Senate Committee Passes E-Verify Proposal

On February 11, 2020, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed an E-Verify proposal, SB 664, but not before making dramatic changes.

The original deeply problematic bill was amended to include important provisions, including safe harbor provisions for businesses following the law as well as protections for small businesses.

The Florida Chamber shared its support of the amendment, sponsored by Senator David Simmons, in advance of the committee meeting, and Florida Chamber Policy Director Christopher Emmanuel testified in support of the amendment during the committee meeting.

“The amendment provides significant improvements to the original bill,” Emmanuel shared with lawmakers and told the Miami Herald.

The Florida Chamber will always have reservations on state-specific mandates, especially on areas of policy that should be handled at the federal level of government. But Senator Tom Lee, the sponsor of the bill, said in committee that this bill is still a work in progress.

The Florida Chamber looks forward to being a part of the conversation.

Share Your Thoughts

Share your thoughts on SB 664 with Christopher Emmanuel at cemmanuel@flchamber.com.

Florida Chamber Names Senator David Simmons a 2018 Distinguished Advocate

 

Find Your Legislator’s Grade

 

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Senator David Simmons has been named a Florida Chamber 2018 Distinguished Advocate for his commitment to championing pro-jobs, pro-business legislation.

“The Florida Chamber thanks Senator David Simmons for his efforts to pass legislation allowing state assumption of federal environmental permitting, a streamlining effort the business community has sought for decades,” said David Hart, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The Florida Chamber’s Distinguished Advocate award recognizes lawmakers who fought tirelessly for the passage of pro-business legislation – no matter how difficult – and furthered the Florida Chamber’s goals of securing Florida’s future through job creation and economic development.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from Florida’s business community and to fight for Florida’s economy. The work that we did this Session on 404 delegation will streamline government, reduce uncertainty, and protect our environment for generations to come,” Senator Simmons said.

To view Senator Simmons’ complete grading and district information, click here.

 

Lawmakers Vote to Reduce Regulations While Protecting Environment

Florida Chamber of Commerce-backed legislation that reduces confusion and time delays in the wetland permitting process, while also maintaining the exact same existing environmental protections, passed the Florida Legislature today.

The bill (HB 7043) 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 possible. This new process will reduce uncertainty and maintain Florida’s high environmental standards.

The Florida Chamber thanks bill sponsors Representative Holly Raschein and Senator David Simmons for working to make Florida more competitive. HB 7043 now travels to Governor Rick Scott for his action.

Legislative Session Coming to a Close
The 2018 Legislative Session is scheduled to end this Friday. The Florida Chamber of Commerce is your number one resource for what passed, what didn’t, and what needs more work. Be on the lookout for the Florida Chamber’s end of session news brief.

Streamlined Permitting Bill Passes Senate Committee

A bill that will drastically reduce confusion and time delays in the wetland permitting process, while also maintaining the exact same existing environmental protections, passed the Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee with the Florida Chamber of Commerce’s support.

For Floridians, this means a reduction in uncertainty and the significant wait times for permit decisions, while maintaining necessary environmental resource protections.

SB 1402, proposed by Senator David Simmons, 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.

Florida wins when we stand by long-term science-based solutions to Florida’s environmental issues. This legislation follows similar successful state efforts to assume federal permitting responsibilities for wastewater discharges and air emissions.

Environmental Permitting Summer School

To learn more about the governance, permitting and regulations pertaining to water, enroll today in Environmental Permitting Summer School on July 17-20 in Marco Island.

Florida Chamber Education Update: Week 5

The Florida Chamber of Commerce believes a quality education system is the best way to ensure our students can get the skills and training they need to compete in a rapidly changing global economy. That’s why we are fighting hard to make sure Florida’s entire education system continues to improve. Here’s a recap of this week’s education discussions in the Florida House and Senate:

School Choice (HB 7101, Rep. Bob Cortes)

The Florida Chamber supports legislation that empowers all students to succeed by providing options for high-quality education programs. This bill, which passed out of the House PreK-12 Appropriations Subcommittee on Monday, and subsequently passed out of the House Education Committee on Thursday, removes barriers that inhibit high-performing charter management organizations from replicating their success and expanding. HB 7101 will now head to the House floor. Similar legislation in the form of SB 796, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Bean, was set to be heard in the Senate Education Committee on Monday, but was not considered as the meeting ran out of time.

Fewer, Better Tests (SB 926, Sen. Anitere Flores)

The Florida Chamber continues to support the enhancement of our statewide assessment and accountability systems, which is why we endorse SB 926. This bill cleared the Senate Education Committee on Monday after a compromise between lawmakers was struck. Following the adoption of several amendments, this bill now contains pieces of a few different testing reform proposals. The revised bill now pushes back the state assessment window to the last three weeks of school, requires easy-to-understand, parent-friendly score reports to be utilized, allows school districts to use paper-and-pencil exams instead of computerized tests, repeals the Value-Added Model (VAM) formula used to evaluate teachers, eliminates various End-of-Course (EOC) exams, allows students who pass certain exams (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate) to be exempt from the statewide assessment in those areas, requires the Commissioner of Education to review nationally-recognized college entrance exams to determine alignment to Florida’s standards, and requires the Department of Education to conduct a study on Florida’s statewide assessment achievement levels – including how best to define the levels in order to communicate the meaning of these levels to students, parents and teachers.

Voluntary PreK Education (SB 468, Sen. Kelli Stargel)

Few investments in education programs are more valuable than those that help students to read. The Florida supports SB 468, which was passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday, as it provides additional opportunities to assist young students who are struggling readers, offers additional training to teachers, reading coaches and school principals and proposes additional accountability to the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) Education Program.

Best & Brightest (SB 1552, Sen. David Simmons)

We support legislation that provides students with high-quality teachers and administrators. That’s why we support this bill, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday. SB 1552 expands the eligibility criteria for the Florida Best and Brightest Teacher Scholarship Program and creates the Florida Best and Brightest Principal Scholarship Program.

Educational Options (SB 1314, Sen. Denise Grimsley)

The Florida Chamber supports SB 1314 because it helps all students succeed by providing options for high-quality education programs. This bill, which passed out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday, revises and strengthens the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program. A related bill, SB 902 Gardiner Scholarship Program, sponsored by Sen. David Simmons, which expands access to the Gardiner Scholarship Program, was scheduled to be heard in the same meeting. Due to the committee running out of time, SB 902 was not considered. The House companion bill (HB 15, Rep. Jennifer Sullivan) was passed out of the House Education Committee on Thursday. HB 15 will now head to the House floor.

Digital Learning & Virtual Education (HB 833, Rep. Jennifer Sullivan)

The Florida Chamber will continue to fight for an education system which also creates an atmosphere that allows parents to take control of their child’s academic future. This bill, which was passed out of the House Education Committe on Thursday, removes the prior year in public school requirements and provides that all K-12 students, including home education and private school students, are eligible for both full-time and part-time virtual instruction options. HB 833 will now head to the House floor.

Take Action Now

For more information about where the Florida Chamber stands on these and other education-related issues, click here or contact me at bhunt@flchamber.com.