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WEEKLY LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM JANUARY 21, 2022

AGRICULTURE

SB 1000 – Relating to Nutrient Application Rates

On Wednesday, January 19, SB 1000 by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) was heard by the Senate Agriculture Committee and was reported favorable with 6 yeas and 1 nay. AIF’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Adam Basford, stood in support of this legislation.

The bill allows certified crop advisors to recommend preferred fertilizer rates to tailor nutrient application rates. The bill provides that producers using rate tailoring are required to enroll in and implement applicable best management practices (BMPs) adopted by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

SB 1000 will now go to the Senate Rules Committee.

AIF supports legislation which protects an agricultural producers’ enrollment in the Best Management Practices program while providing the ability to specifically tailor nutrient rates based upon variables such as crop variety, site-specific conditions, meteorological events, or pest and disease pressures.

BUSINESS REGULATION

SB 280 – Relating to Local Ordinances

On Thursday, January 20, SB 280 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the Senate Rules Committee and was reported favorable with 14 yeas and 2 nays. AIF’s Legislative Affairs Assistant, BD Jogerst, stood in support of this legislation.

The amended bill pertains to the passage and challenging of local ordinances by affected businesses and requires counties and cities to produce a “business impact estimate” prior to passing an ordinance. The estimate must be published on the local government’s website and include information such as the proposed ordinance’s purpose, estimated economic impact on businesses, and compliance costs.

SB 280 will now go to the Senate floor for consideration.

AIF supports legislation that grants businesses the right to challenge in court unjust and arbitrary local ordinances that create barriers to business which leads to jobs lost and a decelerated economy. Business is the lifeblood of Florida and owners deserve the right to protect their livelihood.

 

SB 620 – Relating to Local Government

On Thursday, January 20, SB 620 Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee and was reported favorable with 11 yeas and 7 nays. AIF’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Adam Basford, stood in support of this legislation.

This bill creates a cause of action for a business to sue a local government when the enactment or amendment of an ordinance or charter provision causes at least a 15% loss of profits to the business, if the business has been legally operating for at least 3 years preceding the ordinance.

SB 620 will now go to the Senate floor for consideration.

AIF supports legislation bolstering the rights of businesses to recoup undue losses at the hands of local governments to maintain a prosperous business climate in Florida.

 

HB 1095 – Relating to Telephone Solicitation

On Thursday, January 20, HB 1095 by Representative Mike Beltran (R-Valrico) was heard by the House Regulatory Reform Subcommittee and was reported favorable by unanimous vote. AIF’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Adam Basford, stood in support of this legislation.

In 2021, SB 1120 was passed and prevented telephonic sales calls using automated systems that select numbers OR the usage of automated systems that dial the numbers. This bill further clarifies that telephonic sales calls may not be made using automated number generators AND automated dialers, i.e., robocalls. The bill allows telephonic sales calls with human interaction and therefore clarifies the intent of the original 2021 bill to prevent robocalls.

HB 1095 will now go to the House Civil Justice & Property Rights Subcommittee.

AIF supports legislative efforts that address some of the issues created by the 2021 passage of SB 1120 dealing with telephone solicitation to allow businesses to use certain systems to conduct legitimate telephone solicitation.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

HB 489 – Relating to Florida Tourism Marketing

On Tuesday, January 18, HB 489 by Representative Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg) was heard by the House Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee and was reported favorable with 17 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Adam Basford, stood in support of this legislation.

VISIT FLORIDA is the name for the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation, a non-profit that serves as Florida’s statewide destination marketing organization and represents the state’s tourism industry. Under the bill, the scheduled repeal date for VISIT FLORIDA and the Division of Tourism Marketing is extended from October 1, 2023, to October 1, 2028.

HB 489 will now go to the House Commerce Committee.

AIF supports investment in building a world-class marketing engine with top talent, analytics, and funding that develops and executes data-driven branding strategies to bolster tourism and further the economic growth of Florida.

INSURANCE

HB 7013 – Relating to OGSR/Workers’ Compensation/Department of Financial Services

On Thursday, January 20, HB 7013, sponsored by the House Government Operations Subcommittee, was heard by the House State Affairs Committee and was reported favorable by unanimous vote. AIF’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Adam Basford, stood in support of this legislation.

Prior to the passage of this public records exemption in 2017, the Division of Workers’ Compensation would receive approximately 90 requests monthly—from law firms—for the names and contact information of injured or deceased workers reported in the previous month. These law firms would then use the information to solicit the nearly 5,000 employees per month that are injured on the job. Such solicitation violated the privacy of injured workers for the sole and exclusive purpose of driving litigation. AIF spearheaded the effort to protect this information in 2017 and it is important to make these protections permanent.

HB 7013 will now go to the House floor for consideration.

AIF supports protecting the private information of injured or deceased employees. Employees and employers deserve to be treated fairly in the workers’ compensation process, and keeping this loophole closed avoids unnecessary interference by those seeking to exploit the system.

LEGAL & JUDICIAL

SB 1302 – Relating to Criminal History Information

On Tuesday, January 18, SB 1302 by Senator Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills) was heard by the Senate Regulated Industries Committee and was reported favorable with 8 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Adam Basford, stood in support of this legislation.

The bill revises the process by which a regulatory board within the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) may consider the criminal background of license applicants. The bill revises the process for a court-ordered sealing of a criminal record to require a court to grant a petition for the sealing of a criminal history record if the record has been automatically sealed by the State of Florida and the subject of the sealed record presents a certificate of sealing issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

SB 1302 will now go to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice.

AIF supports legislative efforts that allows individuals with sealed records at the State level to petition local government to further seal their records. Businesses in Florida drive the economy and employers need employees. A sealed record at the state level is indicative of amends made, and therefore these subjects should have access to well-paying jobs that keep Florida moving forward.

 

SB 7014 – Relating to COVID-19-related Claims Against Health Care Providers

On Wednesday, January 19, SB 7014, sponsored by the Senate Judiciary Committee, was read a second and third time on the Senate floor and passed with 22 yeas and 13 nays.

The bill extends the length of time that health care providers receive liability protections from COVID-19-related claims. According to legislation passed during the 2021 Legislative Session, liability protections from COVID-19-related claims apply to claims accruing within 1 year after the effective date of the act, which was March 29, 2022. The bill extends the application period of the liability protections, making them applicable to claims accruing before June 1, 2023. The net result of the bill is to extend the liability protections for about 14 months, from March 29, 2022, to June 1, 2023.

SB 7014 will now go to the House for consideration.

AIF supports legislation that protects the Florida health care community, who has been on the frontline during the pandemic, from frivolous and costly litigation by plaintiffs suing to settle.

TRANSPORTATION

HB 145 – Relating to Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Weight Limits

On Tuesday, January 18, HB 145 by Representative Brett Hage (R-Oxford) was heard by the House Tourism, Infrastructure & Energy Subcommittee and was reported favorable with 16 yeas and 0 nays. AIF’s Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Adam Basford, stood in support of this legislation.

This bill increases the dry weight allowed for recreational off-highway vehicles (ROV) from 2,500lbs to 3,500lbs. This increase is necessary to allow for the development of electric powered ROVs because the battery components often weigh significantly more than internal combustion vehicles.

HB 145 will now go to the House Commerce Committee.

AIF supports legislation that encourages revisions to outdated regulations that bolster the business climate and drive competition for new and better products for Florida’s businesses and consumers.