Since 1987, the Daytona Regional Chamber worked closely with our Volusia delegation and others to relay the local business viewpoint on matters that come before State government. In an effort to keep you, our members, informed of the Session in Tallahassee, we present our Legislative Status Report.  If you have any questions regarding its content, please contact
Jim Cameron at 386.566.2140.
Proposed  FY 2018-19 House/Senate Budgets 
H 5001 , the House proposed spending plan $87.2 billion. House Speaker Corcoran said public school enrollment growth and Medicaid caseloads are 2 budget drivers. "It has far fewer parochial spending projects than the current budget does - proof of fiscal responsibility.

It allocates  $2.8 billion in healthcare spending accounts (a major portion of the budget increase) and increases K-12 education spending by $507 million and spends $197 million more on environmental programs (including $8 million for Fla Forever) , $230 million for hurricane preparedness e.g. beach and dune repair and evacuation routes. However, it cuts $217 million from state universities' budget.
Next stop - House floor- Special Order Calendar (February 7)
The Senate's S 2500 is $87.3 billion. It increase K-12 spending by $434 million based on property tax increases to be approved by local school boards (the House version opposes this route). It also proposes to spend nearly $400 million more on state universities and $150 million for Florida Forever;
The House budget sweeps $397 million from trust funds (Housing, Transportation, etc), while the Senate plan sweeps $124 million.
Next stop - Senate floor- Special Order Calendar (February 7)
Scott's budget totals $87.4 billion. Keep in mind that these numbers will change when both House and Senate budgets are approved and go to Conference Committee.
Click here for some of the specific allocations for Volusia County.
NOTE - FY 2017-18 budget was $82.4 billion.
Economic Development and Tourism Promotion Accountability -

SB 1714  by Sen Perry was approved by the Commerce & Tourism Committee 8-0 ( Sen Travis Hutson voted YES). It stipulates reporting, contractual, and accountability requirements for "economic development agencies" (Daytona Beach CVB) and "tourism promotion agencies" (TEAM Volusia) on behalf of local governmental entities. This would include board member financial & conflict of interest disclosures; prohibit compensation for board members; limits the amount of employee (and CEO) compensation from public funds; requires compliance with state per diem and travel expenses requirements;
Next stop - Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism & Economic Development

House version H 3 passed the House and is before the Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee. 
The Chamber opposes both bills. 
Sen Dorothy Hukill presents S 118 
K-12 and Postsecondary

College  Competitiveness
Act of 2018  establishes the State Board of Colleges; revises the purpose and mission of the Florida K-20 education system;

It would also limit the number of baccalaureate degrees awarded by the colleges to no more than 20% of a school's students who are enrolled full time, which system wide is about 35% of the total students.  Part time students are not included in the calculation. It would also include $104 million for performance funding, industry certifications, and students advising.

S 540 is on the Senate's Special Order Calendar.
Sen Hukill's  , Visitation of Schools by State Legislators
provides the opportunity for elected officials to meet with students and teachers at their district schools. It allows for House/Senate members to hear concerns, answer questions, and see the challenges that teachers face.

Senator Hukill stated, "Children are the future of our state and teachers are the ones leading them. As elected officials, it is critical for us to build relationships and trust with the community we serve. "This is all about strengthening bonds in our communities and recognizing first-hand the work that goes on every day in our schools."

S 118 was approved 37-0 in the Senate; now en route to the House.

House Appropriations committee approved  H 7055
, the House Edu- -cation bill. Several amendments were added:
  • new membership requirements for teachers' unions to stay certified;
  • funding for tax credit scholarships to charter schools for bullied students
  • scales back computerized testing
  • directs more than $9 million to a scholarship program for third-graders who struggle in reading
  • allows schools to create independent governing boards under the supervision of district school boards
  • adds accountability measures for private schools receiving state voucher funding.

Next stop - House floor

Supermajority Votes for State Taxes or Fees
SJR 1742  by Sen Stargel was approved by the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax. It would require a three-fifths vote before the Legislature can pass any tax or fee hike while the House version HJR 7001 by Rep Tom Leek would require a two-thirds vote of both House/Senate. (Rep Leek's version was referred to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax).
It would not require super-majority votes when amending or repealing tax exemptions and wouldn't apply to county, municipal, school-board or special-district taxing authorities.
Next stop - Appropriations Committee ( Sen David Simmons - member)

