Daily Legislative Brief from February 11, 2016
SB 1646- Relating to Economic Development
On Thursday, February 11th, SB 1646, relating to Economic Development, by Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) was heard before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development and passed unanimously by a vote of 8 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.
SB 1646 is a broad based economic development package for the state of Florida. This bill aims to provide incentives to many industries including but not limited to extending the Qualified Defense and Space Contractors Tax Refund program to 2018; requiring companies who provide health benefits to include information on the jobs created and retained in their incentive reports; renames the Quick Action Closing Fund as the “Florida Enterprise Fund” and makes the following changes: requires the project to create at least 10 jobs, requires local financial support of at least 20 percent, and prohibits payment before performance conditions are met.
View a complete list of what SB 1646 encompasses click here.
The next committee hearing for SB 1646 will be in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AIF supports legislation that will bolster Florida’s business community throughout the state and help our state become the premiere location to move and grow your business.
SB 90- Relating to Natural Gas Rebate Program
On Thursday, February 11th, SB 90, relating to the Natural Gas Rebate Program, by Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) was read a third time on the floor of the Senate and unanimously passed by a vote of 39 yeas to 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.
Since 2013 there has been a Natural Gas Fuel Fleet Vehicle Rebate Program (Program) created within the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) to “help reduce transportation costs in this state and encourage freight mobility investments that contribute to the economic growth of the state.” Beginning with Fiscal Year 2013-2014 and continuing through Fiscal Year 2017-2018 (five years), DACS is required to award rebates, to those eligible, for the costs of converting a diesel- or gasoline-powered motor vehicle to a natural gas fuel-powered motor vehicle on or after July 1, 2013. An applicant is eligible to receive a maximum rebate of $25,000 per vehicle up to a total of $250,000 per applicant per fiscal year, on a first-come, first-served basis. Any unencumbered funds can be used to award governmental applicants additional rebates which will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
SB 90 will now go to the House floor for consideration.
AIF supports the natural gas fuel fleet vehicle rebate program, specifically the authorization of DACS to award additional rebates to applicants from unencumbered funds after each fiscal year.
SB 1686- Relating to Telehealth
On Thursday, February 11th, SB 1686, relating to Telehealth, sponsored by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) was heard today by Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services and unanimously passed with 8 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this bill.
SB 1686 creates a Telehealth Task Force within the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), authorizes healthcare practitioners in Florida to provide telehealth services, and defines telehealth. The task force is chaired by the Secretary of the AHCA or his or her designee, the State Surgeon General and 17 other members, including other health care practitioners, providers, telehealth services providers and sellers, and facilities.
The bill requires the task force to compile data and submit a report by June 30, 2017, to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives that analyzes:
- Frequency and extent of the use of telehealth nationally and in this state;
- Costs and cost savings associated with using telehealth;
- Types of telehealth services available;
- Extent of available health insurance coverage available for telehealth services; and
- Barriers to implementing the use of, using, or accessing telehealth services.
The bill requires the task force to hold its first meeting by September 1, 2016, and to meet as frequently as necessary to complete its work.
SB 1686 will now go to its last committee stop in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AIF supports legislation that permits an unfettered role for telehealth services that will allow our citizens access to better quality care at lower costs.
SB 7050-Relating to Information Technology Security
On Thursday, February 11th, SB 7050, relating to Information Technology Security, by the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee was heard before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and passed by a vote of 5 yeas to 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this bill.
This bill aims to revise the membership of the Technology Advisory Council to include a cybersecurity expert; requires the council, in coordination with the Florida Center for Cybersecurity, to identify and recommend STEM training opportunities; provides for the establishment of computer security incident response teams within state agencies and revises entities to adopt a unified state plan for K-20 STEM education to include the Technology Advisory Council.
While the House companion, HB 1033, is a bit broader, the key to this bill is the statewide requirement for security assessments by a third party and related activities under the responsibility of the AST. As the use of technology continues to grow we see the value in preventative cyber-security measures for the state of Florida.
SB 7050 will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
AIF supports legislation that will bring our states cyber security measures up to date to protect Floridians and Florida’s businesses from potential cyber-attacks.
Legal & Judicial
SB 912- Relating to Fraudulent Activities Associated with Payment Systems
On Thursday, February 11th, SB 912, relating to Fraudulent Activities Associated with Payment Systems, by Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) was heard before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government and 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.
This bill addresses “skimming” at gas stations, specifically at gas pumps themselves, which has become a significant issue in the state of Florida. “Skimmers” are typically found on the gas pumps themselves, disguised as the usual everyday credit card reader. Unbeknownst to the customer, their credit card information is stolen.
During recent investigations, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) has found that skimmed payment information is being used as part of elaborate fraud schemes to purchase hundreds of gallons of gas that is pumped into unapproved, hidden gas tanks in vans, SUVs, and trucks. Such gas is then usually resold by the criminals to independent truck drivers at a fraction of its usual cost.
SB 912 addresses fraudulent activity occurring at fuel stations by:
- Increasing from a third degree felony (maximum penalty of 5 years in state prison) to a second degree felony (maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison) for the unlawful conveyance of fuel;
- Requiring a retail petroleum fuel measuring device to have affixed to or installed onto the measuring device at least one security measure described in the bill and authorizing the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, under certain circumstances, to prohibit further use of the measuring device until a security measure is installed, replaced, or repaired;
- Punishing the attempt to traffic in or trafficking in five, rather than 10, counterfeit credit cards as a second degree felony;
- Indicating that possession of counterfeit cards is unlawful (not specified in current law); and
- Increasing the offense severity level ranking for unlawful conveyance of fuel and trafficking in or possession of counterfeit credit cards.
This bill will now go to its last committee stop in the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee.
AIF supports this legislation due to it cracking down on theft from Florida retailers while also protecting Florida's consumers.
SB 196- Relating to Public Records/State –Funded Infrastructure Bank
On Thursday, February 11th, SB 196, relating to Public Records/State-funded Infrastructure Bank, by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was read for a third time on the Senate floor and passed by a vote of 31 yeas to 7 nays.
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.
SB 196 will now go to the House floor for consideration.
AIF supports protecting the financial information of private companies.
SB 416-Relating to Location of Utilities
On Thursday, February 11th, SB 416, relating to the Location of Utilities, by Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) was read for a third time on the Senate floor and passed by a vote of 34 yeas to 4 nays.
SB 416 will address who is the responsible party for the cost of relocating utility facilities in a public easement. Easements dedicated to the public for utilities are typically located along existing road or highway rights-of-way and are available for use by a variety of utility providers. The bill flips the responsibility to bear relocation costs from the utility owner to the state or local government requiring the facilities to be relocated. The owner of a utility that requires relocation will be liable for relocation costs only if their lines and facilities are across, on or “within” the right-of-way, rather than “along” any right-of-way.
SB 416 will now head to the House floor for a vote.
AIF supports protecting the private property rights of Florida businesses.