2019 Legislative Session Summary

Florida Legislature Takes Steps to Make Florida More Competitive

Lowers Cost of Living, Reduces Cost of Doing Business, Prepares for Future Growth and Protects Florida’s Constitution

 

Six months after the launch of Florida’s next strategic plan, commonly known as the Florida 2030 blueprint, Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature took steps during the 2019 Legislative Session to make Florida more competitive. Lawmakers passed 20 Florida Chamber-backed bills that will help lower the cost of living on families, reduce the cost of doing business on job creators and prepare for Florida’s future growth. 
 
The Florida Chamber’s 2019 legislative agenda was supported by more than 75,000 letters of support and 14,000 petitions to lawmakers, hundreds of local chamber members traveling to Tallahassee to meet with their lawmakers, and nearly 115 separate Florida Chamber testimonials before House and Senate committees – all backed by a lobbying and public affairs team of 30 strong.
 
To secure Florida’s future, during the 60-day session, lawmakers filed 1,675 bills, and passed 174 bills. Chief among Florida Chamber-backed legislation that passed this session are bills that:
  • Strengthen education policy to improve Florida’s talent pipeline and further school choice options,
  • Prepare for Florida’s future growth with important infrastructure policy,
  • Protect Floridians from the lawsuit abuses of Assignment of Benefits property insurance fraud,
  • Invest in Florida’s economic development and tourism marketing programs,
  • Support innovations in autonomous vehicles, small cell technology and telehealth
  • Harden Florida’s electrical grid for future hurricanes and disasters, and
  • Protect Florida’s constitution from out-of-state and special interests buying their way onto Florida’s ballot.

Meanwhile, not all lawmakers were trying to make Florida more competitive. Some in the legislature tried to create a patchwork of regulations increasing costs on businesses, families and consumers. Additionally, there were a host of attempted mandates on job creator’s employment, including misguided wage and employment condition mandates. And, throughout the nine-week process, the Florida Chamber took on attacks from those that want to make Florida less competitive, including government unions, billboard trial lawyers and environmental groups fighting against smart growth.

Big picture, the Florida Legislature moved Florida forward in four important areas:

Lowering the Cost of Living

AOB Property Insurance Reform

At the urging of the Florida Chamber’s Consumer Protection Coalition, lawmakers partially closed the Assignment of Benefits (AOB) loophole. This will help curb rampant litigation over homeowner property insurance claims, and help stop bad actors from abusing the system for their own gain. However, work remains to close auto glass AOB abuses. The Florida Chamber considers this unfinished business,and looks forward to passing reforms next session.
Thank You Senator Doug Broxson, Representative Bob Rommel, President Bill Galvano, Speaker Jose Oliva, CFO Jimmy Patronis and Governor Ron DeSantis.

Innovations in Healthcare

Lawmakers championed innovations in healthcare by passing a telehealth bill that provides safe, high-quality and affordable medical care options, and a bill creating a health insurance savings program that allows health 
insurers to create voluntary shared savings programs.
Thank You Representative Clay Yarborough, Representative Paul Renner and Senator Manny Diaz, Jr.

Reducing the Cost of Doing Business

Lawsuit Abuse Reform

To help improve Florida’s bottom five legal climate, lawmakers passed two lawsuit abuse reform bills this session. A dangerous instrumentality exemption protecting certain renters of heavy equipment from frivolous lawsuits passed, and AOB lawsuit abuse reform passed for property insurance.
Thank You Senator Kelli Stargel and Representative Tom Leek.

Targeted Tax Reform

Lawmakers continued chipping away at the Florida-only Business Rent Tax,
saving job creators $64.5 million annually.
Thank You Senator Joe Gruters, Representative Bryan Avila and Senator Kelli Stargel.

Regulatory Reform

Prevented a patchwork of regulations that would have increased costs on businesses, families and consumers. Additionally, lawmakers passed a Florida Chamber-backed bill requiring local government to pay attorney’s fees for improper local actions.

Thank You 
Senator Travis Hutson and Representative Anthony Sabatini.

Preparing for Future Growth

Enterprise Florida, Inc., VISIT FLORIDA and Space Florida

To help keep Florida’s momentum going, lawmakers invested in Enterprise Florida, Inc., and VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s economic development
and tourism marketing programs, and also invested in Space Florida.
Thank YouSenator Joe Gruters and Representative Mel Ponder, Senator Travis Hutson, Senator Rob Bradley,  Representative Jay Trumbull and Representative Travis Cummings.

Infrastructure and Growth

With 4.5 million more people expected to call Florida home by 2030, the legislature took major strides to prepare for Florida’s future growth by passing legislation that mirrors the Florida Chamber’s Infrastructure Coalition Recommendations.

Thank You President Bill Galvano, Senator Tom Lee and Representative Jay Trumbull.

Energy Grid Hardening

Preparing for future hurricanes and natural disasters with storm protection plans to harden Florida’s electrical grid.
Thank You Senator Joe Gruters and Representative Randy Fine.

Autonomous & Communications Innovation

The Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program helped secure victories modernizing the autonomous vehicle regulatory structure to help make Florida the most autonomous-friendly state in the union. Additionally, lawmakers reduced communications services barriers for deploying small cell devices to reliably boost 5G cellular coverage using a minimal amount of space.
Thank You Senator Jeff Brandes and Representative Jason Fischer.

Florida’s Future Workforce

This Florida Chamber-backed bill will help ensure students have access to high quality workforce education and apprenticeship programs, and increases college degree attainment.
Thank You Senator Travis Hutson, Senator Keith Perry, Representative 
Amber Mariano, Representative Ralph Massullo, Representative Mel Ponder, President Bill Galvano, Speaker Jose Olivia and Governor Ron DeSantis.

Protecting Florida’s Constitution

Returning the Constitutional Amendment Process Back to Floridians

Florida’s constitution has been under attack by out-of-state and special interests buying their way onto Florida’s ballot – all to advance their own interests. At the urging of the Florida Chamber, lawmakers passed a bill reducing the influence of out-of-state and special interest groups and returning control of the petition gathering process back to Floridians where it belongs. Florida voters gain greater transparency into the constitutional amendment process. The Florida Chamber has a decades-long tradition of protecting Florida’s constitution from the assault of special interests’ agendas, and we thank the Florida Legislature for returning the constitutional amendment process back to Floridians.
Thank You Representative James Grant and Senator David Simmons

Moving Forward

The Florida Chamber will once again soon release its Legislative Report Card – a comprehensive report based on over 4,000 individuals votes on the Florida Chamber’s 2019 Jobs Agenda. Click here to read the complete Florida Chamber 2019 Legislative Summary.