Linking the Passion and Creativity of the
Florida Attractions Industry


Legislative Updates, Alerts and Reports

Periodically throughout the year - especially during Florida Legislative Session - members receive important communications from the FAA regarding issues involving the tourism industry. Please remember that if you receive a LEGISLATIVE ALERT, timing is critical and minutes matter - read it and take immediate action on behalf of the FAA.




A Legislative Update is a summary of recent activity in the Florida State Legislature.

LEGISLATIVE ALERT is an immediate call to action on behalf of the tourism industry.

Legislative Report is information provided by Liberty Partners of Tallahassee on important industry issues.

Latest Updates, Alerts and Reports

  • February 17, 2020 1:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    The Florida Legislature - particularly the House of Representatives - has launched a full-on assault on Florida's tourism industry by attempting to dissolve VISIT FLORIDA. Unfortunately, the truth that the facts support the power of tourism marketing doesn't seem to matter. Our battle is with political ideology that is set to sacrifice the future of Florida's economic success by spending tourism marketing dollars on projects rather than investing those dollars and doubling those dollars every year

    Here's the situation...

    Issue #1 - VISIT FLORIDA

    The Florida Senate has passed SB 362 (Senator Ed Hooper, Palm Harbor) to reauthorize VISIT FLORIDA for 8 more years. In addition, the Senate's version of the budget fully funds VISIT FLORIDA at $52.5 million.

    Lead by Speaker Jose Oliva (Hialeah), the Florida House of Representatives has taken a firm stand against VISIT FLORIDA evidenced by the fact that HB 213 (Rep. Mel Ponder, Fort Walton Beach) has not been allowed to be heard or debated despite the growing list of co-sponsors. In addition, the House's version of the budget has no funding for VISIT FLORIDA.

    While many of your Representatives have told our members "off the record" that they disagree with the Speaker's assessment of VISIT FLORIDA's efficacy, there is little to no interest in crossing one of the three most powerful members of state government.

    Issue #2 - Expanded Uses of your Country's Tourism Development Taxes

    In what appears to be another attack on Florida tourism, the House Ways and Means Committee considered an expansive tax package this week that includes a provision to siphon tourist tax dollars away from tourism marketing as statute intends and instead spend those dollars on water quality issues. While one can't deny the need for addressing water quality, spending the very dollars that are used to generate even more tax income seems counterproductive.

    No such plan currently exists in the Senate.

    With only four weeks left in the 2020 Legislative Session, the Florida House has doubled down on its opposition to tourism marketing both at the state and local level. Florida is at a crossroads and lawmakers will soon decide if Florida will remain as a viable player in international tourism destination marketing or subjugate our state to the same disastrous effects experienced by other destinations who have made this mistake.

    You're only one voice - what can you do?...

    ...Plenty!

    Contact 2 people - your Senator and your Representative.

    First, thank your Senator for their support of tourism marketing and supporting our efforts to grow Florida's economy.

    Next, contact your Representative now. Call them, email them, Tweet and Facebook message them. Ask them to stand up for Florida, for tourism, for our state's future. Request they not only support HB 213 - but Co-Sponsor HB 213. This will be a public demonstration of their support for you, your business and Florida tourism. So far, in addition to primary sponsor Representative Ponder, these heroic Representatives have also signed onto the bill as Co-sponsors - Representatives Loranne Ausley (Tallahassee), Javier E. Fernández (Coral Gables), Delores Hogan Johnson (Fort Pierce), Cindy Polo (Hialeah), David Santiago (Deltona), Charlie Stone (Ocala), and Jennifer Necole Webb (St. Petersburg). They deserve our thanks.

    Ask them not to be bullied by their Speaker. Request the House consider HB 213 AND fully fund VISIT FLORIDA.

    Share with them the power of destination marketing and how important your county's DMO is to your business.

    Ask them to preserve the intent of the tourism development tax - to generate MORE visitors and MORE tax dollars to be used for essential needs in our state.

    Hold your Representative accountable to YOU. You elected them - they work for YOU.


    Share this message with your tourism colleagues, your employees, and your friends. Our jobs and our state's vitality depend on a strong economy.

  • February 17, 2020 10:33 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tallahassee was busy again this week as legislation spanning the various issues was considered in committee or on the House and Senate floors. We wrapped up week five and as we are approaching the midpoint of the 2020 Legislative Session, priority legislation is beginning to fall into place as legislators aim to conclude session by March 13.

