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

Daily Legislative Brief from February 10, 2020

Economic Development

HB 1139 – Relating to Regional Rural Development Grants

On Monday, February 10, HB 1139 by Representative Chuck Clemons (R-Jonesville) was heard by the House Transportation & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee and was reported favorable with 11 yeas and 0 nays. AIF stood in support of this legislation.

Three regional economic development organizations operate in Florida. Each coincides respectively with one of the state’s three Rural Areas of Opportunity (RAO). A RAO is a rural community, or a region comprised of rural communities, which has been adversely affected by an extraordinary economic event, severe or chronic distress, or a natural disaster, or that presents a unique economic development opportunity of regional impact.

The bill amends the Regional Rural Development Grants Program to clarify how regional economic development organizations may build their professional capacity and expand grant use for technical assistance. The bill also increases the total annual grant award available to the three regional economic development organizations recognized by the DEO as serving an entire RAO, decreases the annual grant award available to other organizations located in or contracted to serve an RAO, and eliminates grant eligibility for organizations representing rural counties or communities that are not located in a RAO. Additionally, the bill reduces the percentage of grant funds that must be matched with non-state funds from 100 percent to 25 percent of the state’s contribution and increases the maximum amount of funds that DEO may expend for the program, from $750,000 to $1 million annually. Finally, the amends the Rural Infrastructure Fund by increasing the percentage of total infrastructure costs that may be funded by a grant award, expanding eligible projects and uses to include broadband internet service.

HB 1139 will now move to the House Commerce Committee.

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

Information Technology

SB 1870 – Relating to Technological Development

On Monday, February 10, SB 1870 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the Senate Innovation, Industry, and Technology Committee and was reported favorable with 6 yeas and 4 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.

The Department of Management Services (DMS) oversees information technology governance and security for the executive branch of state government. The Division of State Technology (DST), a subdivision of DMS subject to its control and supervision, implements DMS’s duties and policies in this area.

The bill:

  • Renames DST to Division of Telecommunications and establishes the Florida Digital Service (FDS) under DMS.
  • Places new duties and responsibilities under FDS and expands the duties and responsibilities currently assigned to DMS and DST.
  • Tasks FDS with procuring a credential service provider for the purpose of creating digital driver licenses or identification cards.
  • Creates the Enterprise Architecture Advisory Council as a 13-member advisory council within DMS.
  • Creates the Division of Telecommunications within DMS, removes DST as the head of the E911 system in Florida, and places the Division of Telecommunications as its new head.

The Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) regulates money services businesses, which include money transmitters and payment instrument sellers. The bill creates the Financial Technology Sandbox within the OFR to allow a person to make an innovative financial product or service available to consumers as a money transmitter or payment instrument seller during a sandbox period that is not longer than 24 months. The sandbox provides regulatory flexibility by permitting the OFR to waive specified statutes and corresponding rule requirements.

SB 1870 will now move to the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

AIF supports stronger investments in IT and the modernization of Florida’s outdated systems and processes that will greatly benefit the government and business relationship in the state.

Legal & Judicial

SB 1766 – Relating to Growth Management

On Monday, February 10, SB 1766 by Senator Tom Lee (R-Brandon) was heard by the Senate Community Affairs Committee and was reported favorable with 5 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.

The Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act provides a cause of action for relief or compensation when a law, rule, regulation, or ordinance inordinately burdens real property without amounting to a taking. An action of a governmental entity is an inordinate burden if it directly restricts or limits the use of real property in a way that permanently prevents the owner from attaining the reasonable, investment-backed expectation for the existing use of the property or to a specific use of the property.

The bill makes these changes to the Bert Harris Act:

  • Entitles property owners to compensation or other relief when an owner of a similarly situated residential property has become entitled to relief due to the same regulation or ordinance.
  • Shortens the pre-suit process that is a prerequisite to a lawsuit under the Bert Harris Act from 150 to 90 days.
  • Establishes a presumption that a settlement offer made by a governmental entity during the pre-suit process protects the public interest.
  • Gives a property owner the option of having compensation for an inordinate burden determined by a judge, instead of a jury as under current law.
  • Allows a property owner to forego an application for a permit or other relief as a prerequisite to making a Bert Harris claim if a governmental entity acknowledges that a law or regulation limits the uses of the property.


SB 1870 will now move to the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

AIF supports private property rights which create a prosperous business climate in Florida.