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Weekly Legislative Update from April 25, 2014

Video – Week 8 update

LEGAL & JUDICIAL

SB 470 – relating to Malt Beverage Tastings
On Tuesday, April 22nd, SB 470, relating to Malt Beverage Tastings, by Senator Nancy Detert (R-Venice)unanimously passed the Senate Committee on AppropriationsAIF Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of the bill during the committee. The bill now heads to the Senate Committee on Rules.

The bill repeals the prohibition against beer tastings and creates conditions under which the tastings could be held. More specifically, the bill allows malt beverage tastings on premises of any vendor authorized to sell alcoholic beverages by the drink for consumption on premises or the premises of any vendor authorized to sell alcoholic beverages only in sealed containers for consumption off premises if it has at least 10,000 square feet or is a licensed package store. Current law permits only wine and liquor distributors and vendors to conduct wine and liquor tastings at licensed premises that are authorized to sell such beverages.

AIF supports this legislation because it creates a level playing field here in the state for beer manufacturers.

HB 685 – relating to Business Organizations
On Wednesday, April 23rd, HB 685, relating to Business Organizations, by Representative Patrick Rooney, Jr. (R-Palm Beach Gardens) and Representative Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne) unanimously passed the House chamber. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The bill amends the Florida Business Corporation Act to allow for the creation of two new forms of corporate enterprise: the social purpose corporation and the benefit corporation. These new entities will allow businesses to engage in societal benefit programs that may not involve or satisfy the traditional corporate norm of profit maximization. The new forms of corporation are similar, the primary difference being that a social purpose corporation has a specified social purpose or purposes designated in advance, whereas a benefit corporation is to create a general public benefit in a manner selected by management and assessed by a third-party standard.

AIF supports this legislation that will attract new businesses and entrepreneurs to the state of Florida. 

SB 670 – relating to Nursing Home Litigation
On Wednesday, April 23rd, SB 670, relating to Nursing Home Litigation, by Senator John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) passed the House chamber by a 109-7 vote. The bill now heads to the Governor for consideration.

This bill provides that the statutory cause of action is the exclusive remedy against a nursing home licensee, its management or consulting company, managing employees, and direct caregivers alleging direct or vicarious liability for the recovery of damages for the personal injury or death of a nursing home resident arising out of negligence or a violation of a resident’s statutory rights.

AIF supports the streamlining of litigation in order to preserve the growth of the nursing home industry while protecting our vulnerable elderly.

TAXATION

SB 898 – relating to Communications Services Tax
On Tuesday, April 22nd, SB 898, relating to Communications Services Tax, by Senator Joseph Abruzzo (D-Wellington) unanimously passed the Senate Committee on AppropriationsAIF Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of the bill during the committee. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

This bill, brought to the attention of the legislature by the hotel and lodging industry, intends to relieve hoteliers, both large and small, from erroneous application of the Communications Services Tax (CST) by the Florida Department of Revenue on hotels, their franchises and properties. Specifically, the bill provides clarification that certain communications over the internet do not make a hotel a provider of communications services and thus those communications are not subject to the CST.  

AIF supports this bill because the impact of the state’s tourism industry, along with the lodging industry, affects every corner of the state and further and erroneous taxation of the hotel and lodging industry can only harm local economies.

SB 712 – relating to Taxes on Prepaid Calling Arrangements
On Thursday, April 24th, SB 712, relating to Taxes on Prepaid Calling Arrangements, by Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) unanimously passed the Senate Committee on AppropriationsAIF Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of the bill during the committee. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

The bill revises the definition of the term “prepaid calling card” for purposes of the Communications Services Tax (CST) and the sales tax. The primary effect of the bill is to include mobile communications services that meet specified conditions. The bill also provides that if a purchaser of a prepaid calling arrangement has paid sales tax on the sale or recharge of such arrangement, no additional sales tax or CST tax is due or payable if the purchaser applies one or more units of the prepaid calling arrangement to obtain communications services that are provided to or through the same handset or other electronic device that is used by the purchaser to access mobile communications services, other services that are not communications services, or products.

AIF supports clarification that prepaid calling arrangements, such as wireless phones purchased at retail stores, should be taxed as tangible personal property.

