Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Support SB 280, Telehealth

 

Download Letter     Health and Wellness

 

To: Senate Appropriations Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support SB 280. This bill, which is sponsored by Senator Aaron Bean, will be heard Thursday, February 22nd, in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Florida Chamber is working to secure Florida’s future by ensuring a healthy quality of life for all Floridians. To provide healthcare to the almost 5.4 million more Floridians our state will have by 2030, the Florida Chamber supports proactive and innovative policies that will deliver greater access and quality of care while also controlling escalating healthcare costs. We believe implementing a regulatory framework for telehealth policy that protects free market principles, as is done in SB 280, will allow this innovative industry to flourish and patients to benefit. This legislation is important to Florida’s businesses because the bill:

– Authorizes Florida-licensed health care professionals to use telehealth and articulates a standard of care.

The Florida Chamber urges you to support SB 280, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate to Support HB 405, Linear Facilities

 

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To: Florida Senate

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support HB 405, related to Linear Facilities. This bill, sponsored by Representative Jayer Williamson will be heard on Wednesday, February 21th, on the Senate Special Order Calendar.

The Florida Chamber recognizes that Florida will be home to 5.5 million more residents by 2030. Each of those new residents, as well as over a hundred million annual visitors, will need a reliable and safe electrical grid. In order to secure Florida’s energy future, planning decisions and regulations for many of these facilities should continue to be made at a comprehensive level, rather than through a patchwork of local zoning regulations. This legislation is supported by Florida’s business community because this bill:

  • Changes case law back to the original legislative intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act; and
  • Brings back regulatory certainty to the practice of lawfully siting transmission lines.The Florida Chamber urges you to support HB 405, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Oppose SB 1454, Hurricane Catastrophe Fund

 

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To: Senate Banking and Insurance Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to oppose SB 1454, related to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund. This bill, proposed by Senator Jeff Brandes, will be heard Tuesday, February 20, 2018 in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (CAT Fund) was created after Hurricane Andrew to help stabilize Florida’s insurance marketplace and provide affordable reinsurance. The CAT Fund directly competes with the private reinsurance market. Florida insurers are required to purchase reinsurance through the CAT Fund up to the maximum obligation, which is $17 billion a season, regardless of the CAT Fund’s ability to pay. The State Board of Administration turns to the bond market if the CAT Fund does not have enough money to pay losses from a hurricane, which is then repaid through a “tax” on all insurance policies except workers’ compensation and medical malpractice. The cash build-up factor was created in 2009 to help increase the balance of the CAT Fund when the balance of the CAT Fund was at a historic low.

SB 1484 permanently eliminates the cash build-up factor even though the CAT Fund is not financially at its oneyear maximum capacity. Additionally, eliminating the cash build-up factor fails to contemplate a second season of storms, which could cause the State Board of Administration to turn to the bond market to fund losses. These assessments would then be levied on all insurers, regardless of whether they benefit from the CAT Fund. For these reasons, the Florida Chamber opposes SB 1484 and this issue has been included in the 2018 Florida Business Agenda.

This bill is opposed by Florida’s business community because it:  Puts the short term ahead of the long term by eliminating the cash-build up factor which is used to increase the CAT Fund’s balance;  Increases the risk of hurricane “taxes” if Florida is faced with a series of storms or multiple seasons of storms; and  Creates economic uncertainty for insurers which are required to purchase reinsurance through the state’s CAT Fund.

The Florida Chamber urges you to oppose SB 1454, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. Because of the importance of this issue to employers across the state, our Board of Directors has determined that this bill, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, will be counted twice on our legislative report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Judiciary Committee to Oppose SB 1168

 

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To: Senate Judiciary Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to oppose SB 1168, related to assignment of benefits. This bill, proposed by Senator Greg Steube, will be heard Tuesday, February 6, 2018 in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Florida has among the highest property insurance rates in the country. This rate problem is driven, in part, by an issue known as assignment of benefits, which allows businesses to sue other businesses under their homeowner’s insurance policy. The result has been overinflated claims, increased litigation, and frustrated consumers who unknowingly signed their insurance policy over to a third party.

