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 limited committees meetings next week (March 5-9) and in session until adjournment date, March 9. 

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

FY 2018-19 Budget

The House budget  H 5001 , spends $87.2 billion while Senate budget S 2500
spends  $87.3 billion. 

Lawmakers have 5 working days to write an $87 billion spending plan. State economists are still determining revenue projections on how much the state will have for FY 2018-19 which begins July 1.

General appropriations bills are subject to a 72-hour public review period (Tuesday) before a vote is taken on final passage of a budget by the scheduled March 9 adjournment date.

In the meantime, House and Senate have appointed Budget Conferees.
  • Sen Dorothy Hukill and Sen Travis Hutson will serve on the Environment and Natural Resources/Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee;
  • Sen David Simmons will chair the Appropriations Conference Committee on General Government;
  • Rep Paul Renner will serve on the Appropriations Conference Committee;
  • Rep Tom Leekwill serve on theHouse Higher Education / Senate Higher Education;
  • Rep David Santiago will serve on the House Transportation & Tourism / Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development;
  • Rep Patrick Henry will serve on the House Agriculture & Natural Resources / Senate Environment and Natural Resources.
Click here for more information. 
Gov Scott addresses House & Senate members 
regarding School Safety

Governor Scott, House and Senate leaders address fire-arms, school safety and mental health.....Priority ONE....

Earlier, in the week, the House Appropriations Committee approved PCB-APC-1806 by a 23 - 6 vote.   Some of the major provisions include:
  • Requires school boards to partner with local law enforcement to address school security needs, increase law enforcement presence, requires school district to coordinate emergency procedures with public safety agencies
  • Doubles the number of school resource officers, funds them, and requires crisis intervention training for all officers; 
  • Authorizes law enforcement-trained persons who meet specific requirements to serve as school marshals;
  • Requires all school personnel to receive, and funds, youth mental health first aid training;
  • Provides funding for mental health treatment in schools;
  • Prohibits a licensed importer, manufacturer or dealer from selling a firearm to a person under age 21, with exceptions;
  • Expands mandatory 3-day waiting period for handguns to all firearms sold at retail with certain exceptions;
  • Outlaws bump-stock fire-arms;
  • Allows law enforcement to seize firearms/ammunition from someone involuntarily examined under the Baker Act who has made a credible threat of violence against another person. 
  • Allocates $400 million to the Florida Dept of Law Enforcement, Dept of Education, and the Dept of Children & Families, for multiple purposes.
The Committee also voted down 18-11 an amendment to attach an assault weapons ban to the bill.

Click here for more information. 

Vacation Rentals
With several major issues at the forefront and most committees no longer meeting, it appears Vacation Rental bills S 1400 / H 733 by Rep LaRosa will not be heard so it's likely this issue is done for the session. Sen Steube, the sponsor for S 1400, commented, "I think this is an issue this Legislature will see every year until it's resolved. I can guarantee proponents will find another Senator to file this legislation".
The Chamber strongly opposed both bills mainly on the grounds that such rental units compete with standard hotels, motels, and Bed & Breakfast facilities yet they are not held to the same regulatory standards, e.g. Americans with Disabilities Act, as these facilities. 
Supermajority Vote Required to Increase Taxes/Fees
HJR 7001 by Rep Tom Leek would require a two-thirds vote of both House/Senate. It was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee ( Sen David Simmons voted YES).

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.

HJR 7001  was placed on the Senate's 3rd reading calendar. 

If the House and Senate are able to pass the resolution, it would go on the November ballot as a constitutional amendment.
Workforce Housing

S 1328  by Sen Perry passed the  Appropriations Committee 20-0 (Sen David Simmons voted YES). It allocates $62.8 million to to spur additional affordable housing to meet the needs created by the recent
It requires state agencies to work with the Florida  Housing  Finance 
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 - Senate floor vote. 
A similar House version, H 987  by Rep Cortes passed the House (Reps Rep Patrick Henry Tom Leek, Paul Renner, David Santiago voted YES).
Next stop - Senate. 

The Chamber supports Workforce Housing legislation!
Sen Hukill presents Coastal Management S 174 on Senate floor
Coastal Management
S 174  by  Sen Dorothy Hukill passed the  Senate 36-0. It would revise the criteria to help the Dept of Environmental Protection (DEP) prioritize coastal restoration projects, thus keeping our beaches preserved by addressing erosion control and sand management; it also 
increases the Department's project reporting requirements.
Senator Hukill stated, "This bill is for Floridians, and visitors, to preserve and maintain our state's beaches. Coastal management is beneficial for conservation, recreation, and tourism."
Next stop - House.
Impact Fees

H 697  by  Rep Miller  - was approved by the House 108 - 5 ( Reps  Tom Leek Paul Renner David Santiago  voted YES; Rep  Patrick Henry  voted NO). It 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.

