The Florida Legislature convened this past week for the final Interim Committee Week ahead of the 2020 Florida Legislative Session, with the focus being on state agencies presenting Governor Ron DeSantis’ FY 2020-21 budget recommendations.
On Wednesday, Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Executive Director Ken Lawson presented the Governor’s recommended budget for DEO to the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. Lawson highlighted the Governor’s request to fund VISIT FLORIDA at $50 million for FY 2020-21 during the presentation. Additionally, on Wednesday, Lawson provided the Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development with a similar presentation and once again noted the Governor’s funding request of $50 million for VISIT FLORIDA.
On Thursday, the House Gaming Control Subcommittee held a presentation by the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering and a panel discussion on gaming issues. During the presentation, Director of the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering Lou Trombetta provided a brief overview of the industry and a summary of the amendments, highlighting the change to permits and new gaming information.
Following this presentation, John Sowinski of No Casinos, Inc., Carey Theil of Grey2k USA, Jamie C. Shelton of Bestbet Jacksonville, Michael Glenn of Palm Beach Kennel Club, Isadore Havenick of Magic City Casino and Peter Berube of Tampa Bay Downs participated in a panel discussion on gaming issues throughout the state. Panelists spoke about the state of gaming since Amendments 3 and 13 passed in November 2018 and what the future of gaming will look like in Florida. While all panelists had differing opinions, Sowinski stated, “We hope that in 30 years, the footprint of gambling looks as it does now. We want to keep it from growing too much and voters continue to choose each they are asked the question.”
Additionally, Legislators on the committee asked how can they do a better job and what steps they can take to ensure that Internet Cafes stay eliminated? Most responded that it comes down to local enforcement. This topic will likely continue to be discussed to during the upcoming legislative session.
Following is a quick summary of bills that have been filed and other items of interest to the Florida Attractions Association (FAA):
FAA continues to support legislation that would extend the scheduled 2020 sunset of VISIT FLORIDA until 2028. SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee and is waiting to be heard in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development. The House companion - HB 213 - by Representative Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach) is still awaiting its first hearing in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee.
SB 1228 by Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) filed last week would require amusement ride managers to meet certain requirements and revise standards for rules adopted by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services relating to amusement rides. The bill would also remove the exemption from safety standards for certain museums and institutions and revise inspection standards for amusement rides. Filed on Thursday, the bill has not been referred to any committees and does not have a House companion at this time.
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 bill is still awaiting a hearing at its first stop in the Senate Community Affairs Committee and does not have a House companion.
SB 206 by Senator Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) 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 legislation is still waiting to be heard in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee, while the House companion - HB 161 - by Representative Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) has been referred to the House Civil Justice Subcommittee but has not been heard.
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 legislation is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee and has no House companion.
Miami Military Museum and Memorial
An Appropriations Project Request (APR) by Representative Anthony Rodriguez (R-Miami) seeks $1 million in funding for the Miami Military Museum and Memorial. HB 2063 passed the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee and is awaiting its final committee stop in the House Appropriations Committee.
SB 530 by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) unanimously passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee this week. The legislation would create the Film, Television, and Digital Media Targeted Rebate Program within the Department of Economic Opportunity. Projects that are eligible for the rebate program must provide the highest return on investment and economic benefit to the state. The Senate bill now awaits a hearing in its second committee of reference - the Senate Innovation, Industry
and Technology Committee. The House companion - HB 497 - by Representative James Buchanan (R-North Port) is still awaiting its first hearing in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee.
SB 482 by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) would repeal 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 the restaurant’s premises would also be changed under this law. The bill is still awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee. The House companion - HB 583 - by Representative Anthony Sabatini (R-Clermont) passed the House Business and Professions Subcommittee this past week and now moves on to the House Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee.
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 is awaiting a hearing in the House Business and Professions Subcommittee and does not have a Senate companion.
Emotional Support Animals
HB 209 by Representative Sam Killebrew (R-Winter Haven) would prohibit discrimination in a rental dwelling to a person with a disability or disability-related needs who has an emotional support animal. It would also prohibit a landlord from requiring such person to pay extra compensation and authorize the landlord to request certain written documentation. The bill is awaiting a hearing in the House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee. The Senate companion - SB 1084 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) was referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee this week.
SB 680 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) would prohibit the importation, exportation, and sale of shark fins. The bill has been referred to the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The House companion - HB 401 - by Representative Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek) passed the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee last week and now moves to the House Business and Professions Subcommittee.
In-State Tourism Marketing Campaign
An APR by Representative Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) seeks $2 million in funding for the In-State Tourism Marketing Campaign. HB 3203 passed the House Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Committee this week and now heads to its final stop – the House Appropriations Committee.
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