Linking the Passion and Creativity of the
Florida Attractions Industry


Legislative Updates, Alerts and Reports

Periodically throughout the year - especially during Florida Legislative Session - members receive important communications from the FAA regarding issues involving the tourism industry. Please remember that if you receive a LEGISLATIVE ALERT, timing is critical and minutes matter - read it and take immediate action on behalf of the FAA.




A Legislative Update is a summary of recent activity in the Florida State Legislature.

LEGISLATIVE ALERT is an immediate call to action on behalf of the tourism industry.

Legislative Report is information provided by Liberty Partners of Tallahassee on important industry issues.

Latest Updates, Alerts and Reports

  • November 18, 2019 4:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Activity in Tallahassee picked up during the past month as the Legislature convened for the second, third, fourth and fifth weeks of Interim Committee meetings. With only one week of interim committee meetings remaining before the 2020 Legislative Session begins on January 14, 2020, Liberty Partners continues to track legislation and advocate on behalf of the Florida Attractions Association (FAA).

    Please find Liberty Partners’ monthly report below detailing the work our firm has done on behalf of FAA:

    VISIT FLORIDA
    On October 15, VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young gave a presentation to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on the value of VISIT FLORIDA and the work the agency is doing worldwide. During her presentation, Young touted the $50 million match that VISIT FLORIDA receives through private donations and the benefit that small businesses receive through the tourism marketing agency. VISIT FLORIDA’s contribution to Florida’s $3.2 billion in annual tourism revenue, as well as the work that the agency does in the wake of natural disasters and crises were also highlighted. Liberty Partners was in attendance and provided a detailed summary to FAA upon completion.

    Legislation that would extend VISIT FLORIDA’s sunset provision from 2020 until 2028 has made significant progress in the Senate. SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) unanimously passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on November 5. Senators praised the efforts of VISIT FLORIDA and President/CEO Dana Young. Committee members noted the positive impact of advertisement on tourism and the more than $2 return on investment for every dollar that is spent by the Legislature on VISIT FLORIDA. Senator Hooper highlighted that for every 81 visitors that come to Florida, a job is created. The bill received widespread support during the committee meeting, as more than 20 organizations testified in support of the legislation. Liberty Partners was in attendance and waived in support of the bill on behalf of FAA. Liberty Partners also provided a comprehensive update to FAA upon conclusion of the meeting. The House companion, HB 213, by Representative Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach) is awaiting its first hearing in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee. Liberty Partners is currently working with FAA to secure co-sponsors for both the Senate and House legislation.

    Minimum Wage Constitutional Amendment
    A proposed constitutional amendment that would raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15/hour has received the required amount of signatures to appear on the 2020 General Election ballot in November. If passed by voters, Florida’s minimum wage would increase to $10/hour on September 30, 2021 and would increase by $1/hour each year until reaching $15/hour. The ballot language must now receive final approval by the Florida Supreme Court. Liberty Partners continues to track this constitutional amendment and the impact that it could have on FAA members. Liberty Partners will continue to provide updates on this proposal to FAA as the 2020 General Election approaches.

    IAAPA
    Liberty Partners will join FAA at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo taking place in Orlando, November 18-22. State Representatives Scott Plakon (RLongwood) and David Smith (R-Winter Springs) have confirmed that they will attend the FAA Networking Breakfast and will participate in an exhibit tour. Liberty Partners looks forward to discussing issues that are important to FAA members while at the conference and trade show.

    We will continue to monitor issues important to FAA and send regular updates. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    The Legislature’s remaining Interim Committee Meetings will be held Monday, December 9 – Friday, December 13, 2019.


  • November 12, 2019 1:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The pace picked up in Tallahassee as the Florida Legislature concluded their fourth Interim Committee Week of the 2020 Florida Legislative Session. Two Interim Committee Weeks remain: Week of November 12th and Week of December 9th.