    A House bill that Liberty Partners and FAA have been following closely passed its final committee on Thursday. Liberty Partners President Jennifer Green waived in support of the legislation on behalf of the association. HB 1275 by Representative Sharon Pritchett (D-Miami Gardens) would require nonpermanent amusement ride managers to comply with state regulations related to inspections and revises the standards for rules that are adopted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). Most notably, the bill contains amendment language supported by the FAA that clarifies the bill would only effect non-permanent amusement facilities such as carnivals or fairs. This amendment serves as protection to FAA’s members, as permanent amusement facilities will be exempt from the law. In addition to Green speaking in support of the bill, DACS spoke in support of the bill and noted that provisions of the bill will free up inspectors and allow inspectors to more efficiently inspect the temporary rides.

    SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) unanimously passed the Senate chamber on Thursday. This critical legislation would extend the scheduled 2020 sunset of VISIT FLORIDA until 2028. Liberty Partners waived in support of this bill during every committee stop and continues to advocate for the full-funding and reauthorization of VISIT FLORIDA.

    On Thursday, the House and Senate chambers passed their proposed budgets for FY 2020-21 - HB 5001 and SB 2500. While the Senate proposed a $92.8 billion budget, the House took a more conservative approach by proposing a budget of $91.4 billion that mirrors the amount proposed in Governor DeSantis’ budget proposal. Both the House and Senate proposals highlight significant funding for teacher salary increases, water quality improvements and environmental funding.


    Following is a quick summary of bills that have been filed and other items of interest to the Florida Attractions Association (FAA):

    Amusement Rides

    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 bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, February 18. The House companion - HB 1275 - by Representative Sharon Pritchett (D-Miami Gardens) unanimously passed the House Commerce Committee on Thursday, February 13 and now heads to the House floor to be debated and voted on by all Representatives.

    VISIT FLORIDA

    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 full Senate on Wednesday, February 12 unanimously. 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.

    VISIT FLORIDA is funded at $52.5 million in the Senate budget, exceeding the Governor’s recommendation of $50 million for the agency. While the House has not allocated any money for VISIT FLORIDA in their budget, various Representatives discussed the need to fund the agency and urged lawmakers to act during Thursday’s House Session. Representative Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg) and Representative Jennifer Webb (D-St. Petersburg) applauded VISIT FLORIDA and highlighted the positive impact that the agency has on smaller, family-owned businesses.

    Tourism Development Tax

    During Tuesday’s House Ways & Means Committee, the committee chair presented a bill with several dozen proposed tax changes that included expanding the uses of the Tourist Development Tax to include water quality improvement projects. The allowable projects include, but are not limited to, flood mitigation; seagrass or seaweed removal; algae control, cleanup, or prevention measures; and septic to sewer conversion projects. These expansions to the Tourist Development Tax would be mirrored within the Convention Development Tax levied in Duval, Miami-Dade and Volusia counties as well as the Local Option Food and Beverage Tax levied within parts of Miami-Dade County.

    If this bill were to pass it would be the biggest threat to expand the uses of the TDT in 20 years. The actual bill has not been made available yet but expect it to become public before this coming Tuesday’s House Ways and Means Committee.

    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 scheduled to be heard in the Senate Finance and Tax Committee on Tuesday, February 18. The bill does not have a House companion.

    Cultural Affairs

    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 bill unanimously passed the House State Affairs Committee on Wednesday, February 13 and will now be considered by all Representatives on the House floor. The Senate companion - SB 1632 – by Senator Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) unanimously passed the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on Monday, February 10 and is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Tuesday, February 18.

    Significant funding for cultural and museum grants is also proposed in the House and Senate budget proposals. In the Senate proposal, $19,318,091 is appropriated for cultural and museum grants from general revenue. Of this money, $14,618,091 would fund the Department of State's 2020-2021 Cultural and Museum Grants General Program Support ranked list, with the remaining amount going toward a variety of arts, culture and historical projects. In the House's proposed budget, $14,570,870 is appropriated for cultural and museum grants from general revenue, with $13,350,000 appropriated for the Department of State's 2020-21 Cultural and Museum Grants General Program Support ranked list. The remaining money for cultural and museum grants in the House budget would also fund a variety of specific cultural and historical projects. Additionally, equal funding for Culture Builds Florida is provided in both the Senate and House budgets, with both chambers proposing $2,881,168 for the program.

