2017 Bi- Weekly Legislative Newsletter. Week 3 & 4

Week 3: Legal & Judicial. HB 775-Relating to Motor Vehicle Warranty Repairs and Recall Repairs.  On Tuesday, March 21st, HB 775, by Representative Manny Diaz (R-Hialeah Gardens) was heard in the House Careers and Competition Subcommittee, and passed by a vote of 13 yeas to 0 nays.

860923be 3323 434a b8e7 ff70c936e91cThis bill prohibits a licensee, except as authorized by law, from denying a dealer's claim, reducing the dealer's compensation, or processing a chargeback to a dealer for performing covered warranty or recall repairs on a used motor vehicle under specified circumstances. The bill alters the playing field and may have a chilling effect on manufacturing in general.

The complex issue surrounding safety recalls should be a federal matter, better addressed at the national level with the goal of creating uniform public policy that improves motor vehicle safety, encourages technological innovation, and protects our planet. HB 775 will move on to the House Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee to be heard.

House Bill 775, by Representative Manny Diaz, relating to Motor Vehicle Warranty Repairs and Recall Repairs. HB 775 was today heard in the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee, its first committee of reference. 

HB 1027 & SB 832-Relating to Drones

97e7e3f0 e341 4429 84ae 9ac94b32c66cOn Tuesday, March 21st, HB 1027, by Representative Clay Yarborough (R-Jacksonville) was heard by the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee, and unanimously passed by a vote of 13 years to 0 nays. HB 1027 will go to the House Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee for its second hearing.

On Tuesday, March 21st, SB 832, by Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) was heard in the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice and passed. These bills will ensure a consistent framework for the use of drones. As the use of drones becomes increasingly more common in many different sectors of the business community throughout the state, implementing statewide regulations will establish safeguards while operating drones. SB 832 will go to the Senate Committee on Transportation for its second hearing.

Health Care

HB 449- Relating to Health Insurance

92255861 c7b1 4d9d b13c 252605ec9540On Tuesday, March 21st, HB 449, by Representative Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee, and passed by a vote of 10 yeas to 1 nay. This bill creates the Patient Savings Act, which requires health insurers to create a shared savings incentive program (Program) to encourage insured individuals to shop for high quality, lower cost health care services and share any savings realized as a result of the insured's choice.

While this bill has good intentions, when you look at paying an insured individual's difference in cost, the insurance company will end up paying a midway point which will in turn be pushed off onto Florida businesses. HB 449 will now go to the House Health & Human Services Committee for its next hearing. On Tuesday, March 21st, HB 449, by Representative Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) was heard by the House Government Operations & Technology Appropriations Subcommittee, and passed by a vote of 10 years to 1 nay.

This bill creates the Patient Savings Act, which requires health insurers to create a shared savings incentive program (Program) to encourage insured individuals to shop for high quality, lower cost health care services and share any savings realized as a result of the insured's choice. While this bill has good intentions, when you look at paying an insured individual's difference in cost, the insurance company will end up paying a midway point which will in turn be pushed off onto Florida businesses. HB 449 will now go to the House Health & Human Services Committee for its next hearing.

Taxation
SB 378-Relating to Taxation

On Tuesday, March 21st, SB 378, by Senator Anitere Flores (R-Miami) was heard by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax, and passed by a vote of 4 yeas to 0 nays. This legislation aims to repeal the insurance premium tax credit, which would result in a nearly $300 million tax increase on Florida's insurance industry. Florida is one of only a few states that have two separate taxes for insurers - a corporate income tax paid by all businesses and a second, punitive tax on the insurance premiums paid by Floridians.

Therefore, this premium tax credit was created in 1987 to lessen the burden on insurers while also allowing them to reinvest these funds back into their business. Repealing this 30-year insurance salary tax credit removes the mechanism that helps keep insurance rates for everyday Floridians as low as possible. During this meeting, an amendment offered by Senator Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) would swap the insurance salary tax credit for a reduction in the Communications Services Tax (CST) and business rent tax.