Unfortunately, this bill doesn’t fix the AOB problem, and may even result in a step backward. SB 1168 fails to comprehensively address attorney fees, which incentivize the use of AOB forms and increase litigation. SB 1168 also prohibits managed repair programs, which are used by some insurers to help address rising claims costs. Finally, and most importantly, the bill fails to fully protect consumers from unscrupulous contractors that are taking advantage of consumers through the misuse of AOBs.

This bill is opposed by Florida’s business community because it:

  • Fails to comprehensively address attorney fees, which should be available to the homeowner but not to unscrupulous contractors in a business to business lawsuit;
  • Strengthens the use of AOBs and fails to protect homeowners from their misuse; and
  • Will not reduce rates, which are increasing due to the exponential increase in AOB lawsuits. Over the last ten years, the number of AOB lawsuits have risen from 405 to 28,183.The Florida Chamber urges you to oppose SB 1168, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. Because of the importance of this issue to employers across the state, our Board of Directors has determined that this bill, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, will be counted twice on our legislative report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges House Subcommittee to Support Proposed Committee Bill 2

 

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To: House Natural Resources & Public Lands Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support Proposed Committee Bill 2, related to Federal 404 Delegation. This bill, sponsored by the Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee will be heard on Wednesday, January 17th, in the House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee.

The Florida Chamber believes that certainty is a hallmark of a safe and just regulatory structure. Proposed Committee Bill 2 has the potential to drastically reduce confusion and time delays in the wetland permitting process while maintaining the exact same environmental protections. This legislation follows similar successful state efforts to assume federal permitting responsibilities for wastewater discharges and air emissions. Florida’s business community supports the bill because it:

  • Allows the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to step into the shoes of the Army Corps of Engineers to issue Federal 404 wetlands permits under the existing federal regulations using the best science available; and
  • Reduces uncertainty and the significant wait time for permit decisions, while maintaining necessary environmental resource protections.

    The Florida Chamber urges you to support PCB 2, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges House Committee to Support HB 697

 

Download Letter   Regulatory Reform

 

To: House Ways & Means Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support HB 697, relating to Impact Fees. This bill, sponsored by Representative Mike Miller, will be heard on Wednesday, January 17th, in the House Ways & Means Committee.

The Florida Chamber believes that our state must welcome responsible development while appropriately investing in the infrastructure that a modern economy requires. For many local governments, impact fees are a mechanism by which a development can finance the required infrastructure needed for the new project. However, some local governments have assessed an impact fee before a construction is occupied. In essence, these means a business could pay an impact fee well before it actually makes the impact it is paying for. This legislation is supported by Florida’s business community because this bill:

  • Prohibits the collection of an impact fee prior to a project receiving a certificate of occupancy; and
  • Ensures that an impact fee is levied at the time of a project’s actual impact on the community infrastructure.

    The Florida Chamber urges you to support HB 697, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Oppose SB 1168

 

Download Letter     Insurance Reform     Legal Reform

 

 

To: Senate Community Affairs Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to oppose SB 1168, related to assignment of benefits. This bill, proposed by Senator Greg Steube, will be heard today, January 16, 2018 in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

Florida has among the highest property insurance rates in the country. This rate problem is driven, in part, by an issue known as assignment of benefits, which allows businesses to sue other businesses under their homeowner’s insurance policy. The result has been overinflated claims, increased litigation, and frustrated consumers who unknowingly signed their insurance policy over to a third party.

Unfortunately, this bill doesn’t fix the AOB problem, and may even result in a step backward. SB 1168 fails to comprehensively address attorney fees, which incentivize the use of AOB forms and increase litigation. “Offer of settlement” is a problematic process that has often been further challenged in the court system. SB 1168 also contains a provision where attorney fees would not be allowed to be included in rates, which could create solvency concerns over time. Finally, and most importantly, the bill fails to fully protect consumers from unscrupulous contractors that are taking advantage of consumers through misuse of AOBs.

This bill is opposed by Florida’s business community because it:  Fails to comprehensively address attorney fees, which should be available to the homeowner but not to unscrupulous contractors in a business to business lawsuit;  Strengthens the use of AOBs and fails to protect homeowners from their misuse; and  Will not reduce rates, which are increasing due to the exponential increase in AOB lawsuits. Over the last ten years, the number of AOB lawsuits have risen from 405 to 28,183.

