Becker’s State Lobbying Update: Week 4, January 31, 2022 – February 4, 2022

Becker’s State Lobbying Update: Week 4, January 31, 2022 – February 4, 2022

Becker’s State Lobbying Update: Week 4, January 31-February 4

Welcome to Becker’s Weekly Spotlight! As your trusted lobbyists, we are proud to provide you with the latest developments in politics and policy in Tallahassee. Here is what happened in Tallahassee during Week 4 (January 31- February 4) of the 2022 Legislative Session.

HEADLINES

  • The budget for the 2022-2023 Legislative Session was released this week. The House proposed budget totals 105.3 billion, an increase of 3.6% over the current year. The proposed increase in General Revenue spending is $2.7 billion (7.4%). The House’s proposed budget also leaves more than $11.1 billion in reserves to ensure Florida is prepared for the future. The Senate proposed budget totals $108.6 billion. This budget focuses on a minimum wage increase to $15 per hour for State Employees, an increase in salary correctional and probation officers, state law enforcement officers, state firefighters, juvenile justice detention officer and juvenile justice probation officers, as well as veterans home nurses receiving a 15% pay increase.For your convenience, details can be found at the following link House Proposed General Appropriations Act and Senate Budget Summary FY 22-23.
  • CS/SJR 100 by Senator Ray Rodrigues would create new legislative maps for the Senate and House. They were approved by the Florida Legislature on Thursday, February 4, and are on their way to the Supreme Court. While proponents of the new map proposals believed the maps were more “mathematically compact,” opponents argued there aren’t enough minority districts, claiming that the maps should have better reflected the increase in minority populations around the state. The next step is for the attorney general to present the maps to the Supreme Court, which would then have 30 days to review them. For your convenience, please find the following link to review the current maps here.
  • House District 94 has representation for this legislative session. Democratic Rep.-Elect Daryl Campbell began his legislative duties on Monday, January 31, after the Secretary of State, Laurel Lee, and the Director of the Division of Elections, Maria Matthews, signed the letter and certificate signifying Mr. Campbell’s victory for HD 94. Held by Former State Representative, Bobby DuBose, HD 94 serves parts of Broward such as Fort Lauderdale and Lauderdale Lakes.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