    During the House floor budget discussion on Thursday, Representatives stated the economic impact that is a direct result of the agency’s efforts and the data that shows the massive return on investment that the agency provides. A positive component of both budgets that has received support from legislators is the amount of money set aside to fund cultural and historical grant programs. Under the House and Senate proposal, current year funding levels will be maintained, giving libraries, museums and cultural sites much-needed stability.

    Lottery Games

    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 Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee by a vote of 8-3 on Tuesday, February 11 and now heads to its final committee hearing in the House Commerce Committee. The Senate companion - SB 1318 by Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville) - has not received a 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 unanimously passed the House Commerce Committee on Thursday, February 13 and now moves to the House floor to be debated and voted on by all Representatives. The bill does not have a Senate companion.

    Vacation Rentals

    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 is currently awaiting its final committee hearing in the House Commerce Committee. The Senate companion - SB 1128 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R- Hialeah Gardens) passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee by a 3-2 vote on Tuesday, February 11. The Senate bill now awaits its final committee hearing in the Senate Rules Committee.

    Entertainment Industry

    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 a hearing in 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 waiting to be heard in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee.

    Regulation of Recreational Activities

    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 bill unanimously passed the House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday, February 12 and now awaits a hearing on the House floor. The Senate companion - SB 772 – by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) unanimously passed the Senate Health Policy Committee on Tuesday, February 11 and awaits its final committee stop in the Senate Rules Committee.

    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 bill is awaiting its second hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee. There is not a House companion bill.

    Emergency Sheltering of Persons with Pets

    HB 705 by Representative Sam Killebrew (R-Winter Haven) would require Department of Education to assist Division of Emergency Management in determining strategies regarding evacuation of persons with pets and would require certain counties to designate shelter that can accommodate persons with pets. It would also specify requirements for such shelters. The bill unanimously passed the House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday, February 12 and now to its final committee stop in the House State Affairs Committee. The Senate companion - SB 752 – by Senator Aaron Bean (RJacksonville) unanimously passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee on Monday, February 10 and awaits its final committee hearing in the Senate Rules Committee.

    Beverage Law

    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 still awaiting its final hearing 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 awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee. The House companion - HB 933 - by Representative Clovis Watson (D-Gainesville) is waiting to be heard in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

    Nonservice Animals

    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 waiting to be heard in the House Business and Professions Subcommittee. The Senate companion - SB 1814 – by Senator Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) has yet to be heard 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 unanimously passed the House Judiciary committee on Wednesday, February 12 and now heads to the House floor for consideration. The Senate companion - SB 1084 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) unanimously passed the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee on Monday, February 10 and is scheduled to be heard in its final committee stop in the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday, February 19.

    Shark Fins

    SB 680 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) would prohibit the importation, exportation, and sale of shark fins. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Tuesday, February 18. The House companion - HB 401 - by Representative Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek) unanimously passed the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday, February 13 and awaits consideration on the House floor.

    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 the House chamber. The Senate companion - SB 138 - by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) is scheduled to receive its first hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee on Monday, February 17.

    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 unanimously passed the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday, February 13 and moves to the House floor for consideration. The Senate companion - SB 1532 – by Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) has yet to be heard in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.

    Verification of Employment Eligibility

    HB 1265 by Representative Cord Byrd (R-Jacksonville Beach) would require public employers, contractors, & subcontractors to use the E-Verify system for specified purposes and prohibits such entities from entering into a contract unless each party uses the E-Verify system. The bill would authorize termination of the contract and require private employers to verify employment eligibility of newly hired employees. The bill is waiting for its first hearing in the House Commerce Committee. The Senate companion - SB 664 – by Senator Tom Lee (R-Brandon) passed the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 4-2 on Monday, February 10 and is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Tuesday, February 18.

    Monuments

    HB 981 by Representative Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) would establish the Florida Space Exploration Monument and provide for administration of the monument. The design shall be chosen by committee from entries submitted by the public. DMS would be directed to develop specified plan for placement & cost of the monument & submit the plan to the Governor & Legislature by a specified date. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Oversight, Transparency and Public Management Subcommittee. The Senate companion - SB 1260 – by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on Monday, February 10 and awaits its final committee hearing in the Senate Appropriations 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 still awaiting its first hearing in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee. The Senate companion - SB 882 – by Senator Victor Torres (D-Kissimmee) has not been heard in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

    Employment Practices

    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.