    On Tuesday, legislation that would extend VISIT FLORIDA’s scheduled sunset from 2020 until 2028 passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) drew unanimous support from the committee. Senators highlighted the strong return on investment that VISIT FLORIDA provides and the agency’s contribution to job creation and record tourism levels in the state. Senators also praised the efforts of VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young and the job that she has done with a reduced budget. The bill also received widespread support from the public during the committee meeting, with more than 20 individuals waiving in support of the bill. Liberty Partners waived in support of the bill on behalf on the Florida Attractions Association (FAA) during the meeting.

    Following is a quick summary of bills that have been filed and other items of interest to FAA:

    VISIT FLORIDA
    FAA supports the reauthorization of VISIT FLORIDA and the extension of the agency’s sunset provision until 2028. Legislation in the Senate that would extend VISIT FLORIDA’s sunset provision until 2028 has moved forward.

    SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) unanimously passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Tuesday and now moves to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development. The House companion measure, HB 213, by Representative Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach) is still awaiting its first hearing in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee.

    Tourism Development Tax
    SB 334 by Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) would authorize counties imposing a tourism development tax to use the tax revenues to promote or incentivize film or television productions in the state. The bill would also require a specified statement to be included in the production’s credits. The legislation is still awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Community Affairs Committee and does not have a House companion.

    Cultural, Historical and Library Funding
    Significant legislative funding for cultural, historical and library projects continue to be a top priority for Secretary of State Laurel Lee and the Department of State (DOS). Secretary Lee and DOS are requesting $5 million in funding for cultural and museum grants. She is also requesting that Cultural Builds Florida be funded at $3,132,250 while asking for $1,157,935 for historic preservation small matching grants.

    The largest funding request is an ask of $10,301,287 for the construction of a new artifact curation facility. Current artifact collections housed at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee have reached maximum capacity. This requested funding would create a new, state-of-the-art public facility equipped with a lobby and teaching area. Whether or not the department’s funding requests will be included in the FY 2020-21 budget remains to be seen.

    Prohibited Discrimination
    SB 206 by Senator Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) and HB 161 by Representative Jackie Toledo (RTampa) would prohibit discrimination in public lodging and food services establishments based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Known as the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, the bill would revise the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 and Fair Housing Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation. The Senate bill currently awaits a hearing in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, while the House bill is waiting to be heard in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee.

    Prohibition of Plastic Carryout Bags and Straws
    SB 40 by Senator Kevin Rader (D-Boca Raton) would ban stores from providing customers with plastic carryout bags and single-use plastic straws. The bill includes penalties of $500 for a first-time violation and $1,000 for subsequent violations. Individuals that must use plastic straws due to medical purposes would be exempted from this legislation. The Senate bill is in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee but does not have a House companion at this time.

    Miami Military Museum and Memorial
    An Appropriations Project Request that seeks funding for the Miami Military Museum and Memorial has been filed by Representative Anthony Rodriguez (R-Miami). HB 2063 requests $1 million in funding and passed the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee onWednesday. The bill now heads to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.

    Entertainment Industry
    SB 530 by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) would create the Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program within the Department of Economic Opportunity. Senator Gruters is hopeful that high-paying jobs will be created and that tourists will come to the state due to opportunities created by the program. Projects that are eligible for the rebate program must provide the highest return on investment and economic benefit to the state. The Senate bill is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. A House companion, HB 497, by Representative James Buchanan (R-North Port) has been filed and referred to the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee.

    Beverage Law
    SB 482 by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) would eliminate provisions relating to limits to the size of wine and cider containers. Provisions that allow patrons of a restaurant to take partially consumed bottles of wine off of the restaurant’s premises would also be changed under this law. A House companion, HB 583, by Representative Anthony Sabatini (R-Clermont) was filed on Thursday but has not yet been referred to any committees.

