Legislative Status Report Final Edition 2021
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 Shawn Richmond.
Governor Ron DeSantis
On Monday, May 3rd, during a visit to St. Petersburg, Governor DeSantis announced the suspension of all local COVID 19 orders. Gov. DeSantis’s order will override local emergency orders, stating, “ The bill ensures that neither the state or local governments can close businesses or keep kids out of in-personal instruction unless they satisfy a demanding, and continuous justification.” Although the bill does not affect July 1st, the Governor's executive order suspends all local ordinances immediately. Private businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, and retail stores, can still require masks and enforce other social distancing protocols. The order will also prohibit vaccine passports in Florida
Legislature Session Report 
Numerous bills will move between House and Senate today for final passage.
Budget
The Legislature agreed upon a $101.5 billion budget for FY 2021-22. Florida expects to receive $10.2 billion from Congress’ $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan. However, federal aid is a one-time award.
 
S2500 will allocate $6.7 billion for budget programs, and $3.5 billion will be applied to reserves.
Earlier in the session, the House proposed a $97 billion budget, and the Senate outlined a $95 billion budget.

On April 16, a Revenue Estimating Conference forecasted an additional $2 billion for the coming fiscal year.

All first responders, teachers, and early learning instructors will get $1,000 bonuses. It includes $22.4 billion for K-12 schools ($532 million increase on the current year ($7,795 in per-student funding a $38.71 hike) with $550 million to increase the salaries of teachers, part of DeSantis’ push to get all teachers to a minimum salary of $47,500).

Last year’s budget totaled $92.2 billion.
COVID Liability
Business COVID Liability S 72 by Sen. BrandesSets requirements for a civil action based on a COVID-19-related claim; says the plaintiff has the burden of proof; sets statute of limitations; provides severability and retroactive applicability. S 74 regarding liability protection for healthcare facilities was amended onto this bill.

Open
Approved and signed by Governor. Chamber supports!
Unemployment Benefits
The Florida Senate unanimously passed S1906, sponsored by Sen. Brodeur. S1906 will change the state's reemployment assistance weekly benefit amount from $32 to $275 per week to $100 to $375 per week. S1906 bill increases the number of available weeks by two weeks, for a maximum of 14 weeks. The bill also removes some requirements and clarifies that pregnancy cannot be the basis of a denial of a claim.

S1906 was not adopted by both the House and Senate before the Florida Session ended on April 30th. Senate President Simpson said he would begin negotiations on reemployment assistance early next Session. 

Property Insurance
Citizens Property Insurance Corp
S 1574 by Sen. Brandes revises the method for determining the amounts of potential surcharges to be levied against policyholders when a Citizens’ account shortfall is projected; it defines “primary residence” as the dwelling that the insured represented as their permanent home on the insurance application; it allows a new surcharge on Citizens’ policyholders when a legal expense deficit exists. Such additional surcharges could lead to additional costs for policyholders. It passed the Appropriations Committee (Sen Travis Hutson voted YES).

Bill not passed
Tax Issues
Online Sales Tax/Main St Fairness - S50 by Sen. Gruters defines "retail sale" to include sales facilitated through a marketplace; requires remote dealers to collect/remit sales tax putting out-of-state online retailers in the same level as local businesses. An estimated $1 billion in revenue will be applied to State's Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.

Approved and signed by the Governor. Chamber supports!
Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience

Resilience- S1954 by Sen. Rodrigues establishes statewide resiliency programs that assess and address inland and coastal flooding and sea-level rise.

Approved and sent to the Governor.
Veterans Employment and Training
S586 by Sen. Wright designates Florida is for Veterans as the state's principal assistance organization under the United States Department of Defense's (department) SkillBridge program for employers and transitioning servicemembers.

Approved and sent to the Governor.
Home-based Businesses
 S 266 by Sen. Perry would prevent counties/cities from regulating many aspects of businesses that operate inside a home.


Approved and sent to the Governor.

Vacation Rental Units
S 522 by Sen. Diaz preempts local authority to regulate short-term rentals shifting regulation by cities/counties to the State's Division of Hotels/Restaurants (under Dept of Business & Professional Regulation). 

S522 died without being adopted as state law when the Florida session ended last Friday

Special Session
Lawmakers will be back in Tallahassee for a week-long special session in mid-May to consider a new deal reached with the Seminole tribe. What will this special session mean for the future of Florida's gambling industry, and how will sports betting impact our local economy? 

Chamber's 2021 Legislative Priorities
2021 Legislative Priorities to see the Chamber's recommendations for the Session. Compiled by our Advocacy Action Council - Dwight Durant, Chair (Zev Cohen & Associates), this list was presented to the Volusia delegation at their December 14 meeting.  

These recommendations will be tracked throughout the session and reported each week in the Chamber's Legislative Status Report.
Contact Your House and Senate Members
Click here to see Volusia's House/Senate contact information
as well as new committee assignment.


Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce
126 E. Orange Avenue, Daytona Beach, FL 32114
386.255.0981 | info@daytonachamber.com

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