  • February 10, 2020 12:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Week 4 of the Florida Legislative Session turned out to be quite a busy week in Tallahassee, as a wide range of policy bills made their way through the committee process or were passed during the House and Session sessions.

    Liberty Partners worked diligently with the Florida Attractions Association (FAA) this week to draft amendment language to clarify that HB 1275 by Representative Sharon Pritchett (D-Miami Gardens) would only affect non-permanent amusement facilities. After working with committee Chairman Holly Raschein (R-Key West), Liberty Partners asked Representative Rick Roth (R-Palm Beach Gardens) to file the amendment language and the amendment was adopted during the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee meeting on Monday, February 3. The adoption of this amendment language was critical, as it ensures that FAA members will not be negatively impacted by bill. Liberty Partners attended the committee meeting and spoke in support of the amendment and bill on behalf of FAA, with the bill passing unanimously.

    On Wednesday, Liberty Partners supported 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 Committee on Wednesday and will now head to the Senate floor to be debated and voted on by all Senators.

    Additionally, both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees passed their respective budgets on Wednesday. The House budget of $91.4 billion aligns with the Governor’s proposal, while the Senate has proposed a budget of $92.8 billion. VISIT FLORIDA is funded at just over $50 million in the Senate budget but at $0 in the House budget. This issue will be debated during the budget conference process.


    Following is a quick summary of bills that have been filed and other items of interest to the Florida Attractions Association (FAA):

    Amusement Rides

    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. After having been amended with clarifying language for FAA, the House companion - HB 1275 by Representative Sharon Pritchett is now in its final committee stop in the House Commerce Committee.

    VISIT FLORIDA

    FAA continues to support legislation that would extend the scheduled 2020 sunset of VISIT FLORIDA until 2028. While the proposed House budget is $381 million more than FY 2019-20, the budget does not contain any funding or mention of VISIT FLORIDA. During Wednesday’s House Appropriations Committee meeting, Representative Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City) once again stated that according to statute, the agency is scheduled to sunset in 2020 and is therefore not considered in the FY 2020-21 House budget. However, the Senate and Governor DeSantis have taken a different position on the future of VISIT FLORIDA. While Governor DeSantis had proposed $50 million in funding for VISIT FLORIDA, the Senate’s proposed budget for FY 2020-21 sets funding levels for the agency at $52.5 million for FY 2020-21. As the Legislature moves through the budget process and as budget conference approaches this contentious funding issue will be a main focus with Liberty Partners continuing to fight for full-funding of VISIT FLORIDA. As SB 362  by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) moves through the final stages of the process in the Senate, 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.

    Lottery Games

    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 awaiting its second hearing in the House Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee. 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 Ways and

    Means Committee by a vote of 14-1 on Monday, February 3 and now awaits its final hearing in the House Commerce Committee. The bill does not have a Senate companion.

    Vacation Rentals

    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 narrowly passed the House Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee by a vote of 8-5 on Tuesday, February 4. Liberty Partners attended the meeting and continues to follow this issue closely. The Senate companion - SB 1128 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R- Hialeah Gardens) is awaiting its second hearing in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.

    Entertainment Industry

    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 a hearing in 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 waiting to be heard 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 is awaiting its second hearing in the Senate Finance and Tax Committee. 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 bill is awaiting its second hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee. There is not a House companion bill.

    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 bill passed the House Civil Justice Subcommittee on Tuesday, February 4 by a vote of 11-1. The

    Senate companion - SB 772 – by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) is awaiting its second hearing in the Senate Health Policy Committee.

    Cultural Affairs

    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 bill unanimously passed the House Oversight, Transparency and Public Management Subcommittee on Tuesday, February 4. Liberty Partners was in attendance and continues to track this legislation The Senate companion - SB 1632 – by Senator Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee on Monday, February 10.

    Emergency Sheltering of Persons with Pets

    HB 705 by Representative Sam Killebrew (R-Winter Haven) would require Department of Education to assist Division of Emergency Management in determining strategies regarding evacuation of persons with pets and would require certain counties to designate shelter that can accommodate persons with pets. It would also specify requirements for such shelters. The bill unanimously passed the House Oversight, Transparency and Public Management Subcommittee on Tuesday, February 4 and now moves to the House Health Quality Subcommittee. The Senate companion - SB 752 – by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Community Affairs Committee on Monday, February 10.

