Good Morning Valued Chamber Member,
To streamline the process of getting an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the state has launched a statewide registration system. Florida residents who are 65 and older, health care personnel with direct patient contact, long-term care facility residents and staff, and those deemed to be extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 by hospital providers, can preregister for vaccine appointments by clicking here. Once registered, you will be notified by phone, text message, or email when an appointment is available in your area. Appointments will be given on a first-come, first-served basis. For residents who do not have internet access, every county has a designated phone number to call and register. Currently, only Florida residents can receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
While announcing his proposed 2021-22 fiscal year budget, Governor DeSantis shared positive news regarding the current state of Florida’s fiscal health. Florida continues to lead the nation in protecting the livelihoods of its residents and getting Floridian’s back to work. The Governor’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes $6.6 billion in total reserves, $2.2 billion in unallocated general revenue to support the economic viability of the state, $550 million for teachers’ salaries (raising the minimum salary for K-12 teachers to $47,500), $50 million for VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing programs, $5 million for Enterprise Florida and $50 million for the Job Growth Grant Fund.
Florida State Senate Bill 72, backed by our Chamber, passed 7-4 in the first round of hearings held in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill creates liability protections for business entities and other groups that are not grossly negligent and are substantially complying with government-issued standards and guidelines in order to keep employees and customers safe. The intent of the bill is to protect businesses from frivolous litigation and allow them to keep their doors open, employees paid and customers safe. The Senate bill has an additional two committee hearings before a vote on the Senate floor. Florida State House of Representatives Bill 7, the House companion bill to Senate Bill 72, will be heard in the House Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee on Wednesday, February 3rd, which marks its second of three committee hearings. Currently, both bills exclude healthcare providers and facilities. Contact your legislators, to support this important COVID-19 liability protection.
In addition to Florida SB72 and HB7, this past week we saw a number of new bills filed in advance of the 2021 legislative season, which begins on March 2nd. Included is Florida Senate Bill 704, which creates a new tax rebate program for the film, television, and digital media industries. This bill encourages film production to return to the state of Florida. Florida Senate Bill 778, relates to VISIT FLORIDA and will extend VISIT FLORIDA by statute beyond 2023. Florida Senate Bill 76, scheduled for a hearing this week, tackles abusive litigation in the property insurance market which is driving up the cost of homeowners’ insurance across the state. The Boca Chamber continues to monitor these and many other legislative issues affecting our members.
The School District of Palm Beach County recently announced their Principal and Assistant Principal of the Year. Rachel Capitano, principal of Boca Raton's Don Estridge High Tech Middle School, and Justin Arnone, assistant principal of Palm Beach Central High School were recognized and awarded last week. The principal and Assistant Principal of the Year celebration is presented through a collaboration between the School District of Palm Beach County and the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County. The full ceremony can be viewed here.
Capitano will now go on to be a candidate for Principal of the Year for the state of Florida. Capitano helped open Don Estridge Middle School in 2004 as a language arts teacher served as an assistant principal and program planner for the District before becoming principal at Sandpiper Shores Elementary and later Del Prado Elementary. She has been the principal of Don Estridge Middle since 2017 where the school has maintained an A-rating for several years. Justin Arnone was selected as the District's first-ever Assistant Principal of the Year and he is now the District's nominee for the state's Assistant Principal of the Year. He has been an assistant principal at Palm Beach Central High since 2017.
As a leader in sustainability, the City of Boynton Beach is offering City residents and businesses a unique $1,500 rebate for those who install eligible energy-efficiency improvements, such as solar energy or electric vehicle supply equipment. Rebates are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more about the program and to apply for your rebate click here.
Looking for a quick way to find an event, register for an event, and receive pop-up notifications of important Chamber, County, City of Boca Raton, and City of Boynton Beach information? Download the Boca Chamber App – found on the App Store and Google Play Store. Keep your Chamber at the tip of your fingers! You can also stay up to date on all Chamber activity by visiting us at bocachamber.com.
We continue to provide you with valuable educational webinars and virtual experiences, with most being recorded and available for you to access on the Boca Chamber’s YouTube Channel. Hit the subscribe button to find out when new content is posted on our channel.
Below is a list of our upcoming virtual and in-person experiences:
2/2 – 12:00 p.m. Virtual International Business Alliance Roundtable
Topic: The Business Model – Your Best Tool to Manage the Challenges Ahead
Speaker: Luis David Ramirez, President, SCUDO Consulting
2/3 – 12:00 p.m. Virtual Trustee Presentation
Topic: The Global Health Crisis and Economy in Florida - Where We Go From Here
Speaker: Mark Wilson, President & CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce
2/5 – 8:30 a.m. Virtual Prime Professional Group
Sponsor: Allegiance Home Health
Topic: Can Employers Require Employees to Get a COVID Vaccine?
Speaker: Ellen M. Leibovitch, Partner, Assouline & Berlowe
2/9 – 8:30 a.m. Virtual From How to Wow
Topic: Learn How to…Create an Endless Stream of Prospects, Network More Effectively, and Leverage Partnerships
Speaker: Greta Schulz, President & CEO, Schulz Business Solutions
2/10 – 12:00 p.m. Virtual Boynton Beach Lunch and Learn
Sponsor: iThink Financial
Speaker: Megan Kossove, Director of Communication, Early Learning Coalition of Palm Beach County
2/11 – 7:45 a.m. In-Person Membership Breakfast
Sponsor: Delray Medical Center
Topic: Innovations in Structural Heart Therapies and Advancements in Cardiothoracic Surgery
Speaker: Jeffrey H. Newman, MD, FACS, Medical Director, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Delray Medical Center
Brij Maini, MD, FACC, National and Florida Medical Director for Cardiology, Tenet Healthcare
Location: Boca Raton Marriott at Boca Center, 5150 Town Center Circle in Boca Raton
2/11 – 11:30 a.m. Virtual Government Affairs Committee Meeting
Topic: COVID-19 and the Impact on Workers Comp
Speaker: Dawn Ingham, State Relations Executive, NCCI
Topic: How to Get the Competitive Edge in Today’s Marketplace
Speaker: Omar Periu, Business Coach, Mentor and Speaker, Omar Periu International
2/16 – 12:00 p.m. Virtual PULSE Event
Topic: COVID-19 Update
Speaker: Lincoln Mendez, CEO, Boca Raton Regional Hospital
2/17 – 8:30 a.m. Virtual South Healthcare Advocacy Network (S.H.A.N.)
Topic: Let’s Talk About Sleep
Speaker: Colleen Ferren, O.T. CDP, Trilogy Home Health Care
Congratulations to Burt Rapoport and the Rapoport Restaurant Group (RRG) for being named a 2021 Top Workplaces USA award winner. You may have remembered us announcing that this past September, RRG was named the Top Workplace for mid-sized companies in all of South Florida. Only 6 out of the 90 South Florida regional winners earned this top national award. Well done RRG!
Florida Atlantic University has announced its 2021 football schedule, which includes a return to a 12-game regular season with 6 home games. The Owls will begin their season on the road playing in the "swamp" against the University of Florida Gators on September 4th. They will conclude their regular season with a home game on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, November 27th, against the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee.
As always, thank you for making Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, and all South Palm Beach County the best place to Live, Work, Learn and Play.
Moving Business Forward,