The 2020 Legislative Session is in full swing, as legislators convened in Tallahassee four days last week. Through the second week of session, legislation continues to make its way through the committee process, while a number of bills have already passed the House and Senate floors. The highlight of the week, however, was the attention surrounding Florida Tourism Day on Wednesday.
Governor Ron DeSantis was the keynote speaker for Florida Tourism Day and provided opening remarks on Wednesday at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee. During his remarks, Governor DeSantis praised the work of VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young and touted the 127 million visitors that came to Florida in 2019. The Governor also commended VISIT FLORIDA on the work that the agency does to promote Florida in times of crisis and let tourists know that the state is open for business. DeSantis closed his address by recognizing the economic impact that tourism has on Florida and noting his support for reauthorizing and fully-funding VISIT FLORIDA.
Senate President Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) followed Governor DeSantis and also commended Young for the work she has done and the success that Florida has seen under her leadership. President Galvano reinforced the Senate’s commitment to fully-fund and reauthorize VISIT FLORIDA and assured the crowd that this funding would be in the Senate’s budget. Galvano spoke on the importance of planning ahead and stability in all state industries, including tourism, and relayed his eagerness to work with tourism officials during the 2020 session.
Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) – the Senate sponsor of legislation that would extend VISIT FLORIDA’s sunset until 2028 – picked up where Governor DeSantis and President Galvano left off, as he lauded tourism’s impact on job creation and economic development. Senator Hooper noted that Florida is in a competition for tourists with the rest of the world and that VISIT FLORIDA must exist in order to compete.
After the opening program at the civic center, industry leaders and advocates traveled to the Florida Capitol for an exciting tourism rally and to share the importance of the tourism industry with legislators.
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) will be heard in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development on Wednesday, January 29. The House companion - HB 213 - by Representative Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach) is still awaiting its first committee hearing in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee.
SB 1228 by Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) 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. The Senate bill is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee. The House companion - HB 1275 – by Representative Sharon Pritchett (D-Miami Gardens) is scheduled to be heard in the House Business & Professions Subcommittee on Tuesday, January 28.
HB 991 by Representative Will Robinson (R-Bradenton) would prohibit an electronic device from being used to play any lottery game and would prohibit the Department of Lottery (DOL) from authorizing operation of a specified lottery game. The bill would require DOL to include a specified warning in all advertisements & promotions of lottery games and require contracts between DOL & a vendor to require that the vendor print a specified warning on all lottery tickets. Under the bill, certain funds in the Operating Trust Fund would be used for a specified annual payment for services relating to prevention of compulsive & addictive gambling. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Gaming Control Subcommittee on January 27. SB 1318 by Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee.
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. Projects that are eligible for the rebate program must provide the highest return on investment and economic benefit to the state. The bill unanimously passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee in December and is awaiting its next stop in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee. The House companion - HB 497 - by Representative James Buchanan (R-North Port) is 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 has been
referred to the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee but has not been heard. The House companion - HB 583 - by Representative Anthony Sabatini (R-Clermont) is awaiting its final hearing in the House Commerce Committee.
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 its first hearing in the House Business and Professions Subcommittee. The Senate companion - SB 1814 – by Senator Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.
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 its final committee hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate companion - SB 1084– by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) awaits its second hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee.
SB 680 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) would prohibit the importation, exportation, and sale of shark fins. The bill is still awaiting a hearing in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The House companion - HB 401 - by Representative Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek) is awaiting its final hearing in the House State Affairs Committee.
Public Records/Trade Secrets
HB 799 by Representative Tommy Gregory (R-Bradenton) would provide a public record exemption for trade secrets held by an agency, provide notice requirements and exceptions and provide that the agency employee is not liable for release of records in compliance with act. The bill would also provide applicability and future legislative review & repeal. The bill is currently awaiting its second stop in the House Commerce Committee. The Senate companion - SB 1532 – by Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) is still awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.
Heat Illness Prevention
HB 513 by Representative Carlos Smith (D-Winter Park) would require certain employers to provide drinking water, shade, & annual training to employees & supervisors and require the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services & the Department of Health to adopt specified rules. The House bill is awaiting a hearing in the House Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee. The Senate
companion - SB 882– by Senator Victor Torres (D-Kissimmee) is still awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee.
HB 889 by Representative Tracie Davis (D-Jacksonville) would create the “Florida Family Leave Act”. The bill would require an employer to allow certain employees to take paid family leave to bond with a minor child upon the child's birth, adoption, or foster care placement. The bill would provide requirements, limitations, & duties and provide for civil action & penalties & criminal penalty. The
legislation would prohibit specified employment practices on basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. It would also provide for leave, maintenance of health coverage, reasonable accommodation & transfer, & return rights for an employee who is disabled from pregnancy, childbirth, or medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth. The bill is currently awaiting its first committee hearing in the House Business & Professions Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 1194 – by Senator Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) is still awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Commerce and Tourism 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