Pari-Mutuals / Card Games
The Tourism & Gaming Control Subcommittee approved PCB TGC 18-01 on a 9-6 vote. It extends Seminole's current exclusive authorization to conduct banked games (like blackjack) statewide and the Tribe's current exclusive authorization to conduct slot machine gaming outside of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties for 20 years. The state in return gets $3 billion over seven years. 
This bill would forbid any chance of offering slot machines and would eliminate their designated-player games (a cross between poker and blackjack).
Moreover, a proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot would give statewide voters sole power to approve future expansions of gambling in Florida.
This bill would allocate a third of the Seminole's payment to "Schools of Hope" (House  Speaker Richard Corcoran 's charter schools plan). 
Casino Gambling Compact with Seminole Tribe
Sen. Bill Galvano  and Rep Jose Oliva met with Seminole Tribe leaders in an effort to reach a deal. Both concurred that the gaming component as well as revenue estimate are driving factors.
Another key factor is the potential impact of a constitutional amendment on the November ballot that, if approved, will leave future decisions about gambling expansion up to voters and limit the ability of the Legislature to expand gambling in Florida.
The Seminoles want to renew talks to ratify or modify their compact negotiated with Gov. Scott giving tribal casinos exclusive rights to offer certain games in exchange for more than $250 million in annual payments to the stateIt basically comes down to agreement the Tribe's ability to offer blackjack and other "banked" card games.

Click here for more information. 
State-Administered Retirement Systems
S 7014 was approved by the Appropriations Committee 19-0 ( Sen David Simmons  voted YES). It sets contribution rates paid by governmental entities contributing into the Fla Retirement System (FRS) beginning July 1, 2018. The intent is to address the unfunded actuarial liability of the FRS i.e. $178.5  million more in revenue. In other words....increased contributions from State Agencies, Universities/Colleges, School Boards and Counties.
Next stop - Senate floor (Special Order Calendar - February 7).
Mary McLeod-Bethune statue in the US Capitol's National Statutory Hall - S 472 by  Sen Thurston was approved 37-0 by the Senate. 

House version H 139 by Rep Patrick Henry /   Rep Tom Leek  (co-sponsors) is moving through the House. Should be going to the Governor soon.  This is a Chamber priority. 

Possession of Real Property -
H 631 by Rep Edwards was approved by the Judiciary Committee last week and now on the 2nd Reading Calendar. S 804 by Sen Passidomo is before the Community Affairs Committee ( Sen David Simmons - member ).
Both bills would end local governments' authority to approve customary-use ordinances, which are key to guaranteeing public beach access. Otherwise, a new procedure would require cities/counties go before a judge and argue why a portion of private beach should be open for public use because it has been used continually for recreation before landowners purchased the property. Only after a judge's approval could local governments adopt protections for sunbathing, walking and other "customary uses".
Sen Passidomo explained, "If a local government wants to take private property on the beach, then they need to go through the courts. On the one hand, the rights of the public are paramount, but some private property rights are also in play. No political body, whether state or local government, can make a decision about private property rights because it's political. Courts are non-biased bodies."

Click here for more information.

Vacation Rentals -  By a 4-2 vote, the Senate Community Affairs Committee semi-merged  S 1400 by Sen Steube and  S 1640 by Sen David Simmons . It's basically local government home rule authority vs homeowners' property rights.
Sen Steube's bill version would return the law to 2011, when the state pre-empted all regulations to the Division of Hotels & Restaurants within the Dept of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR).
That division would license and conduct inspections and investigate complaints, and audit about 1 % of vacation-rental concerns annually on a random basis. A single licensed operator could operate 1,000 rentals across the state: licenses would not be geographically bound. Local governments could regulate, but only as they already do regular single-family homes which would be highly unlikely. S 1400 stipulates that the state has the right to inspect any property, although only larger rental-property owners would be subject to regular inspections. It also would require property owners to provide emergency numbers to the state that would be shared with local governments.
However, Sen Simmons' bill S 1640 maintains statewide licensing and pre-empts regulations to the state. But while Steube's version calls for total pre-emption, S 1640 would let cities and counties inspect these units for fire and building-codes (he doesn't think that DBPR could effectively regulate those areas). Simmons warned that "zero regulation" could lead to consumers being hurt or killed at rental properties and that allowing local governments to conduct safety inspections offered "a reasonable amount of protection," while balancing the interests of property owners, consumers and local governments. Simmons also said some of those vacation rentals, where neighbors complain about parking, noise and parties, are destroying the "quality" of their single-family neighborhoods.

