Progress continues on our Chamber’s legislative agenda during the 4th week of the 2022 Florida Legislative Session. Please note, our Government Affairs Committee meets on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom. Contact the Chamber if you are a member and wish to attend.
VISIT FL Legislation Cruises Through Senate
On Thursday, the Senate passed SB 434, by Senator Ed Hooper, off the Senate Floor, 36-1. SB 434 extends VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing arm through October 1, 2031. The House companion is also ready for the floor and could be taken up as early as week 6. Florida’s tourism industry is a key driver of the state’s $1.23 trillion economy and for every state dollar spent on VISIT FLORIDA, $3.27 was returned in additional tax revenue to the state economy. Despite the setback of the pandemic, the Florida Chamber remains committed to the 2030 Blueprint goal of being the #1 state for international visitors. This makes the mission of the Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation even more important in promoting Florida’s tourism brand to national and international travelers.
COVID Liability for Healthcare Providers (Chamber Supports)
Extends the commonsense COVID-19 liability protections expiring for health care facilities to continue to protect our healthcare heroes as the pandemic continues. Both the House and Senate are set to take up both HB 7021 and SB 7041 on Wednesday, February 9, 2022. These bills could pass the Florida Legislature as soon as Thursday, February 10, 2022.
Senate Finance & Tax Committee Advances FL Chamber-Backed Tax Proposals
The Senate Finance & Tax Committee advanced two important tax priorities for the Florida Chamber when the committee met on Thursday. SB 1090 avoids an estimated $1.2 billion corporate income tax increase by addressing federal tax base broadening measures that were included in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. SB 952 contains two tax proposals that were identified by the Florida Chamber as necessary changes to improve Florida’s competitiveness. First, SB 952 increases the cap for the state Research & Development Tax Credit from $9 million to $50 million. Year after year, the R&D Tax Credit receives far more applications than there is available credits and increasing the cap would take a significant step in the state holding up its side of the bargain.
The bill also would exempt businesses from paying a documentary stamp tax on federal emergency loans, such as the Paycheck Protection Program or Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Florida is an outlier in charging a documentary stamp tax on loans and this would ensure small businesses have access to the full amount of the loan that was executed for emergency purposes.
Initial House & Senate Appropriations Bills Released
Each year, the only thing constitutionally required to pass is a balanced budget. Appropriations Subcommittees for the House & Senate released the proposed budgets for their silo this week, and it is expected that next week the full Appropriations Committee for each chamber will hear and pass the budget. Because both budgets are different, after the House & Senate pass their bills off the Floor, they will call for conference committees to meet and iron out any differences. You can view the House budget here and the Senate budget here.
The Florida House and Florida Senate redistricting maps were finalized this week and sent to the Florida Supreme Court for review per the Constitution. The congressional redistricting map was put on hold this week after the Governor’s office requested an Advisory Opinion of the Florida Supreme Court on a minority access district that spans 200 miles from Duval County to Gadsden County. Unlike the House & Senate redistricting map, the Governor has veto authority over the congressional map.
Rural Economic Development (Chamber Supports)
The House Infrastructure & Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee will hear HB 685 on 2/7. This legislation would improve access to three rural economic development programs- the Rural Infrastructure Fund, the Regional Development Grants Program, and the Rural Community Development Revolving Loan Fund. The Florida Chamber Foundation Blueprint 2030 lays out a goal of doubling rural county share of Florida GDP by 2030.
OTHER IMPORTANT STORYLINES:
Government Regulation Impacting Businesses, Continues to Move Forward:
One of the bigger stories of the 2022 Florida Legislative Session is the two bills by Senator Travis Hutson, SB 280 and SB 620.
This bill has been dubbed as the “ultimate” preemption bill and a way to end groups from coming to Tallahassee on an annual basis requesting preemptions of local governments. SB 280 requires local governments to create a business impact statement when considering local ordinances, pauses enforcement of regulations while they are being challenged in court, and allows for attorney fees if the ordinance is successfully challenged. SB 620 creates an avenue for businesses that lose more than 15 percent of their profit due to a local government ordinance to recover damages. These bills were sent to the House where the companion measures, HB 403 and HB 569, have three total committee hearings remaining (two for HB 403 and one for HB 569).