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

  • March 31, 2021 5:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SB 2008 (TDT Expansion) Temporarily Postponed – Senate Committee Stands with Florida Tourism Industry

    On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Community Affairs temporarily postponed (TP’d) consideration of SB 2008.  This bill would expand the uses of Tourist Development Taxes for purposes other than tourism promotion.  TP’ing the bill demonstrates some hesitation by the committee to pass the bill and validates the advocacy work of our FAA members and our industry partners!  These Senators stood in support of our industry!

    Please take a moment to thank the Senators on the committee for choosing to not consider the bill this week.

    Sample email (please personalize)

    Dear Senator ________:

    Thank you for not hearing SB 2008 - Tourist and Convention Development Taxes in this week’s Senate Committee of Community Affairs.  Protecting TDT and CDT tax revenue for their intended purpose demonstrates principled leadership from your committee.  

    Florida’s leisure industry is working hard to restore Florida’s tourism economy.  Working together, we will restore our state to its preeminent position among the world’s tourism destinations.

    Sincerely,

    <your name>

    Senate Community Affairs Committee Members

    Chair, Jennifer Bradley - bradley.jennifer@flsenate.gov
    Vice Chair, Ileana Garcia - garcia.Ileana@flsenate.gov
    Senator Dennis Baxley - baxley.dennis@flsenate.gov
    Senator Jason Brodeur - brodeur.jason@flsenate.gov
    Senator Janet Cruz - cruz.janet@flsenate.gov
    Senator Ed Hooper - hooper.ed@flsenate.gov
    Senator Travis Hutson - hutson.travis@flsenate.gov
    Senator Tina Polsky - polsky.tina@flsenate.gov
    Senator Bobby Powell - powell.bobby@flsenate.gov



  • March 29, 2021 12:14 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the 2021 Legislative Session nearly halfway over, attention is beginning to turn to several key policy issues and crafting the FY 2021-22 state budget. To date, more than 3,000 bills have been filed, although many will not make it through the legislative process.

    The state’s spending plan for FY 2021-22 is on the forefront of everyone’s mind in the political process. The Senate has announced a $95 billion proposed budget that would fund programs related to the state’s child welfare system, education system and health care. The House proposal is more than $2 billion higher than the Senate’s, with the House proposing $97.1 billion in spending during the state’s next fiscal year. The proposed House budget focuses on education, environmental protection and affordable housing. The chambers must work together during the next month to negotiate a balanced budget that will be presented to Governor Ron DeSantis for final approval.

    On Friday, Governor DeSantis issued Executive Order 21-79, which lowers the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility age to 40 years beginning on Monday, March 29 and to 18 on Monday, April 5. Florida is making significant progress in the fight against the pandemic, as more Floridians are being vaccinated each day and tourists are beginning to travel to our state once again.

    Liberty Partners of Tallahassee President Jennifer Green joined FAA’s Board of Directors meeting virtually on Wednesday. Jennifer provided Board members with a legislative update and discussed the status of FAA’s legislative priorities. She also touched on the work that our firm has done on behalf of FAA in opposition to any legislation that redirects the allowable usage of tourist development tax dollars.

    Below is a summary of bills that have been filed that are of interest to the Florida Attractions Association (FAA):

    Tourist and Convention Development Taxes

    HB 1429 by Representative Bryan Avila (R-Miami) would revise provisions concerning voting procedures for & authorized uses of tourist development taxes (TDT) & convention development taxes (CDT). The bill passed its final stop in the House State Affairs Committee on Monday by a vote of 21-2, with Representatives Rick Roth (R-Palm Beach Gardens) and David Smith (R-Winter Springs) voting in opposition. During the committee meeting, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee President Jennifer Green addressed committee members on behalf of FAA and spoke in opposition of HB 1429. During her testimony, Jennifer highlighted the importance of preserving TDT dollars for tourism marketing & promotion. She also noted the value of these dollars to FAA members and that many attractions rely on this money to promote their respective facilities and our state. We are thankful that Representatives Roth & D. Smith understand the importance of the TDT and see the need for TDT dollars to fulfill their intended purpose. While flood mitigation is a laudable goal, now is not the time to expand the uses of TDT dollars.

    The Senate companion – SB 2008 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Community Affairs Committee on Tuesday. Our firm continues to advocate against the dangerous redirection of TDT & CDT dollars on behalf of FAA and its members. We have assisted FAA in drafting “call-to-actions” for their members and letters of opposition to send to their respective legislative delegations. We will continue to draft letters of opposition before each committee stop and send these letters to each committee member ahead of the meetings, urging the committee members to vote “no” on SB 2008. Additionally, our firm will speak on behalf of FAA in opposition to the expanded uses of TDT dollars during each committee hearing. Your effort to protect these dollars does not go unnoticed. To email your legislator and let them know how important the preservation of TDT dollars are to the state’s tourism industry, click here.

    Consumer Data Privacy

    HB 969 by Representative Fiona McFarland (R-Sarasota) would require businesses to provide notice to consumers about data collection & selling practices; provide consumers with the right to request data be disclosed, deleted, or corrected & to opt-in or opt-out of sale or sharing of such data; provide nondiscrimination measures, methods for requesting data & opting-in or opting-out of sale or sharing of such data, private cause of action, & enforcement. The House bill is awaiting its final hearing in the House Commerce Committee. The Senate companion – SB 1734 – by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) is awaiting its final hearing in the Senate Rules Committee.

    Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19

    SB 72 by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) would provide requirements for civil action based on COVID-19-related claim; provide that the plaintiff has burden of proof in such action and provide a statute of limitations. The legislation passed the House floor on Friday and awaits final consideration on the Senate floor.

    Sports Wagering

    HB 1317by Representative Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point) would authorize wagers on sports events; provide duties of Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering; authorize application to division for license to operate sports pool; require annual renewal of license; prohibit sports pools from being offered by anyone other

    than division or licensee; specify requirements for accepting wagers; authorize provision of benefits to induce wagering; require background checks for licensee employees; prohibit & require adoption of procedures to prevent certain persons from wagering; prohibit accepting wagers from certain persons; provide for distribution of unclaimed winnings; require deposit of certain penalties into DBPR's Pari-mutuel Wagering Trust Fund. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 392– by Senator Jeff Brandes is awaiting its first committee stop in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

    Alcoholic Beverage Licenses

    HB 329by Representative Josie Tomkow (R-Auburndale) would authorize food service establishments to sell or deliver alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption if requirements are met; revise provisions that authorize restaurant to allow patrons to remove partially consumed bottles of wine from restaurant for off-premises consumption; revise requirements for sale of alcoholic beverages by certain vendors. The bill has passed all of its committee references and awaits consideration on the House floor. The Senate companion – SB 134 – by Senator Jeff Brandes is still awaiting its first stop in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. A related bill – SB 148 – by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) has passed each of its committees and awaits a hearing on the Senate floor.