Click here for more information.   
Economic Development and Tourism Promotion Accountability -

S 1714  by Sen Perry was approved by the Commerce & Tourism Committee 8-0 ( Sen Travis Hutson voted YES). It stipulates reporting, contractual, and accountability requirements for "economic development agencies" (Daytona Beach CVB) and "tourism promotion agencies" (TEAM Volusia) on behalf of local governmental entities. This would include board member financial & conflict of interest disclosures; prohibit compensation for board members; limits the amount of employee (and CEO) compensation from public funds; requires compliance with state per diem and travel expenses requirements;

The Chamber opposes S 1714 and the House version H 3.
Workers' Compensation
H 227 by Rep Willhite passed the Oversight, Transparency &
Administration  Subcommittee 12-0 ( Rep Patrick Henry voted YES). It would extend benefits to first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) if they are diagnosed by a professional psychiatrist within 2 years of a traumatizing incident/work-related injury.
The proposed bill was amended to include a mandate for employers to provide educational training to first responders on mental health awareness and treatment. If co-workers can recognize issues, they will help their coworkers get help.
It would stipulate that first responders go through pre-employment mental health screenings to show if they have a pre-existing mental health condition, but also requires a claim to be filed within 180 days of leaving a job in order to be entitled to medical benefits or lost wages.
The Florida League of Cities raised concerns over the cost workers' comp would have on local government.

Click here for more information. 
On the Chamber's Radar Screen.....

  • Daytona Beach First Step Homeless Shelter - H 2389 by Rep Patrick Henry  no progress...would provide $1.7 million matching funds to fund the $7.5 million dollar First Step Homeless Shelter. 
  • Land Acquisition Trust FundS 204 - by Sen BradleySens Dorothy Hukill, Travis Hutson (co-sponsors....placed on Calendar for 3rd reading.....increases funding from Land Acquisition Trust Fund (LATF) for spring restoration, protection, from $50 million to $75 million; also requires $50 million to St. Johns River WMD for restoration projects.  
  • State Housing Trust Fund S 874 by Sen Passidomo still before Appropriations Subcommittee.......prevents State Housing Trust Fund and Local Government Housing Trust Fund for being used for General Fund....
  • Pt Orange Flood Mitigation/Stormwater Quality Improvement Phase II - H 2805 by  in Appropriations Committee.....a continuation of last year's project to assist flood control the City's flood control efforts. See Specific Volusia allocations in budget article.
  • Workers' CompensationH 7009 by Rep Burgess passed the before Senate Banking & Insurance Committee......permits direct payment of attorneys by/for claimants; Increases total combined temporary wage replacement benefits from 104 weeks to 260 weeks......
  • Property Insurance Assignment Agreements (AOBs) H 7105 by Rep Trumbull - passed the House...sent to Senate......tightens statutes regarding assignment of insurance benefits with 3rd party.....
  • Local Government Fiscal Transparency - H 7 by Rep Burton - passed the House...before the Senate Community Affairs Committee.....requires easy public access to local government governing boards' voting records related to tax increases and issuance of bonds; easy online access to property tax TRIM notices and a 4-year history of property tax rates.....
  • Tourist Development Tax - H 585 - by Rep Fine was approved by the Commerce Committee (9-0). It included 2 amendments stating expenditures must be approved by the CVB and the expenditures must be tourism related. Goes to the Appropriations Committee.
    Senate version S 658 by Sen Brandes goes before the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance & Tax on Monday, February 5, 4:30 pm. Chamber opposes this legislation. 
  • Volusia County Williamson Road Widening - H 2343 by Rep Tom Leek is in Appropriations Committee ...funding request for Williamson Rd Widening, a one - mile corridor in Daytona Beach to Ormond Beach (existing 2-lane road to 4 lanes) to enhance office and commercial/retail development opportunities.  See Specific Volusia allocations in budget article.
Legislative Directories

Click these links to contact YOUR Volusia delegation  
Chamber's 2018 Legislative Priorities

Click 2018 Legislative Priorities to see the Chamber's recommendations for the Session. Compiled by our Legislative Action Committee - Bob Williams, Chair (Halifax Health), this list was presented to the Volusia delegation at their November 3 meeting.  

These recommendations will be tracked throughout the session and reported each week in the Chamber's Legislative Status Report.
NOTE - the Chamber will host a Tallahassee Speaker Series in August to review several of the proposed Constitutional Amendments on the November 6 ballot...Supermajority Approval of Tax/Fee Increases; additional $25,000 Homestead Exemption, Voter Control of Gambling and others. Look for more information to come!
Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce |126 E. Orange Ave., Daytona Beach | 386.255.0981 | Visit our Website
Any questions regarding this Legislative Status Report should be directed to 
Jim Cameron Sr Vice President, Government Relations, 386.523.3673.