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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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    State Funds
    Protects the Sadowski Housing Trust Funds from legislative sweeps.
    SB 510: Sen. Ed Hooper
    HB 13: Rep. Sam Killebrew
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Reforms the state's pension system.
    SB 84: Sen. Ray Rodrigues
    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
    Removal of Union Transparency
    Repeals a Chamber-backed transparency bill for public sector unions. 
    SB 610: Sen. Linda Stewart
    Rights of Nature
    Repeals a Chamber-backed provision that outlaws the “rights of nature” legal doctrine in Florida. 
    HB 6045: Rep. Anna Eskamani
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Constitutional Amendment Reform
    Increases the threshold for a constitutional amendment to be adopted.
    SB 1238: Sen. Ana Maria Rodriguez
    HB 61: Rep. Rick Roth
    Constitutional Amendment Finance Reform
    Brings transparency and parity to the constitutional amendment fundraising system.
    SB 1890: Sen. Ray Rodriguez
    HB 699: Rep. Bobby Payne
    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
    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
    HB 1349 Passed
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