    Sales & Use Tax

    HB 15 by Representative Chuck Clemons (R-Jonesville) would revise conditions for certain dealers subject to sales tax; delete exemption for certain dealers from collecting local option surtaxes; provide certain marketplace providers are subject to registration, collection, & remittance requirements for sales

    taxes; require marketplace providers to provide certification to marketplace sellers; specify requirements for marketplace sellers; require marketplace providers to allow DOR to audit books & records; provide

    that marketplace seller is liable for sales tax collection & remittance; authorize marketplace providers & marketplace sellers to enter into agreements to recover certain taxes, interest, & penalties; grant DOR settlement & compromise authority for marketplace sales; remove authority of DOR to negotiate collection allowance with certain dealers. The House bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Commerce Committee on Monday, March 29. The Senate companion – SB 50 – by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) passed the Senate floor and is awaiting action in the House.

    Protecting Consumers Against Pandemic-related Fraud

    HB 9 by Representative Ardian Zika (R-Land O’Lakes) would define "personal protective equipment"; prohibit dissemination of false or misleading information relating to personal protective equipment with specified intent; prohibit dissemination of false or misleading vaccine information with specified intent; authorize state attorney or statewide prosecutor to prosecute violation; authorize AG to seek civil remedies. The bill has been passed by the full House and is awaiting action by the Senate. The Senate companion – SB 1608 – by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) awaits its final hearing in the Senate Rules Committee.

    Zoological and Aquarium Grant Program

    HB 1175 by Representative Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) would authorize DEO to establish grant program for support of zoos & aquariums located within state; provide eligibility requirements; authorizes

    use of grant funds for certain purposes; require DEO to adopt rules; provide that DEO has final grant approval authority. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 1312 by Senator Jennifer Bradley – awaits its second committee stop in the Senate Transportation, Tourism & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

    Technology Transparency

    HB 7013 by Representative Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) would create cause of action against social media platform for unlawful practices related to censoring deplatforming or shadow banning; specify instances when private cause of action may be brought; specify calculation of damages; specify powers of DLA related to investigations of social media platforms; provide requirements for public contracts & economic incentives related to entities who have been convicted or held civilly liable for antitrust violations; require DMS to maintain antitrust violator vendor list; provide procedural & legal rights for person to challenge placement on list; prohibit person on antitrust violator vendor list from receiving certain economic incentives; prohibit social media platforms from knowingly deplatforming candidate; specify fines. The House bill awaits its second hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate companion – SB 520 – by Senator Danny Burgess (R-Zephryhills) has yet to receive a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Cultural and Historical Programs

    HB 909 by Representative Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) would designate the Museum of Florida History as the official state history museum; rename the Division of Cultural Affairs as the Division of Arts & Culture; transfer certain responsibilities from Division of Cultural Affairs to Division of Historical

    Resources; revise provisions relating to Museum of Florida History museum store; provide for disposition of abandoned property. The bill unanimously passed the House State Affairs Committee this week and awaits consideration on the House floor. The Senate companion – SB 1404 – by Senator Ed Hooper is awaiting a final hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    Tourism Marketing Entities

    HB 675 by Representative Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando) would authorize the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation – VISIT FLORIDA - to carry forward unexpended state appropriations into succeeding fiscal years; abrogate the repeal of provisions establishing Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, direct-support organization of Enterprise Florida, Inc., & Division of Tourism Marketing within Enterprise Florida, Inc. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 778 – by Senator Ed Hooper is awaiting its final hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    Vacation Rentals

    HB 219 by Representative Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) would require advertising platforms to collect & remit specified taxes imposed for certain transactions; preempt regulation of vacation rentals to the state; prohibit a local law, ordinance, or regulation from allowing or requiring inspections or licensing of public lodging establishments, including vacation rentals, or public food service establishments and require licenses issued by Division of Hotels & Restaurants of DBPR to be displayed conspicuously to

    the public inside the licensed establishment. The House bill was temporarily postponed in the House Ways & Means Committee on March 22. The Senate companion – SB 522 – by Senator Manny Diaz is awaiting its final stop in the Senate Rules Committee.

    2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION SCHEDULE

    January 11 – January 15, 2021                               1st Interim Committee Week

    January 25 – January 29, 2021                               2nd Interim Committee Week

    February 1 – February 5, 2021                               3rd Interim Committee Week

    February 8 – February 12, 2021                             4th Interim Committee Week

    February 15 – February 19, 2021                           5th Interim Committee Week

    March 2, 2021                                                           Regular Session Convenes

    April 20, 2021                                                            Last Day for Regular Committee Meetings

    April 30, 2021                                                            Last Day of Regular Session 

    We will continue to monitor these issues for FAA members and provide regular updates.


  • March 26, 2021 5:54 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Updated Thursday, March 25, 2021

    Dangerous bills that would fundamentally affect the way counties can use the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) funds are quickly moving though the Florida Legislature this Session. HB1429 sponsored by Representative Bryan Avila (111 – Hialeah) and SB2008 sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz (36 – Hialeah Gardens) are companion bills. 

    The House Bill unanimously passed through its first two Committees. HB 1429 is on the Agenda for its final committee, the House State Affairs Committee next Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:30pm.

    Senate Bill 2008 will be heard in its first committee of reference, the Senate Committee on Community Affairs next Tuesday, March 30 at 3:30pm.

    These bills allow county governments to siphon funds collected through the TDT in your county intended for tourism promotion and use them for “flood mitigation.” Our focus isn’t on this specific expanded use, rather ANY use aside from tourism promotion and marketing weakens our state’s tourism marketing efforts. Tourist Development Taxes invested by Florida destinations result in billions of dollars in sales tax revenue generated by tourists affording a lower tax burden for Florida residents.


    *** CALL TO ACTION ***

    As our industry begins to rebound from the ravages of the pandemic, these bills imperil our ability to recover. Elected officials need to support our economic recovery, not disrupt it. Here is where we need your help!

