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.
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.
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