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.
House and Senate calendars show committees meeting only Monday and Tuesday next week (February 26-27) and in session until adjournment date, March 9. 

However, there has been discussion of an extended session to address school safety......will know more next week. 

State Budget

The House budget  H 5001 , spends $87.2 billion while Senate budget  S 2500  spends  $87.3 billion.  Apparently there is little news regarding budget negotiations. No allocations have come forth for subcommittees' portions of the budget .

This morning,  Rep  Tom Leek    and Sen Travis Hutson told the Chamber's Legislative Action Committee that  increasing  safety in schools  (see article below) and  Hurricane Irma recovery  will command any additional money that might come from this week's Revenue Estimating Conference. At the same time, that could mean very little funds available for local projects. 
Click here  to see some of the Volusia County allocations.    

Governor Scott, House and Senate leaders announce plans regarding fire-arms, school safety and mental health

Today, Governor Rick Scott announced his recommendations for the Legislature regarding fire-arms, school safety and mental health. " I disagree with arming teachers" but he wants to focus on trained law-enforcement on campuses. He's proposing to spend $500 million to address school safety and mental health. 
Later on, Senate President Joe Negron, Sen Bill Galvano (Senate President Designate), House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Rep Jose Oliva (House Speaker Designate) met with news media to discuss legislation regarding fire-arms and school safety and stated that both Senate and House will be working to address in the next few weeks of the Session. Their proposal would create a "marshall program" to allow teachers who have had significant hours of training with law-enforcement to be armed on campus.
Click here for Governor Scott's press release.
Click here for details of House and Senate leaders' press conference

Governor Scott announces plans 

Sen Bill Galvano discusses plans with House Speaker Richard Corcoran (left)


Possession of Real Property/Public Beach Access  
H 631 by Rep Edwards passed the House; received in the Senate and referred to  Judiciary and Community Affairs  ( Sen David Simmons - member) and will likely merge with  S 804 by Sen Passidomo which  passed the Community Affairs Committee   ( Sen David Simmons  voted YES) on Tuesday.

Both bills have traction and could go to the House and Senate floors soon. The key phrase is customary-use, 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".  

Rep Tom Leek    added an amendment to the bill and told the Chamber's Legislative Action Committee that this legislation would not impact Volusia's beaches. 

The Chamber has stated to several members of the Volusia delegation that public beach access is paramount. Both bills are on the Chamber's Watch List.
Mary McLeod-Bethune National Statuary Hall - Washington DC

H 139 /S 472 b Reps  Patrick Henry  and  Tom Leek , which locates a statue of Mary McLeod-Bethune in National Statuary Hall in Washington, passed the House. 
With the Senate version already approved, this legislation should soon go the Governor's desk. Governor Scott stated he will sign the bill.

This is a proud day for Daytona Beach!

Reps Patrick Henry & Tom Leek present H 139 on House floor

Community Redevelopment Agencies CRA's

H 17 by  Rep Raburn  was approved in January 72-32 by the House ( Reps  Tom Leek Paul Renner David Santiago  voted YES; Rep  Patrick Henry  voted NO). 

Similar to last year's bill, it  seeks to add accountability and
transparency for CRAs via added conditions including ethics workshops for board members, new audit report requirements, budget controls and County Council oversight; stipulates that new CRAs after October 2018 must come through the Legislature and it phases out current CRAs after their expiration date or 2038; currently before the Senate Community Affairs Committee ( Sen David Simmons  - member).  House Priority bill. 

S 432 by Sen Lee is before an Appropriations Subcommittee. 

On Chamber's Watch List. 

Vacation Rentals
H 773  by Rep La Rosa passed the Government Accountability Committee 13-11
(Rep David Santiago  voted YES; Rep  Patrick Henry  voted NO) after heated debate. It would remove  short-term vacation rentals from hotel/motel regulations, and establish a uniform inspection program under the Dept of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR).
An amendment by Rep Fant was adopted that would require sexual offenders who stay at vacation rentals to give local sheriff's offices 48 hours notice and for vacation rental owners to notify residents in the vicinity 24 hours notice.

