House; Certified to the Florida Senate; Referred to Four Committees

 

 

Allows the Florida Department of Transportation to make strategic airport investments as recommended by the Florida Chamber Foundation's Transportation and Logistics 2.0 report.

 

The Florida Chamber believes the future health and prosperity of all Floridians begins with creating and maintaining sustainable and reliable infrastructure systems.

 

SB 696 was placed on the Senate Special Order Calendar while HB 7175 passed the Florida House and was certified to the Senate where it was referred to four committees. 

 

 

 

 

Growth Management

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 374: Senator Nancy Detert (R-Venice)

Passed the Florida Senate; Now in House Messages 

 

HB 189: Representative Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton)

Placed on the House Calendar

 

 

Revises restrictions on referendum processes regarding local comprehensive plan amendments.

 

Supporting comprehensive growth management reforms streamlines the bureaucratic process.

 

SB 374 passed the Florida Senate and is now in House messages, while HB 189 is on the House calendar. 

 

 

 

Concurrency

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1634: Commerce and Tourism

In the Senate Appropriations Committee; One Committee Hearing Remains

 

HB 7023: Representative Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast)

Passed the Florida House; Now in the Senate

 

 

Encourages new small business development by exempting certain size businesses from concurrency and impact fees.

 

Fair and clear government processes will help Florida's economy to prosper.

 

The Florida House passed HB 7023, certified it to the Senate and the Senate referred it to five committees. SB 1634 passed out of its final committee.  

 

 

 

Developments of Regional Impact

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 372: Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton)

Temporarily Postponed in the Senate Rules Committee; One Committee Hearing Remains

 

HB 241: Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar)

In House Economic Development and Tourism Subcommittee; 
Three Committee Hearings Remain

       

 

Additional counties would be exempt land development projects from DRI reviews.

 

Assigning clear roles to state, regional and local authorities allows Florida to better embrace proactive economic planning that guides a secure future.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

 

Brownfields

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 586: Senator Thad Altman (R-Melbourne)

Poised for Final Passage in the Senate

 

HB 325: Representative Charlie Stone (R-Ocala)

On the House Calendar  

 

Revises the process for designating a brownfield.

 

Ensuring clear government processes are in place will help Florida's economy prosper.

 

The Senate and House temporarily postponed their bills and retained them on the calendar. 

 

 

 

Environmental Regulatory Reform

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1464: Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby)

In the Senate Community Affairs Committee; Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

HB 703: Representative Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City)

In the State Affairs Committee; One Committee Hearing Remains

 

 

Clarifies and streamlines the environmental permitting process.

 

Supporting comprehensive growth management reforms streamlines the bureaucratic process. Assigning clear roles to state, regional and local authorities allows Florida to better embrace proactive economic planning that guides a secure future.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

BUSINESS CLIMATE & COMPETITIVENESS

Florida is on the right track toward a more competitive and global economy and businesses are taking notice. Last year, several large employers moved their headquarters or expanded to Florida because of Florida's attractive business climate. Instead of short-term solutions from well-funded plaintiff lawyers with special interest agendas, the Florida Chamber is focused on creating long-term sustainable solutions so Florida can continue to attract, add and grow the top businesses in the nation. 

 

 

 

Citizens Property Insurance Reform

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1672: Banking and Insurance

Passed the Florida Senate 

 

 

Reduces the size and exposure of the government run Citizens Property Insurance.

 

Creating a competitive and stable insurance market will lower costs in Florida's current insurance market.

 

Passed the Florida Senate. 

 

 

 

Flood Insurance Reform

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 542: Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)

Poised for Final Passage in the House

 

HB 879: Representative Ed Hooper (R-Clearwater)

Substitute for SB 542  

 

HB 581: Representative Larry Ahern (R-Seminole)

In House Insurance and Banking Committee; Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

 

 Creates a framework for a private market flood insurance program.

 

Creating a competitive and stable insurance market will lower costs in Florida's current insurance market.