    Beverage Law

    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 still awaiting its final hearing 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 awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee. The House companion - HB 933 - by Representative Clovis Watson (D-Gainesville) is waiting to be heard in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee.

    Nonservice Animals

    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 waiting to be heard in the House Business and Professions Subcommittee. The Senate companion - SB 1814 – by Senator Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) has yet to be heard 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 still awaiting its final hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate companion - SB 1084 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee on Monday, February 10.

    Shark Fins

    SB 680 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) would prohibit the importation, exportation, and sale of shark fins. The bill unanimously passed the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee on Monday, February 3 and now moves to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. 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 passed the House chamber by a vote of 112-6 on Wednesday, February 5. The Senate companion - SB 138 - by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) is still 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 is awaiting its final hearing in the House State Affairs Committee. The Senate companion - SB 1532 – by Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) has yet to be heard 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 still awaiting its first hearing in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee. The Senate companion - SB 882 – by Senator Victor Torres (D-Kissimmee) has not been heard in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

    Employment Practices

    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.


  • February 03, 2020 10:25 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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):


    VISIT FLORIDA

    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.

    Amusement Rides

    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.

    Lottery Games

    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.

    Vacation Rentals

    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.

    Entertainment Industry

    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.

    Cultural Affairs

    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.

    Beverage Law

    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.

    Nonservice Animals

    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.

    Shark Fins

    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.

    Employment Practices

    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.


  • January 28, 2020 11:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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):


    VISIT FLORIDA

    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.

    Amusement Rides

    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.

    Lottery Games

    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.

    Entertainment Industry

    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.

    Beverage Law

    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.

    Nonservice Animals

    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.

    Shark Fins

    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.

    Employment Practices

    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 


  • January 21, 2020 9:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Lawmakers, advocates and guests were in Tallahassee this week as the Legislature convened for the first week of the 2020 Legislative Session.

    During Tuesday’s House Session, Speaker Jose Oliva’s opening address focused on the state of healthcare in Florida. A priority of his since becoming Speaker, healthcare reform will once again be of utmost importance to Oliva in the coming months. During his address, Speaker Oliva also touched on other significant issues of the 2020 session including education, the environment and child welfare.

    Senate President Bill Galvano did not touch on policy goals but instead focused on civility and unity during his opening address on Tuesday. President Galvano encouraged all Senators to work together in a bipartisan effort in order to pass meaningful policy for all Floridians. President Galvano also thanked Governor DeSantis and Speaker Oliva for their service and expressed his eagerness in working with them to craft an impactful budget and legislation.

    Following the House and Senate sessions, Governor Ron DeSantis provided his State of the State Address. In front of lawmakers and guests, Governor DeSantis touted Florida’s historically low unemployment rate, top-tier higher education system, low crime rate and strong fiscal health. He thanked Speaker Oliva, President Galvano, Lieutenant Governor Nunez and First Lady DeSantis for their leadership and dedication to moving Florida forward. The Governor also touched on issues such as the protection of natural resources and the environment, the need for healthcare reform and the importance of Florida being a low-tax, business-friendly state.

    While most of the focus this week related to the ceremonial beginning of session, impactful legislation continued to make its way through the legislative process. An exciting two months are ahead, as budget and policy battles loom.


    Following is a quick summary of bills that have been filed and other items of interest to the Florida Attractions Association (FAA):


    VISIT FLORIDA

    FAA supports legislation that would extend the scheduled 2020 sunset of VISIT FLORIDA until 2028. SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) is awaiting it’s second committee hearing 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 awaiting its first committee hearing in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee.

    Amusement Rides

    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. A House companion - HB 1275 – by Representative Sharon Pritchett (D-Miami Gardens) was filed on January 10 but has not been referred to a committee.

    Entertainment Industry

    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 second hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee. The House companion - HB 497 - by Representative James Buchanan (R-North Port) has yet to be heard in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee.

    Beverage Law

    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 Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday, January 15, and now heads to its final stop in the House Commerce Committee.

    Nonservice Animals

    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 awaiting its first hearing in the House Business and Professions Subcommittee. A Senate companion - SB 1814 – by Senator Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach) has been filed and 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 passed the House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee on Thursday, January 16, and now moves to its final committee stop in the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate companion - SB 1084 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on Tuesday, January 14, and now awaits a hearing in the Senate Innovation, Industry and Technology Committee.