An amendment by Rep David Santiago was adopted requiring that all hotel guests be notified if a sexual predator is staying at a property. Hotel staff would ask guests at check-in if they are sexual predators.
H 773 now goes to the Commerce Committee.
Bill proponents want to see local restrictions on vacation rentals eliminated while opponents see it as a detriment to residential neighborhoods
A similar Senate version, S 1400 by Sen Steube passed the Commerce
Committee and is before the Appropriations Committee (Sen David Simmons - member).

The Chamber opposes S 1400 and H 773
Supermajority Vote Required to Increase Taxes/Fees
The Senate Finance and Tax Appropriations Subcommittee approved SJR 1742  by Sen Stargel 4-2 that would require three-fifths votes of both legislative chambers - an easier standard to meet than two-thirds - to raise taxes....BUT NO "supermajority" votes to raise fees such as college tuition and amounts charged to state employees for their health insurance.
The House' version, HJR 7001 by Rep Tom Leek would require two-thirds votes of both legislative chambers to raise taxes or fees in the future.
Governor Scott and House Speaker Corcoran support Rep Leek's bill requiring two-thirds House and Senate votes to raise taxes OR fees.
Opponents to the concept say Fla is already a low-tax state and that the proposal could make it harder to meet needs in times of crisis.
If the House and Senate are able to concur on the resolution, it would go on the November ballot as a constitutional amendment.
Workforce Housing

S 1328  by Sen Perry passed the Transportation, Tourism, Economic Development
Appropriations Subcommittee 8-0. It allocates $62.8 million to the Fla Housing Finance Corporationto spur additional affordable housing to meet the needs created by the recent hurricanes. The committee adopted a 
Sen Perry.
It requires state agencies to work with the 
Fla Housing  Finance Corporation  to assess surplus lands for suitability for residential afford able housing and to offer such parcels to the county or cities. It prohibits local entities from assessing impact fees for affordable housing for a 5-year period beginning July 1, 2018; and expedites the local permit approval process by reducing permit application period from 120 days to 60 days.
Next stop - Appropriations Committee  ( Sen David Simmons - member).
S 730 by Sen Perry passed the Finance and Tax Appropriations Subcommittee 6-0. It exempts from excise taxes any note/mortgage in connection with a housing finance authority loan, provided submits proper documentation. It reduces revenues deposited into the General Revenue Fund by $200.000 and into state trust funds by $300,000 in FY 2018-19 and thereafter. Upon approval, it stipulates that housing finance authorities will not have to pay excise taxes related to notes/ mortgages with conditions.
Next stop - Appropriations Committee ( Sen David Simmons - member).
A similar House version, H 987  by Rep Cortes passed the Government Accountability Committee (Reps Patrick HenryDavid Santiago voted YES).
Next stop - House floor.

Click here for more information. 
Workers' Comp - Immigrant Employees
By a 6-4 vote, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee approved S 1568 by Sen Farmer which would require that an injured employee must not be denied workers comp benefits based on any incomplete or inaccurate information relating to their citizenship, residency, or other employment status provided to an employer/carrier.
Sen Farmer stated the bill intends "to ensure that workers who are injured on the job, who were fulfilling their obligation, injured because of a dangerous workplace condition or something happened on the job, receive the benefits they are owed under the workers' compensation system statute, regardless of what their immigration status might be." 

There is no House companion bill.
Sen Dorothy Hukill
Ticket Websites -

S 1024 by Sen Dorothy Hukill passed the Regulated Industries Committee ( Sen Travis Hutson voted YES).....

Increased ticket purchases via Internet has seen increased consumer concerns related to in- -accurate online information, ticket authenticity, pricing, hidden service fees, etc. 