    Nonservice Animals
    HB 243 by Representative Bruce Antone (D-Orlando) would prohibit nonservice animals from entering certain food service establishments or places of business. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation would also create and update a website for filed complaints. The bill has been referred to the House Business and Professions Subcommittee but has no Senate companion at this time.

    Shark Fins
    SB 680 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) would prohibit the importation, exportation, and sale of shark fins. The bill is currently awaiting a hearing in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The House companion, HB 401, by Representative Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek) has been referred to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

    Minimum Wage Constitutional Amendment
    The proposed constitutional amendment that would increase Florida’s minimum wage to $15/hour has collected the required amount of signatures to appear on the 2020 General Election ballot in November. If passed by voters, Florida’s minimum wage would increase to $10/hour on September 30, 2021 and would increase by $1/hour in each subsequent year until reaching $15/hour. The ballot language is now awaiting final approval by the Supreme Court before appearing on the ballot.


    2020 LEGISLATIVE SESSION SCHEDULE

    September 16 – Friday, September 20, 2019: 1st Interim Committee Week
    October 14 – Friday, October 18, 2019: 2nd Interim Committee Week
    October 21 – Friday, October 25, 2019: 3rd Interim Committee Week
    November 4 – Friday, November 8, 2019: 4th Interim Committee Week
    November 12 – Friday, November 15, 2019: 5th Interim Committee Week
    December 9 – Friday, December 13, 2019: 6th Interim Committee Week
    January 14, 2020: Regular Session Convenes
    March 3, 2020: Last Day for Regular Committee Meetings
    March 13, 2020: Last Day of Regular Session


  • October 30, 2019 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Most of the attention in Tallahassee last week was on the Senate’s ruling to uphold the suspension of former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel.

    In addition to this development, the third Interim Committee week of the 2020 Florida Legislative Session consisted of a full slate of committee meetings and presentations.

    Last Wednesday, Bureau Chief of Workforce Statistics and Economic Research at the Department of Economic Opportunity, Adrienne Johnston, presented to the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee. Highlighted in Johnston’s presentation was the fact that while many people in Florida are employed, businesses struggle to find skilled workers. She also spoke on the future of employment in the state and which jobs could be impacted the most by automation. The accommodation and food service industries stand the highest chance of seeing impacts from automation, with 73% of jobs being potentially affected. According to the presentation, rural areas will see the highest impact of automation, while urban areas will be more diverse and will see jobs created by innovation. Johnston concluded her presentation by explaining that although Florida is currently seeing an influx of new residents from states in the Northeast, trends show Floridians are moving to areas such as Georgia, Texas and California.

    Following is a quick summary of bills that have been filed and other items of interest to the Florida Attractions Association (FAA):

    VISIT FLORIDA
    FAA supports the reauthorization of VISIT FLORIDA and the extension of the agency’s sunset provision until 2028. Legislation in both the House and Senate that would extend VISIT FLORIDA’s sunset provision until 2028 has been filed and is waiting to be considered.

    SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) would reauthorize VISIT FLORIDA and extend the scheduled sunset of the tourism marketing agency from 2020 to 2028. This bill will be heard in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Tuesday, November 5 at 10:00 a.m. The House companion by Representative Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach), HB 213, has been referred to the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee, where it is awaiting a hearing.

    Tourism Development Tax
    SB 334 by Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) would authorize counties imposing a tourism development tax to use the tax revenues to promote or incentivize film or television productions in the state. The bill would also require a specified statement to be included in the production’s credits. The legislation has been referred to the Senate Community Affairs Committee but does not have a companion in the House.

    Cultural, Historical and Library Funding
    Secretary of State Laurel Lee and the Department of State (DOS) continue to seek significant funding for cultural, historical and library funding. The DOS is requesting $5 million in funding for cultural and museum grants. Secretary Lee is also requesting that Cultural Builds Florida be funded at $3,132,250 while setting aside $1,157,935 for historic preservation small matching grants.

