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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

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  • October 15, 2019 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With the first Interim Committee meetings being held September 16-20, we had an eventful month in Tallahassee. With legislators scheduled to hold committee meetings for two weeks during October, the legislative process will continue to ramp up in the months ahead of the 2020 Legislative Session, which begins on January 14, 2020.

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

    Legislation has been filed that seeks to extend VISIT FLORIDA’s sunset provision an additional eight years. HB 213 by Representative Mel Ponder (R-Fort Walton Beach) and has filed the Senate companion, SB 362 filed by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor). Both bills are currently awaiting committee references and are being closely monitored by our team.

    On September 18, Liberty Partners attended the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee meeting where Ken Lawson, Executive Director of the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) presented DEO’s 2020-21 Legislative Budget Request. The agency requested that VISIT FLORIDA continue being funded at $50 million through fiscal year 2020-21.

    On October 8, Liberty Partners President Jennifer Green met with VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young to discuss issues related to tourism ahead of the upcoming committee weeks and session. This meeting comes at a key time before Young’s presentation to the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on October 15. Liberty Partners will be in attendance during the presentation and will send an update to FAA at the conclusion of the meeting.

    Governor DeSantis signaled his support to continue funding VISIT FLORIDA at its current level of $50 million through the scheduled 2020 sunset and applauded the marketing agency’s influence on the state’s

    strong tourism numbers. DeSantis would like to find a long-term solution to VISIT FLORIDA’s uncertain status moving forward and has urged lawmakers to make a final decision on the agency’s fate, rather than being faced with the same issue year-after-year. It is anticipated that the Governor will release his budget on December 15, 2019. Liberty Partners sent FAA press releases and news articles surrounding this development and included the articles in our firm’s weekly newsletter.

    FAA Legislative Committee
    The FAA Legislative Committee and Liberty Partners held their first conference call on Thursday, October 3. During the call, several issues pertaining to the structure and mission of this committee were addressed. The goal of the Legislative Committee is to connect FAA members with their local legislators and encourage engagement on bills that require action. The main goals of member engagement with legislators should be setting up legislative visits and building local relationships in the member’s district.

    The FAA Legislative Committee should also consider which issues are likely to pass during the 2020 session and the members of the committee should let you know of any relationships or interests that they have with legislators. Sal Dickinson was appointed to serve as Chairman of the committee and all legislative issues will go through the association to your attention. This committee is in no way connected to the FAA PAC. Liberty Partners looks forward to assisting FAA members in setting up visits with their legislators and arranging candidate meetings ahead of the 2020 election.

    Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism

    The Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism that was scheduled for September 3-6, 2019 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club was cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian. This year’s conference will not be rescheduled.

    Legislative Visits
    As previously discussed, it is imperative that FAA members become involved in the legislative process and engage with legislators in their district. To assist in this process, Liberty Partners continues to work on scheduling legislative visits at FAA member attractions. Liberty Partners has an educational event scheduled on October 18 at Fun Spot in Orlando, with a member of the Florida Legislature scheduled to attend. We would like to turn this event into an FAA legislative visit and have Fun Spot management and staff meet and interact with the legislator. We will provide more information on this as we continue to finalize the plans.

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

    The remaining committee meeting weeks will be held on the following dates:

    • Monday, October 14 – Friday, October 18, 2019
    • Monday, October 21 – Friday, October 25, 2019
    • Monday, November 4 – Friday, November 8, 2019
    • Tuesday, November 12 – Friday, November 15, 2019
    • Monday, December 9 – Friday, December 13, 2019

  • September 06, 2019 9:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With summer having ended and the 2020 Legislative Session quickly approaching, the months leading up to the start of session on January 14, 2020, will include legislators coming to Tallahassee to hold Interim Committee meetings. These committee meeting weeks will be held on the following dates:

    • Monday, September 16 – Friday, September 20, 2019
    • Monday, October 14 – Friday, October 18, 2019
    • Monday, October 21 – Friday, October 25, 2019
    • Monday, November 4 – Friday, November 8, 2019
    • Tuesday, November 12 – Friday, November 15, 2019
    • Monday, December 9 – Friday, December 13, 2019

    Below you will find an update on key developments that are taking place throughout the state this summer that will potentially impact Florida’s tourism industry.

    Minimum Wage Increase
    In an attempt to raise Florida’s minimum wage, Florida attorney John Morgan has begun the process to put a proposed Constitutional Amendment before voters on the November 2020 ballot. If passed, the proposal would gradually raise the statewide minimum wage from its current $8.46/hour to $15/hour. Under the proposal, the minimum wage would increase to $10/hour on September 30, 2021 and would increase by $1/hour in each subsequent year until reaching $15/hour.

    The ballot measure, “Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage” would have a negative financial impact as local and state costs would increase in order to comply with the minimum wage. The proposal has gained traction throughout the state, with Morgan contributing almost $1.075 million to the effort last month alone. However, there are still hurdles that must be cleared before the amendment can appear before voters. The initiative has currently received and verified 665,369 of the 766,200 petition signatures required by February 1, 2020. The Florida Supreme Court must also approve the ballot language before the amendment can move forward. Please see the screen shots of the amendment status below. Liberty Partners continues to monitor this potential amendment and its impact on the state’s tourism industry.