    1.    Please contact YOUR REPRESENTATIVE and SENATOR. Tell them how the Tourist Development Tax in your county helps market your county destination and attractions. Share how you depend on the efforts of your Tourist Development Committee and/or CVB to bring visitors to your county, increasing your county’s tax base and generating additional TDT funds.

    2.    Please email all members of the House State Affairs Committee and ask them to VOTE NO on HB 1429. Download Committee Database Here.

    3.    Please email all members of the Senate Committee on Community Affairs and ask them to VOTE NO on SB 2008. Download Committee Database Here.


    Thank you for all you do for the FAA and our collective industry. Keep advocating for the protection of Florida tourism!


  • March 23, 2021 1:01 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The legislative process is in full swing in the State’s Capitol, as committees and subcommittees continue to consider policy and appropriation bills. As the Legislature enters the fourth week of the 2021 Legislative Session, the House and Senate will begin spending more time on their respective floors and both chambers will begin the process of crafting their preliminary budgets for FY 2021-22.

    In statewide news, Governor Ron DeSantis outlined his spending recommendations last week for Florida’s allocation of funds that are available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Governor DeSantis is recommending that the Legislature spend $1.4 billion in federal funding to fund environmental, economic development, educational, behavioral and infrastructure projects during the current fiscal year. Notably, the Governor is recommending that $50 million in federal stimulus funds be used to support VISIT FLORIDA. This investment would be in addition to the $50 million that Governor DeSantis has proposed in his FY 2020-21 budget and would bring the Governor’s total proposed allocation to VISIT FLORIDA to $100 million in FY 2020-21.

    Governor DeSantis also issued Executive Order 21-67 on Friday. This executive order lowers COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to all Floridians age 50 and above, beginning Monday, March 22.

    Below is a summary of bills that have been filed that are of interest to the Florida Attractions Association (FAA):

    Tourist and Convention Development Taxes

    HB 1429 by Representative Bryan Avila (R-Miami) would revise provisions concerning voting procedures for & authorized uses of tourist development taxes (TDT) & convention development taxes (CDT). The bill unanimously passed the House Ways & Means Committee on Monday and awaits its final stop in the House State Affairs Committee. The Senate companion – SB 2008 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) has not received a committee hearing. On behalf of FAA, we continue to advocate against the expanded uses of TDT & CDT dollars. Ahead of the committee meeting on Monday, we assisted FAA in drafting a “call to action” for all FAA members that urged them to contact House Ways & Means Committee members and ask them to vote “no” on HB 1429. We urge you to draft an email to your legislators, highlighting how the TDT in your county helps market your attraction and how you depend on these important dollars to bring visitors to your attraction. To find your district’s legislators and their email addresses, click here.

    Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19

    HB 7 by Representative Lawrence McClure (R-Plant City) would provide requirements for civil action based on COVID-19-related claim; provide that the plaintiff has burden of proof in such action and provide a statute of limitations. The bill has passed the House floor. The Senate companion – SB 72 – by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) passed the Senate floor by a vote of 24-15 on Thursday and is awaiting consideration on the House floor.

    Sports Wagering

    HB 1317 by Representative Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point) would authorize wagers on sports events; provide duties of Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering; authorize application to division for license to operate sports pool; require annual renewal of license; prohibit sports pools from being offered by anyone other than division or licensee; specify requirements for accepting wagers; authorize provision of benefits to induce wagering; require background checks for licensee employees; prohibit & require adoption of procedures to prevent certain persons from wagering; prohibit accepting wagers from certain persons; provide for distribution of unclaimed winnings; require deposit of certain penalties into DBPR's Pari-mutuel Wagering Trust Fund. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 392 – by Senator Jeff Brandes is awaiting its first committee stop in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

    Alcoholic Beverage Licenses

    HB 329 by Representative Josie Tomkow (R-Auburndale) would authorize food service establishments to sell or deliver alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption if requirements are met; revise provisions that authorize restaurant to allow patrons to remove partially consumed bottles of wine from restaurant for off-premises consumption; revise requirements for sale of alcoholic beverages by certain vendors. The bill unanimously passed the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday. The Senate companion – SB 134 – by Senator Jeff Brandes is still awaiting its first stop in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. A related bill – SB 148 – by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) is awaiting its final hearing in the Senate Rules Committee.

    Sales & Use Tax

    HB 15 by Representative Chuck Clemons (R-Jonesville) would revise conditions for certain dealers subject to sales tax; delete exemption for certain dealers from collecting local option surtaxes; provide certain marketplace providers are subject to registration, collection, & remittance requirements for sales

    taxes; require marketplace providers to provide certification to marketplace sellers; specify requirements for marketplace sellers; require marketplace providers to allow DOR to audit books & records; provide that marketplace seller is liable for sales tax collection & remittance; authorize marketplace providers & marketplace sellers to enter into agreements to recover certain taxes, interest, & penalties; grant DOR settlement & compromise authority for marketplace sales; remove authority of DOR to negotiate collection allowance with certain dealers. The House bill is awaiting its final committee stop in the House Commerce Committee. The Senate companion – SB 50 – by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor.

    Protecting Consumers Against Pandemic-related Fraud

    HB 9 by Representative Ardian Zika (R-Land O’Lakes) would define "personal protective equipment"; prohibit dissemination of false or misleading information relating to personal protective equipment with specified intent; prohibit dissemination of false or misleading vaccine information with specified intent; authorize state attorney or statewide prosecutor to prosecute violation; authorize AG to seek civil remedies. The bill has been passed by the full House and is waiting for action on the Senate bill. The Senate companion – SB 1608 – by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) unanimously passed the Senate Criminal Justice Committeeon Tuesday and awaits its final hearing in the Senate Rules Committee.

    Zoological and Aquarium Grant Program

    HB 1175 by Representative Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) would authorize DEO to establish grant program for support of zoos & aquariums located within state; provide eligibility requirements; authorizes use of grant funds for certain purposes; require DEO to adopt rules; provide that DEO has final grant approval authority. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 1312 by Senator Jennifer Bradley – unanimously passed the Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee on Monday, March 22.