SB 294 – relating to Emergency Communication System
On Tuesday, April 22nd, SB 294, relating to Emergency Communication System, by Senator Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) unanimously passed the Senate Committee on AppropriationsAIF Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of the bill during the committee. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

The bill would reduce the current charge for 911 services on all phone lines, including mobile. In addition, the legislation implements the findings of the E911 Board, allowing for the collection of the 911 fee at the retail point of sale for prepaid wireless phone plans. Implementing a point of sale collection method for prepaid plans and enabling the fee to be collected from everyone with access to 911 may make it possible to reduce the fee for all consumers. The bill would also put priority on allowing counties to use funds to upgrade and replace 911 systems for next generation.

AIF supports lessoning the 911 surcharge on Florida’s phone users as well as supports a robust and modern emergency communications system vital to the welfare of Florida’s business community.

HB 5601 – relating to Economic Development
On Tuesday, April 22nd, HB 5601, relating to Economic Development, by House Finance & Tax SubcommitteeSenator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange), and Representative Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne) unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Appropriations. AIF stood in support of the bill during the committee. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

The bill provides a broad range of tax cuts and spending aimed at either directly or indirectly encouraging economic development. The bill incorporates provisions from a handful of other bills AIF has been advocating this session. Specifically, the bill includes tax holidays for consumers, an increase in the corporate tax exemption, a sales tax exemption for machinery and equipment, modernization of communication services taxes, and the Commissioner of Agriculture’s priority of reducing the sales tax on electrical usage for businesses while increasing revenues for the Public Education Capital Outlay fund. AIF has been advocating for all of these provisions individually throughout the 2014 legislative session.

AIF supports reducing the tax burden on Florida’s businesses and any measure that will make the state more attractive for conducting business.

HB 803 – relating to Communications Services Tax
On Wednesday, April 23rd, HB 803, relating to Communications Services Tax, by Representative Jim Boyd (R-Bradenton)unanimously passed the House chamber. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The bill seeks to clarify that the state’s Communications Service Tax (CST) is not applicable to communications between hotels and their franchises.  Recently, the state’s Department of Revenue (DoR) began auditing various hotels, large and small, and assessing the CST despite having no statutory direction to do so.  HB 803 is a consensus product between the state’s DoR and the hotel lodging industry that seeks to clarify that these charges are not applicable.  The bill was scored to be revenue neutral for the state.

AIF supports reducing communication services taxes on Florida’s businesses. Subsequently, businesses could utilize this tax savings to reinvest in their business.

SB 1632 – relating to Special Districts
On Friday, April 25th, SB 1632, by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) unanimously passed the Senate chamber. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

The bill seeks to reorganize chapter 189, F.S., relating to special districts, into eight parts; revises duties of Legislative Auditing Committee; specifies applicability of procedures regarding suspension & removal of member of governing body of special district; revises when special district may be declared inactive; prohibits special districts declared inactive from collecting taxes, fees, or assessments; and provides for costs of litigation & reasonable attorney fees under certain conditions. These bills also require each special district to update and maintain an internet website on which the district must publish extensive information. In addition, the legislation clarifies a special district declared inactive on the unanimous vote of its governing body may be dissolved without a referendum and repeals a part of the Community Improvement Authority Act due to its irrelevance throughout the Act’s duration in statute.

AIF supports common-sense and transparent policy in regards to the creation and enforcement of special districts. In addition, AIF supports legislation that reduces uncertainty and red tape for Florida’s business community.

Education & Workforce

SB 1206 – relating to Agricultural Industry Certifications
On Thursday, April 24th, SB 1206, relating to Agricultural Industry Certifications, by Senator Bill Montford (D-Apalachicola) unanimously passed the Senate Committee on AppropriationsAIF Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of the bill during the committee. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

 The bill would develop a pathway for students to show their expertise in the agricultural industry. The bill requires the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), in cooperation with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Science at the University of Florida and the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences at Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University, to annually provide to the state board and the Department of Education information and industry certifications for farm occupations to be considered for placement on the Industry Certification Funding List and the Postsecondary Industry Certification Funding List.

AIF supports adding agriculture to industry certifications because it recognizes the critical need for agricultural careers in the state of Florida.

