SB 340-Relating to Transportation Network Companies
On Tuesday, March 14th, SB 340, relating to Transportation Network Companies, by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) was heard by the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance and passed by a vote of 7 yeas to 2 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this bill.
This bill was amended by the bill sponsor to more closely match the House companion bill, HB 221. This bill now aims to establish a statewide regulatory framework for transportation network companies and how they operate throughout communities in Florida. It also defines what constitutes as a “TNC vehicle”, sets in place insurance requirements and preempts authority to the state, which will allow for a streamlined set of rules to be followed throughout the state.
SB 340 will now go to the Senate Committee on Judiciary for its second hearing.
AIF SUPPORTS statewide digital transportation service policies to create price competition, promote consumer choice, enhance customer experience, create jobs and remove anti-competitive local regulations.
SB 654-Relating to Transportation
On Tuesday, March 14th, SB 654, relating to Transportation, by Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) was heard by the Senate Committee on Transportation and passed unanimously by a vote of 4 yeas to 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this bill.
This bill shifts the distribution of the annual license taxes imposed on certain motor vehicle registrations from the General Revenue Fund to the State Transportation Trust Fund (STTF). Beginning in Fiscal Year 2019-20, 50 percent of the portion of the annual license tax that is deposited into the General Revenue Fund is shifted to the State Transportation Trust Fund; in Fiscal Year 2020-2021, the remaining 50 percent is shifted into the STTF.
SB 654 will go on to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax for its next hearing.
AIF SUPPORTS the distribution of additional funds to the STTF in order to maintain Florida’s infrastructure.
Legal & Judicial
SB 466-Relating to Motor Vehicle Warranty Repairs and Recall Repairs
On Tuesday, March 14th, SB 466, relating to Motor Vehicle Warranty Repairs and Recall Repairs, by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard in the Senate Committee on Transportation and passed by a vote of 4 yeas to 0 nays. AIF stood in opposition to this bill.
This bill prohibits a licensee, except as authorized by law, from denying a dealer’s claim, reducing the dealer’s compensation, or processing a chargeback to a dealer for performing covered warranty or recall repairs on a used motor vehicle under specified circumstances. The bill alters the playing field and may have a chilling effect on manufacturing in general. The complex issue surrounding safety recalls should be a federal matter, better addressed at the national level with the goal of creating uniform public policy that improves motor vehicle safety,
encourages technological innovation, and protects our planet.
SB 466 will move on to the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism to be heard.
AIF OPPOSES legislation that would intervene in any contractual agreement between a dealer franchise and an auto manufacturer, voluntarily entered by each party, and dictate new terms and conditions of such mutual agreement that favor one party over the other.
SB 888-Relating to Prescription Drug Price Transparency
On Tuesday, March 14th, SB 888, relating to Prescription Drug Transparency, by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville) was heard in the Senate Committee on Judiciary and unanimously passed by a vote of 6 yeas to 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this bill.
Prescription drug costs continue to rise, and become a larger percentage of the overall health care spend in Florida. SB 888 creates more transparency in drug pricing, and will give consumers the ability to make more informed decisions regarding their health care spending. Currently, the law requires MyFloridaRX to provide the top 150 most prescribed drugs including their customary prices by pharmacies. This bill would double that number to 300 and codifies monthly reporting to the Agency for Health Care Administration (“AHCA”).
SB 888 will now go to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services for its second hearing.
AIF SUPPORTS transparency in drug pricing as a tool for reducing the cost of health care coverage on Florida’s employers and employees.
IBS1-Relating to Workers’ Compensation
On Tuesday, March 14th, IBS1, relating to Workers’ Compensation by the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee was heard by the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee and passed. AIF spoke in opposition to the bill.
This legislation seeks to address the issues within Florida’s Workers’ Compensation law that have deemed the law unconstitutional, specifically the issue of rate increases, attorney fees, claimant benefits, etc. While AIF applauds the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee for aiming to fix this delicate issue we believe there is still much work to be done.
Representative Jay Fant (R-Jacksonville) offered a strike all amendment to make steps to remedy the major problem at hand, attorney fees. The business community was united in support of the Fant amendment that would move Florida to a claimant paid system, in-line with 32 other states. AIF spoke in support of this amendment, but unfortunately this amendment was not reported favorably.
IBS1 is not currently referred to any other committees of reference.
