As the Legislature begins the last week of the 2021 Regular Legislative Session, statewide attention is on Tallahassee. The FY 2021-22 budget is beginning to round into shape, as conference committees have completed their negotiations and unresolved issues are now being negotiated by Budget Conference Chair Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and Vice-Chair Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City). Following these negotiations,
Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) and House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater) will review the final budget. Upon passage of the budget by the Legislature, the proposed spending plan will head to Governor Ron DeSantis' desk to be signed. Legislators and lawmakers that have projects in the budget will fight to ensure the projects remain in the budget, as Governor DeSantis wields line-item veto authority.
In additional statewide news, the Governor and Seminole Tribe of Florida have reached an agreement on the Seminole Compact that will extend the gaming compact for 30 years. Projections show that the compact will bring at least $2.5 billion in revenue to the state through the next five years and $6 billion through 2030. To ratify the gaming compact, President Simpson and Speaker Sprowls have announced a Special Session on May 17. Any current legislation related to gaming will be re-introduced and reconsidered by the Legislature during this time.
Below is a summary of bills that are of interest to the Florida Attractions Association (FAA):
Tourist and Convention Development Taxes
HB 1429 by Representative Bryan Avila (R-Miami) would revise provisions concerning voting procedures for and authorized uses of tourist development taxes (TDT) and convention development taxes (CDT). The bill has passed the House floor and has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. Additionally, the House tax package - HB 7061 – contains the provisions of HB 1429 that would expand allowable uses of TDT dollars to finance flood mitigation projects. We have been actively fighting the attack on this money and have assisted FAA in drafting letters of opposition and calls-to-action for their members. HB 7061 passed the House floor on Friday and has been received by the Senate and referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee. We continue to advocate against any legislation that would divert money away from the tourism and attractions industries.
Consumer Data Privacy
HB 969 by Representative Fiona McFarland (R-Sarasota) would require businesses to provide notice to consumers about data collection and selling practices; provide consumers with the right to request data be disclosed, deleted, or corrected and to opt-in or opt-out of sale or sharing of such data; provide nondiscrimination measures, methods for requesting data and opting-in or opting-out of sale or sharing of such data, private cause of action and enforcement. The bill passed the House floor by a vote of 118-1 on Wednesday, has been received by the Senate and referred to the Senate Rules Committee. The Senate companion – SB 1734 – by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) awaits consideration on the Senate floor.
SB 7076 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) would create the Florida Gaming Control Commission within the Office of the Attorney General; provide for membership of the commission; require the Commission on Ethics to accept and investigate any alleged violations of the standards of conduct for commissioners; designate the Florida Gaming Control Commission as the state compliance agency having authority to carry out certain responsibilities; transfer all powers, duties, functions, records, offices, personnel, property, pending issues, existing contracts, administrative authority, administrative rules, trust funds, and unexpended balances of appropriations, allocations, and other funds of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to the commission by a type two transfer, etc. The Senate bill and House companion – HB 7053– by Representative Mike Beltran (R-Valrico) will be considered during Special Session beginning May 17.
Requirements for Pari-mutuel Permitholders to Conduct Live Racing or Games
SB 7080 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) would revise the application requirements for an operating license to conduct pari-mutuel wagering for a pari-mutuel facility; prohibit greyhound permitholders from conducting live racing; authorize jai alai permitholders, harness horse racing permitholders, and quarter horse racing permitholders to elect not to conduct live racing or games; specify that certain permitholders that do not conduct live racing or games retain their permit and remain pari-mutuel facilities, etc. The Senate bill and House companion – HB 7055– by Representative Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater) will also be considered during Special Session.
Alcoholic Beverage Licenses
HB 329by Representative Josie Tomkow (R-Auburndale) would authorize food service establishments to sell or deliver alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption if requirements are met; revise provisions that authorize restaurant to allow patrons to remove partially consumed bottles of wine from restaurant for off-premises consumption; revise requirements for sale of alcoholic beverages by certain vendors. SB 148 – by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) has been substituted HB 329, with SB 148 in Senate returning messages and awaiting consideration on the Senate floor.
HB 7013 by Representative Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) would create cause of action against social media platform for unlawful practices related to censoring deplatforming or shadow banning; specify instances when private cause of action may be brought; specify calculation of damages; specify powers of DLA related to investigations of social media platforms; provide requirements for public contracts and economic incentives related to entities who have been convicted or held civilly liable for antitrust violations; require DMS to maintain antitrust violator vendor list; provide procedural & legal rights for person to challenge placement on list; prohibit person on antitrust violator vendor list from receiving certain economic incentives; prohibit social media platforms from knowingly deplatforming candidate; specify fines. The House bill was temporarily postponed on the House floor. The Senate companion – SB 7072 – by Senator Ray Rodrigues (R-Fort Myers) is scheduled to be heard on the Senate floor on Monday, April 26.
Cultural and Historical Programs
HB 909 by Representative Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) would designate the Museum of Florida History as the official state history museum; rename the Division of Cultural Affairs as the Division of Arts & Culture; transfer certain responsibilities from Division of Cultural Affairs to Division of Historical
Resources; revise provisions relating to Museum of Florida History museum store; provide for disposition of abandoned property. The bill has passed the House and Senate floors. HB 909 was substituted for the Senate companion – SB 1404 – by Senator Ed Hooper, with SB 1404 being laid on the table. HB 909 awaits final approval from the Legislature before heading to Governor DeSantis’ desk.