    Shark Fins

    SB 680 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) would prohibit the importation, exportation, and sale of shark fins. The bill has yet to be heard in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. The House companion - HB 401 - by Representative Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek) passed the House Business and Professions Subcommittee on Wednesday, January 15, and now moves to its final stop 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 House bill passed the House Oversight, Transparency and Public Management Subcommittee on Thursday, January 16, and now moves on to the House Commerce Committee. The Senate companion - SB 1532 – by Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake) has been filed and is 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 has been referred to the House Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee but has not been heard. The Senate companion - SB 882 – by Senator Victor Torres (D-Kissimmee) is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

    Employment Practices

    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) has yet to be heard in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.



  • December 27, 2019 10:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Legislature convened in Tallahassee December 9-13 for the sixth and final Interim Committee Week. With less than a month before the 2020 Legislative Session begins on January 14, 2020, Liberty Partners continues to monitor impactful legislation and advocate on behalf of the Florida Attractions Association (FAA).

    Please find Liberty Partners’ monthly report below detailing the work our firm has done on behalf of FAA.

    VISIT FLORIDA

    On December 11, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Executive Director Ken Lawson presented Governor DeSantis’ budget proposal for the agency to the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. During the presentation, Lawson highlighted the Governor’s request for VISIT FLORIDA to be funded at $50 million for FY 2020-21. Later that afternoon, Lawson provided the Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee with the presentation and once again highlighted the request for VISIT FLORIDA to be funded at $50 million during the next fiscal year. Liberty Partners was present during both subcommittee meetings and provided FAA with a detailed meeting summary upon adjournment.

    Legislation that would reauthorize VISIT FLORIDA and extend the marketing agency’s sunset provision from 2020 until 2028 unanimously passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee. SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) is now awaiting a hearing in its second committee stop – the Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee. The House companion - HB 213 - by Representative Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach) is still awaiting a hearing in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee. Liberty Partners continues to work with FAA to secure cosponsors for this legislation and continues to provide FAA with regular updates regarding this legislation.

    Minimum Wage Constitutional Amendment

    A proposed constitutional amendment that would raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15/hour has received approval to appear on the 2020 General Election ballot in November. If the measure is approved by 60% of the voters, Florida’s minimum wage would increase to $10/hour on September 30, 2021 and would increase by $1/hour each year until reaching $15/hour. Liberty Partners continues to track this constitutional amendment and the potential impact that it could have on FAA members. Liberty Partners will continue to provide updates and insight on this proposal to FAA as the 2020 General Election approaches.

    IAAPA

    On November 21, Liberty Partners joined FAA at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo in Orlando. We were proud to sponsor the FAA Networking Breakfast hosted by the FAA Board of Directors and have Representative Scott Plakon (R-Longwood) and Representative David Smith (R-Winter Springs) join us for the breakfast and exhibit tour. Liberty Partners looks forward to working with both of these legislators to advance FAA’s legislative priorities.

    FJRI

    Liberty Partners attended the Florida Justice Reform Institute (FJRI) Luncheon on December 9. William Large with FJRI walked through the following FJRI legislative priorities for the 2020 Legislative Session:

    •           Accuracy in Damages

    •           Bad Faith – SB 924 Civil Actions Against Insurers

    •           End deceptive lawyer advertising

    •           Prohibit litigation financing

    •           Contingency Fee Multiplier

    •           Assignment of Benefits in Auto Glass – SB 312/HB 169

    •           Asbestos Transparency – HB 741

    •           Federal standard for summary judgement

    •           Appellate Living Facility/Nursing Home Reforms – SB 402/HB 767 and HB 6029

    •           Workers’ Compensation

    •           PIP Insurance – SB 378/HB 771

    Liberty Partners will provide updates to FAA as these bills make their way through the legislative process and will inform FAA of any potential impacts as a result of this legislation.

    Welcome Letters

    Liberty Partners distributed ‘welcome back’ letters on behalf of FAA to all Representatives and Senators on December 12. In the letter, FAA’s background is provided, as well as their position on tourism and VISIT FLORIDA. The letter also urges lawmakers to vote yes on the repeal of the VISIT FLORIDA sunset provision and to consider cosponsoring SB 362 and HB 213. Liberty Partners will await questions or responses from legislators prompted by the letter and will work with FAA to respond to these questions or responses.