Please see below statement from our President & CEO, Tom Feeney, regarding today’s workers’ compensation legislation:
Florida’s Business Community Deserves Stable, Self-Executing &
Affordable Workers’ Compensation System
AIF Applauds Representative Fant for Leading Charge for Small Employers & Injured Workers
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today released the following statement on behalf of its President & CEO Tom Feeney, who also serves as the chair of its “Florida Workers’ Compensation Strategic Task Force,” regarding workers’ compensation legislation today heard in the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee.
“While we appreciate the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee for their work on legislation to address Florida’s ailing workers’ compensation system, AIF and our members believe there is still work to be done.
“AIF’s ‘Florida Workers’ Compensation Strategic Task Force’ proposed a bill that will go a long way in helping Florida’s injured workers to get healthier, while relieving burdensome pressures on Florida’s employers. Florida’s business community deserves a stable, self-executing and affordable system to care for injured workers.
“HB 1107, championed by Representative Albritton, addresses one of the components of relieving this pressure by exempting public records requirements relating to injured or deceased workers. Additionally, we would like to thank Representative Fant for filing an amendment to the proposed committee bill on workers’ compensation that would have rescued the business community from the attacks made by the hostile Florida Supreme Court decisions. Representative Fant and the six committee members who voted in favor of this amendment did the right thing today by standing up for Florida’s businesses – both large and small – against the trial lawyers.
“As this legislation progresses, we encourage our state’s leaders to consider all aspects of the Workers’ Compensation Act in Florida and put in place commonsense solutions that address unnecessary, costly and time consuming litigation. This will allow injured workers to receive their benefits as soon as possible.”
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HB 1107-Relating to Public Records/Workers’ Compensation
On Tuesday, March 14th, HB 1107, relating to Public Records/Workers’ Compensation, by Representative Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) was heard by the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee and passed. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, spoke in support of this bill.
This bill would exempt private and personal identifying information of an injured worker or deceased employee from public record. Currently, this information is open to the public and often times injured workers are inundated with outreach from attorneys wanting to take on their cases immediately after filing their claim.
HB 1107 will now go to the House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee for its second hearing.
AIF SUPPORTS protecting the private information of injured or deceased employees.
HB 1421-Relating to Property Insurance Assignment Agreements
On Tuesday, March 14th, HB 1421, relating to Property Insurance Assignment Agreements, by Representative James Grant (R-Tampa) was heard by the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee and passed. AIF stood in support of this bill.
The bill moves AOB claims to a prevailing party attorney fee system, effectively cutting off one-way fees for assignees. The sponsor, Rep. Jamie Grant, filed a strike-all amendment Monday evening, which purported to institute a more complex, presuit process. This strike all was voted down in committee after concerns expressed by many, including Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier, that the strike-all amendment would not further the goal to cut fraud, waste, and abuse. Associated Industries of Florida was at the hearing, and was supportive of another amendment to include auto glass in the scope of the underlying bill, which was explained and withdrawn. We are working to address this important issue at the next stop. In addition, a motion to limit debate was made to get the underlying bill out of committee, which cut short public testimony. The underlying bill passed, which represents a much better solution than the strike-all. However, the preferred method of addressing AOB abuse is the simple and direct approach of SB 1038. AIF is actively working to ensure that the Legislature is aware of the true fix to the AOB crisis: extinguishing one-way attorney fees for assignees.
HB 1421 will now go to the House Commerce Committee to be heard.
AIF SUPPORTS reforms to the assignment of benefits process to protect consumers against these abuses.
SB 874-Relating to Nutrient Pollution from Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems
On Tuesday, March 14th, SB 874, relating to Nutrient Pollution from Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems, by Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) was heard by Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation then passed by a vote of 7 yeas to 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this bill.
This bill authorizes the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to administer the onsite sewage remediation program. This includes installing high efficiency systems as well as conversion from septic to sewer. The bill also authorizes a minimum 50% cost share and allows FDEP to cost shar large scale storm water projects as well as much removal projects in the Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie River and Caloosahatchee River watersheds. This bill dedicates a minimum of $20M per year to this effort.
SB 847 will now go to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources to be heard.
AIF SUPPORTS this legislation as it establishes a cost share program to focus specifically on local basin nutrient loss within the Indian River Lagoon, St. Lucie, and Caloosahatchee watersheds.