HB 7083 – relating to School Choice
On Tuesday, April 22nd, HB 7083, relating to Charter Schools, by the House Choice & Innovation Subcommittee and Representative Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah) passed the House chamber by a 68-50 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

This bill creates new opportunities for high-performing charter school operators to establish quality charter schools in Florida, including charter schools in hard-to serve areas. The bill authorizes an out-of-state entity that successfully operates a system of charter schools to apply and qualify for high-performing charter school system status. The state board must adopt rules specifying a process and criteria for evaluating out-of-state entities for “high-performing” status. Eligibility criteria must be aligned with the priorities specified in the federal Charter Schools Program Grants for Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools, which emphasizes student achievement. Additionally, the bill shifts the focus of the state’s program for replicating quality charter schools towards meeting school district needs for innovative school choice options and serving areas served by struggling traditional public schools.

AIF supports educational choice. In addition, AIF supports capital outlay funding for public charter schools, removing artificial enrollment caps that prevent public charter schools from meeting the demand of students on waiting lists, restricting authority of school districts from imposing additional regulatory burdens on public charter schools and changes to funding formulas to require that funding follows the individual student.

SB 850 – relating to Education
On Friday, April 25th, SB 850, relating to Education, by Senator John Legg (R-Lutz) unanimously passed the Senate chamber. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

The bill expands options to elementary students, expands options and strengthens requirements for middle school and high school students, creates a new middle grades early warning system to identify at-risk students, expands and strengthens anti-hazing provisions, and requires the Florida College System (FCS) institutions to establish a collegiate high school program for students in every school district in the colleges’ designated service area.

AIF supports this bill because improving our workforce through education reforms will be a key ingredient to job creation and also ensuring businesses continue to locate in Florida. 

HB 487 – relating to Agricultural Industry Certifications
On Friday, April 25th, HB 487, relating to Agricultural Industry Certifications, by Representative Jake Raburn (R-Valrico) unanimously passed the House chamber. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The bill would develop a pathway for students to show their expertise in the agricultural industry. The bill requires the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS), in cooperation with the Institute of Food and Agricultural Science at the University of Florida and the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences at Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University, to annually provide to the state board and the Department of Education information and industry certifications for farm occupations to be considered for placement on the Industry Certification Funding List and the Postsecondary Industry Certification Funding List.

AIF supports adding agriculture to industry certifications because it recognizes the critical need for agricultural careers in the state of Florida. 

HEALTH CARE

SB 1354 – relating to Health Care
On Tuesday, April 22nd, SB 1354, by Senator Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring) unanimously passed the Senate Committee on AppropriationsTammy Perdue, AIF's General Counsel, stood in opposition of the bill during the committee, stating concerns that according to the staff analysis it will significantly increase costs to employers and individuals. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

SB 1354 makes health care more expensive and impedes our mission to provide greater access to quality health care at more affordable costs for employers. 

As this bill now heads to the Senate floor, AIF encourages legislators to have more awareness on this legislative proposal that would create more red tape and higher costs for Florida businesses.

AIF opposes legislation that would make quality health care more expensive for Florida’s residents and employers.

HB 1275 – relating to Physician Assistants
On Tuesday, April 22nd, HB 1275, relating to Physicians Assistants, by Representative Larry Ahern (R-St. Petersburg) passed the House chamber by a 100-19 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The bill increases the number of physician assistants a physician may supervise from four to eight. An amendment adopted during the committee exempts this increased ratio for dermatologists’ office, which generally requires more hands-on supervision by a physician. An additional amendment added allows a physician to supervise a PA at a site other than their primary office for the provision of specialty skin services if certain training is completed.  Further, the bill would simplify the reporting system for PA’s who work under multiple physicians in hospitals.  Currently, a PA is required to list all of the physicians with whom they work in a report to the Department of Health (DOH).  This bill would require the PA to report to DOH only their primary supervising physician. 

AIF supports access for Floridians to high-paying jobs, such as physician assistant.

