Daily Legislative Brief from January 12, 2016
Welcome back everyone for the 2016 Legislative Session! Last night, AIF members, lobbyists and corporate sponsors greeted legislators, Governor Rick Scott, members of the Florida Cabinet and guests at our annual Legislative Reception held at AIF Headquarters in downtown Tallahassee.
With the 2016 Regular Session beginning today, AIF stands ready to fight for those issues relevant to our members and continue to work to create a business-friendly climate to benefit our state.
This Session, we will focus our efforts on passing a comprehensive statewide water package to protect Florida’s waters, permanently removing the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, identifying the best practices for making Florida a leader in renewable and sustainable energy production, increasing accessibility and affordability of quality health care for Florida residents, and supporting the Governor’s $79.3 billion budget proposal for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, to name a few.
The Session opening ceremonies began this morning with both chambers gathering to hear the Governors State of the State address. Here is a press release from our President and CEO, Tom Feeney, applauding Governor Scotts address:
AIF Statement on Governor Scott’s State of the State Address
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today released the following statement attributed to its President & CEO Tom Feeney regarding Governor Rick Scott’s 2016 State of the State address.
“AIF applauds Governor Scott on his State of the State address, and congratulates him on all he has been able to accomplish for the great State of Florida in terms of fostering a business-friendly environment.
“Growing our job base, cutting taxes, decreasing red tape and diversifying our economy are just some of the accomplishments that have led to Florida being one of the best places in the nation to do business.
“We look forward to continuing to work together toward growing business in Florida in 2016.”
For more information on AIF, please visit AIF.com and follow @VoiceofFLBiz.
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Below you will see the first installment of our Daily Brief for the 2016 Legislative Session. We will continue to send updates and provide you with the latest information from the Capitol though our Daily Briefs and Weekly Updates.
SB 98- Relating to the Exemption from the Sales and Use Tax for Certain Machinery and Equipment
On Monday, January 11th, SB 98, relating to the Exemption from the Sales and Use Tax for Certain Machinery and Equipment by Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) was heard in the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee and passed with a vote of 6 yeas to 1 nay. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.
Since April 30, 2014, the state has provided an exemption for certain manufacturing equipment from the 6% sales and use tax that is set to expire on April 30, 2017. To qualify for this exemption machinery or equipment must be used at a fixed location in the state and eligible businesses include only those classified in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) under codes 31, 32, or 33. Manufacturing establishments classified under these codes include food, apparel, wood, paper, printing, chemical, pharmaceutical, plastic, rubber, metal, transportation, and furniture manufacturing. SB 98 aims to remove the 2017 expiration date and make the exemption permanent.
AIF supports the removal of the three-year sunset on the complete elimination of sales tax imposed on the purchase of manufacturing equipment and machinery.
SB 98 will now head to the Senate Finance and Tax Committee.
Below is a press release from our President and CEO Tom Feeney:
AIF Statement on Passage of SB 98 in Senate Committee on Commerce & Tourism Committee
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today released the following statement attributed to its President & CEO Tom Feeney regarding the passage of Senate Bill 98 in the Committee on Commerce and Tourism.
“As one of our top priorities this legislative session, we applaud the Commerce and Tourism Committee for passing Senate Bill 98, which revolves around Governor Scott’s $79.3 billion budget proposal for FY 2016-17. The budget, which includes $1 billion in tax cuts, will have a positive impact on Florida’s employees and employers by accelerating job growth, and will help make Florida the top destination for businesses.
“As the Florida affiliation for the National Association of Manufacturers, AIF is proud to work on behalf of Floridians to foster a pro-business environment by joining the Governor in calling for the permanent elimination of income tax on manufacturing and retail businesses, permanently eliminating sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, and calling for a reduction in business rent and commercial lease tax.
“As the bill heads to Finance and Tax Committee and is then considered by the full Appropriations Committee, we look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature to adopt a budget that includes a pro-growth, pro-jobs tax cut agenda. And, as the voice of Florida business, we will continue to work toward increased job growth and economic prosperity to create a business-friendly environment in the Sunshine State.”
For more information on AIF, please visit AIF.com and follow @VoiceofFLBiz.
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Legal & Judicial
SB 169-Relating to Public Records/State –Funded Infrastructure Bank
On Monday, January 11th, SB 196, relating to Public Records/State-funded Infrastructure Bank, by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee and unanimously passed with 5 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.
Currently, the state-funded infrastructure bank (SIB) is housed within Department of Transportation (department). The SIB provides loans and credit enhancements to public and private entities for constructing and improving transportation facilities. This bill creates a public record exemption for the financial statements or other financial information that is required for the application to the SIB. However, the public records exemption does not apply to the financial records of an applicant who is in default of an SIB loan.
This exemption is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act and will be repealed on October 2, 2021 unless this bill is reenacted by the Legislature.
The next and final committee stop for SB 196 will be in the Senate Rules Committee.
AIF supports protecting the financial information of private companies.
SB 676- Relating to Health Care
On Monday, January 11th, SB 676, relating to Health Care, by Senator Denise Grimsley (R-Sebring) was heard in the Senate Health Policy Committee and passed with 4 yeas and 2 nays.
SB 676 would authorize and increase the scope for practice for physician assistants (PAs) and advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs) to prescribe controlled substances under current supervisory standards for PAs and protocols for ARNPs beginning January 1, 2017. ARNPs and Pas would not be allowed to prescribe controlled substances in a pain management clinic. Other provisions of the bill include:
- Requiring health insurers, HMOs and pharmacy benefits managers to use the standardized prior authorization form by January 1, 2017;
- Providing a health insurer or HMO cannot retroactively deny a claim due to an insured’s ineligibility, if that insurer or HMO verified eligibility at the time of treatment; and
- Requiring hospitals to notify OB physicians with privileges at least 90 days prior to closing its OB department.
AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, testified in committee expressing concern about the provision in this bill that would prohibit a health insurer and health maintenance organization (HMO) from retroactively denying a claim due to the insured’s delinquency of premium payments, if that insurer or HMO already verified the insured’s eligibility at the time of treatment. This provision on claims payment could lead to increased costs on Florida’s businesses.
In addition, Brewster Bevis, spoke in SUPPORT of the provisions in this bill that will provide for an increase of the scope of practice for ARNPs and PAs.
At this juncture AIF did not take a position on this bill.
The next step for this bill is in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee .
AIF supports removing regulatory scope of practice obstacles for qualified health care professions to ensure greater access to quality care for more Floridians at more affordable costs.