S 1024 regulates a ticket operator's website content in regards to tickets sales, offers or resale for events at Fla venues.

It's a win-win-win as it benefits the "legitimate ticket website operators" as opposed to other websites that bring forth "negative perceptions" which in the end benefits the consumer. It may affect ticket website operators that use the names of Fla venues in advertising and in the marketing of their services.

Next stop - Commerce and Tourism ( Sen Travis Hutson - member) 

House version H 601 by Reps Tom Leek is before the Commerce Committee.  
Corporate Income Tax

S 502 by Sen Stargel updates
Fla's  corporate income tax by
adopting the federal Internal Revenue Code which will also affect corporate tax collections. It does NOT adopt the increased first-year depreciation (bonus deprecia-
-tion) provisions included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

It requires the Dept of Revenue to create a workgroup to analyze the effects of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 on the Florida Corporate Income Tax and file a report with the Legislature by February 2019. The bill's the fiscal impact has not determined.

Click here for more information. 
Impact Fees

H 697  by Rep Miller - tightens ways, means and regulations for local governments imposing impact fees on new construction. It also bill prohibits local governments from requiring in a specific area plan or related development order that a developer pay part or all the of costs to buy land or expand public facilities unless the local government has an ordinance requiring developers outside of the area plan to contribute a proportionate share of the funds, land, or public facilities necessary to offset the impacts of the development.
It could have a potential effect on private financing in timing of collecting the fees.

Just added to 2nd Reading calendar

A similar Senate version S 324 by Sen Young goes before the Appropriations Committee (Sen David Simmons - member) on Tuesday, Feb 27.
House Tax Package

H 7087 by Rep Paul Renner passed the Appropriations Committee 18-7. It  will reduce the sales tax on commercial real estate rent  5.8 to 5.5% ; provides for a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday; and three 7-day disaster preparedness sales tax holidays; several provisions designed to provide tax relief to citizens adversely affected by Hurricane Irma.  The bill is expected to reduce the corporate income tax liability for certain taxpayers that utilize the tax credit programs.

It includes a line that would prevent local ordinances banning the sale of any item that is subject to sales tax. Renner stated, "local governments have instituted numerous ordinances proposed or passed to prohibit the sale of fertilizer, various plastic products, styrofoam, and other products". 

Groups at the committee meeting in support included  The Florida Chamber , Fla Retail Federation while opposition came from the Fla AFL-CIO.....

Next stop - House floor. 
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)....Feb 8 - sent to the House......increases 
  • funding 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.......prevents diverting State Housing Trust Fund and Local Government Housing Trust Fund monies to the General Fund....House version H 191 by Rep Shaw - no progress for either bill.......both were a long-shot anyway....
  • 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 progress... still 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......
  • Local Government Fiscal Transparency - H 7 by Rep Burton - no progress still 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.....
  • Volusia County Williamson Road Widening - H 2343 by Rep Tom Leek still before 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.
  • Tourist Development Tax - H 585 - by Rep Fine  a uthorizes a county government that collects a tourist development tax to use tax revenues for infrastructure purposes. It was amended to 
    a county's two-thirds County Council approval before use of bed tax monies.....and project is limited to 70% of the cost.
    Senate version S 658 by Sen Brandes  Feb 14 - before their Appropriations Committee.
  • H 351 Prescription Drug Pricing Transparency by Rep David Santiago
    requires pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) involved in acquisition/distribution of prescription drugs to register with the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR); requiring that any contract between a PBM and a health plan not inhibit patient access to pricing information. Goes to House floor vote on Wednesday, Feb 28. 
    A similar Senate version  S 1494 by Sen Montford  was approved by the Banking & Insurance Committee and now before Appropriations Committee.
Mark your calendar! 

The Chamber will host their - 

35th Annual "Welcome Back" Breakfast for our Volusia Legislative Delegation 
Thursday, April 12, 7:30 am 
LPGA Clubhouse
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.