    Technology Transparency

    HB 7013 by Representative Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) would create cause of action against social media platform for unlawful practices related to censoring deplatforming or shadow banning; specify instances when private cause of action may be brought; specify calculation of damages; specify powers of DLA related to investigations of social media platforms; provide requirements for public contracts & economic incentives related to entities who have been convicted or held civilly liable for antitrust violations; require DMS to maintain antitrust violator vendor list; provide procedural & legal rights for person to challenge placement on list; prohibit person on antitrust violator vendor list from receiving certain economic incentives; prohibit social media platforms from knowingly deplatforming candidate; specify fines. The bill passed the House Appropriations Committee by a vote of 19-8 on Monday. The Senate companion – SB 520 – by Senator Danny Burgess (R-Zephryhills) is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Cultural and Historical Programs

    HB 909 by Representative Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) would designate the Museum of Florida History as the official state history museum; rename the Division of Cultural Affairs as the Division of Arts & Culture; transfer certain responsibilities from Division of Cultural Affairs to Division of Historical Resources; revise provisions relating to Museum of Florida History museum store; provide for disposition of abandoned property. The bill unanimously passed the House Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday. The Senate companion – SB 1404 – by Senator Ed Hooper is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday, March 23.

    Tourism Marketing Entities

    HB 675 by Representative Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando) would authorize the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation – VISIT FLORIDA - to carry forward unexpended state appropriations into succeeding fiscal years; abrogate the repeal of provisions establishing Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, direct-support organization of Enterprise Florida, Inc., & Division of Tourism Marketing within Enterprise Florida, Inc. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 778 – by Senator Ed Hooper is awaiting its final hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    Vacation Rentals

    HB 219 by Representative Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) would require advertising platforms to collect & remit specified taxes imposed for certain transactions; preempt regulation of vacation rentals to the state; prohibit a local law, ordinance, or regulation from allowing or requiring inspections or licensing of public lodging establishments, including vacation rentals, or public food service establishments and require licenses issued by Division of Hotels & Restaurants of DBPR to be displayed conspicuously to the public inside the licensed establishment. The House bill was temporarily postponed in the House Ways & Means Committee on Monday, March 22. The Senate companion – SB 522 – by Senator Manny Diaz is awaiting its final stop in the Senate Rules Committee.


    2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION SCHEDULE

     

    January 11 – January 15, 2021                                1st Interim Committee Week

    January 25 – January 29, 2021                                2nd Interim Committee Week

    February 1 – February 5, 2021                                3rd Interim Committee Week

    February 8 – February 12, 2021                              4th Interim Committee Week

    February 15 – February 19, 2021                            5th Interim Committee Week

    March 2, 2021                                                            Regular Session Convenes

    April 20, 2021                                                            Last Day for Regular Committee Meetings

    April 30, 2021                                                            Last Day of Regular Session


  • March 22, 2021 7:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Risky bills that would fundamentally affect the way counties use the Tourist Development Tax (TDT) funds have been introduced this Session. HB1429 sponsored by Representative Bryan Avila (111 – Hialeah) and SB2008 sponsored by Senator Manny Diaz (36 – Hialeah Gardens) are companion bills. 

    The Senate Bill has three committees of reference and has not been considered yet.

    The House Bill unanimously passed the Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee last Monday. HB 1429 is on the agenda for the House Ways & Means Committee TODAY, Monday, March 22 at 12:30pm.

    The bill makes two fundamental changes to the Tourist Development Tax:

    1. Adds “flood mitigation projects and improvements” as permissible uses of the TDT. In effect, it allows county governments to siphon funds collected through the TDT in your county intended for tourism promotion and use them for “flood mitigation.”
    2. Requires that TDT Taxes and Convention Development Taxes (CDT – applies to Duval, Miami-Dade and Volusia Counties) be reauthorized by public referendum every five years.

    *** CALL TO ACTION ***

    Please contact YOUR REPRESENTAIVE and members of the House Ways and Means Committee . Tell them how the Tourist Development Tax in your county help market your county destination and attraction. Share how you depend on the efforts of your Tourist Development Committee and CVB to bring visitors to your county, increasing your county’s tax base and generating additional TDT funds.

    As our industry begins to rebound from the ravages of the pandemic, this bill imperils our ability to recover. Elected officials need to support our economic recovery, not disrupt it. Here is where we need your help!

    Please email all of the members of the House Ways and Means Committee and ask them to VOTE NO on HB 1429.

    Download Committee Database Here. 

    Thank you for all you do for the FAA and our collective industry. Keep advocating for the protection of Florida tourism!


  • March 15, 2021 12:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The legislative process was in full swing in Tallahassee this week, as legislators convened for the second week of the 2021 Legislative Session. Many bills continue to make their way through the committee process, while other bills have not made any movement. The Legislature has filed 2,995 bills so far this session, while 3,578 bills were filed during last year’s session.

    In statewide news, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that all individuals 60 years of age and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. He also announced that numerous counties will increase the number of vaccination sites that they have, while more Walgreens & CVS pharmacies across the state will also begin administering the vaccine.

    Several pieces of legislation that could impact the state’s tourism industry moved forward in the legislative process this week. Below is a summary of bills that have been filed that are of interest to the Florida Attractions Association (FAA):

    Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19
    HB 7 by Representative Lawrence McClure (R-Plant City) would provide requirements for civil action based on COVID-19-related claim; provide that the plaintiff has burden of proof in such action and provide a statute of limitations. The bill has passed the House floor. The Senate companion – SB 72 – by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) passed the Senate Rules Committee on Thursday and now moves to the Senate floor for consideration.

    Tourist And Convention Development Taxes
    HB 1429 by Representative Bryan Avila (R-Miami) would revise provisions concerning voting procedures for & authorized uses of tourist development taxes & convention development taxes. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Environment, Agriculture & Flooding Subcommittee on Monday. The Senate companion – SB 2008 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

    Vacation Rentals
    HB 219 by Representative Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) would require advertising platforms to collect & remit specified taxes imposed for certain transactions; preempt regulation of vacation rentals to the state; prohibit a local law, ordinance, or regulation from allowing or requiring inspections or licensing of public lodging establishments, including vacation rentals, or public food service establishments and require licenses issued by Division of Hotels & Restaurants of DBPR to be displayed conspicuously to the public inside the licensed establishment. The House bill is awaiting its second committee stop in the House Ways & Means Committee. The Senate companion – SB 522 – by Senator Manny Diaz passed the Senate Appropriations Committee by a vote of 13-5 on Thursday.