    Ballot Title: Raising Florida’s Minimum Wage

    Ballot Summary:
    Raises minimum wage to $10.00 per hour effective September 30th, 2021. Each September 30th thereafter, minimum wage shall increase by $1.00 per hour until the minimum wage reaches $15.00 per hour on September 30th, 2026. From that point forward, future minimum wage increases shall revert to being adjusted annually for inflation starting September 30th, 2027.

    Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism
    Due to Hurricane Dorian that was expected to hit the east coast of Florida, the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism that was scheduled September 3-6, 2019 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club was cancelled and will be rescheduled for a later date. Once rescheduled it will give state officials, professionals from Florida’s tourism industry and other interested stakeholders the opportunity to be educated on issues and trends currently facing the tourism industry.

    VISIT FLORIDA’s Eco-Friendly Travel Hub
    Governor Ron DeSantis has shown that he is committed to preserving Florida's natural environment. In a mid-August announcement, the Governor introduced VISIT FLORIDA's newest feature, an eco-friendly travel hub. Tourists and locals can access the hub and view a variety of green options available to them such as eco-friendly travel, lodging, dining and attractions. A unique component of the hub is the inclusion of a "voluntourism" resource which will help connect tourists with volunteer opportunities while on vacation. VISIT FLORIDA is working to ensure that Florida remains a sustainable, environmentally-friendly destination for everyone by providing these options and tips.

    Tourism Numbers
    Florida is continuing its trend of breaking state tourism records. From January through June of 2019, an estimated 68.9 million visitors came to Florida which was a significant increase from the 66.28 million tourists that came during the same period in 2018. This growth in numbers predict that the state is on pace to break its 2018 record of 126.98 million visitors throughout the year.

    Legislative Update
    Recently, FAA President Matt Johnson and the Board voted to create a new Legislative Committee to assist with the legislative and regulatory priorities of the association. Liberty Partners is excited about the creation of this committee and looks forward to working with the members to bring more awareness and support to these important issues.

    As discussed, with the lack of enthusiasm from FAA members regarding the VISIT FLORIDA issue, it is imperative that attractions are made more aware of the many other issues FAA could be focusing on and have been successful with over the past few years.

    To work on this awareness among FAA members, Liberty Partners is continuing to assist with scheduling legislative visits at member attractions. In October, Liberty Partners has two educational events scheduled, one in Jacksonville and one in Orlando where a member of the Florida Legislature is expected to attend. We would like to combine these events with an FAA legislative visit and have the hosting attraction management and staff interact and speak with the legislator. We will provide more information on this as we continue to finalize the plans.

  • April 30, 2019 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Last night, Senate President Galvano and House Speaker Oliva negotiated a compromise which will extend VISIT FLORIDA's sunset 9 months, until June 30, 2020 and fund our state marketing agency with $50 million next fiscal year, a 33% reduction from funding levels the past couple of years.  While this outcome is less than ideal, it will provide our industry time to reflect on the Legislature's misunderstandings of tourism marketing and develop a strategy for the future.  No doubt, this issue will be another significant one for the FAA in next year's Legislative Session.

    Considering the House's firm position to allow VISIT FLORIDA to sunset on October 1, 2019 and the Senate's position to reduce VISIT FLORIDA funding, this compromise was probably the best we could have hoped for.  Governor DeSantis' intervention on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA was the catalyst that drove the compromise and he deserves recognition for expressing his support.

    The tremendous efforts of your grassroots outreach to the Legislature, the diligent work of the FAA's lobby team of Liberty Partners of Tallahassee and the lobby teams of our industry partners, and the tireless determination of VISIT FLORIDAs CEO, Dana Young were all vital factors in saving VISIT FLORIDA.


    Thank you for your support and outreach to your elected officials.  With the 2020 Legislative Session beginning in January, committee weeks will begin in early fall. 

  • April 24, 2019 1:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dear FAA Member,

    I suspect you’re probably tired of receiving “Save VISIT FLORIDA” emails from the FAA. Quite likely, this one will be the last one you will ever receive.

    Last night, the Florida Senate “caved” to the Florida House’s position and without intervention from Governor DeSantis, it appears that VISIT FLORIDA will sunset on October 1, 2019.

    Our final effort is to ask our Governor to intercede in the budget negotiations on behalf of VISIT FLORIDA.  Time is of the essence and every hour moves us closer to the end of our state’s unified tourism marketing office.  Please call the Governor’s Office now – (850) 717-9337 or email from this page  Ask him to step in to support VISIT FLORIDA and briefly share why VISIT FLORIDA is important to your business, your employees, and your community. 

    Share this email with others – your employees, your industry colleagues, any Florida resident whose life and livelihood is touched by Florida tourism in a positive way. 

    Additional resources are available here.

    Thank you,


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