A similar Senate version  S 324  by Sen Young passed Appropriations Committee (Sen David Simmons voted YES) and is now on the Senate calendar.
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.....

H 7087 was up for a House floor vote today.  
Tourist Development Tax 

After H 585 - by Rep Fine
passed the House 90-23 ( Reps Patrick
Paul Renner David Santiago 
voted YES; Rep  Tom Leek  voted NO),  it moved to the Senate were it was referred to 3 committees. 

It a uthorizes a county government that collects a tourist development tax to use tax revenues for infrastructure purposes. An amendment was added requiring that a county's governing board must approves the use for the proposed public facilities by a two-thirds vote; no more than 70% of the cost of the proposed project will be paid for with tourist development tax revenues.

With 3 Senate committee stops and this late date, H 585 is a long-shot UNLESS it is amended onto another bill.

Senate version S 658 by Sen Brandes is still before Appropriations Committee ( Sen David Simmons - member).

The Chamber opposes both bills.
House Education Package

After the House approved H 7055  by a 66 -43 vote ( Reps Tom LeekPaul RennerDavid Santiago voted YES; Rep Patrick Henry voted NO), the bill went over to the Senate where it was heard and approved by the Appropriations Committee (Sen David Simmons voted YES).

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; modifies dual enrollment provisions for home education program students;

It appropriates $19,350,000 in recurring funds from the General Revenue Fund and $850,000 in nonrecurring funds from the General Revenue Fund for the 2018-2019 fiscal year to implement the provisions of the bill.

A major point of contention is whether to maintain Teacher was initially in the bill, amended out and now amended back in.

Next Stop - the Senate floor vote.
Worker's Compensation for First Responders

H 227 by Rep Willhitt passed Governmental Accountability Committee (Reps Patrick Henry and David Santiago  voted YES ).
Current workers' compensation laws require employers to pay for both medical and wage replacements if the employee suffers from a physical injury that arises from assigned work. Mental or nervous injuries that do not have a physical injury attached to them are not covered.
The proposed measure would cover mental injuries like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD) regardless of any accompanying physical injury for first responders. It also requires employers (local entities) to provide mental health awareness training and treatment. Upon approval, it would allow Worker's Compensation benefits to first responders for PTSD.
It was amended to specify that the "Dept of Financial Services would adopt rules identifying injuries that qualify as grievous bodily harm" and that the start date from July 1 to October 1.
With these amendments, the Florida League of Cities dropped its opposition to the measure.
H 227 was up for a House floor vote today.

A similar Senate version S 376 by Sen Book was up for a Senate floor vote today.
Casinos/Card Rooms

With gambling having a major impact on the State budget at stake, House Speaker Designate Jose Oliva and Senate President Designate Bill Galvano have worked to craft legislation that would find consensus on a proposed gambling overhaul that would maintain the breadth of the compact with the Seminole Tribe.

With House Speaker Richard Corcoran stating any legislation that expands gambling "is a non-starter", so H 7067 by Rep La Rosa was narrowly approved by Commerce Committee 15-11. While it authorizes no new games, it would set a flat 20-year extension to the Seminole Compact allowing the Tribe to keep black-jack for 20 years at their existing 5 facilities and maintains the status quo for lottery games. The Tribe has always frowned on State-sanctioned competition.

Several major differences remain between the House and Senate plans such as counties that approved local referendums allowing parimutuals to operate slots.

Some say this session might be the last chance for lawmakers to legislate gambling. A proposed constitutional amendment is heading for the ballot in November that would give voters control over any future changes to casino gambling.

H 7067  is on the  House Special Order Calendar for a final  vote on March 5. 

Meanwhile, a similar Senate version, S 840 by Sen Travis Hutson was approved by the Appropriations Committee (Sen David Simmons voted YES). It now goes to the Senate floor. 
Revisions to Florida Forever Act
H 7063  by Rep Caldwell had its 1st reading on the House floor this week. 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.

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.
  • Economic Development & Tourism Promotion Accountability 
    H 3   by  Rep Grant  and   1714 
    Sen Perry  would have imposed strenuous regulations on local tourism and economic development agencies. Neither bill has moved in the last 10 days.   
  • 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. Approved 115 - 0 by the House... Sent to the Senate, referred to 3 committees.
    A similar Senate version  S 1494 by Sen Montford  was approved by the  Appropriations Committee (Sen David Simmons voted YES). Now goes to the Senate floor.   
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.