 

HB 879 was substituted for SB 542. It is poised for final passage out of the Florida Legislature.

 

 

 

 

Workers' Comp Reimbursement

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1580: Senator Alan Hays (R-Umatilla)

In the Senate Appropriations Committee; One Committee Hearing Remains

 

HB 1351: Representative Charlie Stone (R-Ocala)

In the House Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee;
Two Committee Hearings Remain

 

 

Changes reimbursement amounts for hospital in-patient and out-patient care to a Medicare fee schedule.

 

Ensuring stable and competitive workers' compensation premiums while also lowering the burden of unemployment compensation taxes creates globally competitive employers.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

 

 

Accuracy in Damages

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1128: Senator Garrett Richter (R-Naples)

Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

HB 379: Representative Dave Hood (R-Daytona Beach)

One Committee Hearing Remains

 

 

Requires juries to receive information on the actual amount paid on a medical bill in certain lawsuits.

 

Supporting legal reform to reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits will deter plaintiff trial lawyer firms from driving up the cost of doing business in Florida and help improve our ranking as the 41st worst legal climate in America.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

 

Fair Settlement

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1494: Senator John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine)

Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

HB 187: Representative Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples)

In Insurance and Banking Subcommittee; Two Committee Hearings Remain

 

 

Provides a specific time frame for insurers to pay out a claim.

 

The average Florida family pays between $3,200 and $3,500 in lawsuit abuse taxes each year. Lawsuit abuse reform will help reduce the number of frivolous lawsuits and help improve Florida's business climate.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

Nursing Home Lawsuit Reform

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 670: Senator John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine)

Passed the Florida Senate

 

HB 569: Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach)

Substituted for SB 670; Passed the Florida Legislature 

 

Limits the liability of nursing home managers when faced with alleged negligence.

 

Protects businesses from unjust and costly lawsuits.

 

The House took up HB 569, substituted it for SB 670 and passed it out of the Florida Legislature. 

 

 

 

E-Fairness Memorial

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 196: Senator Gwen Margolis (D-Miami)

Died on the Senate Floor

 

Urges Congress to pass the Marketplace Fairness Act.

 

Protecting Florida's businesses by closing the Internet sales tax loophole that lets government pick winners and losers is the right thing to do.

 

The Senate did not take action.

 

 

Streamline Sales and Use Tax

Chamber Insider: Line

HB 217: Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D-Tallahassee)

In the House Finance and Tax Committee; Two Committee Hearings Remain

 

Brings Florida in line with the national streamlined sales and use tax agreement to implement E-fairness laws.

 

Limiting burdensome taxes and creating equity in Florida's tax system means supporting targeted tax reforms.

 

The House did not take action.

 

 

Communications Services Tax

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 266: Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange)

In the Appropriations Committee for its Final Hearing

 

Reduces the communications services tax by two percent on all communications services like cell phones and cable bills.

 

Limiting burdensome taxes and creating equity in Florida's tax system means supporting targeted tax reforms.

 

The Senate did not take action this week.

 

 

Communications Services Tax - Franchise

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 898: Senator Joe Abruzzo (R-Wellington)

Passed Senate Appropriations 

 

HB 803: Representative Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton)

Passed the Florida House; Referred to Four Senate Committees

 

Clarifies when businesses are consumers, rather than providers, of communications services; they are not subject to taxation.

 

 Limiting burdensome taxes and creating equity in Florida's tax system means supporting targeted tax reforms.

 

SB 898 passed the Florida Senate, while the Florida House passed HB 803, was certified to the Senate and referred to four Senate Committees. 

 

 

 

Reducing the Commercial Lease Sales Tax

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 176: Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange)

Four Committee Hearings Remain

 

HB 11: Representative Greg Steube (R-Sarasota)

Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

Reduces the sales tax by one percent on the overall rent charged on a commercial lease.

 

Florida is the only state that charges tax on commercial leases. Limiting burdensome taxes and creating equity in Florida's tax system means supporting targeted tax reforms.

 

The Legislature did not take action.