    The largest request from DOS is an ask of $10,301,287 for the construction of a new artifact curation facility. Current collections are housed at Mission San Luis in Tallahassee, where maximum capacity has been reached. The requested funding would help create a new, public facility, fully-equipped with a lobby and teaching area. Included in their Legislative Budget Request, it remains to be seen if the department’s funding requests will be included in the FY 2020-21 budget.

    Prohibited Discrimination
    SB 206 by Senator Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) and HB 161 by Representative Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) would prohibit discrimination in public lodging and food services establishments based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Additionally, the bill would revise the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 and Fair Housing Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation. The Senate bill awaits its first stop in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, while the House bill has been referred to the Civil Justice Subcommittee.

    Prohibition of Plastic Carryout Bags and Straws
    SB 40 by Senator Kevin Rader (D-Boca Raton) would ban stores from providing customers with plastic carryout bags and single-use plastic straws. The bill includes penalties of $500 for a first-time violation and $1,000 for subsequent violations. An exemption is provided for those individuals that must use plastic straws due to medical purposes. The Senate bill has been referred to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee but lacks a House companion at this time.

    Miami Military Museum and Memorial
    A bill that seeks funding for the Miami Military Museum and Memorial has been filed by Representative Anthony Rodriguez (R-Miami). HB 2063 requests $1 million in funding and has been referred to the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

    Entertainment Industry
    SB 530 by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) seeks to create the Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program within the Department of Economic Opportunity. By creating this program, Senator Gruters is hopeful that high-paying jobs will be created for Florida workers and that tourists will be encouraged to visit the state due to opportunities created by the program. Projects that provide the highest return on investment and economic benefit to the state will be eligible for the rebate program. The Senate bill has yet to be referred to any committees, with no House companion filed at this time.

    Minimum Wage Constitutional Amendment
    A proposed constitutional amendment that would increase Florida’s minimum wage has received enough signatures to appear on the 2020 General Election ballot in November. If approved at the ballot box, Florida’s minimum wage would increase to $10/hour on September 30, 2021 and would increase by $1/hour in each subsequent year until reaching $15/hour. While the proposal has received the 766,200 signatures that are required, the ballot language must still be approved by the Supreme Court prior to appearing before voters.


  • October 21, 2019 3:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With lawmakers back in Tallahassee for the second Interim Committee week of the 2020 Florida Legislative Session, last week was not dull. On Tuesday, VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young gave a presentation to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee where she highlighted the importance of VISIT FLORIDA to the state’s economy and noted the recent strong tourism numbers. Young also touted the marketing agency’s large return on investment and the role that the agency plays during crisis or natural disasters. The committee was receptive to Young’s presentation and praised the efforts that VISIT FLORIDA is making both domestically and abroad.

    Following is a quick summary of bills that have been filed and other items of interest to FAA:

    VISIT FLORIDA
    FAA supports the reauthorization of VISIT FLORIDA and the extension of the agency’s sunset provision until 2028. Legislation in both the House and Senate that would extend VISIT FLORIDA’s sunset provision until 2028 has been filed.

    SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) would reauthorize VISIT FLORIDA and extend the scheduled sunset of the tourism marketing agency from 2020 to 2028. This bill has been referred to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. The House companion by Representative Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach), HB 213, has been referred to the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee.

    Tourism Development Tax
    SB 334 by Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) would authorize counties imposing a tourism development tax to use the tax revenues to promote or incentivize film or television productions in the state. The bill would also require a specified statement to be included in the production’s credits. It has been referred to the Senate Community Affairs Committee but does not have a House companion.

    Cultural, Historical and Library Funding
    Secretary of State Laurel Lee and the Department of State (DOS) continue to seek significant funding for cultural, historical and library funding. The DOS is requesting $5 million in funding for cultural and museum grants. Secretary Lee is also requesting that Cultural Builds Florida be funded at $3,132,250 while setting aside $1,157,935 for historic preservation small matching grants.

