2021 Weekly Legislative Update
Week 9: April 30, 2021
Below is the final comprehensive review of legislative activity from Week 9 of the 2021 Legislative Session.
Improving Florida's Talent Pipeline for a Better Workforce
Educational Scholarship Programs
Consolidates student scholarship programs and provides parents with more flexibility to meet the educational needs of their child.

SB 48: Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr.

HB 7045: Rep. Randy Fine
HB 7045 Passed
Apprenticeship and Preapprenticeship Programs
Develops detailed instructions on the process by which a local educational agency may partner with a private apprenticeship program sponsor to offer apprenticeship education and training services in the state.

SB 508: Sen. Jeff Brandes

HB 175: Rep. Jason Shoaf
Apprenticeship and Preapprenticeship Programs
Encourages partnership among state university boards of trustees and apprenticeship program sponsors to cooperate in developing and establishing apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs that include career instruction. 

SB 366: Sen. Travis Hutson

HB 791: Rep. Joe Harding

SB 366 Passed
Early Learning and Early Grade Success
Expands accountability and assessment requirements for VPK providers, while giving Florida parents better information about the quality of VPK providers.

SB 1282: Sen. Gayle Harrell

HB 419: Rep. Erin Grall
HB 419 Passed
Workforce and Postsecondary Education
Promotes apprenticeships in occupations throughout Florida industries by increased coordination between secondary and postsecondary education institutions and businesses. 

SB 1042: Sen. Jason Brodeur
Student Literacy
Establishes the Reading Achievement Initiative for Scholastic Excellence (RAISE) program to support schools identified as needing assistance based on data from the progress monitoring system and results from statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessments.

SB 1898: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez

HB 7011: Rep. Vance Aloupis
HB 7011 Passed
Creating Quality Jobs by Diversifying Florida's Economy
Entertainment Industry
Creates the Film, Television & Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program to encourage the production of family-friended movies and television in the state of Florida.

SB 704: Sen. Joe Gruters

HB 757: Rep. Dana Trabulsy
Florida Tourism Marketing
Reauthorizes VISIT FLORIDA and allows them to use carry-over funds from the previous year.

SB 778: Sen. Ed Hooper

HB 675: Rep. Rene Plasencia

Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund Program
Reauthorizes the Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund Program, an important program in Florida’s economic development toolkit. This program expired on June 30, 2020.

SB 982: Sen. Joe Gruters

HB 6071: Rep. Chip Lamarca
Improving Florida's Infrastructure for Smart Growth and Development
Water Storage
Expands water storage solutions for Central and South Florida. 

SB 94: Sen. Jason Brodeur

SB 2516: Appropriations Committee

SB 2516 Passed and Funded
Electric Vehicle Fees and Charging Stations
Expands the charging network for electric vehicles while ensuring that electric vehicles pay their fair share of transportation usage fees. 
SB 140: Sen. Jeff Brandes

SB 138: Sen. Jeff Brandes

HB 819: Rep. Andrew Learned

HB 817: Rep. Rene Plasencia

Autonomous Vehicles
Expands the opportunities for the lawful deployment of low speed, autonomous shuttles on public roadways. 

SB 1620: Sen. Jeff Brandes

HB 1289: Rep. Fiona McFarland
HB 1289 Passed
Repeal of the M-CORES Program
Repeals infrastructure and economic development investments.

SB 1030: Sen. Tina Scott Polsky

HB 763: Rep. Ben Diamond
State Funds
Protects the Sadowski Housing Trust Funds from legislative sweeps.

SB 510: Sen. Ed Hooper

HB 13: Rep. Sam Killebrew
Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience
Creates new programs, partnerships and data collection efforts to combat sea level rise.

SB 1954: Sen. Ray Rodrigues

HB 7019: Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera
SB 1954 Passed
State Preemption of Energy Infrastructure Regulation
Prevents local governments from prohibiting natural gas fracking, nullify solar permitting ordinances, end renewable energy grant programs and eliminate county authority over pipelines along roadways.

SB 856: Sen. Travis Hutson

HB 839: Rep. Tom Fabricio
HB 839 Passed
Building the Perfect Climate for Business
COVID-19 Liability Protections
Provides liability protections from claims that arise due to COVID-19 for businesses and other entities that are substantially complying with government health and safety guidelines to keep employees and customers safe.

SB 72: Sen. Jeff Brandes

HB 7: Rep. Lawrence McClure
SB 72 Signed By Governor
COVID-19 Liability Protections - Health Care
Provides liability protections from claims that arise due to COVID-19 for health care providers that are complying with government health and safety guidelines.

SB 74: Sen. Jeff Brandes

HB 7005: Rep. Colleen Burton
Included in SB 72
Inflated Medical Damages
Improves Florida’s bottom-five legal climate by allowing the jury to see the amount generally accepted for a medical procedure and limiting inflated medical damages listed on Letters of Protection.

