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 & Senate Committees Drafting FY 2018-19  Budgets
House  Appropriations
Committee is expected to discuss a proposed 2018-2019 budget next week, with the spending plan going to the full House by February 5.
Subcommittees were busy this week drafting their portions of the budget, with a proposed spending plan scheduled for release today. The full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to take up their "draft" budget on January 31. It is scheduled to go to the House floor February 5.
At the same time, there are several factors to consider. Budget committee members will have to accommodate a projected 27,000 new students next school year, and the House and Senate will have to resolved whether to use increased local property tax collections (by local school boards) to increase education spending.

The state expects to have a small budget surplus for the coming fiscal year. However, costs related to Hurricane Irma have made the budget even tighter. A major concern is that funding at the local level i.e. Volusia School District will be sparse.
Across the rotunda, the Senate Appropriations Committee is drafting their own budget.  

Click here for more information. 
Tax Package Under Consideration
The House Ways & Means Committee is considering a stockpile of individual bills, that if all were approved, would well exceed the $180 million in tax and fee cuts requested by Gov Rick Scott.
Ways & Means Chairman Paul Renner said the committee will consider decreased motorists' fees along with a back-to-school and disaster-preparedness sales tax holidays.

Senate Finance & Tax Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Kelli Stargel said their group has also begun work on their proposed FY 2018-19 budget.
The Committee is reviewing H 519 - Small Business Saturday whereby sales tax would be exempt at specified businesses on items costing up to $1,000 on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This small-business holiday would counter the big-box store dominated "Black Friday" shopping that traditionally marks the start of the year-end shopping season. 

Click here for more information. 
Economic Development & Tourism Promotion Accountability
S 1714 by Sen Perry goes before the Commerce & Tourism Committee (Sen Travis Hutson - member) THIS Monday, 4 pm.
It basically says that any "economic development and tourism promotion agency" that receives public funds to adhere to "strict" transparency and accountability requirements relating to their operations....."very basic" travel and per diem expenses as well as public compensation and prohibiting publicly funded bonuses; prohibits an agency personnel from receiving/spending funds on food, beverages, lodging, gifts or entertainment; detailed and more detailed operating budget requirements.
Both bills will mean "major headaches" for the Daytona Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau and Team Volusia which must already answer to their own government entities in Volusia.
House version H 3 by Rep Grant passed the House 87 - 20 (Reps Tom Leek, Paul Renner, David Santiago voted YES; Patrick Henry voted NO).
The Chamber opposes both bills. 
Sen Dorothy Hukill presents S 540

Postsecondary Education

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved  
S 540 by  Sen Dorothy Hukill by a 15 - 4 vote ( Sen David Simmons 
voted YES). 

The bill would create a 13-member State Board of Colleges to oversee the 28 schools in the state college system. Since 2003, these institutions have been under the State Board of Education, which also oversees K-12 schools). It would also limit the number of 4-year degrees awarded by the colleges to no more than 20% of a school's entire enrollment. It would revise performance standards for the colleges, requiring full-time, associate degree students to graduate within two years. An amendment was adopted to add $100 million for performance funding

S 540 now goes to the Senate floor. 

A similar House version H 423 by Rep Rodrigues was approved by the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee and awaits a hearing by the Appropriations Committee. 
Passenger Train Service -
S 572 by Sen Mayfield and H 525 by Rep Grall would require All Aboard Florida's Brightline to be solely responsible for $350 million of safety equipment improvement and upgrades (estimated at about $1 million per crossing along the rail's line from Miami to Cocoa).
Rusty Roberts, All Aboard Florida Vice President , provided a report that  pointed out that 88% of railroad incident injuries/deaths are due to trespassers disobeying or ignoring gates and warning signals. In addition,
Florida TaxWatch outlined their support for private sector passenger train service in Florida. 
S 572 was discussed by the Community Affairs Committee ( Sen David Simmons - member) and could likely be voted upon next week.
This is an unfriendly business bill and could hamper Daytona Beach's opportunity to gain passenger train service in Daytona Beach
Rep Tom Leek argues HJR 7001 on House floor
Supermajority Votes for State Taxes or Fees
HJR 7001 by  Rep Tom Leek  passed the House 80-29  (Reps Patrick Henry, Tom Leek, Paul Renner, David Santiago voted YES) . It says that any new or increase in state tax or fee must have two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature; and that any proposed state tax or fee imposition, or increase must be contained in a separate bill that contains no other subject. HJR 7001 would not apply to any tax or fee imposed/authorized a county, city, school board, or special district.
With this vote in the House, it would require at least 26 votes in the Senate for it to appear on the November 6 ballot as a constitutional amendment where it must receive 60% voter approval.
Sen Travis Hutson chairs Regulated Industries Committee
Designated Player Card Games
By a 7-2 vote, the
Regulated Industries
Committee approved S 840 by Sen Travis Hutson that would legalize "designated player" card games and would allow horse/dog tracks to drop racing but continue operating slots or cardrooms.
Lawmakers have struggled to address issues related to a 20-year 'compact', between the state and the Seminoles. A provision in that compact that gave the tribe exclusive rights to operate banked card games, such as blackjack, expired in 2015. A federal judge ruled that "designated-player" card games, authorized by state gambling regulators, effectively breached the agreement with the Seminoles, and issued a ruling allowing the tribe to continue to offer blackjack for the remainder of the deal, which ends in 2030.
The Seminoles pay the state at least $250 million a year, but the designated-player games could affect whether the tribe continues the payments.
S 840 now goes to the Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax.
A similar House version H 223   by Rep Brodeur was approved 13-0 by the Tourism/Gaming Control Committee and now goes to the Finance & Tax Committee (Chair Paul Renner, Rep Tom Leek - members).  
Legislators are seeking means to increase access to affordable healthcare
Direct Primary Care Agreements
H 37  by Rep Burgess passed the House  97 -10  (Reps Patrick Henry, Tom Leek, Paul Renner, David Santiago voted YES). Direct primary care (DPC) is a primary care medical practice model whereby patients pay a monthly fee ($25 to $100 per person) to a primary care provider for defined primary care services.
Upon paying this fee, patients can utilize all services under the agreement at no extra charge.  Different models can be based on routine preventative services, women's health services, pediatric care, urgent care, wellness education, chronic disease management, and home visits.
Note - the Office of Insurance Regulation does not currently regulate DPC agreements; AND either party can terminate the agreement by written notice followed by, at least, a 30 day waiting period OR immediate termination for agreement violations;
A similar Senate version S 80 by Sen Lee has been referred to the Banking & Insurance Committee. 

