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Daily Legislative Brief from March 7, 2017

Economic Development

HB 7005-Relating to Economic Programs
On Monday, March 6th, HB 7005, relating to Economic Programs, sponsored by the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee and Representative Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast), was heard by the House Rules & Policy Committee and passed by a vote of 15 yeas to 3 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, spoke in opposition of this bill.

This legislation threatens to eliminate ALL incentive programs that help many of Florida’s businesses and economy thrive, specifically incentives for;

  • Enterprise Florida,
  • The Qualified Defense and Space Contractors tax refund,
  • The Qualified Target Industry business tax refund,
  • The Quick Action Closing fund, and
  • The Office of Film & Entertainment and entertainment industry tax programs.

Enacting this legislation would be detrimental to not only our state’s economy but our tourism industry, an industry that sets Florida apart from the rest. However, contrary to the bills previous hearings, an amendment by the sponsor was adopted to take VISIT Florida off of the list above and is now being dealt with within its own bill, HB 9 (see below). 

HB 7005 has been placed on the House special order calendar for 3/9/17.

AIF OPPOSES removing agency incentives as it would result in an economic downturn for Florida.

HB 9-Relating to Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation
On Monday, March 6th, HB 9, relating to Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, by Representative Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the  House Rules & Policy Committee and passed by a vote of 15 yeas to 2 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs stood in opposition to this bill.

The bill moves the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation (dba VISIT Florida) from the supervision of Enterprise Florida, Inc., to the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) in an attempt to revamp Visit Florida. The bill also modifies current law to provide greater accountability and oversight of Visit Florida.

HB 9 has also been placed on the House special calendar for 3/9/17.

Please see the below press release from our President & CEO, Tom Feeney, regarding AIF’s opposition to HB 7005 and HB 9:

AIF Opposes Termination of EFI & Revamp of VISIT FLORIDA

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today released the following statement on behalf of its President & CEO Tom Feeney regarding the opposition to House Bill 9, by Representative Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast), relating to Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, and House Bill 7005, by the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee, relating to Economic Programs.  HB 9 and HB 7005 were today heard in the House Rules & Policy Committee.

“These two bills, HB 9 and HB 7005, that would eliminate Enterprise Florida and revamp VISIT FLORIDA are detrimental to Florida’s employers and employees.  Enterprise Florida and VISIT FLORIDA contribute immensely to our economy, cultivating a competitive and innovative business environment that maximizes revenues and our job base.

“As these bills head to the House floor, we encourage an open dialogue among our state’s leaders on the importance of transparency and accountability measures, but we must continue to have and fund these good public-private partnerships that are vital in making Florida the No. 1 destination to do business.”

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Transportation

HB 725-Relating to Autonomous Vehicles
On Tuesday, March 7th, HB 725, relating to Autonomous Vehicles, by Representative Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) was heard by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee and unanimously passed by a vote of 14 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.

This bill authorizes the use of vehicles in autonomous mode, with the autonomous technology being considered the human operator of the motor vehicle and provides that various provisions of law regarding motor vehicles such as rendering aid in the event of a crash do not apply to vehicles in autonomous mode where a human operator is not physically present as long as the vehicle owner promptly contacts law enforcement. The bill also addresses the applicability of laws regarding unattended motor vehicles and passenger restraint requirements as they relate to vehicles operating in autonomous mode where a human operator is not physically present in the vehicle.

HB 725 will now move on to the House Government Accountability Committee.

AIF SUPPORTS legislation that authorizes the use of autonomous vehicles and regulates the responsible party should there be an incident.

Health Care

HB 449- Relating to Health Insurance
On Tuesday, March 7th, HB 449, relating to Health Insurance, by Representative Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee and passed. AIF stood in opposition to this bill.

This bill creates the Patient Savings Act, which requires health insurers to create a shared savings incentive program (Program) to encourage insured individuals to shop for high quality, lower cost health care services and share any savings realized as a result of the insured’s choice. While this bill has good intentions, when you look at paying an insured individual’s difference in cost, the insurance company will end up paying a midway point which will in turn be pushed off onto Florida businesses.

HB 449 will now go to the House Health & Human Services Committee for its next hearing.

AIF OPPOSES this legislation due to the concern over cost increase to business owners across the state.

Energy

SB 596-Relating to Utilities
On Tuesday, March 7th, SB 596, relating to Utilities by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the Senate Committee on Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities and passed by a vote of 7 yeas to 1 nay. AIF stood in support of this bill.

This bill creates the Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act which would ultimately allow for 5G technology throughout the state of Florida.

SB 596 will now go to its second committee hearing in the Senate Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability.

AIF SUPPORTS legislation that accommodates for the increasing need for reliable wireless networks to help support communities of the future.

Please see below statement from our President & CEO, Tom Feeney, on 5G technology:

AIF: Florida Can Have Smart Cities with 5G Technology

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today released the following statement on behalf of its President & CEO Tom Feeney regarding the support of Senate Bill 596, by Senator Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine), relating to Utilities. SB 596 was today heard in the Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities Committee, its first committee of reference.

“AIF supports legislation to bring our state into the next generation of wireless technology in order to support communities of the future.  By implementing small cell technology around our state, Florida will be able to be a part of the smart cities revolution and bring ultra-fast speeds to our businesses.

“AIF encourages Florida lawmakers to support this good public policy that will not only transform the way we do business at faster speeds, but attract innovative and technologically advanced companies to our state and give Florida families the bandwidth they need at their fingertips to live within this revolution.”

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Environment

SB 532-Relating to Public Notification of Pollution
On Tuesday, March 7th, SB 532, relating to Public Notification of Pollution, by Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) was heard in the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation and passed by a vote of 5 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs stood in opposition to this bill.

This bill will require companies to notify the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) about the release of any dangerous substance within 24 hours of discovery, and DEP must then publish a public notice within 24 hours.

SB 532 will now go to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources to be heard.

AIF OPPOSES the need for this legislation due to the fact that DEP must already report pollution.

SB 442-Relating to Advanced Well Stimulation Treatments
On Tuesday, March 7th, SB 442, relating to Advanced Well Stimulation Treatments, by Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) was heard by the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation and passed by a vote of 5 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs stood in opposition to this bill.

This bill prohibits the performance of advanced well stimulation treatments on oil or gas wells. The bill defines the term “advanced well stimulation treatment” to include all stages of well intervention performed by injecting fluids into a rock formation.

SB 442 will now go to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources to be heard.

AIF OPPOSES the prohibition of advanced well stimulation treatments as it could cause a deficit when it comes to meeting the energy needs of the State.