    The largest request from DOS is an ask of $10,301,287 for the construction of a new artifact curation facility. Current collections are housed at Mission St. Luis in Tallahassee, where maximum capacity has been reached. The requested funding would help create a new, public facility, fully-equipped with a lobby and teaching area. Included in their Legislative Budget Request, it remains to be seen if the department’s funding requests will be included in the FY 2020-21 budget.

    Prohibited Discrimination
    SB 206 by Senator Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) and HB 161 by Representative Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) would prohibit discrimination in public lodging and food services establishments based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Additionally, the bill would revise the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992 and Fair Housing Act to include gender identity and sexual orientation. The Senate bill awaits its first stop in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, while the House bill has been referred to the Civil Justice Subcommittee.

    Prohibition of Plastic Carryout Bags and Straws
    SB 40 by Senator Kevin Rader (D-Boca Raton) would ban stores from providing customers with plastic carryout bags and single-use plastic straws. The bill includes penalties of $500 for a first-time violation and $1,000 for subsequent violations. An exemption is provided for those individuals that must use plastic straws due to medical purposes. The Senate bill has been referred to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee but does not have a House companion at this time.

    Miami Military Museum and Memorial
    A bill that seeks funding for the Miami Military Museum and Memorial has been filed by Representative Anthony Rodriguez (R-Miami). HB 2063 requests $1 million in funding and has been referred to the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

    Entertainment Industry
    Filed on Wednesday, SB 530 by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) would create the Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program within the Department of Economic Opportunity. By creating this program, Senator Gruters is hopeful that high-paying jobs will be created for Florida workers and that tourists will be encouraged to visit the state due to opportunities created by the program. Projects that provide the highest return on investment and economic benefit to the state will be eligible for the rebate program. The Senate bill has not been referred to any committees and does not have a House companion at this time.


  • October 15, 2019 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the first Interim Committee meetings being held September 16-20, we had an eventful month in Tallahassee. With legislators scheduled to hold committee meetings for two weeks during October, the legislative process will continue to ramp up in the months ahead of the 2020 Legislative Session, which begins on January 14, 2020.

    Please find Liberty Partners’ monthly report below detailing the work our firm has done on behalf of FAA.

    VISIT FLORIDA
    Legislation has been filed that seeks to extend VISIT FLORIDA’s sunset provision an additional eight years. HB 213 by Representative Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach) and has filed the Senate companion, SB 362 filed by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor). Both bills are currently awaiting committee references and are being closely monitored by our team.

    On September 18, Liberty Partners attended the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee meeting where Ken Lawson, Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) presented DEO’s 2020-21 Legislative Budget Request. The agency requested that VISIT FLORIDA continue being funded at $50 million through fiscal year 2020-21.

    On October 8, Liberty Partners President Jennifer Green met with VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young to discuss issues related to tourism ahead of the upcoming committee weeks and session. This meeting comes at a key time before Young’s presentation to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on October 15. Liberty Partners will be in attendance during the presentation and will send an update to FAA at the conclusion of the meeting.

    Governor DeSantis signaled his support to continue funding VISIT FLORIDA at its current level of $50 million through the scheduled 2020 sunset and applauded the marketing agency’s influence on the state’s

    strong tourism numbers. DeSantis would like to find a long-term solution to VISIT FLORIDA’s uncertain status moving forward and has urged lawmakers to make a final decision on the agency’s fate, rather than being faced with the same issue year-after-year. It is anticipated that the Governor will release his budget on December 15, 2019. Liberty Partners sent FAA press releases and news articles surrounding this development and included the articles in our firm’s weekly newsletter.

    FAA Legislative Committee
    The FAA Legislative Committee and Liberty Partners held their first conference call on Thursday, October 3. During the call, several issues pertaining to the structure and mission of this committee were addressed. The goal of the Legislative Committee is to connect FAA members with their local legislators and encourage engagement on bills that require action. The main goals of member engagement with legislators should be setting up legislative visits and building local relationships in the member’s district.