    Action Alert

    Liberty Partners assisted FAA with drafting a legislative action alert to send to FAA members in December. The alert provides FAA members with a background of VISIT FLORIDA and the critical role it plays in the tourism and attraction industry. The call to action also urges FAA members to contact their legislators and request that they cosponsor SB 362 and HB 213. Liberty Partners will inform FAA if any legislators respond to the action alert.

    Bill Tracking

    Liberty Partners has created an Appropriation Project Requests (APR) folder in FAA’s Lobbytools account, with numerous APRs related to tourism, museums and historical sites included. We will continue to track these requests and update FAA as they move through the budget process.

    Liberty Partners also continues to track policy bills of interest to FAA that have been filed for the 2020 Legislative Session. Several of these bills and a brief summary of the bills are included in the weekly legislative update that is forwarded to FAA at the end of each committee week. We will continue to include any action taken on these bills in our weekly summary and bring any impactful bills to FAA’s attention.

    Gaming

    The House Gaming Control Subcommittee met for the first time on December 12. During the meeting, Director of the Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering, Lou Trombetta, gave the committee an overview of the gaming industry, constitutional amendments that passed in 2018, changes to permitting 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 issues surrounding gaming in the state. Panelists spoke about the impacts of Amendments 3 and 13 passed in November 2018 and the current landscape of gaming. Sowinski – an opponent of gaming expansion – 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 time they are asked the question.” Committee members also inquired as to how they can do a better job and what steps can be taken to ensure that internet cafes stay eliminated. The consensus among panelists was that most issues come down to local enforcement. This topic will likely continue being discussed during the upcoming legislative session.

    Liberty Partners also continues to track legislation by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) that could potentially expand gaming in the state. SB 968, SB 970 and SB 972 could potentially impact the tourism industry in the state and Liberty Partners will continue to monitor.

    Emotional Support Animals

    A piece of legislation that is of importance to FAA is HB 209 by Representative Sam Killebrew (R-Winter Haven) that would prohibit discrimination in rental dwellings to people with a disability that requires an emotional support animal. The legislation would also prohibit a landlord from requiring the disabled person to pay extra compensation and authorizes the landlord to request certain written documentation. The bill has passed the House Civil Justice Subcommittee and awaits its next hearing in the House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee. The Senate companion - SB 1084– by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

    FAA has brought to our attention that this bill seems to be in violation of federal law. We are working with Representative Killebrew and stakeholders to receive clarity on this issue and will update FAA on any developments with this legislation.

    Important Upcoming Legislative Dates for the 2020 Regular Legislative Session

    ·       January 10, 2020                     All Member Bill Requests Deadline

    ·       January 14, 2020                     First Day of Session/Final Bill Filing Deadline

    ·       January 22, 2020                     Florida Tourism Day

    ·       March 13, 2020                       Last day of Regular Session


  • December 17, 2019 10:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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):

    VISIT FLORIDA

    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.

    Amusement Rides

    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.

    Prohibited Discrimination

    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.

    Entertainment Industry

    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.

    Beverage Law

    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.

    Nonservice Animals

    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.

    Shark Fins

    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 


  • December 04, 2019 11:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    ACTION ALERT: FAA Needs Your Help!

    "Tourism is all grown up now; it doesn't need Visit Florida's help to flourish...."
    - Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board November 27, 2019
     
    Orlando ranks among the largest tourism destinations in the world. Aside from cancelling your subscription, how do you respond to the hometown newspaper's assertion that VISIT FLORIDA is not needed? You let your Senator and Representative know you expect their support.

    As we all know, tourism is the largest industry in Florida with over 1 million employees and over $4 billion in sales tax revenue. Tourism is, and always has been, a powerful economic driver and promises to grow even stronger in the coming years.

    As a member of the Florida Attraction Association (FAA), WE NEED YOUR HELP NOW to promote and advance the interests of the attractions industry in Florida. One of these interests is, VISIT FLORIDA and as a partner, FAA supports fully funding VISIT FLORIDA and supports extending the "sunset" during the upcoming Legislative Session.

    VISIT FLORIDA was created by the Florida Legislature as a direct-support organization in 1996. In 2014, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that affected all direct-support organizations in the state, adding a paragraph to the laws governing all direct-support organizations (including VISIT FLORIDA's law) that automatically repeals each organization on a specific date unless it is "reviewed and saved from repeal" by the Florida Legislature. This is known as a "sunset provision." VISIT FLORIDA's is scheduled to "sunset" again on June 30, 2020.