    Sports Wagering
    HB 1317 by Representative Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point) would authorize wagers on sports events; provide duties of Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering; authorize application to division for license to operate sports pool; require annual renewal of license; prohibit sports pools from being offered by anyone other than division or licensee; specify requirements for accepting wagers; authorize provision of benefits to induce wagering; require background checks for licensee employees; prohibit & require adoption of procedures to prevent certain persons from wagering; prohibit accepting wagers from certain persons; provide for distribution of unclaimed winnings; require deposit of certain penalties into DBPR's Pari-mutuel Wagering Trust Fund. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 392 – by Senator Jeff Brandes is awaiting its first committee stop in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

    Alcoholic Beverage Licenses
    HB 329 by Representative Josie Tomkow (R-Auburndale) would authorize food service establishments to sell or deliver alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption if requirements are met; revise provisions that authorize restaurant to allow patrons to remove partially consumed bottles of wine from restaurant for off-premises consumption; revise requirements for sale of alcoholic beverages by certain vendors. The bill is scheduled to be heard in the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday. The Senate companion – SB 134 – by Senator Jeff Brandes is awaiting its first stop in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. A related bill – SB 148 – by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) is awaiting its final hearing in the Senate Rules Committee.

    Sales & Use Tax
    HB 15 by Representative Chuck Clemons (R-Jonesville) would revise conditions for certain dealers subject to sales tax; delete exemption for certain dealers from collecting local option surtaxes; provide certain marketplace providers are subject to registration, collection, & remittance requirements for sales taxes; require marketplace providers to provide certification to marketplace sellers; specify requirements for marketplace sellers; require marketplace providers to allow DOR to audit books & records; provide that marketplace seller is liable for sales tax collection & remittance; authorize marketplace providers & marketplace sellers to enter into agreements to recover certain taxes, interest, & penalties; grant DOR settlement & compromise authority for marketplace sales; remove authority of DOR to negotiate collection allowance with certain dealers. The bill passed the House Ways & Means Committee by a vote of 16-2 on Thursday. The Senate companion – SB 50 – by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor.

    Protecting Consumers Against Pandemic-related Fraud
    HB 9 by Representative Ardian Zika (R-Land O’Lakes) would define "personal protective equipment"; prohibit dissemination of false or misleading information relating to personal protective equipment with specified intent; prohibit dissemination of false or misleading vaccine information with specified intent; authorize state attorney or statewide prosecutor to prosecute violation; authorize AG to seek civil remedies. The bill has been passed by the full House and is waiting for action on the Senate bill. The Senate companion – SB 1608 – by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Criminal Justice Committeeon Tuesday.

    Zoological and Aquarium Grant Program
    HB 1175 by Representative Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) would authorize DEO to establish grant program for support of zoos & aquariums located within state; provide eligibility requirements; authorizes use of grant funds for certain purposes; require DEO to adopt rules; provide that DEO has final grant approval authority. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 1312 by Senator Jennifer Bradley – is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee.

    Technology Transparency
    HB 7013 by Representative Blaise Ingoglia (R-Spring Hill) would create cause of action against social media platform for unlawful practices related to censoring deplatforming or shadow banning; specify instances when private cause of action may be brought; specify calculation of damages; specify powers of DLA related to investigations of social media platforms; provide requirements for public contracts & economic incentives related to entities who have been convicted or held civilly liable for antitrust violations; require DMS to maintain antitrust violator vendor list; provide procedural & legal rights for person to challenge placement on list; prohibit person on antitrust violator vendor list from receiving certain economic incentives; prohibit social media platforms from knowingly deplatforming candidate; specify fines. The bill is scheduled to heard in the House Appropriations Committee on Monday. The Senate companion – SB 520 – by Senator Danny Burgess (R-Zephryhills) is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

    Cultural and Historical Programs
    HB 909 by Representative Tyler Sirois (R-Merritt Island) would designate the Museum of Florida History as the official state history museum; rename the Division of Cultural Affairs as the Division of Arts & Culture; transfer certain responsibilities from Division of Cultural Affairs to Division of Historical Resources; revise provisions relating to Museum of Florida History museum store; provide for disposition of abandoned property. The bill is awaiting its second hearing in the House Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 1404 – by Senator Ed Hooper is awaiting its second hearing in the Senate Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee.

    Tourism Marketing Entities
    HB 675 by Representative Rene Plasencia (R-Orlando) would authorize the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation – VISIT FLORIDA - to carry forward unexpended state appropriations into succeeding fiscal years; abrogate the repeal of provisions establishing Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, direct-support organization of Enterprise Florida, Inc., & Division of Tourism Marketing within Enterprise Florida, Inc. The bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee. The Senate companion – SB 778 – by Senator Ed Hooper is awaiting its final hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION SCHEDULE

    January 11 – January 15, 2021                                1st Interim Committee Week

    January 25 – January 29, 2021                                2nd Interim Committee Week

    February 1 – February 5, 2021                                3rd Interim Committee Week

    February 8 – February 12, 2021                              4th Interim Committee Week

    February 15 – February 19, 2021                            5th Interim Committee Week

    March 2, 2021                                                            Regular Session Convenes

    April 20, 2021                                                            Last Day for Regular Committee Meetings

    April 30, 2021                                                            Last Day of Regular Session  


  • March 10, 2021 9:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our partners at Destinations Florida, our state’s county DMO association has published a new research study entitled Destination Promotion: Empowering Florida’s Growth.  The publication makes a conceiving case for public support of out state and county DMOS.  Click here  <link> to read or download the report – and feel free to share it with your Legislators, local public officials and tourism colleagues.  Special thanks to Destinations Florida for their work on this important report.

    Destination-Promotion-Empowering-Floridas-Growth-v1.pdf (fadmo.org)


  • March 06, 2021 8:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The 2021 Legislative Session officially kicked off on Tuesday, as lawmakers in the House and Senate convened in Tallahassee for opening day ceremonies. While the legislative process looks quite different than in previous years, House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater), Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) and Governor Ron DeSantis laid out their visions for the 60-day legislative session.

    During the House’s opening session on Tuesday, Speaker Sprowls focused on the importance of education, childhood literacy and expanding workforce education programs in the state. Health care is also a priority of the Speaker, as he looks to improve health outcomes in minority communities. Improvements to the state’s foster care and child welfare systems are also on Speaker Sprowls’ radar, as well as addressing environmental concerns such as sea level rise throughout the state’s communities.

