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  • Florida Chamber Final Legislative Update: Week 9

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    April 30, 2021
     
     
    2021 Weekly Legislative Update
    Week 9: April 30, 2021
     
     
    Below is the final comprehensive review of legislative activity from Week 9 of the 2021 Legislative Session.
     
     
     
     
    Improving Florida's Talent Pipeline for a Better Workforce
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Educational Scholarship Programs
     
     
     
    Consolidates student scholarship programs and provides parents with more flexibility to meet the educational needs of their child.
     
     
     
     
    SB 48: Sen. Manny Diaz, Jr.
     
    HB 7045: Rep. Randy Fine
     
     
    PASSED
    HB 7045 Passed
     
     
    Apprenticeship and Preapprenticeship Programs
     
     
     
    Develops detailed instructions on the process by which a local educational agency may partner with a private apprenticeship program sponsor to offer apprenticeship education and training services in the state.
     
     
     
    SB 508: Sen. Jeff Brandes
     
    HB 175: Rep. Jason Shoaf
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
    Apprenticeship and Preapprenticeship Programs
     
     
     
    Encourages partnership among state university boards of trustees and apprenticeship program sponsors to cooperate in developing and establishing apprenticeship and preapprenticeship programs that include career instruction. 
     
     
     
     
    SB 366: Sen. Travis Hutson
     
    HB 791: Rep. Joe Harding
     
     
    PASSED
    SB 366 Passed
     
     
     
    Early Learning and Early Grade Success
     
     
     
    Expands accountability and assessment requirements for VPK providers, while giving Florida parents better information about the quality of VPK providers.
     
     
     
     
    SB 1282: Sen. Gayle Harrell
     
    HB 419: Rep. Erin Grall
     
     
    PASSED
    HB 419 Passed
     
     
     
    Workforce and Postsecondary Education
     
     
     
    Promotes apprenticeships in occupations throughout Florida industries by increased coordination between secondary and postsecondary education institutions and businesses. 
     
     
     
     
    SB 1042: Sen. Jason Brodeur
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Student Literacy
     
     
     
    Establishes the Reading Achievement Initiative for Scholastic Excellence (RAISE) program to support schools identified as needing assistance based on data from the progress monitoring system and results from statewide, standardized English Language Arts assessments.
     
     
     
    
    SB 1898: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez
     
    HB 7011: Rep. Vance Aloupis
     
     
    PASSED
    HB 7011 Passed
     
     
    Creating Quality Jobs by Diversifying Florida's Economy
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Entertainment Industry
     
     
     
    Creates the Film, Television & Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program to encourage the production of family-friended movies and television in the state of Florida.
     
     
     
    SB 704: Sen. Joe Gruters
     
    HB 757: Rep. Dana Trabulsy
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Florida Tourism Marketing
     
     
     
    Reauthorizes VISIT FLORIDA and allows them to use carry-over funds from the previous year.
     
     
     
    SB 778: Sen. Ed Hooper
     
    HB 675: Rep. Rene Plasencia
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
    Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund Program
     
     
     
    Reauthorizes the Qualified Targeted Industry Tax Refund Program, an important program in Florida’s economic development toolkit. This program expired on June 30, 2020.
     
     
     
    SB 982: Sen. Joe Gruters
     
    HB 6071: Rep. Chip Lamarca
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
    Improving Florida's Infrastructure for Smart Growth and Development
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Water Storage
     
     
     
    Expands water storage solutions for Central and South Florida. 
     
     
     
    SB 94: Sen. Jason Brodeur
     
    SB 2516: Appropriations Committee
     
     
     
    PASSED
    SB 2516 Passed and Funded
     
     
     
    Electric Vehicle Fees and Charging Stations
     
     
     
    Expands the charging network for electric vehicles while ensuring that electric vehicles pay their fair share of transportation usage fees. 
     
     
    SB 140: Sen. Jeff Brandes
     
    SB 138: Sen. Jeff Brandes
     
    HB 819: Rep. Andrew Learned
     
    HB 817: Rep. Rene Plasencia
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Autonomous Vehicles
     
     
     
    Expands the opportunities for the lawful deployment of low speed, autonomous shuttles on public roadways. 
     
     
     
    SB 1620: Sen. Jeff Brandes
     
    HB 1289: Rep. Fiona McFarland
     
     
     
    PASSED
    HB 1289 Passed
     
     
     
    Repeal of the M-CORES Program
     
     
     
    Repeals infrastructure and economic development investments.
     
     
     
    SB 1030: Sen. Tina Scott Polsky
     
    HB 763: Rep. Ben Diamond
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    State Funds
     
     
     
    Protects the Sadowski Housing Trust Funds from legislative sweeps.
     
