The halls of the Capitol were extremely busy this week, as Floridians involved in the legislative process made their voices heard during the third week of the 2020 Legislative Session. While many groups and associations visited Tallahassee, the main focus was on the release of the House and Senate budget proposals.
The proposed House budget for FY 2020-21 - PCB APC 20-01 – totals $91,370,013,658 but does not currently include funding for VISIT FLORIDA. During Tuesday’s House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee, Chairman Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City) remarked that the agency is scheduled to sunset in 2020 and there would not be any funding for the agency in the House budget. However, the House has proposed $13,350,000 in cultural and museum grant funding for numerous projects across the state.The Senate’s budget proposal for FY 2020-21 - SPB 2500 – totals $92,832,199,570 and contains significant funding for VISIT FLORIDA. In the Senate proposal, the agency would be funded at $50 million during FY 2020-21, with an additional $2.5 million appropriated for marketing Florida’s universities and colleges through the agency. Cultural and museum grant funding is also higher in the Senate, with $14,618,091 in project funding being proposed.
With Governor DeSantis’ recommended budget standing at $91,406,573,309, including $50 million in funding for VISIT FLORIDA, a tug-of-war over the final budget can be expected until the end of 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) unanimously passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development on Wednesday, January 29. Liberty Partners was in attendance and waived in support of the bill on behalf of FAA. The bill will now be heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, February 5. 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) unanimously passed the House Business & Professions Subcommittee on Tuesday, January 28. Liberty Partners was in attendance during the committee meeting and continues to follow the bill closely. The bill will be heard in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday, February 3. Liberty Partners has submitted amendment language on behalf of FAA that will clarify the bill only effects nonpermanent amusement facilities. The amendment will be filed by leadership of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee.
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 passed the House Gaming Control Subcommittee by a vote of 14-1 on Monday, January 27. Liberty Partners was in attendance during this committee meeting and continues to follow the legislation closely. SB 1318 by Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) is still awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee.
Sports Franchises and Facilities
HB 1369 by Representative Cary Pigman (R-Sebring) would delete provisions authorizing counties to impose specified taxes to pay debt service on bonds related to sports facilities and prohibit a county from leasing specified professional sports franchise facilities. It would prohibit the lease of public lands for purposes related to sports franchises & their facilities and require the lease of a facility on public lands to be at fair market value. The bill would require a sports franchise to repay specified debt incurred by local government related to construction of facilities. The bill passed the House Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee by a vote of 12-1 on Tuesday, January 28 and is scheduled to be heard in the House Ways & Means Committee on Monday, February 3.
HB 1011 by Representative Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) would preempt regulation of vacation rentals to the state and prohibit local law, ordinance or regulation from allowing or requiring inspections or licensing of vacation rentals. The bill would require licenses issued by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants of DBPR to be displayed conspicuously inside a licensed establishment and preempt regulation of advertising platforms for vacation rentals to the state. It would also provide requirements for advertising platforms. The bill has passed the House Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee and will be heard in the House Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday, February 4. The Senate companion - SB 1128 – by Senator Manny Diaz (RHialeah Gardens) passed the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee and is awaiting its second hearing in the Senate Commerce and Tourism 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 is awaiting its second stop in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee. The House companion - HB 497 - by Representative James Buchanan (R-North Port) is still in its first committee stop 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 bill passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee unanimously on Monday, January 27. The bill does not have a House companion.
Declawing of Cats
SB 48 by Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) makes it illegal for any person to declaw a cat in Florida. Violations can result in a $1,000 fine and veterinarians found to be declawing the cat are subject to discipline by the Board of Veterinary Medicine. An exemption is made in the instance that a cat is declawed for therapeutic purposes. The Senate bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee by a vote of 4-1 on Tuesday, January 28. The bill does not have a House companion.
Recreational Vehicle Parks
HB 647 by Representative Brad Drake (R-Defuniak Springs) would revise provisions relating to recreational vehicle parks, including permit application, preemption, rebuilding of park, abandoned property, ejection of certain persons and removal of property from park and immunity from liability. The House bill passed the House Health Quality Subcommittee on Tuesday, January 28 and will be heard in the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday, February 4. The Senate companion - SB 772 – by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee on Monday, January 27 and is awaiting its next hearing in the Senate Health Policy Committee.
HB 757 by Representative Holly Raschein (R-Key Largo) would rename the Division of Cultural Affairs as Division of Arts & Culture and provide that the Secretary of State shall be known as "Florida's Chief Arts & Culture Officer". The bill would repeal provisions relating to Cultural Endowment Program short title, legislative intent, definitions and rulemaking. The House bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Oversight, Transparency and Public Management Subcommittee on Tuesday, February 4. The Senate companion - SB 1632 – by Senator Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) is awaiting its first committee hearing in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee.
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 not yet been heard in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee. The House companion - HB 583 - by Representative Anthony Sabatini (R-Clermont) is in its final stop in the House Commerce Committee.
Captive-bred Animal Culture
SB 1176 by Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) would create the "Florida Animal Policy Act". The bill would provide duties of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and require the department to submit a list of specified research and development projects with its annual legislative budget request to the Governor and the Legislature. It would require a captive-bred producer to apply to the department for a certificate of registration and create the Captive-bred Animal Culture Advisory Council adjunct to the department. The bill is still waiting its first committee hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee. Liberty Partners provided Senator Perry with bill language that would ensure this bill does not affect animals that are in captivity in museums, zoos, aquariums and other attractions in the state. The House companion - HB 933 - by Representative Clovis Watson (D-Gainesville) is waiting to be heard in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources 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 still in its first committee stop 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 was scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, January 30 but was temporarily postponed. Liberty Partners was in attendance during this committee hearing and continues to monitor this legislation closely. The Senate companion - SB 1084 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) will be heard in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee on Monday, February 3.
SB 680 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) would prohibit the importation, exportation, and sale of shark fins. The bill will be heard in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Monday, February 3. The House companion - HB 401 - by Representative Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek) is awaiting its final hearing in the House State Affairs Committee.
Individual Wine Containers
HB 6037 by Representative Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point) would repeal provisions relating to a limitation of size of individual wine containers. The bill has passed all House committees and is on the Special Order Calendar for House session on Wednesday, February 5. The Senate companion - SB 138 - by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology 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 passed the House Commerce Committee unanimously on Thursday, January 30. Liberty Partners was in attendance during this committee hearing and continues to track the issue closely. 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 its first hearing in the House Workforce Development and 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 and 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.