SB 704-Relating to Tax on Sales, Use, and Other Transactions

On Wednesday, March 22nd, SB 704, by Senator Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah), was heard in the Senate Committee on Community Affairs and passed by a vote of 5 yeas to 1 nays. Currently, Florida is the only state that charges tax on the lease of commercial property; and while it is a major part of the state's tax revenues, it needs to be gradually reduced and eventually eliminated to make Florida more attractive to business. This bill will provide a limited exception from the sales tax on commercial leases.

b13d4fae 2355 48f2 8681 d764629a0e48HB 21-Relating to Limitations on Property Tax Assessments

On Thursday, March 23rd, HB 21, by Representative Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland) was read for a third time on the House floor and passed by a vote of 110 years to 3 nays. In 2008, Florida voters approved Amendment 1 which, among other things, created a 10% cap on the annual increase of property taxes for all non-homestead properties. However, this amendment included a sunset provision that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2019. HB 21 proposes a constitutional amendment be added to the ballot during the 2018 General Election to let the voters decide in making this cap 10% tax cap permanent. HB 21 will now go to the Senate floor to be heard.

Transportation
SB 654-Relating to Transportation

On Tuesday, March 14th, SB 654, by Senator Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) was heard by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax and passed unanimously by a vote of 5 years to 0 nays. This bill shifts the distribution of the annual license taxes imposed on certain motor vehicle registrations from the General Revenue Fund to the State Transportation Trust Fund (STTF). Beginning in Fiscal Year 2019-20, 50 percent of the portion of the annual license tax that is deposited into the General Revenue Fund is shifted to the State Transportation Trust Fund; in Fiscal Year 2020-2021, the remaining 50 percent is shifted into the STTF. SB 654 will go on to the Senate Committee on Appropriations for its next hearing.

Environment
SB 532-Relating to Public Notification of Pollution

On Tuesday, March 21st, SB 532, by Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) was heard in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources and passed by a vote of 6 years to 0 nays. This bill will require companies to notify the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) about the release of any dangerous substance within 24 hours of discovery, and DEP must then publish a public notice within 24 hours. SB 532 will now go to the Senate Committee on Appropriations to be heard.

Economic Development
SB 1040-Relating to Beer or Malt Beverages

10a5f0d1 ace7 43e0 8192 d85b064625a8On Tuesday, March 21st, SB 1040, by Senator Frank Artiles (R-Miami), was heard by the Senate Committee on Regulated Industries and passed unanimously by a vote of 10 yeas to 0 nays. Currently, vendors must purchase glassware from distributors for use in their establishments. This bill allows for beer distributors to provide beer or malt beverage branded glassware to vendors for their use, cutting down on the vendors over all costs. SB 1040 will now go on to the Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism.

Agriculture
SB 1536-Relating to Agricultural Practices

On Tuesday, March 21st, SB 1536, by Senator Keith Perry (R-Gainesville), was heard by the Senate Committee on Agriculture and passed by a vote of 5 yeas to 0 nays. This bill clarifies that livestock, poultry and aquaculture medical supplies are exempt from sales tax. The bill repeals a supplemental pesticide registration fee which was added to bi-annual pesticide registrations. The bill also expands the travel radius limitations on the state restricted agricultural tag from "150" miles to statewide. SB 1536 will now go to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax to be heard.

Regualtion
SB 162-Relating to Disposable Plastic Bags

On Wednesday, March 22nd, SB 162, by Senator José Javier Rodriguez (D-Miami), was heard in the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and passed by a vote of 4 yeas to 1 nay This bill authorizes municipalities to establish a pilot program to regulate or ban disposable plastic bags. SB 162 will move on to its next committee stop in the Senate Committee on Community Affairs.