     
     
    SB 510: Sen. Ed Hooper
     
    HB 13: Rep. Sam Killebrew
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience
     
     
     
    Creates new programs, partnerships and data collection efforts to combat sea level rise.
     
     
     
    SB 1954: Sen. Ray Rodrigues
     
    HB 7019: Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera
     
     
    PASSED
    SB 1954 Passed
     
     
     
    State Preemption of Energy Infrastructure Regulation
     
     
     
    Prevents local governments from prohibiting natural gas fracking, nullify solar permitting ordinances, end renewable energy grant programs and eliminate county authority over pipelines along roadways.
     
     
     
    SB 856: Sen. Travis Hutson
     
    HB 839: Rep. Tom Fabricio
     
     
    PASSED
    HB 839 Passed
     
     
    Building the Perfect Climate for Business
     
     
     
     
     
     
    COVID-19 Liability Protections
     
     
     
    Provides liability protections from claims that arise due to COVID-19 for businesses and other entities that are substantially complying with government health and safety guidelines to keep employees and customers safe.
     
     
     
    SB 72: Sen. Jeff Brandes
     
    HB 7: Rep. Lawrence McClure
     
     
     
    SB 72 Signed By Governor
     
     
     
    COVID-19 Liability Protections - Health Care
     
     
     
    Provides liability protections from claims that arise due to COVID-19 for health care providers that are complying with government health and safety guidelines.
     
     
     
    SB 74: Sen. Jeff Brandes
     
    HB 7005: Rep. Colleen Burton
     
     
    PASSED
    Included in SB 72
     
     
     
    Inflated Medical Damages
     
     
     
    Improves Florida’s bottom-five legal climate by allowing the jury to see the amount generally accepted for a medical procedure and limiting inflated medical damages listed on Letters of Protection.
     
     
     
    SB 846: Sen. Jeff Brandes
     
    HB 561: Rep. Randy Maggard
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Farming Operations
     
     
     
    Modernizes Florida’s Right to Farm Act and provides liability protections for farming operations that are following environmental standards.
     
     
     
    SB 88: Sen. Jason Brodeur
     
    HB 1601: Rep. Jayer Williamson
     
     
    SB 88 Signed by Governor
     
     
     
    Matters of Great Governmental Concern
     
     
     
    Allows the Attorney General to declare an issue a matter of “great governmental concern” and consolidate civil litigation on behalf of local governments.
     
     
     
    SB 102: Sen. Danny Burgess
     
    HB 1053: Rep. Toby Overdorf
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Litigation Financing Consumer Protection
     
     
     
    Protects consumers involved in litigation by creating transparency in litigation financing contracts, creates a state registration process for litigation financiers, and requires disclosure to the defendant that a litigation financing company has an interest in the outcome of the litigation.
     
     
     
    SB 1750: Sen. Doug Broxson
     
    HB 1293: Rep. Toby Overdorf
     
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
     
    Medical Malpractice Damages
     
     
     
    Drives up medical malpractice insurance rates by broadening the scope of who is allowed to collect damages in medical negligence claims.
     
     
     
    SB 1112: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez
     
    HB 651: Rep. Spencer Roach
     
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Solicitation of Nonmedical Services
     
     
     
    Improves health safety by adding certain requirements and disclosures for advertisements that intend to solicit legal services from patients of medical devices and pharmaceuticals.
     
     
     
    SB 1992: Sen. Gayle Harrell
     
    HB 1483: Rep. Clay Yarborough
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Property Insurance Claims
     
     
     
    Addresses significant increases in property insurance rates by attempting to reduce litigation and cost drivers in the system.
     
     
     
    SB 76: Sen. Jim Boyd
     
    HB 305: Rep. Bob Rommel
     
     
    PASSED
    SB 76 Passed
     
     
     
    Contingency Risk Multiplier
     
     
     
    Returns the use of the contingency fee multiplier to rare and unusual circumstances to address out of control attorney fees in commonplace litigation.
     
     
     
     
    SB 212: Sen. Jeff Brandes
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Auto Glass
     
     
     
    Cracks down on auto glass assignment of benefits abuses by requiring a clear disclosure to the consumer that they are signing an AOB and requires notification to the insurer and customer before any litigation related to the assignment.
     
     
     
     
    SB 906: Sen. Linda Stewart
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
    Public Emergencies and Assistance
     
     
     
    Creates a presumption that if a person contracts COVID-19 during the course of employment and interferes in insurance contracts by specifying that a business’ compliance with a governmental order to close or reduce service counts as a business interruption for insurance purposes.
     
