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Daily Legislative Brief from February 4, 2016

Economic Development

HB 95- Relating to Public-Private Partnerships
On Thursday, February 4th, HB 95, relating to Public-Private Partnerships, by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) was heard in the House State Affairs Committee and was reported favorably by a vote of 14 yeas and 1 nay. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.

As previously reported, HB 95 is a top priority for AIF and pertains to construction and infrastructure projects.  HB 95 seeks to clarify that P3s are an alternative process for communities to expand, through partnerships with the private sector, their ability to meet current and future infrastructure needs.  HB 95 also provides flexibility for local governments on procurement times lines as well as allowing local governments to collect processing fees at the time of application.  The bill removes the Partnership for Public Facilities and Infrastructure Guidelines Task Force from statute as recommendations from the task force are incorporated in the bill.  

AIF has strongly supported Florida’s P3 process, having worked over the last year to provide options and flexibility to both the public and private sector.  As Florida continues see almost 1000 people per day moving into the state, P3s will be a critical component to solving infrastructure needs for years to come.

HB 95 will now go to the House floor for consideration.

AIF strongly supports utilization of the private sector in helping to solve public construction needs. Government’s role is critical in securing and advancing our state’s infrastructure.

Property Rights

HB 559- Relating to Self-Storage Facilities
On Thursday, February 4th, HB 559, relating to Self-storage Facilities, by Rep. Mike LaRosa (R-St. Cloud) passed through the House Regulatory Affairs Committee. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, spoke in opposition to this bill.

HB 559 substantially revises the process that the owner of a self-storage facility may advertise and sell the personal property of a delinquent tenant. Under the bill, owners are no longer required to advertise a property sale via a local newspaper; such advertisements may now be posted in any “commercially reasonable manner.” Rather than rely on the courts to determine precisely what “commercially reasonable” means, the bill defines the term itself. If at least three bidders—all of whom are unrelated to the seller—attend the sale or register to bid online at the sale, the advertisement is commercially reasonable.

The bill will also allow for a “one stop shop” website where all public notices throughout the state will be posted and is set to be ran by the Department of Financial Services.

During public testimony on this bill, AIF as well as many others, pointed out that the introduction of this system would be futile seeing as there is already a website in place for public notices to be posted and is funded by private entities, eliminating the need for Government involvement.

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

AIF opposes legislation that intends to derail Florida’s broad public notice system as defined by Chapter 50, Florida Statutes.

Workers Compensation

HB 613- Relating to Workers’ Compensation System Administration
On Thursday, February 4th, HB 613, relating to Workers’ Compensation System Administration, by Rep. Jennifer Sullivan (R-Eustis) was heard before the House Regulatory Affairs Committee 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.

Today the committee adopted two amendments to the bill. One was technical and the other eliminated language that could have opened a loophole for limited liability company members. With these changes, the bill is now identical to its Senate companion, Senate Bill 986. AIF supports this legislation and salutes Representative Sullivan for her leadership on this measure that enables the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation to maintain the system in its intended self – executing nature.

HB 613 will now head to the House floor for consideration.

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.