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Daily Legislative Brief from January 28, 2016

Legal & Judicial

HB 267- Relating to Public Records/State –Funded Infrastructure Bank
On Thursday, January 28th, HB 267, relating to Public Records/State-Funded Infrastructure Bank, by Rep. Mike LaRosa (R-Saint Cloud) was heard by the House Economic Affairs Committee and passed with 14 yeas and 1 nay. AIF 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This exemption is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act and will be repealed on October 2, 2021 unless this bill is reenacted by the Legislature.

HB 267 will now go to the House floor for consideration.

AIF supports protecting the financial information of private companies.


HB 7027-Relating to Department of Transportation
On Thursday, January 28th, HB 7027, relating to the Department of Transportation, by the House Transportation & Ports Subcommittee and Rep. Patrick Rooney Jr. (R-Palm Beach Gardens) passed through the House Economic Affairs Committee with 13 yeas and 2 nays.

HB 7027, which is one of two substantial transportation and port related bills moving through the House, contains a number of important provisions for AIF and its members. 

One of AIF’s top transportation priorities, the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Program (FSTED), is increased by $10million ($25 million) in HB 7027.  This program which supports growth and economic activity at the state’s ports serves as an important program and one that has been extremely successful for the state.  Additionally, the bill aids some of the state’s smaller contractors by creating the Business Development Program which is designed to help companies navigate procurements for road projects while increasing competition for the work.   It also will require the state’s legislative budget commission to approve any DOT Work Plan additions over $3million. 

HB 7027 creates a state FDOT Financing Corporation which will serve as a financing mechanism for Public Private Partnerships (P3s) across the state.  By creating the FDOT Financing Corporation, the state would offer a mechanism to provide reliable, state bonds for up front financing of P3 projects in the state.  In doing so, the Department believes this approach would leverage lower capital costs provided to the municipal bond markets as an option for securing financing for the upfront costs of P3 projects.  Several members of the committee expressed concerns about this proposal however, citing existing state programs and financing options as being already available for P3 projects. 

This bill will now head to the House floor for consideration.

AIF supports increasing the FSTED funding and spending cap levels from $15 million to $25 million, a very important provision for Florida’s ports. AIF also supports creating the FDOT Business Development Program as a mechanism to help educate and provide expertise to Florida’s small businesses looking to do work in the Department’s often-complex procurement process.

Workers' Compensation

HB 613- Relating to Workers’ Compensation System Administration
On Thursday, January 28th, HB 613, relating to Workers’ Compensation System Administration, by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Eustis) was heard before the House Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and unanimously passed. AIF’s General Counsel, Tammy Perdue, stood in support of this bill.

The workers’ compensation law requires an employer to obtain coverage for their “employees” that provides for lost income and all medically necessary remedial treatment, attendance, and care resulting from work related injuries and occupational diseases. The Division of Workers’ Compensation within the Department of Financial Services (DFS) provides regulatory oversight of the system. The DFS’ responsibilities include enforcing employer compliance with coverage requirements, administration of the workers’ compensation health care delivery system, collecting system data, and assisting injured workers regarding their benefits and rights.

Our concern over the provision in the bill that could result in uninsured LLC members still remains, however, the bill sponsor prefaced in her opening that this provision will absolutely be taken out before HB 613 hits its next committee stop in the House Regulatory Affairs Committee. For this reason, AIF stands in support of this bill.

AIF supports Florida’s current workers’ compensation law and any proposed change to the workers’ compensation system- in the courtroom or Legislature- will be evaluated through the prism of coverage affordability, market stability, and employee safety.