     
     
     
    HB 1617: Rep. Evan Jenne
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Discrimination in Labor and Employment
     
     
     
    Interferes in employment practices by prohibiting a job creator from requesting or relying on previous wage or salary information to interview, hire, promote or employ an employee.
     
     
     
    SB 256: Sen. Linda Stewart
     
    HB 107: Rep. Geraldine Thompson
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Prohibited Discrimination Bases on Hairstyle
     
     
     
    Creates a new cause of action by adding hairstyle to the list of protected classes under which it is unlawful to discriminate for housing or employment opportunities.
     
     
     
    SB 476: Sen. Randolph Bracy
     
    HB 179: Rep. Kamia Brown
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Unlawful Discrimination Against Pregnant Employees
     
     
     
    Interferes in the employer-employee relationship by creating new requirements for employers of pregnant employees.
     
     
     
    SB 384: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez
     
    HB 581: Rep. Dotie Joseph
     
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
     
    Wage & Employment Benefits Requirements
     
     
     
    Removes the statewide preemption for minimum wage and employment benefits, thereby creating a patchwork of regulations across Florida’s cities and counties.
     
     
     
    SB 304: Sen. Annette Taddeo
     
    HB 6031: Rep. Carlos Smith
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Family and Medical Leave
     
     
     
    Creates a business and employee funded family leave state fund for parents who just gave birth, adopted or fostered a child and requires employers to maintain health coverage and allow up to 12 months leave from employment.
     
     
     
    SB 1596: Sen. Janet Cruz
     
    SB 1586: Sen. Janet Cruz
     
    HB 1245: Rep. Angela Nixon
     
    HB 1247: Rep. Felicia Robinson
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Background Screen (Ban the Box)
     
     
     
    Prohibits job creators from requesting information about an applicant’s criminal history prior to an initial job interview.
     
     
     
    SB 1646: Sen. Bobby Powell
     
    HB 1331: Rep. Joseph Casello
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Internet Sales Tax / Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund
     
     
     
    Modernizes Florida’s tax code and levels the playing field for main street businesses by allowing for the collection of sales tax from internet retailers. Florida and Missouri are the only two states in the country that have not adopted an economic nexus to collect online sales tax after the Wayfair Supreme Court decision. The bills deposit money into the unemployment compensation trust fund over the next several years to avoid the automatic $713 million tax increase Florida employers were faced with this year and to help replenish the trust fund. After the trust fund is replenished, the bill provides for a business rent tax reduction from 5.5 percent to 2 percent. 
     
     
     
    SB 50: Sen. Joe Gruters
     
    HB 15: Rep. Chuck Clemons
     
     
    SB 50 Signed By Governor
     
     
     
    Corporate Income Tax Increase
     
     
     
    Increases Florida’s Corporate Income Tax Rate to pay for a new “Teach to Lead” program.
     
     
     
    SB 1222: Sen. Shevrin Jones
     
    HB 129: Rep. Yvonne Hinson
     
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Small Business Saturday
     
     
     
    Supports shopping at local small businesses by eliminating the sales tax on purchases on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
     
     
     
    SB 302: Sen. Annette Taddeo
     
    HB 637: Rep. Allison Tant
     
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Hospitals' Community Benefit Reporting
     
     
     
    Removes duplicative reporting requirements for non-profit hospitals to qualify for property tax exemptions.
     
     
     
    SB 58: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez
     
    HB 6093: Rep. Joe Harding
     
     
     
    PASSED
    Included in HB 7061
     
     
    Mandatory Unitary Combined Reporting
     
     
     
    Requires a “water’s edge reporting method” to determine taxable profits for Florida income tax purposes, requires a unitary tax filing, and requires disclosure of corporate income, taxes and apportionment determinations for each state.
     
     
     
     
    HB 999: Rep. Fred Hawkins
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Tax Exemptions
     
     
     
    Exempts federal emergency loans from documentary stamp tax collections and provides for a disaster preparedness sales tax holiday.
     
     
     
     
    SB 734: Sen. Joe Gruters
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Reemployment Assistance
     
     
     
    Increases the maximum weekly benefit amount and the number of weeks for reemployment assistance. HB 207 and SB 466 also revises eligibility requirements for benefits and revises what constitutes a “good cause” for leaving employment to still be eligible for benefits.
     
     
    SB 466: Sen. Randolph Bracy
     
    SB 592: Sen. Bobby Powell
     
    SB 644: Sen. Annette Taddeo
     
    SB 910: Sen. Linda Stewart
     
    HB 207: Rep. Anna Eskamani
    SB 1906: Sen. Jason Brodeur
     
     
     
    DID NOT PASS
     
     
     
    Motor Vehicle Insurance
     
     
     
    Repeals Florida’s motor vehicle no-fault law (personal injury protection insurance) and creates mandatory a bodily injury coverage requirement.
     