SB 846: Sen. Jeff Brandes

HB 561: Rep. Randy Maggard
Farming Operations
Modernizes Florida’s Right to Farm Act and provides liability protections for farming operations that are following environmental standards.

SB 88: Sen. Jason Brodeur

HB 1601: Rep. Jayer Williamson
SB 88 Signed by Governor
Matters of Great Governmental Concern
Allows the Attorney General to declare an issue a matter of “great governmental concern” and consolidate civil litigation on behalf of local governments.

SB 102: Sen. Danny Burgess

HB 1053: Rep. Toby Overdorf
Litigation Financing Consumer Protection
Protects consumers involved in litigation by creating transparency in litigation financing contracts, creates a state registration process for litigation financiers, and requires disclosure to the defendant that a litigation financing company has an interest in the outcome of the litigation.

SB 1750: Sen. Doug Broxson

HB 1293: Rep. Toby Overdorf
Medical Malpractice Damages
Drives up medical malpractice insurance rates by broadening the scope of who is allowed to collect damages in medical negligence claims.

SB 1112: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez

HB 651: Rep. Spencer Roach
Solicitation of Nonmedical Services
Improves health safety by adding certain requirements and disclosures for advertisements that intend to solicit legal services from patients of medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

SB 1992: Sen. Gayle Harrell

HB 1483: Rep. Clay Yarborough
Property Insurance Claims
Addresses significant increases in property insurance rates by attempting to reduce litigation and cost drivers in the system.

SB 76: Sen. Jim Boyd

HB 305: Rep. Bob Rommel
SB 76 Passed
Contingency Risk Multiplier
Returns the use of the contingency fee multiplier to rare and unusual circumstances to address out of control attorney fees in commonplace litigation.

SB 212: Sen. Jeff Brandes
Auto Glass
Cracks down on auto glass assignment of benefits abuses by requiring a clear disclosure to the consumer that they are signing an AOB and requires notification to the insurer and customer before any litigation related to the assignment.

SB 906: Sen. Linda Stewart
Public Emergencies and Assistance
Creates a presumption that if a person contracts COVID-19 during the course of employment and interferes in insurance contracts by specifying that a business’ compliance with a governmental order to close or reduce service counts as a business interruption for insurance purposes.

HB 1617: Rep. Evan Jenne
Discrimination in Labor and Employment
Interferes in employment practices by prohibiting a job creator from requesting or relying on previous wage or salary information to interview, hire, promote or employ an employee.

SB 256: Sen. Linda Stewart

HB 107: Rep. Geraldine Thompson
Prohibited Discrimination Bases on Hairstyle
Creates a new cause of action by adding hairstyle to the list of protected classes under which it is unlawful to discriminate for housing or employment opportunities.

SB 476: Sen. Randolph Bracy

HB 179: Rep. Kamia Brown
Unlawful Discrimination Against Pregnant Employees
Interferes in the employer-employee relationship by creating new requirements for employers of pregnant employees.

SB 384: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez

HB 581: Rep. Dotie Joseph
Wage & Employment Benefits Requirements
Removes the statewide preemption for minimum wage and employment benefits, thereby creating a patchwork of regulations across Florida’s cities and counties.

SB 304: Sen. Annette Taddeo

HB 6031: Rep. Carlos Smith
Family and Medical Leave
Creates a business and employee funded family leave state fund for parents who just gave birth, adopted or fostered a child and requires employers to maintain health coverage and allow up to 12 months leave from employment.

SB 1596: Sen. Janet Cruz

SB 1586: Sen. Janet Cruz

HB 1245: Rep. Angela Nixon

HB 1247: Rep. Felicia Robinson
Background Screen (Ban the Box)
Prohibits job creators from requesting information about an applicant’s criminal history prior to an initial job interview.

SB 1646: Sen. Bobby Powell

HB 1331: Rep. Joseph Casello

Internet Sales Tax / Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund
Modernizes Florida’s tax code and levels the playing field for main street businesses by allowing for the collection of sales tax from internet retailers. Florida and Missouri are the only two states in the country that have not adopted an economic nexus to collect online sales tax after the Wayfair Supreme Court decision. The bills deposit money into the unemployment compensation trust fund over the next several years to avoid the automatic $713 million tax increase Florida employers were faced with this year and to help replenish the trust fund. After the trust fund is replenished, the bill provides for a business rent tax reduction from 5.5 percent to 2 percent. 

SB 50: Sen. Joe Gruters

HB 15: Rep. Chuck Clemons
SB 50 Signed By Governor
Corporate Income Tax Increase
Increases Florida’s Corporate Income Tax Rate to pay for a new “Teach to Lead” program.

