The Florida Legislature has completed its second day of the 2017-A Special Session. Below are some of the big takeaways from today:
- The House version of the economic development and tourism marketing bill was presented on the House floor this morning. The Senate version of the bill was passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee meeting this morning and was again presented on the Senate floor later this afternoon. Both the House and Senate bills are now poised for final passage off their respective floors tomorrow. Key differences between the two bills remain, including:
- The Senate bill allows tourism development tax dollars to count toward the match requirements for VISIT FLORIDA;
- The Senate bill expands the definition of infrastructure to include site development and allow skills assessments for inmates under the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund; and
- The Senate bill adds additional accountability measures and eligibility requirements for the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund program that are not contained within the House bill.
- Both bills still contain the Florida Chamber priorities outlined in the letter from Florida Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson to Presiding Officers and the Legislature yesterday morning.
- During this morning’s Senate Appropriations Committee, the Senate’s Florida Education Finance Program (FEFP) bill was amended and passed. The amended Senate FEFP bill more closely aligns with the House’s position of not using local property tax dollars to pay for the increase in per student funding. Both the House and Senate versions of the FEFP funding were presented on their respective floors today and are ready for final passage tomorrow.
- Both bills, however, still contain Florida Chamber-backed language preserving employers’ right to insist on a Drug Free Workplace continues to be included in both the House and Senate legislation on medical marijuana. The House’s bill was presented on the floor this morning and members were given the opportunity to ask questions. The Senate bill was passed out of the Health Policy Committee this morning and presented on the Senate floor later this afternoon and evening. Both the Senate and House bills will be ready for final passage tomorrow.
Both the House and Senate are scheduled to be on the floor tomorrow morning to complete their business on economic development and tourism, public education funding, and medical marijuana. Additional hospital funding and potential overrides of vetoed higher education projects, both priorities of the Senate, could be part of last minute negotiations as well.
Unless Special Session 2017-A is extended, a deal will need to be reached between the bodies prior to 6 p.m., which is the official end time provided in the Governor’s proclamation or “call” of special session. As always, the Florida Chamber will continue to keep you informed and advocate for the policies necessary to enhance competitiveness and secure Florida’s future.