    President Simpson spoke in detail about his goals for session during his speech to Senate colleagues. He began his address by thanking all health care workers, first responders and essential workers for their perseverance and determination during these unprecedented times. President Simpson is also concerned about the state’s economic health and shared that federal economic relief dollars will go toward road projects, water infrastructure and replenishing the state’s Unemployment Trust Fund. President Simpson will also look to tackle numerous policy issues during this year’s session, including COVID-19 liability protections, pension plans and child welfare. Increasing educational options for students in the K-12 education system is also important, as he discussed the need to expand and streamline the state’s scholarship programs, while also encouraging workforce education programs.

    To conclude Tuesday’s ceremonies, Governor Ron DeSantis presented his State of the State address to members of the House and Senate. In the weeks ahead, the Governor will be focused on keeping Florida’s schools and businesses open, protecting businesses from frivolous litigation, and maintaining Florida’s fiscal health. Governor DeSantis also noted that the state’s revenues are currently exceeding previous forecasts and that tourism revenues are expected to increase in the coming months. He will also look to bolster Florida’s reputation as an educational leader. Through increased school choice options, vocational training opportunities and course certifications, the Governor is optimistic that Florida will be able to meet future workforce needs.

    Water quality and natural resource preservation are also high on Governor DeSantis’ priority list. During his speech, he encouraged legislators to fund environmental projects such as Resilient Florida. Resilient Florida is a $1 billion investment that would help communities prepare for flooding and other environmental threats that stem from sea level rise and natural disasters.

    To conclude his State of the State, Governor DeSantis reiterated his support for law enforcement and highlighted legislation that seeks to crack down on rioting and violent protests. He also voiced the need for large technology companies to be held accountable when de-platforming or censoring users.

    While Tuesday’s activities were mainly ceremonial, several committees in the House and Senate met throughout the week and advanced impactful legislation. Following is a quick summary of bills that have been filed that are of interest to the Florida Attractions Association (FAA):

    Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19
    HB 7 by Representative Lawrence McClure (R-Plant City) would provide requirements for civil action based on COVID-19-related claim; provide that the plaintiff has burden of proof in such action and provide a statute of limitations. The bill passed the House floor on Friday, March 5. The Senate companion – SB 72 – by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) is awaiting its final committee hearing in the Senate Rules Committee.

    Tourist And Convention Development Taxes
    HB 1429 by Representative Bryan Avila (R-Miami) would revise provisions concerning voting procedures for & authorized uses of tourist development taxes & convention development taxes. The House bill has not been referred to any committees. The Senate companion – SB 2008 – by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) is awaiting its first hearing in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

    Vacation Rentals
    HB 219 by Representative Jason Fischer (R-Jacksonville) would require advertising platforms to collect & remit specified taxes imposed for certain transactions; preempt regulation of vacation rentals to the state; prohibit a local law, ordinance, or regulation from allowing or requiring inspections or licensing of public lodging establishments, including vacation rentals, or public food service establishments and require licenses issued by Division of Hotels & Restaurants of DBPR to be displayed conspicuously to the public inside the licensed establishment. The House bill is awaiting its second committee stop in the House Ways & Means Committee. The Senate companion – SB 522 – by Senator Manny Diaz is awaiting its second committee stop in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    Sports Wagering
    HB 1317 by Representative Chip LaMarca (R-Lighthouse Point) would authorize wagers on sports events; provide duties of Division of Pari-mutuel Wagering; authorize application to division for license to operate sports pool; require annual renewal of license; prohibit sports pools from being offered by anyone other than division or licensee; specify requirements for accepting wagers; authorize provision of benefits to induce wagering; require background checks for licensee employees; prohibit & require adoption of procedures to prevent certain persons from wagering; prohibit accepting wagers from certain persons; provide for distribution of unclaimed winnings; require deposit of certain penalties into DBPR's Pari-mutuel Wagering Trust Fund. The bill has not received any committee references. The Senate companion – SB 392 – by Senator Jeff Brandes is awaiting its first committee stop in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee.

    Alcoholic Beverage Licenses
    HB 329 by Representative Josie Tomkow (R-Auburndale) would authorize food service establishments to sell or deliver alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption if requirements are met; revise provisions that authorize restaurant to allow patrons to remove partially consumed bottles of wine from restaurant for off-premises consumption; revise requirements for sale of alcoholic beverages by certain vendors. The House bill is awaiting its final committee stop in the House Commerce Committee. The Senate companion – SB 134 – by Senator Jeff Brandes is awaiting its first stop in the Senate Regulated Industries Committee. A related bill – SB 148 – by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Orange Park) is awaiting its second hearing in the Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee.

    Sales & Use Tax
    HB 15 by Representative Chuck Clemons (R-Jonesville) would revise conditions for certain dealers subject to sales tax; delete exemption for certain dealers from collecting local option surtaxes; provide certain marketplace providers are subject to registration, collection, & remittance requirements for sales taxes; require marketplace providers to provide certification to marketplace sellers; specify requirements for marketplace sellers; require marketplace providers to allow DOR to audit books & records; provide that marketplace seller is liable for sales tax collection & remittance; authorize marketplace providers & marketplace sellers to enter into agreements to recover certain taxes, interest, & penalties; grant DOR settlement & compromise authority for marketplace sales; remove authority of DOR to negotiate collection allowance with certain dealers. The House bill is awaiting its first hearing in the House Ways & Means Committee. The Senate companion – SB 50 – by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) has passed all committee references and heads to the Senate floor for consideration.

    Protecting Consumers Against Pandemic-related Fraud
    HB 9 by Representative Ardian Zika (R-Land O’Lakes) would define "personal protective equipment"; prohibit dissemination of false or misleading information relating to personal protective equipment with specified intent; prohibit dissemination of false or misleading vaccine information with specified intent; authorize state attorney or statewide prosecutor to prosecute violation; authorize AG to seek civil remedies. The bill has been passed by the full House and is waiting for action on the Senate bill. The Senate companion – SB 1608 – by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) is awaiting its first committee hearing in the Senate Criminal Justice Committee.