Week 4
Education
HB 859 & SB 668-Relating to Postsecondary Distance Education

2c750588 0e24 4491 816b 0859edae63dcOn Monday, March 27th, HB 859, by Representative Amber Mariano (R-Port Richey), was heard by the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee and passed unanimously by a vote of 12 yeas to 0 nays. Also on Monday, March 27th, SB 668, by Senator Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville), was heard by the Senate Committee on Education and passed unanimously by 9 yeas to 0 nays.

This legislation seeks to authorize Florida's participation in the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement known as "SARA" created by the Southern Regional Education Board and the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements This would allow for Florida's postsecondary institutions to voluntarily participate in what is a multi-state reciprocity agreement allowing them to offer online education without excessive fees and regulatory compliance processes.

This reciprocity offers student's greater access to more distance education, enhances oversight of distance education offerings to Florida students by another state, and expands experiential learning opportunities across state lines. Not only is this good for students but it also helps lessen the burden on Florida businesses and taxpayers to fund construction and facility costs. HB 859 will move on to the House Education Committee for its third hearing. SB 668 will move on to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education.

Workforce

HB 1299 - Relating to Vehicle Inspection

On Monday, March 27th, HB 1299, by Representative Bobby DuBose (D-Fort Lauderdale), was heard by the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee and passed. This bill repeals an antiquated vehicle inspection program only required in a handful of counties in Florida. Initially designed to prevent "phantom vehicles," its usefulness has been eroded due to technological advancements such as VIN numbers and automated car reporting. Currently, insurers and premium payers bear the cost of this program which, according to the NICB, has only led to the successful recovery of one vehicle in several years. HB 1299 will go to the House Commerce Committee for its next hearing.

HB 265-Relating to Computer Coding Instruction

3b1c112a 2b1b 47f6 856f 05353d3a44d6On Monday, March 27th, HB 265 by Representative Elizabeth Porter (R-Lake City), was heard by the House PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee and passed unanimously by a vote of 14 yeas to 0 nays. HB 265 would allow high school students the option of taking computer coding courses along with a related industry certification to satisfy the foreign language requirement currently in place.

Under this bill high schools will provide students the opportunity to substitute two credits in computer coding and a related industry certification for two credits sequential foreign language courses (i.e. Spanish I and Spanish II; Latin I and Latin II; French I and French II; etc.). Furthermore, HB 265, would require the Florida College System institutions and state universities to acknowledge computer coding course credits as foreign language credits. HB 265 will now go to its second committee stop in the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee. A lot of organizations support legislation that will provide Florida's students the opportunity to become proficient in computer coding, which will in turn prepare our states next generation for a technology driven economy

Legal & Judicial

SB 466-Relating to Motor Vehicle Warranty Repairs and Recall Repairs

On Monday, March 27th, SB 466, by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast), was heard in Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism and passed by a vote of 8 yeas to 0 nays This bill prohibits a licensee, except as authorized by law, from denying a dealer's claim, reducing the dealer's compensation, or processing a chargeback to a dealer for performing covered warranty or recall repairs on a used motor vehicle under specified circumstances.

The bill alters the playing field and may have a chilling effect on manufacturing in general. The complex issue surrounding safety recalls should be a federal matter, better addressed at the national level with the goal of creating uniform public policy that improves motor vehicle safety, encourages technological innovation, and protects our planet. SB 466 will move on to the Senate Committee on Rules to be heard. One organization opposes legislation that would intervene in any contractual agreement between a dealer franchise and an auto manufacturer, voluntarily entered by each party, and dictate new terms and conditions of such mutual agreement that favor one party over the other

Telecommunications
SB 596-Relating to Utilities

On Tuesday, March 7th, SB 596, by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast), was heard by the Senate Committee on Governmental Oversight and Accountability and passed. This bill creates the Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act which would ultimately allow for 5G technology throughout the state of Florida. SB 596 will now go to its third committee hearing in the Senate Committee on Rules. Few organizations support legislation that accommodates for the increasing need for reliable wireless networks to help support communities and businesses of the future.

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