HB 7113 – relating to Health Care
On Friday, April 25th, HB 7113, relating to Health Care, by Representative Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) passed the House chamber by a 74 to 42 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. The bill has become a large package of various health care proposals, some of which are controversial.  The issues in the bill that are supported by AIF include:

  • Encouraging use of telehealth by authorizing Florida licensed health care professionals to use telehealth to deliver health care services within their respective scopes of practice,  It would also allow out-of-state practitioners, if registered with the Department of Health, to use telehealth services within the relevant scope of practice established in Florida, to provide services to Floridians.
  • Allowing Advanced Registered Nurse practitioners (ARNPs), after registering with the Board of Nursing, to practice without physician supervision and act as a patient’s primary care provider.  It would also allow them, to administer, dispense, order, and prescribe controlled medicinal drugs, including controlled substances that are not included in an exclusionary formulary.
  • Increasing up to three the number of pharmacy technicians a pharmacist may supervise unless otherwise authorized by the Florida Board of Pharmacy.  The Board must establish a rule that outlines the circumstances under which a pharmacist may apply to supervise more than three, but not more than six, pharmacy technicians. 


Other provisions of the bill would include measures that would:  (1) take away the authority of the Miami Dade County Commission to approve labor contracts at Jackson Health System; (2) allow three trauma centers across the state to continue to operate even though a court ruled the Department of Health acted improperly when the department allow those facilities to be built.
Additionally, more provisions in the bill would:

  • Require a hospital to provide 120 days' notice to privileged obstetrical physicians before closing its obstetrical department or ending obstetrical services at a hospital.
  • Cap the amount a trauma center may charge for its trauma activation fee at $15,000 for one year and requires each trauma center to post the trauma activation fee within the center and on the trauma center's website home page.
  • Provide an exemption from the CON review process for the transfer of not more than 15 percent of the acute care beds of a licensed hospital to another location in the county where the hospital located, if certain criteria are met.
  • Require a physician to access the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program and view a patient's prescription drug history prior to issuing a prescription for a controlled substance at the patient's first visit.
  • Require a law enforcement agency seeking information from the PDMP to enter into a user agreement with the program which outlines terms of use, contains access control provisions, and requires an annual self-audit by the agency to ensure compliance with the agreement and applicable laws and rules.
  • Direct Enterprise Florida, Inc., and Visit Florida to promote medical tourism and market the state as a healthcare destination and require Visit Florida to include medical tourism in the 4-year marketing plan and showcase Florida providers.

 

Although the bill now contains some other health care items that have not been AIF priorities throughout the session they do not have a harmful impact on Florida's business com unit and may actually benefit some AIF members. Accordingly, AIF salutes Rep. Brodeur for his leadership and passage of this health care measure and encourages the Florida Senate to pass it as well.

HB 323 – Relating to Pharmacy
On Friday, April 25th, HB 323, relating to Pharmacy, by Representative Mike La Rosa (R-Saint Cloud) and Representative Daphne Campbell (D-Miami Shores) passed the House chamber by an 85-33 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The bill would allow a pharmacist to supervise up to three registered pharmacy technicians unless otherwise authorized by the Florida Board of Pharmacy.  Further, the bill would require the Board to establish a rule that outlines the circumstances under which a pharmacist may apply to the Board to supervise more than three, but not more than six, pharmacy technicians.  Current law allows a pharmacist to supervise one registered pharmacy technician and allows the Board of Pharmacy to develop guidelines to establish the circumstances under which a pharmacist may be authorized to supervise up to three pharmacy technicians. 

AIF supports access for Floridians to high-paying jobs, such as pharmacy technician.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

SB 7023 – relating to Economic Development 
On Thursday, April 24th, SB 7023, relating to Economic Development, by House Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee and Representative Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) passed the House chamber by a 104-13 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

This bill does a number of things, including making technical changes to statutes, directs Space Florida to consult with VISIT Florida in developing a space tourism marketing plan, promotes the goals of accountability and proper stewardship by recipients of the state's loan programs and most importantly, exempts new small business developments from transportation concurrency requirements and proportionate share requirements for three years.

AIF supports legislation that will assist Florida's small businesses and encourage economic development in our state.

HB 7095 – relating to Professional Sports Facilities Incentive Application Process
On Friday, April 25th, HB 7095, relating to Professional Sports Facilities Incentive Application Process, by House Economic Affairs Committee and Representative Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City) passed the House chamber by a 93-16 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

The bill creates the Professional Sports Facility Incentive Program process to provide state funding for the public purpose of constructing, reconstructing, renovating, or improving a professional sports facility. The bill creates a new application, review, and approval process for funding sports facilities, but does not require any expenditure of funds. It also caps the total potential annual distributions at $12 million in General Revenue funds. Once an applicant has been approved by the Legislature and certified by the Department of Economic Opportunity, the DEO shall determine the annual distribution based on the estimate of new incremental states sales taxes provided in the Expected Sales Tax Analysis. A certified applicant may receive up to 75 percent of the estimate or $2 million, whichever is less.