    2021 LEGISLATIVE SESSION SCHEDULE

    January 11 – January 15, 2021 1st Interim Committee Week

    January 25 – January 29, 2021 2nd Interim Committee Week

    February 1 – February 5, 2021 3rd Interim Committee Week

    February 8 – February 12, 2021 4th Interim Committee Week

    February 15 – February 19, 2021 5th Interim Committee Week

    March 2, 2021 Regular Session Convenes

    April 20, 2021 Last Day for Regular Committee Meetings

    April 30, 2021 Last Day of Regular Session


  • December 01, 2020 2:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Tuesday, November 17, lawmakers gathered in Tallahassee for the 2020 Organization Session. During the ceremonies, Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) and House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater) were formally elected by their respective bodies and assumed their leadership positions for the 2020-22 Legislative Term. Senate President Pro Tempore Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach), House Speaker Pro Tempore Bryan Avila (R-Hialeah), Senate Minority Leader Gary Farmer (D-Ft. Lauderdale), Senate Minority Leader Pro Tempore Bobby Powell (D-West Palm Beach), House Majority Whip Michael Grant (R-Port Charlotte) and House Minority Leaders Evan Jenne (D-Dania Beach) and Bobby DuBose (D-Ft. Lauderdale) were also formally elected as legislative officers for the 2020-22 Legislative Term.

    Newly-elected and reelected legislators were sworn in during Organization Session, with Governor Ron DeSantis and members of the Florida Cabinet present. The 2020 Organization Session protocols were significantly modified this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a precautionary measure, only current legislators were allowed to be on the floor during Organization Session. According to the Senate's Organization Session Protocols, only newly-elected Senators were allowed to bring one guest or a spouse into the chamber and each Senator and guest were required to take a COVID-19 rapid test and have a negative result before entering the chamber. The Senate gallery was closed to visitors, as friends, families and those involved in the political process watched virtually. In addition to testing negative for COVID-19, each Senator and guest were required to have their temperatures checked before entering the chamber.

    The House followed similar protocols, with each Representative – newly-elected or an incumbent – allowed to bring one guest to watch the ceremony from the House gallery. Each Representative and their guest were also required to test negative for COVID-19 and pass a temperature check before entering the chamber or gallery. In addition to this measure, Representatives on the House floor were required to wear a mask during the day’s events.

    Although COVID-19 is on the forefront of Floridians’ minds, President Simpson and Speaker Sprowls were able to share a vision for Florida’s future in their acceptance speeches. Speaker Sprowls covered many issues during his acceptance speech, including the connection between water quality and the quality of human life. Child welfare was also a theme of his acceptance speech, as he spoke about the importance of creating support systems for children in foster care and employing quality caseworkers. Speaker Sprowls also spoke at length concerning closing the achievement gaps in the education sector and implementing accountability measures in the education system. It is his hope that by increasing literacy rates among children and getting parents involved in their children’s education, students in our state’s school system will be able to meet employment demands in the future.

    The scope of President Simpson’s acceptance speech was much narrower, focusing on the economic impacts of COVID-19 and the need for a structural change to the state’s yearly budget. President Simpson noted that while budget reductions must take place in some areas, investments in water quality, child welfare and infrastructure are needed. He also called on all Senators to examine past legislative priorities and determine which programs have not been successful.

    In addition to the swearing in of officers and elected officials, the House and Senate passed their respective rules, as well as the Joint Rules Resolution. Senators and Representatives will now remain in their districts before reconvening in Tallahassee during the week of January 11 for the first Interim Committee Week.


    Provided by Liberty Partners of Tallahassee

  • May 11, 2020 2:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Liberty Partners would like to wish all mothers a Happy Mother's Day. We hope that you spend this time with family and friends and enjoy your time together.

    Floridians' attention was on the state returning to a sense of normalcy this week, as Phase 1 of Governor Ron DeSantis' Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery began on Monday. Restaurants, retail establishments and small businesses are breathing a sigh of relief, as it appears the first week of 25% capacity was a success. Florida's healthcare industry also fared well this week, as a decline in new COVID-19 cases was seen, while hospitalization and fatality rates remained steady. Palm Beach County will enter Phase 1 on May 11, while Miami-Dade and Broward counties have their eyes on reopening in the near future. Local leaders from these counties will look to craft reopening recommendations that can be submitted to Governor DeSantis for final approval in the coming weeks.

    The Governor also announced two executive orders this week in response to COVID-19. These executive orders ensure the safety of all Floridians while allowing hardworking individuals to return to work.

    While hotels, motels and various lodging establishments have stayed open through the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing has remained constant - vacation rentals continue to be prohibited. Questions surrounding the ban on vacation rentals persist as these short-term rental properties pose a much lower risk of spreading the virus than hotels and motels. By using a short-term vacation rental, common areas such as a lobby or concierge desk are eliminated, therefore creating a safe and protected environment. As we move forward in the reopening process, the Expedia Group and vacation rental owners statewide urge the Governor to lift these unfair restrictions.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, firefighters and first responders involved in the devastating wildfires in Santa Rosa and Walton counties. While property and homes can be replaced, the utmost priority is ensuring that lives are protected. Our neighbors in the Panhandle are resilient and we know that these communities will come back stronger than ever before.

    Read below to catch up on all of the key developments, events and client actions that took place across the state this week.


    AMOUNT OF NEW COVID-19 CASES DECREASE AS STATE BEGINS TO REOPEN

    With a total of 40,596 positive COVID-19 cases in Florida to date, the percentage of new cases continues to decrease, even as testing is extensively expanded across the state. While last week saw 4,550 new cases reported, 4,518 new cases were reported this week. The percentage of individuals hospitalized or dying due to the virus held steady, with hospitalization rates of 18% and death rates of 4%. Drive-thru and walk-up sites around the state are administering a high volume of tests with Florida having tested approximately 2.5% of the state's population. These testing methods - combined with antibody and serological testing - ensure that Florida is a leader in pandemic response and recovery.

    While 64 Florida counties reopened for business this week, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties maintain a slower, methodical approach. With nearly 60% of statewide COVID-19 cases clustered in this region, county leaders look to outline reopening recommendations and present these recommendations to Governor DeSantis within the coming weeks. As previously mentioned, Palm Beach County has submitted recommendations to the Governor and will begin Phase 1 of recovery on May 11.

    As beaches, parks, stores and restaurants reopen throughout the state, a key point of focus will be on the COVID-19 positivity rate trends. If the positivity rates continue to decrease, Florida will be in a good position to begin Phase 2 of the Governor's recovery plan. It is anticipated that if trends remain the same or continue to improve, the state is on track to enter Phase 2 by the middle of May.

