Daily Legislative Brief from February 2, 2016
SB 1272- Relating to Florida Renewable Energy Production Credit
On Tuesday, February 2nd, SB 1272, relating to Florida Renewable Energy Production Credit, by Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange) was heard before the Senate Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities Committee and passed with 7 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.
SB 1272 makes the Florida renewable energy production credit statute, that was set to expire in 2017, permanent and increases the annual cap on the total credits from the current $10 million to $15 million per year. This bill also deletes a provision that states any unused credit funding in a fiscal year is to be used to fund renewable energy technologies and replaces it with a provision to carry forward the excess funds.
The next committee stop for SB 1272 will be in the Senate Finance and Tax Committee.
AIF supports legislation that will make the Florida renewable energy production credit permanent due to the cost savings it would provide Florida companies and due to it helping to diversify Florida's energy portfolio.
Legal & Judicial
HB 273- Relating to Public Records
On Tuesday, February 2nd, HB 273, relating to Public Records, by Rep. Halsey Beshears (R-Monticello) was heard on the Senate floor and substituted for its Senate companion bill, SB 390, by Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby). HB 273 passed by a vote of 34 yeas to 1 nay.
This bill addresses the procedure for obtaining records relating to a public agency’s contract for services with a private contractor. As it stands today, the Florida Constitution provides every person the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received in connection with the official business of any public body, officer, or employee of the state, or of persons acting on their behalf.
However, the issue of who the party responsible for providing these public records remains. If this bill becomes law, requests for records relating to a public agency’s contract for services must be made to the contracting agency. An agency who receives a request for records possessed by a contractor must then attempt to obtain the records from the contractor.
HB 273 also provides that if a civil action is filed to compel production of public records, the court must assess and award against the contractor the reasonable costs of enforcement, including attorney fees, if the court determines that a contractor unlawfully refused to comply with the public records request within a reasonable time, and the plaintiff provided written notice of the public records request to the public agency and the contractor. The notice must be sent at least 8 business days before the plaintiff files the civil action. The bill specifies that a contractor who complies with the public records request within 8 business days after the notice is sent is not liable for the reasonable costs of enforcement.
HB 273 will now go to the desk of Governor Scott to be signed into law.
AIF supports legislation that reduces frivolous law suits against Florida businesses.
HB 7073-Relating to Ratification of Rules/Florida Workers’ Compensation Health Care Provider Reimbursement Manual
On Tuesday, February 2nd, HB 7073, relating to Ratification of Rules/ Florida Workers’ Compensation Health Care Provider Reimbursement Manual, by the House Rulemaking Oversight & Repeal Subcommittee and Rep. Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville) was heard before the House Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee and passed with 12 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s General Counsel, Tammy Perdue, stood in support of this bill.
This bill addresses adoption of the current version of the Florida Worker's Compensation healthcare provider reimbursement manual. This manual has not been adopted or updated since 2008, leaving Florida well behind every other state in the amount of reimbursement it pays to healthcare providers for the treatment of injured workers.
HB 7073 will now go to the House Regulatory Affairs Committee to be heard.
AIF supports legislation that will keep Florida’s Workers’ Compensation system a stable and self-executing mechanism that benefits both injured workers and Florida’s employers.