February 2, 2018
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2018 Legislative Session
The Public Policy/Business Development and Tourism teams are crafting an official position for submission to our committee for Board action.
Your input is vital .
Please review the summary analyses below. Links to the bills follow the summaries.

HB 3/SB 1714 - Economic Development and Tourism Promotion Accountability

House Bill 3 has already passed in the House of Representatives. Senate Bill sent to Commerce and Tourism subcommittee.

Summary Analysis: CS/SB 1714 specifies reporting, contractual, and accountability requirements for “economic development agencies” and “tourism promotion agencies” that engage in economic development and tourism promotion on behalf of local governmental entities.

The bill imposes the following measures on economic development agencies:

 Requires board member financial and conflict of interest disclosures;
 Prohibits compensation for board members;
 Limits the amount of employee compensation from public funds to amount paid to the chief executive officer of the local government entity;
 Requires compliance with state per diem and travel expenses requirements;
 Specifies ethics provisions and gift prohibitions;
 Limits lodging expenses;
 Requires that all contracts contain certain information;
 Requires that contracts valued at $250,000 or more be submitted to the board of the appropriate local government entity, and published on that entity’s website;
 Requires the submittal of specified financial information to local governing boards;
 Requires the posting of specified contract, meeting, and financial information;
 Provides that any contract or agreement required by the bill are public records;
 Requires that agencies and the DEO maintain and provide online access to information;
 Provides that agencies that fail to comply with certain transparency and accountability requirements may not receive or expend public funds until becoming compliant;
 Requires Auditor General audits of such agencies, and provides authority for doing so; and
 Provides for a first-degree misdemeanor for willful noncompliance.

The bill imposes the following measures on tourism promotion agencies:

 Requires board members to disclose conflicts of interest;
 Provides that board members serve without compensation;
 Limits the amount of employee compensation from public funds to amount paid to the chief executive officer of the local government entity;
 Requires that agency contracts must contain certain specified information;
 Requires tourism promotion agencies to submit to the local governmental entity a yearly report detailing public and private financial data; and
 Provides that tourism promotion agencies that fail to comply with the transparency requirements may not receive or expend public funds until becoming compliant. T

The bill also enacts contract approval and additional reporting requirements for county governing boards that impose tourist development taxes, and modifies existing reporting requirements for entities that partner with VISIT FLORIDA or Enterprise Florida, Inc.

HB 585/SB 658 - Tourist Development Tax Expansion

Summary Analysis: SB 658 authorizes counties imposing the tourist development tax to use revenues from the tax to acquire, construct, extend, enlarge, remodel, repair, improve, maintain, operate, or finance public facilities if the public facilities are needed to increase tourist-related business activities in the applicable county or subcounty special district and are recommended by the county tourist development council.

Additionally, the bill authorizes the use of tax revenues for any related land acquisition, land improvement, design, and engineering costs and all other professional and related costs required to bring the public facilities into service. The term “public facilities” means major capital improvements that have a life expectancy of 5 or more years, including, but not limited to, transportation, sanitary sewer, solid waste, drainage, potable water, and pedestrian facilities.

HB 815/SB 1180 - County and Municipal Public Officers and Employees

SUMMARY ANALYSIS: Official travel by local government officers and employees is generally governed by a state-wide structure which defines types of travel and sets standardized rates for reimbursement. Taxpayer funds may only be used for official travel necessary to achieve public purposes and subject to limitations set by general law. All travel must be approved the county or municipal governing body or the body’s designee. Counties, school boards, special districts, and metropolitan planning organizations may adopt reimbursement rates that differ from general law, as long as those rates are at least as much as the statutorily established rates that were in effect during the 2005-2006 fiscal year.

Candidates for public office are required to file periodic reports of contributions received and expenditures made. Each candidate must file reports with the officer before whom the candidate is required by law to qualify.

The Florida Constitution requires all elected constitutional officers, candidates for such offices, and statewide elected officers, to file a full and public disclosure of their financial interests. Other public officers, candidates, and public employees may be required to file a full and public disclosure of their financial interests as determined by law.

The bill requires travel by county and municipal officers to be approved by the governing body of the applicable local government at a publicly noticed meeting. The bill requires the request to appear on the meeting agenda with an itemized list of anticipated travel expenses and the public be given an opportunity to comment. The bill limits the time period for which travel expenses may be reimbursed and prohibits local governments from paying for foreign travel by county and municipal officers and employees. The bill provides an exemption from these provisions for elected county constitutional officers.

The bill requires a county or municipal elected official who is a candidate for elected office to make available required campaign finance reports on the county or municipality’s website. The bill requires county or municipal elected officials to report travel expenses that are reimbursed from taxpayer funds to the commission on ethics for the applicable local government or to the state Commission on Ethics, if no local ethics commission exists. The bill requires county and municipal elected officials to comply with applicable financial disclosure requirements under s. 8, Art. II of the Florida Constitution.

The bill may have an indeterminate, but likely insignificant, fiscal impact on state and local governments.

A billion here, a billion there...Budget tussle begins at Capitol

Florida lawmakers began the annual tussle over spending at the Capitol Wednesday as House and Senate committees worked on competing budget proposals.

The two chambers’ bottom lines are similar but their priorities differ.

The Senate budget is $87.3 billion and the House’s is $87.2 billion. Both are more than $2 billion above current spending when anticipated expenditures through June 30 are added, including recovery costs from Hurricane Irma.

Budget fight in Tallahassee: Budget Fight
Economic Development Initiatives of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce are sponsored by BayCare Health Systems.

Darryl J. Henderson
VP, Public Policy & Economic Development

Questions or comments?

 Next Public Policy/Economic Development Committee Meeting

Tuesday February 20, 2018 7:45 am, CRCC Boardroom