    The FAA Legislative Committee should also consider which issues are likely to pass during the 2020 session and the members of the committee should let you know of any relationships or interests that they have with legislators. Sal Dickinson was appointed to serve as Chairman of the committee and all legislative issues will go through the association to your attention. This committee is in no way connected to the FAA PAC. Liberty Partners looks forward to assisting FAA members in setting up visits with their legislators and arranging candidate meetings ahead of the 2020 election.

    Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism

    The Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism that was scheduled for September 3-6, 2019 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club was cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian. This year’s conference will not be rescheduled.

    Legislative Visits
    As previously discussed, it is imperative that FAA members become involved in the legislative process and engage with legislators in their district. To assist in this process, Liberty Partners continues to work on scheduling legislative visits at FAA member attractions. Liberty Partners has an educational event scheduled on October 18 at Fun Spot in Orlando, with a member of the Florida Legislature scheduled to attend. We would like to turn this event into an FAA legislative visit and have Fun Spot management and staff meet and interact with the legislator. We will provide more information on this as we continue to finalize the plans.

    Finally, we will continue to monitor issues important to FAA and send regular updates. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    The remaining committee meeting weeks will be held on the following dates:

    • Monday, October 14 – Friday, October 18, 2019
    • Monday, October 21 – Friday, October 25, 2019
    • Monday, November 4 – Friday, November 8, 2019
    • Tuesday, November 12 – Friday, November 15, 2019
    • Monday, December 9 – Friday, December 13, 2019


  • September 06, 2019 9:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With summer having ended and the 2020 Legislative Session quickly approaching, the months leading up to the start of session on January 14, 2020, will include legislators coming to Tallahassee to hold Interim Committee meetings. These committee meeting weeks will be held on the following dates:

    • Monday, September 16 – Friday, September 20, 2019
    • Monday, October 14 – Friday, October 18, 2019
    • Monday, October 21 – Friday, October 25, 2019
    • Monday, November 4 – Friday, November 8, 2019
    • Tuesday, November 12 – Friday, November 15, 2019
    • Monday, December 9 – Friday, December 13, 2019

    Below you will find an update on key developments that are taking place throughout the state this summer that will potentially impact Florida’s tourism industry.

    Minimum Wage Increase
    In an attempt to raise Florida’s minimum wage, Florida attorney John Morgan has begun the process to put a proposed Constitutional Amendment before voters on the November 2020 ballot. If passed, the proposal would gradually raise the statewide minimum wage from its current $8.46/hour to $15/hour. Under the proposal, the minimum wage would increase to $10/hour on September 30, 2021 and would increase by $1/hour in each subsequent year until reaching $15/hour.

    The ballot measure, “Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage” would have a negative financial impact as local and state costs would increase in order to comply with the minimum wage. The proposal has gained traction throughout the state, with Morgan contributing almost $1.075 million to the effort last month alone. However, there are still hurdles that must be cleared before the amendment can appear before voters. The initiative has currently received and verified 665,369 of the 766,200 petition signatures required by February 1, 2020. The Florida Supreme Court must also approve the ballot language before the amendment can move forward. Please see the screen shots of the amendment status below. Liberty Partners continues to monitor this potential amendment and its impact on the state’s tourism industry.

    Ballot Title: Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage

    Ballot Summary:
    Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30th, 2027.


    Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism
    Due to Hurricane Dorian that was expected to hit the east coast of Florida, the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism that was scheduled September 3-6, 2019 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club was cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date. Once rescheduled it will give state officials, professionals from Florida’s tourism industry and other interested stakeholders the opportunity to be educated on issues and trends currently facing the tourism industry.

