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 
The House passed H 5001 , an $87.2 billion budget by an 85-27 vote 
vote (Reps Tom Leek , Paul Renner , David Santiago voted YES; Rep Patrick Henry voted NO). 
The Senate passed  S 2500, an $87.3 billion budget by a 33 - 1 vote (Sens Dorothy HukillTravis HutsonDavid Simmons voted YES).

While both sides are close in some categories, they differ on funding for land preservation, college tuition, and Medicaid reimbursements. 

But the major difference is education.....first, the Senate's budget still includes K-12 funding that relies on tax rates voted on by local school boards and $8 billion in vouchers to charter schools (see H 7055 article below).

A House/Senate Conference Committee will be selected to resolve budget differences. If they're unable to concur by a specified date, then negotiations will go up to the Senate President and House Speaker. 

Click here  to see some of the Volusia County allocations. 
House/Senate Education Packages
The House approved  H 7055  by a 66 -43    vote ( Reps Tom LeekPaul RennerDavid Santiago voted YES; Rep Patrick Henry voted NO) 

It creates the Hope Scholarship Program for students subjected to "bullying" in public schools; creates Reading Education Scholarship Accounts for struggling readers in grades 3-5; Reorganizes monitoring and oversight provisions for private school scholarship programs; requires the Dept of Education (DOE) to develop templates to help teachers develop curricula.....

Next Stop - the Senate

A similar Senate version  School Accountability  S 1756 by
Sen David Simmons  reinforces the accountability provisions for private schools that participate in state school choice scholarship programs; m odifies the teacher qualification requirements; r equires the Division of State Fire Marshal to provide annually to the DOE a report of fire safety inspections; r equires a private school that receives more than $250,000 in a state fiscal year from any state scholarship program to provide to the DOE a specified financial report; 
It was approved 8-0 by the Pre-K 12 Education Appropriations Subcommittee and now goes to the Appropriations Committee. 
St John's River

Revisions to Florida Forever Act
H 7063  by Rep Caldwell passed the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee 8-0 (Rep Patrick Henry voted YES). It revises policies regarding Fla's natural resources. Its intent is to boost Florida Forever funding and restrict its use to buying land or paying for conservation easements on rural land. It allocates $57 million to the Dept of Environmental Protection for land preservation next year with incremental increases.
Fla Conservation Voters likes it focus on land acquisition as a means to protect the state's environment. Caldwell successfully ushered this bill through the House last session but it died in the Senate (which favored an $800 million reservoir project).

Caldwell's proposal also includes a five-year beach management plan, which doesn't include funding.
Next stop - Appropriations Committee.
A similar Senate's proposal - S 370 by Sen Bradley passed the Senate 35 - 0 . It allocates $100 million annually to Fla Forever and prohibit its use for general agency operations.
Sen Hukill presents S 826 to Appropriations Subcommittee
Tax Payers Rights Advocate

S 826 by 
stipulates the Chief Inspector General to appoint (with the authority to remove) the taxpayers' rights advocate. The taxpayers' rights advocate shall furnish an annual report to the Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, and the Chief Inspector General by January 1 each year. That report shall include objectives of the taxpayers' rights advocate for the upcoming fiscal year; number of complaints filed in the previous fiscal year; a summary of resolutions or outstanding issues from the previous fiscal year report; a summary of the most common problems encountered by taxpayers, including a description of the nature of the problems, and the number of complaints for each serious problem;
S 826 was approved by the Finance & Tax Appropriations Subcommittee and now is on the Senate calendar

Another bill from Sen Hukill..... Coastal Management S 174 would revise beach renourishment and inlet management project funding criteria and require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt a scoring system to determine annual funding priorities. It  would provide $50 million a year for beach projects.

S 174 is now on the 2nd Reading Calendar.   

