Legislative Update - November 2015

Friday, November 13, 2015

 

 



Governor Scott's Initiatives

Governor Scott announced several budget initiatives recently that may be of interest.

  • Career In A Year - Gov. Scott has proposed $20 million for grant funding that would develop programs which could be completed in less than a year, such as welding. The programs would be designed to offer needed skills in an efficient time frame for growing industry sectors. A total of 48 colleges and technical centers would be eligible for the grants.
  • Quick Action Closing Fund - Gov. Scott has proposed a reform of Enterprise Florida's Quick Action Closing fund program to help Florida jobs maintain a competitive edge. He addressed the current lack of funding in the program and the need for additional funds in the upcoming 2016 session. 

On October 30, Governor Scott announced that Florida’s housing market saw another strong month of positive growth with more closed sales and higher median prices over the year in September 2015. Closed sales of existing single-family homes statewide totaled 23,574 last month, up 13.4% from September 2014. The statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes last month was $199,000, up 11.1% from the previous year.

Legislative Activities

Legislators met in Tallahassee the week of October 19-23 for interim committee meetings. Following are highlights that may be of interest.

  • SB 76 Tax-Exempt Income (aka Corporate Income Tax) passed the Senate Finance & Tax committee on October 19. The bill increases the amount of income that is exempt from Florida corporate income tax (5.5%) from $50,000 to $75,000.
  • SB 116 Tax on Sales, Use and Other Transactions (commercial rent and lease tax) passed the Senate Finance & Tax Committee on October 19. The bill reduces the tax imposed on rental or license fees charged for the use of commercial property from 6 percent to 5 percent effective January 1, 2017.
  • SB 92 Contaminated Sites passed the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on October 20. The bill allows additional considerations in the use of risk-based corrective action in contamination cleanup and brownfield site rehabilitation. It authorizes DEP to use alternative cleanup target levels without requiring institutional controls in remediating contaminated sites. The bill defines long term natural attenuation as a site rehabilitation program task for a period of more than five years. DEP will be able to use long term natural attenuation as a technique for site rehabilitation. A definition for background concentration is provided that includes natural and other man-made impacts unrelated to the discharge of pollutants at a contaminated site. DEP is prohibited from requiring cleanup target levels that are more stringent than the site specific background concentration.
  • PCS/CS/SB 148 was passed by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government on October 20. The bill requires retail stores to allow certain consumers to return purchases of $1,000 or more for a full refund within three business days of their purchase if the consumer has been adjudicated incapacitated, is subject to a guardianship and the guardian has the authority to determine the consumer’s right to manage property, or has a doctor’s note that indicates that he has been diagnosed with a medical condition that causes him to lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate reasonable decisions concerning his person or property, and has a power of attorney in effect.
  • The House State Affairs Committee has produced its water bill for the House, PCB SAC 16-01 Environmental Resources that addresses springs protection, consumptive use water permits and more. It was approved for introduction by that Committee on October 22.

Looking ahead to the week of November 2, 2015 legislators will be in Tallahassee for Session on congressional redistricting and interim committee meetings.

Bills of interest filed since our last report are below.

 

Bill Number

Sponsor

Name

Description

HB 389

Rep. Lee

Construction Liens

Provides that lessor's interest in commercial property is not subject to construction lien for construction, renovation, or improvement made by lessee under certain conditions.

SB 562

 

Consumer Debt Collection

Providing that a person attempting to collect a debt is not liable for a violation of prohibited communication practices if the debtor or the debtor’s attorney fails to provide certain notice or information; authorizing the Office of Financial Regulation to adopt rules for certain notices delivered by electronic communication, etc.

Nancy Stephens, CAE, DPL 11/13/2015

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