Constitutional Amendment - Voter Control of Gambling
A "Voter Control of Gambling (constitutional) Amendment" whereby voters will have the 'exclusive right' to decide the future of casino-style gambling, slot machines will appear on the November 6 ballot.
While these decisions are currently controlled by the Legislature, "Amendment 3" will require "voter ratification".... voters statewide would have to approve expansions of gambling even in single counties.
The proposed language already has Florida Supreme Court approval, and will require a 60% voter margin to pass. It pits the state's gambling industry vs Disney and the Seminole Tribe and it's going to be an expensive campaign.
This referendum comes after the Legislature was unable to agree on gambling packages in recent years.
Vacation Rental Units
S 1400 by Sen Steube and H 773 by Rep LaRosa would limit how local governments regulate vacation rentals. Both bills are backed by online vacation rental companies (Airbnb and HomeAway).
S 1400 prohibits county and city governments from regulating vacation rentals.....only the state would be allowed to set rules for people wanting to lease their homes (or parts of their homes) for short-term uses. It also would require vacation rental units to be licensed by the state, for a fee paid to the State.
H 773 says local governments cannot prohibit vacation rentals or regulate how long or how often a property could be used for vacation rentals. Otherwise it would require local governments to uniformly regulate all rentals - whether they are vacation or long-term.
Proponents say these bills protect homeowners' property rights while county/city officials say these bills chip away at local government control.

Click here for more information.  
State-Administered Retirement Systems
S 7014 by the Governmental
Oversight/ Accountability Committee .   With a decrease in the assumed rate of investment return on the State's $160 billion pension fund (covering 627,000 active pension participants), this billestablishes "modified" contribution rates paid by entities participating in the Florida Retirement System (FRS) beginning July 1, 2018.
These rates are intended generate an additional $178.5 million in revenue on an annual basis. Thus public employers will incur additional costs...State Agencies ($31 million), Universities ($11.8 million), Colleges ($4.8 million) School Boards ($54.4 million), Counties ($66.4 million), other entities ($10.1 million).
The Florida Retirement System Actuarial Assumption Conference lowered the projected rate of return on the pension fund's collection of stocks, bonds, real estate and other assets from 7.6 percent to 7.5 percent (the 4th year in a row that analysts have lowered the assumed rate of return on the fund).
Public employees who participate in the pension plan have been required to contribute 3 % of their annual salaries to the fund since 2011.
S 7014 goes to 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 up for 2nd Reading in the Senate....should pass next week. 

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. 
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.
Legislative Directories

Click these links to contact YOUR Volusia delegation  
On the Chamber's Radar Screen.....

  • Daytona Beach First Step Homeless Shelter - H 2389 by Rep Patrick Henry is in Appropriations Committee........would provide $1.7 million matching funds to $5 million in funds and property already contributed by the Daytona Beach, Volusia County and other cities 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, on 2nd 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.
  • Workers' CompensationH 7009 by Rep Burgesspassed the House....sent to the Senate.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...sent to Senate.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 is still before Ways & Means Committee..... allows tourist development tax revenue to be used for infrastructure projects such as roads...could significantly decrease tourism marketing funds. Senate version S 658  by Sen Brandes - not moving....
  • 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. 
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.