    To read more statistics and receive frequent updates, visit the Florida Department of Health's COVID-19 Data and Surveillance Dashboard.

    Click the links below to learn more and remember that you are #SaferAtHome.


    VACATION RENTAL GIANT VRBO URGES GOVERNOR TO OPEN VACATION RENTALS

    Vacation rentals in Florida are "short term rentals" meaning they are rental under 6 months. These include houses, duplexes and condos and are largely single-family homes. Since the beginning of Florida's near "lockdown" due to the rise of COVID-19, vacation rentals have been banned for use in the state. In essence, these type of short-term rentals are the only type of public lodging establishment with limitations on occupancy.

    Why hotels and motels were not also included in Governor DeSantis' Executive Order banning vacation rentals, is curious because unlike hotels, these properties have no common areas for guests to congregate in groups of more than 10 like lobbies and elevator waiting areas. More importantly, short term rentals typically have their own kitchens - which would be a much more controlled environment than a hotel. What is the difference between 10 people staying in a vacation home versus 10 people staying in five rooms at a hotel?

    In a post-COVID-19 environment, short term rentals are going to be incredibly important for travelers. Guests want to be safe and would more likely want to be in a private property that can be completely controlled as to who can access, eat in it, etc. Vacation rentals are already licensed by the state of Florida and have inspection and sanitation standards. There is no reason that sanitation standards for all lodging establishments can't continue to be enforced and additional CDC guidelines or standards can be provided to all vacation rental licensees to display for consumers.

    Short term rentals are vital in areas like the panhandle. Many owners of vacation homes use them as rentals for additional income and are desperate for income as they have lost jobs themselves or seen their housekeepers, managers and handymen lose their ability to make a living as well. As Florida heads towards the 2020 Memorial Day Weekend, many supporters of vacation rentals like Rep. Jayer Williamson are urging Governor DeSantis to reconsider his ban on vacation rentals and allow property owners to rent their properties on or before the May 25, 2020 holiday (to read coverage on Rep. Williamson's letter to Governor DeSantis.).

      

    GOVERNOR DESANTIS ISSUES TWO MORE EXECUTIVE ORDERS

    Governor DeSantis issued two executive orders related to COVID-19 this week. Executive Order #2020-114 extends Executive Order #2020-52 which declared a State of Emergency for the entire state due to COVID-19. Originally issued on March 9, Executive Order #2020-52 was set to expire or be extended by Governor DeSantis within 60 days, with the Governor choosing the latter. Executive Order #2020-114 will remain in effect for 60 days, unless amended by the Governor.

    Issued by the Governor on Saturday, Executive Order #2020-120 expands Phase 1 of his Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery. Under the Executive Order, Palm Beach County will be allowed to enter Phase 1 of recovery and begin to reopen their economy on Monday, May 11. Additionally, the Executive Order authorizes barbershops, cosmetology salons and cosmetology specialty salons to resume services on Monday, May 11, as long as they adopt social distancing and safety measures outlined by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation. The decision to reopen salons and barbershops comes on the heels of many business leaders urging the Governor to take action on this issue.

      

    VRBO LAYS OUT NEW VACATION RENTA SANITATION GUIDELINES

    In a Friday press releaseVrbo announced new measures the vacation rental company is taking to ensure guests feel comfortable when it is time to rent a vacation destination. Upon working with government officials, travel experts and health professionals, Vrbo announced new cleaning and disinfection guidelines. These guidelines combine information from the CDC, WHO and Cristal International Standards to inform rental owners and property managers of sanitation measures they should take in between guest stays. Homeowners will be able to report if the rental has been cleaned with the disinfectant, if guests can have non-contact check ins and check outs and if the property has a 24-hour unavailability period between renters.

    Vrbo is also introducing flexible cancellation search filters that will allow guests to have access to flexible cancellation policies when booking a vacation rental. Families can use search filters to find properties that offer full refunds upon cancellation by a certain date, while Vrbo will also highlight listings that have the most relaxed cancellation policies.

    Finally, the company will give travelers suggestions for vacation rentals within driving distance by providing drivable destination locations to users within the Vrbo app. For more information on Vrbo's drivable vacation rental destinations, click here.

    Owned by the Expedia Group, Vrbo is taking a proactive approach to reopening vacation rentals in the state and the team at Liberty Partners is thankful to represent Expedia Group and their companies Vrbo and HomeAway.

      

    FLORIDA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE CONTINUES EXTENSIVE UPDATES AMID COVID-19

    The Florida Chamber of Commerce - a Liberty Partners client - has been providing key resources and updates during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the Chamber's daily membership update this week, President and CEO Mark Wilson highlighted the gradual reopening of Florida's economy and measures that must be taken to ensure Florida does not experience a second wave of the virus. Members of the Florida Chamber are also encouraged to take a brief survey that will help guide the Chamber as the economy begins to restart. The daily updates provide a list of scheduled events that keep members and local chapters aware of upcoming meetings and webinars, as well as federal recovery program updates. The Chamber reminds Floridians to follow facts, not fear during this pandemic. We are grateful for the work that is being done by the Chamber during these uncertain times and continue to assist them in any way possible.

       

    FAA DEVELOPS BEST PRACTICES FOR REOPENING ATTRACTIONS

    On the heels of Governor DeSantis announcing his Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery, the Florida Attractions Association (FAA) has released an update for Reopening Florida's Attractions. FAA has crafted Best Practice Considerations that lay a foundation for reopening attractions in the state. With a primary focus on safety, the considerations provide an industry-wide framework that requires each attraction to adopt and adhere to CDC and OSHA guidelines, as well as social distancing guidelines that are required during the various statewide reopening phases. While opening public museums is a commendable start, FAA would like to see Florida's attractions reopened under an amended Phase 1 of the Governor's plan or under the upcoming Phase 2. 

    In addition to these efforts, FAA encourages their members to reach out to their respective state legislators to advocate for attractions across the state and urge the Governor to take action to reopen these attractions. Once the Governor decides to allow these attractions to reopen, each member of FAA will make an educated decision on how and when to reopen. With Florida's world-class attractions being a major driver of the state's tremendous tourism industry, it is imperative that attractions in the state have clear, concise operation guidelines. We are proud to represent FAA and look forward to the Governor giving industry guidance in the near future.

Strategic Partners


        










 

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