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Daily Legislative Brief from February 11, 2020

Legal & Judicial

HB 377 – Relating to Motor Vehicle Rentals

On Tuesday, February 11, HB 377 by Representative Chris Latvala (R-Clearwater) was heard by the House Ways & Means Committee and was reported favorable with 11 yeas and 6 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.

Currently, rental car companies levee a daily surcharge of $2 per day that is paid by individuals renting cars. Peer-to-peer vehicle sharing programs are typically app-based platforms where owners can list and lease their personal vehicles for a pre-determined time and rate. Presently, these car sharing services are exempt from the rental car surcharge. The proceeds from the rental car surcharge paid by consumers who rent vehicles goes to build and maintain the state’s infrastructure, which is very important to Florida businesses statewide.

The bill amends current Florida statute which establishes a surcharge on the lease or rental of a motor vehicle, to extend the surcharge to peer-to-peer vehicle sharing programs. The fee amounts to $2 per day on rentals over 24 hours and drops to $1 for rentals of less than 24 hours. The bill also establishes operational requirements for peer-to-peer vehicle sharing programs, such as insurance requirements to prevent a lapse in insurance coverage should an accident occur.

HB 377 will now move to the House State Affairs Committee.

AIF supports the proposed measures in this bill to hold all rental car services accountable, regardless of how the vehicle is accessed.


SB 1668 – Relating to Damages

On Tuesday, February 11, SB 1668 by Senator David Simmons (R-Longwood) was heard by the Senate Health Policy Committee and was reported favorable with 5 yeas and 4 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.

A tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. The purpose of tort law is to fairly compensate a person harmed by another person's wrongful acts, whether intentional or negligent. In a negligence action in Florida, the compensation a plaintiff recovers is reduced to the extent the plaintiff or a third party contributed to the injury.

A healthy tort liability system benefits society by compensating injured parties fairly, resolving disputes, and discouraging undesirable behavior. A flawed tort system generates exorbitant damages and unpredictability, causing: 

  • Increased economic costs and increased risks of doing business;
  • Higher insurance premiums; 
  • Increased healthcare costs and declining availability of medical services; and 
  • Deterrence of economic development and job creation activities.

The bill requires evidence of medical expenses in personal injury claims to be based on the usual and customary charges in the community where the expenses are incurred. The bill states that the amounts paid or to be paid through any public or private health insurance coverage on behalf of the claimant are presumed to be usual and customary medical charges.

SB 1668 will now move to the Senate Banking and Insurance.

AIF supports legislation that creates transparency and ensures accuracy in damages, thereby reducing the cost of insurance premiums for Florida businesses.


SB 1794 – Relating to Constitutional Amendments Proposed by Initiative

On Tuesday, February 11, SB 1794 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee and was reported favorable with 4 yeas and 2 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, stood in support of this legislation.

The Florida Constitution is the charter of the liberties of Floridians. It may be amended only if the voters approve an amendment originating from the Legislature, the Constitution Revision Commission, the Taxation and Budget Reform Commission, a constitutional convention, or a citizen initiative.

The bill modifies several aspects of the citizen initiative process to increase transparency, strengthen the integrity of the ballot, and reduce costs for the supervisors of elections. Specifically, the bill changes the deadline for gathering signatures, the Fiscal Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC) analysis process, the ballot language requirements, and the requirements for supervisors of elections.

SB 1794 will now move to the Senate Rules Committee.

AIF supports the measures contained in this bill to prevent interest groups’ circumvention of the legislature in revising Florida’s constitution.