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Weekly Legislative Update from January 17, 2020

Economic Development

SB 848 – Relating to Rural Communities

On Tuesday, January 14, SB 848 by Senator Bill Montford (D-Quincy) was heard in the Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee and was reported favorably 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 U.S. Census Bureau defines urban areas as areas of 50,000 or more population and urban clusters of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 population. Additionally, the Bureau considers anything that is not an urban area to be rural. Geographically, 86.2% of Florida’s land lies in rural areas but only 8.8% of Florida’s population lives in those rural areas.

The bill creates the “Florida Rural Job and Business Recovery Act.” The bill uses tax credits against the state insurance premium tax to incentivize investors to give funds to certified growth fund entities that, in turn, will make capital or equity investments, or loans with a maturity date of at least one year, in growth businesses (businesses that, among other qualifications, employee less than 200) located in non-urbanized areas of the state.

SB 848 will now move to the Senate Finance & Tax Committee.

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


SB 356 and HB 115– 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.

On Thursday, January 16, HB 115 by Representative Nicholas Duran (D-Miami) was heard in the House Commerce Committee and was reported favorable with 22 yeas and 0 nays.

These bills remove 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 bills, 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 bills specify 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 bills define 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.

HB 115 will now move to the House floor.

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