Daily Legislative Brief from March 8, 2016
SB 124 & HB 95- Relating to Public-Private Partnerships
On Tuesday, March 8th, SB 124, relating to Public-Private Partnerships, by Senator Greg Evers (R- Milton) was substituted for its House companion, HB 95, by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota), read for a third time on the House floor and passed by a vote of 116 yeas to 1 nays.
SB 124 is a top priority for AIF as it pertains to construction and infrastructure projects. This bill 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. SB 124 also provides flexibility for local governments on procurement time 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 to see almost 1000 people per day moving into the state, P3s will be a critical component to solving infrastructure needs for years to come.
SB 124 will now go to Governor Scott’s desk to be signed into law.
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.
SB 90- Relating to Natural Gas Rebate Program
On Tuesday, March 8th, SB 90, relating to the Natural Gas Rebate Program, by Senator Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby) was substituted for its House companion, HB 285, by Rep. Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville), read a third time on the floor of the House and passed by a vote of 110 yeas to 5 nays.
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 Governor Scott’s desk to be signed into law.
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.
Legal & Judicial
SB 912 & HB 761- Relating to Fraudulent Activities Associated with Payment Systems
On Tuesday, March 8th, SB 912, relating to Fraudulent Activities Associated with Payment Systems, by Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) was substituted for its House companion, HB 761, by Rep. Dana Young (R-Tampa), read for a third time on the House floor and passed by a vote of 111 yeas to 1 nay.
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;
- 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.
SB 912 will now go to the desk of Governor Scott to be signed into law.
AIF supports this legislation due to it cracking down on theft from Florida retailers while also protecting Florida's consumers.
SB 1402 & HB 7073-Relating to Ratification of Department of Financial Services Rule
On Tuesday, March 8th, SB 1402, relating to Ratification of Department of Financial Services Rule, by Senator David Simmons (R-Longwood) was substituted for its House companion, HB 7073, by the House Rulemaking Oversight & Repeal Subcommittee and Rep. Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville), read for a third time on the House floor and passed by a vote of 116 yeas to 0 nays.
SB 1402 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.
SB 1402 bill will now go to the desk of Governor Scott to be signed into law.
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.