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Weekly Legislative Update from March 8, 2019

Economic Development

Proposed Committee Bill PKI 19-01 – Relating to Career Education

On Wednesday, March 6, PCB PKI 19-01, sponsored and heard by the PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee, was voted favorably with 15 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.

Florida’s growing labor market will need to fill an additional 1.7 million vacancies by 2030. In order to meet this demand, Florida’s PreK-20 education system must have the capacity to produce graduates who are ready to fill high-growth, high-demand careers.

To help meet the growing workforce demand, this bill:

  • Revises the school grades formula to recognize career certificate clock hour dual enrollment and establishes formal career dual enrollment agreements between high schools and career centers;
  • Requires the Department of Education to aid in increasing public awareness of apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship opportunities; and
  • Requires the elimination of industry certifications that are not aligned to industry needs.


AIF supports adopting the PreK-to-Job model of the future to improve the organic talent pipeline and create a strategy that addresses these gaps, including training the talent required for the future in our PreK-to-Job system today.

HB 671 – Relating to Regional Rural Development Grants

On Thursday, March 7, HB 671 by Representative Chuck Clemons (R-Jonesville) was heard in the House Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee and was voted favorably with 13 yeas and 2 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.

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.

HB 671 will now move to the House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

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