Fla Constitutional Amendment Update

A recent poll shows 74% of "likely voters support a proposed Amendment 3, or the  Voter Control of Gambling amendment "that would require voter approval to authorize casino gambling in the state." 
19 % opposed to constitutional amendment. 
This puts the House and Senate on notice to renew the State's compact with the  Seminole Tribe of Florida where they're allowed exclusive rights to offer blackjack and slot machines outside of South Florida in exchange for $3 billion over seven years.
State-Administered Retirement Systems
S 7014   and H 5007 increase  contrib- 
ution rates paid by State Agencies, Universities/Colleges, School Boards Cites/Counties and other  government entities participating in the Fla Retirement System (FRS) beginning July 1, 2018. The intent is to infuse an additional  $178.5 million to address unfunded liability.
S 7014 passed the Senate 35-0  (Sens Dorothy Hukill
Travis Hutson, David Simmons voted YES). 
H 5007 passed the House 111-0 
(Reps Patrick HenryTom Leek, Paul Renner, David Santiago voted YES).    
Workforce Housing -
Any real estate transaction in Fla pays a 10-cent surcharge (per $100 paid) doc stamp tax, a portion of which is earmarked for the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Funds to go to state/local affordable housing programs. The funds were intended to leverage private/federal funding to help nurture inexpensive housing for the workforce.
This year, the Sadowski Trust Funds will collect about $322 million.
However, the House proposed budget diverts $182 million of that trust to other purposes. The Senate's proposed budget allocates all such money for affordable housing.
Meanwhile S 874 by Sen Passidomo to ban future legislatures from steering the housing funds to other needs. House version H 191 by Rep Shaw which would stop sweeping the housing trust funds.
Senate President Joe Negron has made housing for seniors, people with disabilities and people in "urgent housing situations" a priority.
House Speaker Richard Corcoran , responded that education is the House' top priority and with inflation and population, the budget adds $1.5 billion just to meet those needs.
The House proposes spending $123 million on housing programs to counties that have sustained hurricane damage (through the State Apartment Incentive loan program, via Sadowski Trust Fund).
The Senate proposes allocate (Sadowski funds)
  • $90 million in counties that have sustained hurricane damage:
  • $114 million to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation;
  • $40 million for apartment loans for workforce housing;
  • $3.8 million for homeless housing;
  • $103.8 million for State Housing Initiatives Partnership program (SHIP) to provide affordable housing to low- to moderate-income families
Click here for more information. 

Possession of Real Property -
H 631 by Rep Edwards was added to Special Order Calendar, February 14
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".  

Florida Vacation Rental Act - 
S 1400 
by Sen Steube passed the Regulated Industries Committee (Sen  Travis Hutson voted YES).    
S 1400 would detach short-term vacation rentals from hotel/motel regulations, and establish a uniform inspection program under the Dept of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR). It also blocks local governments from establishing local regulations pertaining to vacation rentals and repeals any local vacation rental ordinance adopted after 2011. It would create a "uniform policy across the state," whereby DBPR would randomly inspect 1% of licensed vacation rental homes each year. S 1400 also seeks to restore a 2011 legislative statute that banned local governments from regulating vacation rentals.
Bill proponents want to see local restrictions on vacation rentals eliminated while opponents see it as a detriment to residential neighborhoods.
House companion H 773 by Rep La Rosa is still waiting to be heard by their Government Accountability and Commerce committees. 

The Chamber opposes S 1400 and H 773
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....passed the Senate 35 - 0 - en route to House .....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....House version H 191 by Rep Shaw - no progress........which would stop sweeping the housing trust funds
  • 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 added to the 2nd Reading calendar.Senate version S 658 by Sen Brandes currently before the Appropriations Committee (Sen David Simmons - member) 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.
  • Supermajority Votes for State Taxes or Fees - 
    SJR 1742  
    by  Sen Stargel 
    is before the Appropriations Committee.
    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 is before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Still before the 
    Appropriations Committee  ( Sen David Simmons  - member)
  • 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
Rep Paul Renner

Rep Tom Leek

Conference Calls with delegation members.......

During the Session, the C hamber's Legislative Action Committee (Bob Williams, Chair) has regular conference calls with Volusia delegation members to relay the local business viewpoint. 

Today....the committee had a productive/informative conference call with Rep Paul Renner . Committee members discussed FY 2018-19 budget (H 5001), the House Education package (H 7055), Vacation Rentals (H 733), Natural Resources (H 7063) as well as Volusia County projects. 

Last week, this committee also had a conference call with Rep Tom Leek to discuss these and other business related issues. 

The Chamber would like to thank Rep Renner (and his assistant Anna DeCerchio) and Rep Leek (and his assistant Dylan Fisher) for keeping us informed. 

Committee members....I'll notify you of our next conference call. 
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.