The Florida Chamber urges you to oppose SB 1168, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. Because of the importance of this issue to employers across the state, our Board of Directors has determined that this bill, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, will be counted twice on our legislative report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Support SB 874

 

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To: Senate Community Affairs Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support SB 874, related to State Funds. This bill, sponsored by Senator Kathleen Passidomo, will be heard on Tuesday, January 16th, in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

The Florida Chamber Foundation is in the midst of a 3-year research initiative to create Florida’s strategic plan through the year 2030. The Florida 2030 project dives into critical issues impacting Florida’s economy to not only identify coming trends and disruptions, but also recommendations on how the state can secure a thriving and dynamic future. As part of the Florida 2030 research efforts, the Florida Chamber Foundation conducted a series of town halls which engaged more than 10,000 residents from Florida’s 67 counties with the goal of understanding the concerns of businesses and citizens. Overwhelmingly, the top concern across the state was the availability and affordability of attainable workforce housing. Affordability of housing is a top constraining force on Florida’s economy. Simply, a job applicant has to be able to afford to live near their prospective job, or else jobs remain vacant and our economy is less rich. This bill is supported by Florida’s business community because it:

  • Ensures that the State and Local Housing Trust fund is used for its intended purpose; and
  • Helps make affordable housing more accessible to Floridians.

The Florida Chamber urges you to support SB 874, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Support SB 494

 

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To: Senate Community Affairs Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support SB 494, related to Linear Facilities. This bill, sponsored by Senator Tom Lee will be heard on Tuesday, January 16th, in the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

The Florida Chamber recognizes that Florida will be home to 5.5 million more residents by 2030. Each of those new residents, as well as over a hundred million annual visitors, will need a reliable and safe electrical grid. In order to secure Florida’s energy future, planning decisions and regulations for many of these facilities should continue to be made at a comprehensive level, rather than through a patchwork of local zoning regulations. This legislation is supported by Florida’s business community because this bill:

  • Changes case law back to the original legislative intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act; and
  • Brings back regulatory certainty to the practice of lawfully siting transmission lines.The Florida Chamber urges you to support SB 494, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Support SB 1056

 

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To: Senate Education Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support DE amendment #233566 to SB 1056. This bill, which is sponsored by Senator Kathleen Passidomo, will be heard Tuesday, January 16th, in the Senate Education Committee.

The Florida Chamber supports legislation that allows Florida to continue to attract high wage jobs and keep high-skilled talent in our state. Providing opportunities for STEM involvement at earlier levels of learning will give Florida’s students the best chance at being competitive. The Florida Chamber believes greater STEM opportunities and initiatives will help to position Florida as a leader in high-tech, high-wage job creation. This legislation is important to Florida’s business community because this bill:

  • Promotes opportunities for public middle and high school students to learn computer science taught by qualified teachers.

    The Florida Chamber urges you to support DE amendment #233566 to SB 1056, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Support SB 396

 

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To: Senate Banking & Insurance Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support SB 396, related to insurance coverage for windshield glass. This bill, proposed by Senator Dorothy Hukill, will be heard on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, in the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

Florida’s assignment of benefits problem extends beyond property insurance into automobile insurance and windshield glass. According to a report by the Florida Justice Reform Institute, there were nearly 20,000 lawsuits related to auto glass and windshields in 2016. Because Florida law allows for a $0 deductible to replace windshields, glass harvesters target auto owners to replace their windshield for free, which may or may not be damaged, and bills the insurance company at an inflated rate. If the insurance company denies the claim, they are then sued under the insured’s policy. SB 396 allows an insurance company to require an inspection of the damaged windshield before it can be replaced.

This bill is important to Florida’s business community because it:

  • Protects consumers from unscrupulous glass harvesters that might sue under their name while maintaining a $0 deductible for windshield glass;
  • Allows the insurance company to inspect the damaged auto glass prior to replacement; and
  • Provides a solution to addressing assignment of benefits in auto glass.

    The Florida Chamber urges you to support SB 396, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. Because of the importance of this issue to employers across the state, our Board of Directors has determined that this bill, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, will be counted twice on our legislative report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Senate Committee to Support SB 280

 

Download Letter   Health and Wellness

 

To: Senate Banking & Insurance Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support SB 280. This bill, which is sponsored by Senator Aaron Bean, will be heard Tuesday, January 16th, in the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee.

