Legislative Status Report
March 5, 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 opens Legislative Session 
with State of the State Presentation
On Tuesday, Gov Ron Desantis officially opened the Legislative Session by making his third State of the State message to a joint meeting of House/Senate members.

DeSantis stressed his opposition to lockdowns and business restrictions and touted that Florida is in much better shape economically than other states because it's open for business.
“We will not let anybody close your schools, we will not let anybody close your businesses and we will not let anybody take your jobs.”
He also stated coronavirus cases are dropping, vaccinations are increasing, budget projections are improving, and schools are reopening.

DeSantis outlined his priorities which include an anti-riot bill, economic restrictions on "tech giants" like Facebook and Twitter for controlling social media posts, and election law changes (a limit on the number of ballots that can be dropped off by any one person and limiting mail-in ballot requests to one year).

He also wants the Legislature to limit theft of intellectual property by foreign entities, i.e. China, Cuba, Iran, and others.
DeSantis' FY 2021-22 Budget Proposal
Each year, the Governor proposes a budget which is basically a blueprint used by the House and Senate as they draft their own budgets.

The FY 2020-21 budget was $92.4 billion and there is an expected $2 billion shortfall for the coming year. Of this amount, approximately $60 billion is recurring funds which will be allocated to state agencies and departments.
This leaves about $32 billion for the legislature to work with. Approximately 80% of the State’s budget is sales tax. Gov DeSantis recently released a $96.4 billion budget proposal and his top budget priorities are education and the environment. 

Click here for more information.
Chamber to Host VIRTUAL Volusia Days at the Capitol
VIRTUAL Volusia Days at the Capitol March 16-17.
 
The Chamber is coordinating Dept Administrators/Agency Execs to present the latest news regarding state government Tuesday afternoon (12:30 – 4:30 pm).

Wednesday morning (8:00 am – 12 noon), participants will hear from our Volusia delegation and other key House/Senate members regarding legislation affecting the business community.

The event's Red Sponsors include - Ghyabi Consulting & Management,
Daytona International Speedway, and Charter-Spectrum.
Issues to be discussed include COVID-19 related Business Liability Protection, Unemployment Compensation fund, K-12 education, Volusia infrastructure projects, E-Fairness/Internet Sales Tax, and the $2 billion state budget shortfall. 

Click here for more information.
COVID 19 Business Liability Protection
COVID-19-Claims Against Health Care Providers H 7005 by Rep Burton was approved by the House Pandemics Committee (Rep Tom Leek voted YES). It provides initial procedures for civil actions based on COVID-19-related claims; stipulates standard of proof required at trial for such claims and requires such claims to commence within a specified timeframe. Next stop - Judiciary Committee (Rep Elizabeth Fetterhoff - member)
The Daytona Regional Chamber supports H 7005 and S 74
A similar Senate version S 74 Sen Brandes was approved by the Health Policy Committee (Sen Jason Brodeur voted YES). S 74 is now before the Rules Committee.
COVID-19-Civil Liability for Damages CS/HB 7 by Rep McClure passed the House 83-31. Reps Barnaby, Fetterhoff, Leek, Renner voted YES). It sets requirements for a civil action based on a COVID-19-related claim and stipulates that the plaintiff has the burden of proof; sets statute of limitations; provides severability and retroactive applicability.

Similar Senate version S 72 by Sen Brandes is before the Rules Committee and will soon go to the Senate floor.
   
The Chamber supports S 72 and H 7.  Businesses that follow CDC and Health Dept guidelines to keep their customers and employees safe should be protected.
Tourism
Vacation Rental Units - S 522 by Sen Diaz preempts local authority to regulate short-term rentals i.e. shifts regulation by cities/counties to the State’s Division of Hotels/Restaurants (under Dept of Business & Professional Regulation). H 522 is now before the Appropriations Committee (Sen Travis Hutson – member).
A similar House version H 1481 by Rep Goff-Marcil authorizes local governments to adopt/apply certain regulations/ordinances to vacation rentals under certain circumstances; requires vacation rental license applicants to provide Division of Hotels & Restaurants (of DBPR) with certain information.

Similar House version H 219 by Rep Fisher is headed to the House floor.

The Chamber opposes S 522 and H 219. Cities and Counties should regulate these Rental Units for fire, noise, zoning and make sure proper sales and bed taxes are collected.
Visit Florida S 778 by Sen Hooper allows the Fla Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation to carry forward unexpended state appropriations into succeeding fiscal years. it removes the scheduled repeal of the Division of Tourism Marketing within Enterprise Florida.
S 778 is now before the Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee (Sen Tom Wrightmember).

Identical House version H 675 by Rep Plasencia is before the Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

The Chamber supports S 778 and H 675. For every dollar spent on VISIT FLORIDA's marketing efforts, the state of Florida received $3.27 back in tax revenue
State Trust Funds
State Trust Funds S 510 by Sen Hooper exempts State Housing Trust Fund/Local Govt Housing Trust Fund funds from being transferred to Budget Stabilization Fund / General Revenue Fund. 
Entities that construct or finance affordable housing may have more available funding since the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund could no longer have funds transferred to the Budget Stabilization Fund and the General Revenue Fund.

Identical House version H 13 is now before by Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

The Chamber supports S 510 and H 13 as a means to maintain sufficient funding for workforce housing.

Internet Sales Tax
Sales & Use Tax S 50 by Sen Gruters defines “retail sale” to include sales facilitated through a marketplace; requires remote remote online retailers to collect/remit sales tax. It's the E-fairness bill!

Approved by Appropriations Committee (Sen Travis Hutson voted YES).
Similar House version H 15 by Rep Clemens is before the Ways & Means Committee.

The Chamber supports S 50 and H 15 because it puts multi-national online retailers on a level playing field with local bricks and mortar retail stores.
Education
Workforce Education S 532 by Sen Burgess authorizes school district career centers to offer an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) or Associate
in Science (AS) degree program, but restricts offering the degree program to graduates of a licensed practical nursing (LPN) program offered at that
same career center.

It expands the number of institutions that may offer an associate degree in nursing.
Identical House version H 135 by Rep Robinson has been filed.
Insurance Issues
Residential Insurance- CS/S 76 by Sen Boyd makes various changes to address issues related to property insurance policies, claims, and litigation.

It also involves insurance policies for roofs 10-years or older, the time frame for filing a claim among other issues.
S 76 is before the Judiciary Committee. A similar House version Property Insurance Claims and Reimbursement H 305 by Rep Rommel has been filed.
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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