  • Vacation Rentals. SB 512 by Senator Danny Burgeesand HB 325 by Jason Fischer were brought forth to strike a balance between private property rights and local governmental control. Under SB 512, regulation of vacation rentals will be granted to local governments, however it limits the information that they may require for a vacation rental registration and expedites the registration process by requiring local governments to approve or deny a vacation rental application within 15 days of receipt. On Wednesday, February 2, SB 512 was heard in the Community Affairs committee where an amendment significantly altered the requirement process. Under the newly amended legislation, local governments are permitted to charge a fee of no more than $50 for processing an individual registration application, or $100 for processing a collective registration application. Local governments are still not permitted to require a renewal registration unless there is a change of ownership. Furthermore, if a local government denies an individual or collective registration application, a notice must be sent out to the parties involved detailing the factual reasons for the denial including statutes, ordinances, or rules. Local governments may not deny an applicant from reapplying, and if there is a failure to accept or deny the application within the allotted timeframe, the application will be automatically approved. SB 512 passed favorably with 6 Yeas and 3 Nays. It awaits a hearing in the Senate Appropriations committee. HB 325 has two more committee stops before it reaches the House floor.
  • Stunt Driving on Highways and Motor Vehicle and Vessel Law Enforcement. CS/SB 876 by Senator Jason Pizzoand HB 399 by Representative Anthony Rodriguez will explicitly prohibit an individual driving a motor vehicle from engaging in any “street takeovers” or stunt driving and/or racing on a highway, roadway, or residential neighborhood. A street takeover, as defined in the bill’s text, is the taking over of a portion of a highway or roadway by blocking or impeding the regular flow oof traffic to perform burnouts, drifting, or other stunt driving. An individual who is found in violation of CS/SB 876 is committing a misdemeanor of the first degree and will be subjected to a fine between $500 and $1,000, and one-year suspension of their license. Law enforcement officers are permitted to arrest an individual without a warrant if there is probable cause that they engaged in a street takeover or stunt driving. Individuals who are believed to have been passengers in a motor vehicle during the commencement of a street takeover are also subject to a fine or arrest. Other penalties may include the vehicle being impounded. State and local government entities are expected to see an indeterminate fiscal impact associated with fines and traffic infractions. Its House companion, HB 399 was heard on Thursday, February 3 in the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Subcommittee where it received a unanimous vote of 17 Yeas and 0 Nays. Both bills will take effect October 1, 2022.
  • Preemption of Local Government Wage Mandates. SB 1124 by Senator Joe Grutersand HB 943 by Representative Joe Harding would preempt political subdivisions from mandating employers to pay their employees a wage rate or provide employment benefits that are not required under federal or state law. The bills’ sponsors believe that a legislative wage mandate would not only cause a disparity in political subdivisions, but it would inflate wage rates with no regard to skill set, increase the cost burden on taxpayer funded public projects, eliminate training opportunities for young, “unskilled” workers, and distort wages for consumers and lead to an inflation in consumer costs. Furthermore, it is estimated that a wage mandate will increase construction costs by up to 15%. Neither SB 1124 nor its House companion, HB 943, apply to collective bargaining agreements, nor will they limit any prevailing wages under state law. This bill will take effect upon becoming law. SB 1124 was heard on Tuesday, February 2 in the Senate Community Affairs committee where it received a vote of 5 Yeas and 3 Nays. Its next committee stop is Commerce and Tourism where it awaits scheduling. HB 943 was heard on Thursday, February 3 in the Regulatory Reform Subcommittee where it passed favorably with 11 Yeas and 6 Nays.
  • Sovereign Immunity. SB 974 by Senator Joe Grutersand HB 985 by Representative Mike Beltram would increase the limits of the state’s waiver of sovereign immunity from $200,000 per injured person and $300,000 per incident to $1 million per injured person and no limit per incident. The $1 million claim limit will be adjusted annually to align with the increase in inflation. Under SB 974, insurance policies are not applicable for conditions of payment. State and local governments are expected to face a significant negative fiscal impact; however, this will be contingent upon the number of claims filed that are significantly greater than the current limits but lower than the limits proposed in the legislation. This bill will take effect on July 1, 2022. SB 974 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Community Affairs committee on Tuesday, February 8 at 3:00PM. Its House companion, HB 985 was heard in the Appropriations committee where it received a favorable vote of 23 Yeas and 1 Nay. It is on its way to the Judiciary Committee, but it has not been scheduled.

HEALTHCARE

  • Conversion of a Public Health Care System – Local Administration and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee and Independent Hospital Districts. PCS/HB 897 and SB 1260by Representative Joe Gruters would establish a procedure for an independent hospital district to convert into a private nonprofit entity and vote to evaluate the benefits of conversion for the residents. Currently there are 1,216 independent special districts within the state specializing in the provision of health care services. Under PCS/HB 897, governing bodies will be required to conduct public hearings, contract with independent entities that have at least five years of experience conducting similar evaluations and maintain documentation that supports the information is available to the public. Evaluations must be completed, and a final report must be submitted no later than 180 days after the date the vote was taken. Final reports are required to include a statement signed by the presiding officer, as well as the chief executive officer of the independent entity. Counties and municipalities are not expected to face a fiscal impact; however, state governments may receive a small positive fiscal impact on state revenues. This bill will take effect on July 1, 2022. Its Senate companion, SB 1260, was passed favorably in the Community Affairs Committee with set to be heard in its last committee but it has not been scheduled.

 
ENVIRONMENT

  • Statewide Flooding and Sea Level Rise Resilience. SB 1940 by Sen. Jason Brodeur and HB 7053 by Rep. Demi Busatta Cabrera would expand the coastal resilience initiative that was passed in the 2020 legislative session by increasing the eligibility requirements of the Resilient Florida Grant Program to include small cities and counties to help communities tackle sea-level rise and mitigate flooding. SB 1940 passed favorably in its first committee, Environment and Natural Resources, with at unanimous vote of 5-0. A committee substitute was filed on Tuesday, February 1. The bill is now in its second committee of reference, Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government, awaiting a hearing. It’s house companion, HB 7053, formerly PCB EAF1, was filed on Thursday, February 3. It has not been referred to any committees.