The Florida Chamber is working to secure Florida’s future by ensuring a healthy quality of life for all Floridians. To provide healthcare to the almost 6 million more Floridians our state will have by 2030, the Florida Chamber supports proactive and innovative policies that will deliver greater access and quality of care while also controlling escalating healthcare costs. We believe implementing a regulatory framework for telehealth policy that protects free market principles, as is done in SB 280, will allow this innovative industry to flourish and patients to benefit. This legislation is important to Florida’s businesses because the bill:

  • Authorizes Florida-licensed health care professionals to use telehealth and articulates a standard of care.The Florida Chamber urges you to support SB 280, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Florida House Committee to Support HB 405

 

Download Letter     Energy Solutions

 

 

To: Members of the House Commerce Committee

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support HB 405, related to Linear Facilities. This bill, sponsored by Representative Jayer Williamson will be heard on Thursday, January 11th, in the House Commerce Committee.

The Florida Chamber recognizes that Florida will be home to 5.5 million more residents by 2030. Each of those new residents, as well as over a hundred million annual visitors, will need a reliable and safe electrical grid. In order to secure Florida’s energy future, planning decisions and regulations for many of these facilities should continue to be made at a comprehensive level, rather than through a patchwork of local zoning regulations. This legislation is supported by Florida’s business community because this bill:

  • Changes case law back to the original legislative intent of the Power Plant Siting Act and the Transmission Line Siting Act; and
  • Brings back regulatory certainty to the practice of lawfully siting transmission lines.

    The Florida Chamber urges you to support HB 405, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one, that are outlined in Where We Stand, a guide to Florida’s 2018 Business Agenda. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues on the 2018 Business Agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

Florida Chamber Urges Florida House to Oppose HB 35

 

Download Letter     Health and Wellness

 

 

To: Members of the Florida House

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to oppose HB 35 in its current form. This bill, which is sponsored by Representative Michael Grant, will be heard on Thursday, January 11th, on the House Special Order Calendar.

The Florida Chamber is working to secure Florida’s future by ensuring a healthy quality of life for all Floridians. To provide healthcare to the estimated 6 million more Floridians our state will have by 2030, the Florida Chamber supports proactive and innovative policies that will deliver greater access and quality of care while also controlling escalating healthcare costs. While we agree with the stated intent of this legislation (to promote greater transparency among consumers), we are concerned that worthwhile efforts to provide transparency for the consumer could have unintended consequences, such as the survey process being used as a bargaining chip or leverage point during employer-employee contractual relationships.

This legislation is detrimental to Florida’s business community because the bill:

  • Has the potential for abuse and unintended consequences, despite the stated intent.The Florida Chamber urges you to oppose HB 35 in its current form, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs

 

Florida Chamber Urges House Committee to Support HB 25

 

Download Letter   Regulatory Reform

 

The Florida Chamber of Commerce urges you to support HB 25. This bill, sponsored by Representative Scott Plakon, will be heard on Tuesday, December 5th in the House Government Accountability Committee.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce believes in transparency and accountability throughout collective bargaining in our state. Currently, an organization may become certified by the state as a bargaining agent of an entire class of public employees without having an adequate number of those employees within its membership. This bill places reasonable protections on this certification process. This common sense step will better protect the rights of government employees to associate – and not associate – with organizations based on their values. This legislation is important to Florida’s business community because this bill:

– Will add transparency into all levels of collective bargaining and lobbying by giving the public a clearer understanding of how many people the union represents; and

– Protects public servants from bad actors that may deceptively claim to be acting on their behalf.

The Florida Chamber urges you to support HB 25, and will consider votes on this legislation, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, in our annual How They Voted report card. Because of the importance of this issue to employers across the state, our Board of Directors has determined that this bill, and any substantive amendments to it in committee or on the floor, will be counted twice on our legislative report card. The grade that you earn will be based on your voting record on the issues, such as this one. We will make every effort to notify you prior to a vote that may be included in our annual legislative report card. If you have any questions about this or other issues, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Regards,

Frank C. Walker, III
Vice President of Government Affairs