 

 

 

Wage Protection

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 926: Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby)

Temporarily Postponed in the Florida Senate 

 

HB 957: Representative Neil Combee (R-Auburndale)

In House Local and Federal Affairs; Two Committee Hearings Remain

 

Creates a model ordinance local government would use if they chose to adopt local wage protection regulations.

 

Ensuring fair and consistent wage theft regulations means employers won't be subject to double jeopardy.

 

The Senate temporarily postponed SB 926, but retained it on the calendar for a future hearing. 

 

 

 

CIVIC & GOVERNANCE SYSTEMS

At the Florida Chamber, we believe efficient and transparent government systems allow businesses to grow in a globally competitive economy. As our state grows, taxpayers deserve an efficient government that provides the highest return to taxpayers with the lowest burden on job creators.

 

 

 

Local Government Pension Reform

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 246: Senator Jeremy Ring (D-Margate)

Poised for Final Passage in the Senate  

 

HB 7179: State Affairs Committee

Passed House State Affairs Committee  

HB 7181: State Affairs Committee

Passed the Florida House  

 

Local governments with underfunded pension programs would be required to shore up those liabilities.

 

Creating fiscally stable governments through modern and sustainable retirement programs will help avoid bankruptcy.

 

SB 246 is poised for final passage out of the Senate. HB 7181 passed out of the Florida House.

 

 

 

Florida Retirement System - Elected Officials

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 184: Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg)

Previously Withdrawn From Further Consideration

 

 

Elected officials would be prohibited from entering the taxpayer paid pension plan.

 

Encourages elected leaders to set the example for other government employees and not enter the taxpayer paid defined benefit pension program.

 

The Senate did not take action.

 

 

Florida Retirement System Reform

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1114: Community Affairs

Passed Senate Appropriations  

 

HB 7173: State Affairs Committee

On the House Calendar

  

HB 7181: State Affairs Committee

Passed the Florida House

 

 

While not requiring government employees to enroll into a modern retirement program, if employees do not choose in eight months of employment, the employee would automatically be enrolled in the investment plan.

 

Creating fiscally stable governments through modern and sustainable retirement programs will help avoid bankruptcy. We know all too well the damage that unfunded pension programs can have on a state - broken promises, lost jobs, higher taxes and diminished economy.

 

SB 1114 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. The House passed out of the Florida House. 

 

 

 

 

 

Inmate Reentry

SB 274: Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs)

Substituted for HB 53; Poised for Final Passage

 

HB 53: Representative Charlie Stone (R-Ocala)

Poised for Final Passage 

 

 

At the time of their release, inmates would be provided a copy of their birth certificate and drivers license to better help them reenter the workforce.

 

Encouraging a smooth reentry into Florida's workforce will strengthen the quality of life for former inmates while also provide employers with needed workers.

 

HB 53 is poised for final passage in the Florida Legislature. 

 

  

State Technology

SB 928: Government Oversight and Accountability

On the Senate Calendar

 

HB 7073: Representative Seth McKeel (R-Lakeland)

Received to Three Senate Committees 

 

Creates a State Technology Agency, along with a Chief Information Officer, to oversee Florida's $75 billion business.

 

Streamlining Florida's procurement processes will allow Florida to become more efficient.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

  

Administrative Procedures Act

SB 600: Senator Charlie Dean (R-Inverness)

Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

SB 7118: Government Oversight and Accountability

Submitted as a Committee Bill

 

SB 1706: Government Oversight and Accountability

Bill Filed

 

HB 975: Representative Tom Goodson (R-Titusville)

Now in House Appropriations 

 

 

Helps ensure the true cost of a state rule is known.

 

Streamlining rulemaking processes allows the discovery of likely and probable costs associated with a rule.

 

HB 975 is now in House Appropriations.

 

  

Administrative Procedures Act - SERC

Pro-BizSB 1706: Governmental Oversight and Accountability

Two Committee Hearings Remain

 

HB 7107: Rulemaking, Oversight and Repeal Subcommittee

On the House Special Order Calendar

 

 

Amends the process agencies use to determine the estimated cost of a rule - the Statement of Estimated Regulatory Costs.