     
    SB 54: Sen. Danny Burgess
     
    HB 719: Rep. Erin Grall
     
    PASSED
    SB 54 Passed
     
     
     
    Data Privacy
     
     
     
    Creates a new cause of action related to companies that collect, sell or use consumer data and creates new disclosure requirement for these companies.
     
     
    SB 1734: Sen. Jennifer Bradley
     
    HB 969: Rep. Fiona McFarland
     
     
    DID NOT PASS
     
     
     
    Taxation
     
     
     
    Provides for a back-to-school sales tax holiday, disaster preparedness sales tax holiday, a sales tax holiday for admissions to live venues and movie theaters, and extends the data center tax exemption. The bill also includes SB 58 and SB 982 to repeal the community benefit reporting requirement for non-profit hospitals.
     
     
     
    SB 7068: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez
     
    HB 7061: Rep. Bobby Payne
     
     
     
    PASSED
    HB 7061 Passed
     
     
    Making Government and Civics more Efficient and Effective
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Dues and Uniform Protections
     
     
     
    Adds transparency and accountability to the collection of union dues from the paychecks of state workers.
     
     
     
    SB 78: Sen. Ray Rodrigues
     
    HB 947: Rep. Scott Plakon
     
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Retirement
     
     
     
    Reforms the state's pension system.
     
     
     
     
    SB 84: Sen. Ray Rodrigues
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Supermajority for Legislative Preemption
     
     
     
    Increases the threshold needed for legislation ensuring the furtherance of statewide regulatory certainty for businesses to pass in the Legislature.
     
     
     
     
    SB 540: Sen. Gary M. Farmer
     
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Removal of Union Transparency
     
     
     
    Repeals a Chamber-backed transparency bill for public sector unions. 
     
     
     
     
    SB 610: Sen. Linda Stewart
     
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Rights of Nature
     
     
     
    Repeals a Chamber-backed provision that outlaws the “rights of nature” legal doctrine in Florida. 
     
     
     
     
    HB 6045: Rep. Anna Eskamani
     
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Employee Organizations
     
     
     
    Protects public sector employees by enforcing the Chamber-backed transparency efforts from the 2019 Legislative Session.
     
     
     
    SB 1014: Sen. Dennis Baxley
     
    HB 835: Rep. Cord Byrd
     
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Removal of Sunscreen Preemption
     
     
     
    Repeals a Chamber-backed preemption on regulations for sunscreen and other over the counter drugs and cosmetics. 
     
     
     
    SB 1174: Sen. Linda Stewart
     
    HB 6041: Rep. Anna Eskamani
     
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    E-Verify Mandate
     
     
     
    Removes a Chamber-backed protection for employers that allows certain businesses to use existing systems to verify eligible employment.
     
     
     
     
    HB 6013: Rep. Anthony Sabatini
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Removal of Polystyrene Preemption
     
     
     
    Removes a Chamber-backed preemption on local ordinances relating to polystyrene products.
     
     
     
    SB 594: Sen. Linda Stewart
     
    HB 6027: Rep. Michael Grieco
     
     
     
    DEFEATED
     
     
     
    Constitutional Amendment Reform
     
     
     
    Increases the threshold for a constitutional amendment to be adopted.
     
     
     
    SB 1238: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez
     
    HB 61: Rep. Rick Roth
     
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Constitutional Amendment Finance Reform
     
     
     
    Brings transparency and parity to the constitutional amendment fundraising system.
     
     
     
    SB 1890: Sen. Ray Rodriguez
     
    HB 699: Rep. Bobby Payne
     
     
     
    PASSED
    SB 1890 Passed
     
     
    Championing Florida's Quality of Life
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Autonomous Practice by an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
     
     
     
    Expands allowed general functions of APRNs to acts that are within their specialty.
     
     
     
    SB 424: Sen. Jeff Brandes
     
    HB 111: Rep. Randy Maggard
     
     
    UNFINISHED BUSINESS
     
     
     
    Economic Self-Sufficiency
     
     
     
    Requires the Auditor General to conduct, at least every three years, performance audits of certain economic assistance and health care programs.
     
     
     
     
    SB 414: Sen. Keith Perry
     
    HB 1349: Rep. Vance Aloupis
     
     
     
    PASSED
    HB 1349 Passed
     
     
     
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    Florida Chamber of Commerce | 136 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301