SB 1222: Sen. Shevrin Jones

HB 129: Rep. Yvonne Hinson
Small Business Saturday
Supports shopping at local small businesses by eliminating the sales tax on purchases on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

SB 302: Sen. Annette Taddeo

HB 637: Rep. Allison Tant
Hospitals' Community Benefit Reporting
Removes duplicative reporting requirements for non-profit hospitals to qualify for property tax exemptions.

SB 58: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez

HB 6093: Rep. Joe Harding
Included in HB 7061
Mandatory Unitary Combined Reporting
Requires a “water’s edge reporting method” to determine taxable profits for Florida income tax purposes, requires a unitary tax filing, and requires disclosure of corporate income, taxes and apportionment determinations for each state.

HB 999: Rep. Fred Hawkins
Tax Exemptions
Exempts federal emergency loans from documentary stamp tax collections and provides for a disaster preparedness sales tax holiday.

SB 734: Sen. Joe Gruters

Reemployment Assistance
Increases the maximum weekly benefit amount and the number of weeks for reemployment assistance. HB 207 and SB 466 also revises eligibility requirements for benefits and revises what constitutes a “good cause” for leaving employment to still be eligible for benefits.
SB 466: Sen. Randolph Bracy

SB 592: Sen. Bobby Powell

SB 644: Sen. Annette Taddeo

SB 910: Sen. Linda Stewart

HB 207: Rep. Anna Eskamani
SB 1906: Sen. Jason Brodeur
Motor Vehicle Insurance
Repeals Florida’s motor vehicle no-fault law (personal injury protection insurance) and creates mandatory a bodily injury coverage requirement.
SB 54: Sen. Danny Burgess

HB 719: Rep. Erin Grall
SB 54 Passed
Data Privacy
Creates a new cause of action related to companies that collect, sell or use consumer data and creates new disclosure requirement for these companies.
SB 1734: Sen. Jennifer Bradley

HB 969: Rep. Fiona McFarland
Provides for a back-to-school sales tax holiday, disaster preparedness sales tax holiday, a sales tax holiday for admissions to live venues and movie theaters, and extends the data center tax exemption. The bill also includes SB 58 and SB 982 to repeal the community benefit reporting requirement for non-profit hospitals.

SB 7068: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez

HB 7061: Rep. Bobby Payne
HB 7061 Passed
Making Government and Civics more Efficient and Effective
Dues and Uniform Protections
Adds transparency and accountability to the collection of union dues from the paychecks of state workers.

SB 78: Sen. Ray Rodrigues

HB 947: Rep. Scott Plakon
Reforms the state's pension system.

SB 84: Sen. Ray Rodrigues
Supermajority for Legislative Preemption
Increases the threshold needed for legislation ensuring the furtherance of statewide regulatory certainty for businesses to pass in the Legislature.

SB 540: Sen. Gary M. Farmer
Removal of Union Transparency
Repeals a Chamber-backed transparency bill for public sector unions. 

SB 610: Sen. Linda Stewart
Rights of Nature
Repeals a Chamber-backed provision that outlaws the “rights of nature” legal doctrine in Florida. 

HB 6045: Rep. Anna Eskamani
Employee Organizations
Protects public sector employees by enforcing the Chamber-backed transparency efforts from the 2019 Legislative Session.

SB 1014: Sen. Dennis Baxley

HB 835: Rep. Cord Byrd
Removal of Sunscreen Preemption
Repeals a Chamber-backed preemption on regulations for sunscreen and other over the counter drugs and cosmetics. 

SB 1174: Sen. Linda Stewart

HB 6041: Rep. Anna Eskamani
E-Verify Mandate
Removes a Chamber-backed protection for employers that allows certain businesses to use existing systems to verify eligible employment.

HB 6013: Rep. Anthony Sabatini
Removal of Polystyrene Preemption
Removes a Chamber-backed preemption on local ordinances relating to polystyrene products.

SB 594: Sen. Linda Stewart

HB 6027: Rep. Michael Grieco
Constitutional Amendment Reform
Increases the threshold for a constitutional amendment to be adopted.

SB 1238: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez

HB 61: Rep. Rick Roth
Constitutional Amendment Finance Reform
Brings transparency and parity to the constitutional amendment fundraising system.

SB 1890: Sen. Ray Rodriguez

HB 699: Rep. Bobby Payne
SB 1890 Passed
Championing Florida's Quality of Life
Autonomous Practice by an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
Expands allowed general functions of APRNs to acts that are within their specialty.

SB 424: Sen. Jeff Brandes

HB 111: Rep. Randy Maggard
Economic Self-Sufficiency
Requires the Auditor General to conduct, at least every three years, performance audits of certain economic assistance and health care programs.

SB 414: Sen. Keith Perry

HB 1349: Rep. Vance Aloupis
HB 1349 Passed