 

Understanding the true cost a rule will have on a business will improve Florida's business climate.

 

HB 7107 was placed on the House Special Order Calendar. 

 

 

 

Public Private Partnerships Public Records Exemption

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1318: Senator Greg Evers (R-Pensacola)

Placed on the Senate Calendar

 

HB 1051: Representative Ken Roberson (R-Port Charlotte)

Placed on the House Calendar

 

 

Revises current public private partnership rules to allow economic development records exemptions for unsolicited bids.

 

Unsolicited bids increase competition and lower costs, and this bill will protect new technologies that are often included within unsolicited bids.

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

 

 

QUALITY OF LIFE & QUALITY PLACES

Florida's unique quality of life is one reason Florida is consistently ranked as an attractive place to visit, live, learn, play and work. Retaining and attracting the right employers who fuel jobs and great communities are key to Florida's long-term success. Families, students and businesses alike cause us to examine the policies that can either strengthen or harm Florida's future job growth. 

 

 

 

Telemedicine

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1646: Health Policy

One Committee Hearing Remains

 

HB 751: Representative Travis Cummings (R-Orange Park)

In the House Health and Human Services Committee; One Committee Hearing Remains

 

HB 7113: Health Innovations Subcommittee

Passed the Florida House

 

 

Creates guidelines for licensure, registration and reimbursement requirements for physician use of telemedicine.

 

Will provide cost-cutting options to Florida hospitals and healthcare providers and expand access to care, especially in rural communities.  

 

Passed the Florida House.

 

 

 

Medical Tourism

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1150: Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville)

Passed the Florida Senate  

 

HB 1223: Representative Patrick Rooney (R-Palm Beach Gardens)

In House Appropriations Committee; Two Committee Hearings Remain

 

HB 7113: Health Innovations Subcommittee

Passed the Florida House 

 

 

Enterprise Florida, Inc. and the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will work to market Florida as a healthcare destination.

 

Promotes national and international awareness of qualifications, scope of services and specialized expertise of health care providers in Florida and includes initiatives to showcase qualified health care providers.

 

The Senate passed SB 1160 and the House passed HB 7113.

 

 

 

 

Scope of Practice

Chamber Insider: Line

SB 1352: Senator Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring)

Passed Senate Health Policy; Two Committees Remain

 

HB 7071: Representative Cary Pigman (R-Sebring)

In House Health and Human Services Committee; Referred to Two Committees

 

HB 7113: Health Innovations Subcommittee

Passed the Florida House 

 

Extends scope of practice for nurse practitioners and allows for independent practice of advanced or specialized nursing.

 

Will help combat future doctor shortages by allowing nurse practitioners to provide primary and preventative care to ensure a healthy and productive workforce.

 

Passed the Florida House.

 

 

 

 

Gambling

Chamber Insider: Line

No-BizSB 98: Senator Gwen Margolis (D-Miami)

Three Committee Hearings Remain

 

SB 7050: Gaming Committee

SB 7052: Gaming Committee

SB 7054: Gaming Committee

Awaiting Further Action by Senate Gaming Committee

 

HB 1383: Representative Robert Schenck (R-Spring Hill)

Now in House Regulatory Affairs Committee; Two Committee Hearings Remain

 

Special interest agendas are working to expand gambling and lower the current 60 percent threshold for the constitutional expansion of gambling in Florida to a simple majority vote.

 

There are countless examples of states that have been lulled into a false sense of economic safety by mega casinos only to discover their reputation has waned, their high-skilled workers have left or their businesses can no longer afford to do business in their state.

 

The truth is, out-of-state casinos need Florida, Florida doesn't need the casinos. The Florida Chamber is committed to protecting Florida's quality of life, and remains steadfast in its opposition to the expansion of gambling.

 

 

The Legislature did not take action this week.

Published by Central Florida Partnership
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