AIF supports this bill because of the positive impact that professional sports have on Florida’s economy and the thousands of jobs they provide to Floridians.

ENERGY

HB 281 – relating to Keystone XL Pipeline
On Monday, April 21st, HB 281, relating to Keystone XL Pipeline, by Representative Mike Hill (R-Pensacola Beach) passed the Senate Committee on Rules by a 10-3 vote. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

The bill is a memorial that urges the President to issue final approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project (Project). The proposed Project involves the construction of an 875-mile pipeline between Morgan, Montana, and Steele City, Nebraska. The Project would also cross the U.S.-Canadian border at Morgan, Montana. The construction of the Project is the fourth and final phase of the larger Keystone Pipeline (Pipeline), a pipeline infrastructure that would have the capacity to deliver roughly 830,000 barrels per day of crude oil from oil sands in Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Memorials have no force of law, as they are mechanisms for formally petitioning the U.S. Congress to act on a particular subject.

AIF supports developing memorials to Congress and the President supporting the expansion of hydraulic fracturing and the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. 

ENVIRONMENT

SB 312 – relating to Agriculture
On Tuesday, April 22nd, SB 312, relating to Agriculture, by Senator Wilton Simpson (R-New Port Richey) unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Appropriations. AIF stood in support of the bill during the committee. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

The bill allows a farmer who enrolls in a Dispersed Water Storage program offered by a water management district retain the "Greenbelt" land classification on his property as long as he participates in the programs. The bill also provides several sales tax exemptions for agriculture producers.

AIF supports legislation which allows land owners to continue to have their property classified as “agricultural” if they are participating in a water retention program. This bill will benefit Florida’s farmers in the form of reduced taxes.

SB 1576 – relating to Springs
On Tuesday, April 22nd, SB 1576, relating to Springs, by Senator Charles Dean, Sr. (R-Inverness) passed the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

The bill provides for the protection of springs in Florida. Specifically, the bill provides for funding from documentary stamp revenues to pay for changes to the makeup and mission of the Acquisition and Restoration Council (ARC) and requires the establishment of minimum flows and levels (MFLs) in Outstanding Florida Springs (OFSs). The bill also requires a study of nutrient reduction improvements for row crops and the beneficial use of reclaimed water, stormwater, and excess surface water.

AIF supports state funding for alternative water supply projects but opposes this bill due to the lack of adequate funding to implement its provisions as well as the heavy regulatory burdens it would place on Florida’s businesses.

INSURANCE

SB 1672 – relating to Property Insurance
On Monday, April 21st, SB 1672, relating to Property Insurance, by the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance passed the Senate Committee on Rules by an 11-1 vote. AIF stood in support of the bill during the committee. The bill now heads to the Senate floor.

On Friday, April 25th, SB 1672 passed the Senate chamber by a 22-16 vote. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

The bill addresses several aspects of Citizens eligibility for commercial residential multi-peril policies, allows surplus lines insurers to make offers of coverage in the Citizens Clearinghouse, and increases the mandatory residential property insurance deductible offering for non-hurricane losses to $1,000 from $500. During Monday’s committee, amendments were adopted to restrict the ability of public adjusters to choose the contractors who will repair a property and prohibit mitigation inspectors from paying agents to get referrals.

AIF supports common sense reforms to depopulate Citizens in a continuing effort to reduce assessments on all insurance policyholders. AIF also supports reducing fraud in the property insurance marketplace, which helps control insurance costs for businesses and homeowners alike.

SB 1308 – relating to Insurer Solvency
On Thursday, April 24th, SB 1308, relating to Insurer Solvency, by Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) unanimously passed the Senate chamber. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

This bill adopts several updates from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Specifically, the bill adds additional protections for holding company systems, updates requirements for life insurance reserves, and improves actuarial information provided to the Office of Insurance Regulation from insurers.

AIF supports legislation that modernizes insurance regulation and takes steps to achieve uniformity with other states, creating consistent regulations and a more efficient allocation of capital, which improves Florida’s insurance marketplace for business and personal lines policyholders.