    Ask Your Legislator to Co-Sponsor the VISIT FLORIDA Legislation!
     
    Representative Mel Ponder (R-Destin) filed HB 213 and Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) filed SB 362 to reauthorize VISIT FLORIDA until 2028, but HB 213 has not been placed on the agenda of the House Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee. It is critical that these bills be heard in all of the committees in both the House and the Senate in order for VISIT FLORIDA to have a chance to be reauthorized. 

    Unless BOTH of these bills are passed through their respective chambers, VISIT FLORIDA will cease to exist on June 30, 2020 and Florida's economic landscape will change forever.
     
    HERE'S HOW TO HELP
     
    Click on "Find Your Legislator" and enter your home address to find your State Senator and State Representative. Once you locate who represents you, PLEASE EMAIL them and ask them to CO-SPONSOR HB 213 if they are a member of the Florida House and SB 362 if they are a member of the Florida Senate. Explain how VISIT FLORIDA helps your facility and community and the overall tourism industry in Florida!
     
    Complete VISIT FLORIDA advocacy resources are available here. For any questions or help with finding your legislator, please contact Bill Lupfer at lupfer@floridaattractions.org.

  • November 18, 2019 4:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Activity in Tallahassee picked up during the past month as the Legislature convened for the second, third, fourth and fifth weeks of Interim Committee meetings. With only one week of interim committee meetings remaining before the 2020 Legislative Session begins on January 14, 2020, Liberty Partners continues to track legislation and advocate on behalf of the Florida Attractions Association (FAA).

    Please find Liberty Partners’ monthly report below detailing the work our firm has done on behalf of FAA:

    VISIT FLORIDA
    On October 15, VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young gave a presentation to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on the value of VISIT FLORIDA and the work the agency is doing worldwide. During her presentation, Young touted the $50 million match that VISIT FLORIDA receives through private donations and the benefit that small businesses receive through the tourism marketing agency. VISIT FLORIDA’s contribution to Florida’s $3.2 billion in annual tourism revenue, as well as the work that the agency does in the wake of natural disasters and crises were also highlighted. Liberty Partners was in attendance and provided a detailed summary to FAA upon completion.

    Legislation that would extend VISIT FLORIDA’s sunset provision from 2020 until 2028 has made significant progress in the Senate. SB 362 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor) unanimously passed the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on November 5. Senators praised the efforts of VISIT FLORIDA and President/CEO Dana Young. Committee members noted the positive impact of advertisement on tourism and the more than $2 return on investment for every dollar that is spent by the Legislature on VISIT FLORIDA. Senator Hooper highlighted that for every 81 visitors that come to Florida, a job is created. The bill received widespread support during the committee meeting, as more than 20 organizations testified in support of the legislation. Liberty Partners was in attendance and waived in support of the bill on behalf of FAA. Liberty Partners also provided a comprehensive update to FAA upon conclusion of the meeting. The House companion, HB 213, by Representative Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach) is awaiting its first hearing in the House Workforce Development and Tourism Subcommittee. Liberty Partners is currently working with FAA to secure co-sponsors for both the Senate and House legislation.

    Minimum Wage Constitutional Amendment
    A proposed constitutional amendment that would raise Florida’s minimum wage to $15/hour has received the required amount of signatures to appear on the 2020 General Election ballot in November. If passed by voters, Florida’s minimum wage would increase to $10/hour on September 30, 2021 and would increase by $1/hour each year until reaching $15/hour. The ballot language must now receive final approval by the Florida Supreme Court. Liberty Partners continues to track this constitutional amendment and the impact that it could have on FAA members. Liberty Partners will continue to provide updates on this proposal to FAA as the 2020 General Election approaches.

    IAAPA
    Liberty Partners will join FAA at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo taking place in Orlando, November 18-22. State Representatives Scott Plakon (RLongwood) and David Smith (R-Winter Springs) have confirmed that they will attend the FAA Networking Breakfast and will participate in an exhibit tour. Liberty Partners looks forward to discussing issues that are important to FAA members while at the conference and trade show.

    We will continue to monitor issues important to FAA and send regular updates. Please let us know if you have any questions.

    The Legislature’s remaining Interim Committee Meetings will be held Monday, December 9 – Friday, December 13, 2019.


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