    VISIT FLORIDA’s Eco-Friendly Travel Hub
    Governor Ron DeSantis has shown that he is committed to preserving Florida's natural environment. In a mid-August announcement, the Governor introduced VISIT FLORIDA's newest feature, an eco-friendly travel hub. Tourists and locals can access the hub and view a variety of green options available to them such as eco-friendly travel, lodging, dining and attractions. A unique component of the hub is the inclusion of a "voluntourism" resource which will help connect tourists with volunteer opportunities while on vacation. VISIT FLORIDA is working to ensure that Florida remains a sustainable, environmentally-friendly destination for everyone by providing these options and tips.

    Tourism Numbers
    Florida is continuing its trend of breaking state tourism records. From January through June of 2019, an estimated 68.9 million visitors came to Florida which was a significant increase from the 66.28 million tourists that came during the same period in 2018. This growth in numbers predict that the state is on pace to break its 2018 record of 126.98 million visitors throughout the year.

    Legislative Update
    Recently, FAA President Matt Johnson and the Board voted to create a new Legislative Committee to assist with the legislative and regulatory priorities of the association. Liberty Partners is excited about the creation of this committee and looks forward to working with the members to bring more awareness and support to these important issues.

    As discussed, with the lack of enthusiasm from FAA members regarding the VISIT FLORIDA issue, it is imperative that attractions are made more aware of the many other issues FAA could be focusing on and have been successful with over the past few years.

    To work on this awareness among FAA members, Liberty Partners is continuing to assist with scheduling legislative visits at member attractions. In October, Liberty Partners has two educational events scheduled, one in Jacksonville and one in Orlando where a member of the Florida Legislature is expected to attend. We would like to combine these events with an FAA legislative visit and have the hosting attraction management and staff interact and speak with the legislator. We will provide more information on this as we continue to finalize the plans.


  • April 30, 2019 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last night, Senate President Galvano and House Speaker Oliva negotiated a compromise which will extend VISIT FLORIDA's sunset 9 months, until June 30, 2020 and fund our state marketing agency with $50 million next fiscal year, a 33% reduction from funding levels the past couple of years.  While this outcome is less than ideal, it will provide our industry time to reflect on the Legislature's misunderstandings of tourism marketing and develop a strategy for the future.  No doubt, this issue will be another significant one for the FAA in next year's Legislative Session.

    Considering the House's firm position to allow VISIT FLORIDA to sunset on October 1, 2019 and the Senate's position to reduce VISIT FLORIDA funding, this compromise was probably the best we could have hoped for.  Governor DeSantis' intervention on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA was the catalyst that drove the compromise and he deserves recognition for expressing his support.

    The tremendous efforts of your grassroots outreach to the Legislature, the diligent work of the FAA's lobby team of Liberty Partners of Tallahassee and the lobby teams of our industry partners, and the tireless determination of VISIT FLORIDAs CEO, Dana Young were all vital factors in saving VISIT FLORIDA.

     

    Thank you for your support and outreach to your elected officials.  With the 2020 Legislative Session beginning in January, committee weeks will begin in early fall. 


  • April 24, 2019 1:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear FAA Member,

    I suspect you’re probably tired of receiving “Save VISIT FLORIDA” emails from the FAA. Quite likely, this one will be the last one you will ever receive.

    Last night, the Florida Senate “caved” to the Florida House’s position and without intervention from Governor DeSantis, it appears that VISIT FLORIDA will sunset on October 1, 2019.

    Our final effort is to ask our Governor to intercede in the budget negotiations on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA.  Time is of the essence and every hour moves us closer to the end of our state’s unified tourism marketing office.  Please call the Governor’s Office now – (850) 717-9337 or email from this page https://www.flgov.com/email-the-governor/  Ask him to step in to support VISIT FLORIDA and briefly share why VISIT FLORIDA is important to your business, your employees, and your community. 

    Share this email with others – your employees, your industry colleagues, any Florida resident whose life and livelihood is touched by Florida tourism in a positive way. 

    Additional resources are available here.

    Thank you,

    Bill


Strategic Partners


        












 

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