HB 375 (SB 870) – relating to Insurance
On Friday, April 25th, HB 375, relating to Insurance, by Representative David Santiago (R-Deltona) unanimously passed the Senate chamber with an amendment. HB 375 was substituted in the Senate for SB 870, by Senator Chris Smith (D-Oakland Park). The bill now heads back to the House for consideration.

The bill contains several pragmatic law changes that will make insurance administration simpler and provides a reduction in worker’s compensation assessments on Florida employers. 
The bill contains the following specific provisions:

  • Allows the state to settle more claims to the Special disability Trust Fund using existing dollars without triggering an additional and unnecessary assessment on Florida employers.
  • Clarifies that the lack of an agent’s countersignature on an insurance policy does not affect the validity of the policy.
  • Specifies that an insurer may offer a non-forfeiture provision in a long-term care insurance policy in the form of a return of the insured’s premium if the insured dies, surrenders, or cancels the policy.
  • Makes changes to the manner in which the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association (FIGA) levies and collects assessments.  
  • Amends the Florida Motor Vehicle No-Fault Law to enable local counties to enact and enforce local ordinances regulating health care clinics that are reimbursed under the PIP law.
  • Provides that statutory provisions relating to insurance premium financing do not apply to installment payment arrangements if such arrangements do not involve the advancement of funds and do not exceed the service changes provided in s. 627.901, F.S


AIF congratulates Senator Smith on passage of this important bill and encourages the Florida House to vote for its final passage as well. 

AIF supports legislation that will reduce worker’s compensation assessment burdens on Florida’s employers and make the state more attractive to conduct business.

IT Governance

SB 242 – relating to Security of a Protected Consumer’s Information
On Tuesday, April 22nd, SB 242, relating to Security of a Protected Consumer’s Information, by Senator Nancy Detert (R-Venice) unanimously passed on the House floor. The bill will now be sent to the Governor for consideration.

The bill creates the “Keeping I.D. Safe (KIDS) Act” to authorize a representative of a minor consumer younger than sixteen years of age, or a guardian, to place a security freeze on that consumer’s credit report. The reason being, while parents typically apply for a Social Security number for their child shortly after birth, a credit reporting agency does not create a credit report or history until an application for credit is received. An identity thief will typically apply for credit with a child’s Social Security number, but with a different name and date of birth. As a result, the identity theft may go undetected for years. A recent study conducted by ID Analytics estimated that more than 140,000 instances of identity fraud are perpetrated on minors in the United States each year.

AIF supports protecting consumer information to guard minors from potential identity theft. Any legislation resulting in reduced instances of credit fraud is a common-sense action for the Legislature.

SB 1524 – relating to Security of Confidential Personal Information
On Wednesday, April 23rd, SB 1524, relating to Security of Confidential Personal Information, by Senator John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) unanimously passed the Senate chamber. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

This bill creates new Florida requirements for various notifications a company must make in the event of a data breach. This measure was originated by Attorney General Pam Bondi. AIF and our members across all industries and areas of the state have worked with General Bondi and Senator Thrasher throughout session to find a way to provide the consumer safeguards needed while avoiding unintended consequences that create costly regulatory burdens on businesses. AIF salutes Attorney General Pam Bondi and Senator John Thrasher for their diligent leadership in protecting consumer information in a manner that is fair and not burdensome to Florida businesses. 

AIF supports this important legislation because it provides clear direction to companies for handling data and security challenges in a timely and consistent manner. 

TRANSPORTATION

SB 1070 – relating to Fuel Terminals
On Wednesday, April 23rd, SB 1070, relating to Fuel Terminals, by Senator Wilton Simpson (R-New Port Richey) unanimously passed the Senate chamber. The bill now heads to the House for consideration.

This bill would declare fuel terminals located in or next to Florida’s ports as critical state infrastructure. It goes further to allow for expansion of existing fuel terminals within the terminals property boundaries, while limiting local governments’ regulation of permitting although nothing in the bill will prevent local government from enforcing state and federal safety standards.

AIF supports terminals being designed as critical infrastructure preempting local governments from changing the land use designation. Terminals are essential components to petroleum logistics, and Florida's energy portfolio, enabling the bulk transfer of the 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel into Florida each day for further distribution.