Legislative Status Report
March 26, 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 Jim Cameron at 386.566.2140.
Governor DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Daytona Beach on Monday to open the new Buc-ees on I-95 x LPGA. Chamber officials and numerous local officials were on hand for the ribbon cutting.
Gov DeSantis last week proposed a $4.1 billion plan for of the estimated $9 - $10 billion in federal stimulus funds which included money for seaports, roads, combating sea-level rise, recruiting new members of the Florida National Guard, increasing Florida tourism marketing and providing $1,000 bonuses for first-responders.
COVID 19 Business Liability Protection
COVID-19-Civil Liability for Damages S 72 by Sen Brandes which sets requirements for a civil action based on a COVID-19-related claim and stipulates that the plaintiff has the burden of proof, including statute of limitations; provides severability and retroactive applicability....passed the House 83-31 (Reps Elizabeth Fetterhoff, Webster Barnaby, Tom Leek, Paul Renner voted YES.
The Daytona Regional Chamber supports H 7005 /S 72
The Chamber supports these bills to assist those businesses that follow CDC and Health Dept guidelines to keep their customers and employees safe.
Sadowski Housing Trust Fund/Budget
Documentary Stamp Tax Distributions (Sadowski Housing Trust Fund) - H 5401 by Rep Tomkow would split affordable housing dollars into housing, combating rising sea levels and wastewater grants.

It passed the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.
Gov. DeSantis has supported full funding for last year as well as this year.

While the Florida Housing Finance Corporation receives more that $500 million annually from Washington, after the “sweeps”, state housing funds average approximately $160 million annually over the last five years. 

Click here for more information.
Online Sales Tax/Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund
Taxes/Fees on Remote Sales S 50 by Sen Gruters requiring out-of-state retailers to collect and remit Florida sales taxes. It was amended whereby proceeds would replenish the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund.

Senate President Wilton Simpson and House Speaker Chris Sprowls fully support the proposal. S 50 passed the Senate 30 - 10 (Sens Tom Wright, Jason Brodeur, Travis Hutson voted YES).
The surge in demand for jobless benefits due to COVID 19 caused Fla businesses to face a dramatic increase in unemployment.

Click here for more information.

Passage of this bill will add to the importance of Unemployment Benefits (see below). 
Employment Issues
Unemployment Benefits - S 1906 by Sen Jason Brodeur increases weekly unemployment benefits from $275 to $375 but no extension beyond 12 weeks. 

It’s on the Commerce/Tourism Committee (Sens Tom WrightTravis Hutson – members) agenda March 29.
Another Senate bill S 910 by Sen Stewart increases the state’s max unemployment benefit to $400 a week and extend the benefit period to 26 weeks.

Another House version H 207 by Rep Eskamani would extend eligibility to 26 weeks and increase the benefits to $500 per week.

This would not include the $300 per week supplement that is provided by the recently approved by Congress. 
Impact Fees
Impact Fees S 750 by Sen Gruters makes several changes regarding impact fees imposed by local governments to fund local infrastructure to meet the demands of population growth; it defines “infrastructure” and “public facilities” to specify that impact fees may be utilized only for fixed capital
expenditures or fixed capital outlays for major capital improvements; it requires special districts to credit against the collection of impact fees any contribution related to public facilities; it provides that a local government, school district, or special district may not increase impact fee rates by more than 3 percent annually.

Click here for more information.
H 1429 Tourist Development Taxes by Rep Avila authorizes all TDT revenue to be used to finance flood mitigation projects or improvements. It also requires all TDTs to be approved by referendum every five years and requires any TDT currently imposed to be renewed in a referendum by July 2026.
It passed the Ways & Means Committee and now goes before the State Affairs Committee on March 29.

A similar Senate version S 2008 is on the Community Affairs Committee agenda (Sens Jason Brodeur, Travis Hutson - members)

The Chamber stands with the Volusia Lodging & Hospitality Association in OPPOSING this legislation. Bed tax revenue derived & collected by hotels/motels should continue to be used to tourism promotion…there plenty of other destinations aiming to lure our visitors to their community.
Charter Schools S 1028 by Sen Travis Hutson which allows state universities and Fla College System (FCS) institutions to solicit applications and sponsor charter schools upon approval by the Dept of Education (DOE). was approved by the Education Committee (Sen Travis Hutson voted YES).
Bright Futures Scholarship Program S 86 by Sen Baxley which would revamp the state’s Bright Futures program would link higher education tuition scholarships to whether a student’s major leads to a job.
However, the amended bill would no longer tie Bright Future’s funding to a student’s major.

Click here for more information.
Elections H 7041 by Rep Ingoglia would give election supervisors less leeway when comparing signatures on mail-in ballots, require voters to request mail-in ballots for each general election and make it harder to submit other people’s ballots at drop boxes. It passed the House Public Integrity & Elections Committee. 
A Senate companion bill S 90 by Sen Baxley also pertains to mail-in ballots and would completely eliminate drop boxes.
Both the House and Senate measures would require voters to request mail-in ballots every two years and should be up for floor votes soon.
Abolishing the Constitution Revision Commission SJR 204 by Sen Brandes abolishes the Constitution Revision Commission by repealing provisions establishing it in the State Constitution. Currently, the State Constitution requires that a CRC convene every 20 years to review it and propose any necessary amendments.
If SJR 204 is agreed to by 3/5s of the House & Senate, an amendment will appear on the 2022 General Election ballot or at an earlier special election specifically authorized by law for that purpose. That referendum would require at least 60 percent approval.
Save the Date!
Chamber's 38th Annual Welcome Back Breakfast for
Volusia Legislative Delegation
The Chamber's 38th Annual "Welcome Back Breakfast" for the Volusia Legislative delegation 
 Thursday, May 13, 7:30 am at Halifax River Yacht Club 

 At this event, our own House and Senate members will express their viewpoint on the legislative session along with questions from the audience. 
Daytona Regional Chamber member admission is $17 in- person at Halifax River Yacht Club, $10 for virtual. Advanced RSVP required. Please make sure you are logged into your member portal to receive your member rate when registering for this event.
Event Sponsors
Chamber's 2021 Legislative Priorities
Click 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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