Welcome to the New Website for Associated Industries of Florida the Voice of Florida Business!

Daily Legislative Brief from April 17, 2019

Economic Development

SB 178 – Relating to Florida Tourism Marketing

On Wednesday, April 17, 2019, SB 178 by Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) was read on the Senate floor and passed with a vote of 36 yeas and 0 nays.

This bill removes the scheduled repeal date for the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, doing business as VISIT FLORIDA, and the scheduled repeal date for Division of Tourism Marketing within Enterprise Florida, Inc. VISIT FLORIDA is the name for the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, a non-profit corporation that serves as Florida’s statewide destination marketing organization, and represents the state’s tourism industry. Without the bill, the statutory authorizations for these entities would be repealed on October 1, 2019.

SB 178 is now in House messages.

AIF supports investment in building a world-class marketing engine with top talent, analytics, and funding that develops and executes data-driven branding strategies.

SB 596 – Relating to Regional Rural Development Grants

On Wednesday, April 17, SB 596 by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) was read on the Senate floor and passed with a vote of 38 yeas and 0 nays.

The bill makes changes to how the Regional Rural Development Grant program and the Rural Infrastructure Fund operate. Specifically, the bill amends the Regional Rural Development Grant Program to:

  • Increase the maximum annual grant amount to $250,000 from $150,000 that three regional economic development organizations that serve the entire region of a rural area of opportunity may receive;
  • Increase the amount of funds the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) may expend for the program to up to $1 million annually (from up to $750,000 annually);
  • Reduce the required match the regional economic development organizations must contribute in non-state resources from 100 percent to 25 percent of the state’s contribution; and
  • Allow the use of grant funds to build the professional capacity of regional economic development organizations. The bill amends the Rural Infrastructure Fund program to:
    • Increase the grant awards to 50 percent of infrastructure project costs (up from 30 percent);
    • Clarify that eligible infrastructure projects include access to broadband Internet service, and projects that improve service and access must be through a partnership that was publicly noticed and competitively bid; and
    • Require the DEO to review the grant program application and award procedures by September 1, 2020.

SB 596 is now in House messages

AIF supports efforts to increase economic development in Florida’s rural areas by increasing job growth.