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Daily Legislative Brief from January 15, 2020

Economic Development

SB 356 – Keep Our Graduates Working Act

On Wednesday, January 15, SB 356 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard in the Senate Rules Committee and was reported favorably with 16 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.

The bill removes the state authority to take disciplinary action against a healthcare practitioner who defaults on a student loan or who fails to comply with the terms of a service scholarship. Under the bill, a healthcare practitioner may not have his or her license suspended or revoked by the Department of Health (DOH) solely because of a loan default or failure to complete service scholarship obligations.

Additionally, the bill specifies that a state authority may not suspend or revoke a license that it has issued to a person who is in default on or delinquent in the payment of his or her student loans solely on the basis of such default or delinquency. The bill defines the term “state authority” to mean any department, board, or agency with the authority to grant a license to any person in this state.

SB 356 will now move to the Senate floor.

AIF supports efforts to protect Florida’s workforce from professional license revocation exclusively due to loan default.

Legal & Judicial

HB 7 – Relating to Legal Notices

On Wednesday, January 15, HB 7 by Representative Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) was heard in the House Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee and was reported favorable with 7 yeas and 5 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in opposition to this legislation.

All meetings of a county, municipality, school board, or special district at which official acts are to be taken or at which public business is to be discussed or transacted must be open to the public and notice must be given. All legal notices and publications must be made in a newspaper that meets the following qualifications:

  • Published at least once a week;
  • At least 25 percent of its words are in English;
  • Considered a periodical by the post office;
  • For sale to the general public; and
  • Contains information of interest or value to the general public in the affected area.

The bill would allow a governmental agency the option to deviate from print and publish legally required advertisements and notices on a publicly accessible website.

HB 7 will now move to the House Judiciary Committee.

AIF opposes internet-only public notice, as it eliminates the wide net created by print media and the internet combined. Web pages are present one day and gone the next; the internet is an inherently unreliable platform for critical information.

HB 305 – Relating to Preemption of Conditions of Employment

On Wednesday, January 15, HB 305 by Representative Bob Rommel (R-Naples) was heard in the House Workforce Development & Tourism Committee and was reported favorable with 9 yeas and 5 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.

Local governments have broad authority to legislate on any matter that is not inconsistent with federal or state law. A local government enactment may be inconsistent with state law if (1) the Legislature "has preempted a particular subject area" or (2) the local enactment conflicts with a state statute. Where state preemption applies it precludes a local government from exercising authority in that area.

The bill:

  • Expressly prohibits a county, city, district, or other public body created by state law from requiring an employer from paying a minimum wage other than the state or federal minimum wage or to offer other conditions of employment;
  • Expressly preempts to the state the right to regulate any requirements imposed upon employers relating to a minimum wage and conditions of employment;
  • Defines “conditions of employment” to include preemployment screening, job classification, job responsibilities; hours of work; scheduling and schedule changes, wages, payment of wages, leave, paid or unpaid days off for holidays, illness, vacations, and personal necessity, and employee benefits;
  • Voids any ordinance, regulation, or policy currently in existence which is now preempted.

HB 305 will now move to the House Local, Federal and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.

AIF supports legislation that allows Florida businesses to adhere to state or federal wage requirements, thus eliminating onerous regulations set by municipalities


HB 359 – Relating to Insurance

On Wednesday, January 15, HB 359 by Representative David Santiago (R-Deltona) was heard in the House Insurance & Banking Subcommittee and was reported favorable with 15 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.

The bill provides needed reforms to the insurance industry by:

  • Requiring the Legislature to appropriate money from the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund to the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR);
  • Providing revised requirements for certain audits;
  • Revising timeframe during which statute of limitations for certain civil remedy actions;
  • Authorizing releases of trade secret information obtained by the Department of Financial Services & OIR;
  • Prohibiting OIR from disapproving rates for homeowner's insurance under certain circumstances;
  • Providing claims under property insurance policy, rather than claims for specified loss or damage, are barred unless notice is given to insurer within specified timeframe.

HB 359 will now move to the House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee.

AIF supports smart, targeted reforms that help keep the insurance markets up to date while protecting Florida policyholders.