February 2019
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Bills we're tracking in the Florida Legislature
SB 76 (Simpson) - Use of Wireless Communications Devices While Driving;  Creating the "Florida Ban on Wireless Communications Devices While Driving Law"; prohibiting a person from operating a motor vehicle while listening or talking on a wireless communications device for the purpose of voice interpersonal communication; deleting a provision requiring that enforcement of this section be accomplished only as a secondary action, etc.

SB 108 (Book) - Regulation of Concealed Weapons Licenses;  Transferring the concealed weapons licensing program of the Division of Licensing of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to the Department of Law Enforcement by a type two transfer; creating the Concealed Weapons Licensing Program in the Department of Law Enforcement; redesignating the Department of Law Enforcement as the entity responsible for regulating, and collecting payments and fees from, concealed weapons licensing, etc. Bill Text

HB 311 (Fischer) - Autonomous Vehicles;  Exempts autonomous vehicles & operators from certain prohibitions; provides that human operator is not required to operate fully autonomous vehicle; authorizes fully autonomous vehicle to operate regardless of presence of human operator; provides that automated driving system is deemed operator of autonomous vehicle operating with system engaged; authorizes Florida Turnpike Enterprise to fund & operate test facilities; provides requirements for operation of on-demand autonomous vehicle networks; revises registration requirements for autonomous vehicles. Bill Text

SB 336 (Brandes) - Local Tax Referenda;  Providing that a referendum to adopt or amend a local discretionary sales surtax must be held at a general election, etc. Bill Text

HB 385 (Avila) - Transportation;  Requires certain authority members to comply with financial disclosure requirements; limits levy of & revises authorized uses of certain surtaxes; revives Pilot Rebuilt motor vehicle inspection program; revises provisions relating to DOT design plan approval, transportation project programs, toll collection & use, & M.P.O. membership; repeals pts. I & V of ch. 348, F.S., related to Florida Expressway Authority Act & Osceola County Expressway Authority Law. Bill Text

HB 6023 (Fine) - Ad Valorem Taxation;  Deletes provision that prohibits person from receiving homestead exemption in this state if person is receiving ad valorem tax exemption or tax credit in another state that requires permanent residency for eligibility. Bill Text

Pinellas County Legislative Delegation
For Your Information
No matter where you are in Florida, you are never more than 60 miles away from the shoreline.

The longest street in the world is Yonge Street in Toronto, Canada measuring 1,178 miles.

African Grey Parrots have vocabularies of over 200 words.

The hyoid bone in your throat is the only bone in your body not connected to any other.
Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton
CLEARWATER Pinellas County Administrator Barry A. Burton serves as the chief administrative officer for Pinellas County government. Burton is responsible for leading more than 1,900 dedicated employees who strive to provide the most efficient and fiscally-responsible services to county residents and visitors.
Some of the primary responsibilities of the county administrator include:
  • Implement the vision and policies of the Board of County Commissioners, and the goals and strategies identified in the Strategic Plan.
  • Oversee daily county government operations.
  • Build collaborative relationships with municipal and community partners.
Please contact the County Administrator’s office for additional information regarding county services and programs.

What this long economic expansion means for Florida’s next recession
The economy is bearing down on an impressive record: longest uninterrupted expansion. Come July, with any luck, it will surpass the 120-month mark set between 1991 and 2001.

The run-up since the end of Great Recession has been a slow burn, with annual gross domestic production averaging less than 2.5 percent. Most other expansions averaged more than 3 percent, but this one is making up for it with staying power.

Which raises a question: Is there a correlation between how long an economy grows and the severity of the next recession? In other words, what are we in for when the economy sours?

2019 CRCC Government Affairs Policy & Legislative Priorities
New report: Tampa Bay area still a bargain compared to other regions
TAMPA — The Tampa Bay area’s housing costs have been on the rise, but in 2018 they were still lower than in other metropolitan areas around Florida and beyond, according to a new analysis.

The analysis shows that the bay area last year was one of the nation’s most affordable areas to live.

The Tampa metro area, which includes Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties, had a relatively low cost of living thanks largely to its below-average costs for housing and utilities.

Influential Senator to quiz transportation officials on Sunpass disaster
With Gov. Ron DeSantis following his predecessor’s lead and remaining largely on the sidelines for the state’s 250-day-old (and counting) Sunpass disaster, one influential state Senator plans on starting to get to the bottom of the crisis today in Tallahassee.

Sen. Tom Lee, Senate Infrastructure and Security Chair, says he plans on quizzing FDOT officials at the committee’s 2 p.m. meeting today, where Senators will receive an update on the SunPass system meltdown crisis, now in the ninth month of what was supposed to be a six-day upgrade.

Lee says Conduent, the struggling, but politically-connected company that won a contested FDOT bid for the project, has declined multiple requests to attend the meeting and answer senators’ questions. His interest in the problems was piqued by more than 40 reports from Tampa Bay’s WTSP-TV.

Conduent’s SunPass failures have caused accounts disruptions, billing errors, and customer service nightmares for millions of drivers in Florida and beyond. The company also appeared to have compromised drivers’ personal information, although it is still not clear if FDOT investigated the extent of the possible breach.

After Hurricane Michael, Florida considers new crops
TALLAHASSEE -- Hemp and hops are being promoted among alternatives for crops wiped out by Hurricane Michael in the eastern Panhandle.

Glen Aiken, director of the University of Florida’s North Florida Research and Education Center, said Monday the need for alternatives has grown as farmers in an eight-county region suffered most of the estimated $1.5 billion hit to the state’s agriculture industry in the October storm.

Upcoming Events
For the Record
Upcoming Public Meetings
Click on links below for meeting agenda and location details.

Economic Development Initiatives of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce are sponsored by BayCare Health Systems.

Darryl J. Henderson
VP, Government Affairs

Questions or comments?

Next Events:

Trip to Tallahassee
February 12-13

Government Affairs Committee meeting: Tuesday March 19 - 7:45 am

Transportation Committee meeting: Tuesday March 19 - 9:00 am