Senator Jeff Brandes Calls for Narrowing the Use of Contingency Fee Multipliers – the “Slot Machine” for the Legal Profession – on the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line

TALLAHASSEE, FL (February 21, 2020) – As the Florida Legislature tackles narrowing the use of contingency fee multipliers, Senator Jeff Brandes tells the Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line that these fee escalators were never designed to be “the slot machines for the legal profession.”

In fact, contingency fee multipliers, which are used by trial lawyers to get legal fees two or three times higher than their normal, hourly rate, are only granted in “rare and exceptional” circumstances everywhere but Florida.

“We’re trying to level the playing field and set the standards as where it is in the rest of the 49 states and the federal standard,” Brandes explains.

Florida’s bottom five legal climate is costing the average family $4,442 each year in lawsuit abuse ‘taxes.’ Lawsuit abuse reform is a top legislative priority for the Florida Chamber.

Senator Brandes also discusses criminal justice reform as well as the future of innovation and disruptive technologies.

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.

House, Senate Approve Autonomous Vehicles Bills

 

 Join Autonomous Florida     Watch TUV SUD America

 

On March 20, the Florida House and Senate approved bills from committees regarding autonomous vehicles. The Senate Committee on Infrastructure and Security approved SB 932 unanimously, which further strengthens Florida’s pro-autonomous regulatory climate.

A similar bill in the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee was also approved unanimously. HB 311 will prioritize passenger and pedestrian safety while fostering innovation, and while also creating more regulatory certainty for the technologies that connected vehicles will use on Florida roads.

Thank you to Senator Jeff Brandes and Representative Jason Fischer for sponsoring these bills and working to unify the business community’s voice to ensure that Florida becomes the autonomous vehicle capital of North America.

Join Autonomous Florida

Florida is nationally known for its welcoming approach to autonomous vehicles. Our pro-business climate is second to none. Join Autonomous Florida to be on the cutting edge of this innovative revolution.

Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida Leading the Way – Autonomous Technology Demo Day

 

Autonomous Florida

 

The Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida in partnership with the Society of American Engineers, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority, Senator Jeff Brandes and numerous Tampa area partners, recently staged an autonomous technology demonstration day in the heart of Tampa.

Throughout the week, hundreds of members of the public were able to experience a ride in a self-driving car for the very first time. The Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida is thrilled to partner with business leaders to bring these types of forward-thinking events to Florida.

The Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program has been featured in a series of opinion pieces throughout the state:

Get Involved

For more information on Autonomous Florida, click here or contact Christopher Emmanuel at (850) 521-1242 or cemmanuel@flchamber.com.

Florida Chamber of Commerce Unveils ‘Autonomous Florida’

Connecting Business Advocates to Make Florida the Autonomous Capital of North America

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 27, 2018) – The Florida Chamber of Commerce today announced a new chapter in Florida’s leadership in autonomous vehicles: Autonomous Florida. This innovative program will build on the business community’s successes to position Florida as the state to research, deploy, and grow the next chapter of transportation mobility.

 

“Florida is nationally known for its welcoming approach to autonomous vehicles, and uniquely positioned to be the leader in autonomous transportation. The Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program will seize that opportunity and help ensure Florida continues to set the pace for autonomous deployment,” said MARK WILSON, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

 

Chaired by Syd Kitson, CEO of Kitson & Partners and the visionary behind the automated community of Babcock Ranch (in partnership with Transdev), the Florida Chamber launched its Autonomous Florida program this week during a statewide meeting featuring:

  • Senator Jeff Brandes
  • Grayson Brulte, President and Co-Founder, Brulte & Company
  • Christopher Spencer, Government Consultant, GrayRobinson
  • Rob Palmer, Planning/Mobility Leader, RS&H, Inc.

 

“It’s an incredibly exciting time in transportation, and the Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program will be the tip of the spear, uniting Florida’s businesses behind this transformational opportunity,” KITSON said.

 

Autonomous Florida will help educate Floridians about the autonomous revolution — providing a range of learning opportunities including vehicle demonstrations. The first demo day will take place May 8-11 in Tampa, and is hosted in corporation with Society of Automative Engineers International, and in partnership with industry leaders and local government.

Additionally, Autonomous Florida will actively support efforts to ensure Florida’s regulatory climate provides a business-friendly environment for autonomous deployment.

 

“As we prepare Florida for the future, Florida’s businesses must be united. These new technologies have the potential to save thousands of lives, safely transport millions of goods and services, and unlock incredible opportunities for state,” said CHRISTOPHER EMMANUEL, a Florida Chamber Policy Director, who will serve as the Director of Autonomous Florida.

Learn more about the Florida Chamber’s Autonomous Florida program by visiting www.autonomous-florida.com.

 

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Established in 1916 as Florida’s first statewide business advocacy organization, the Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as crucial to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Florida Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FLChamber.com for more information. 136 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301

Florida Chamber Announces Senator Jeff Brandes Named a 2017 Distinguished Advocate

 

Download How They Voted     Find Your Legislator’s Grade

 

The Florida Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that Senator Jeff Brandes is one of the Florida Chamber’s 2017 Distinguished Advocates for his commitment to championing pro-jobs, pro-business legislation.

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.

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

 

“Senator Jeff Brandes passed ridesharing and autonomous vehicle legislation that welcomes innovation and helps make Florida’s transportation system more modern, efficient and competitive,” said DAVID HART, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m honored to be recognized by the Florida Chamber as a back-to-back Distinguished Advocate. The innovative and pro-technology solutions that we passed this year will help make Florida more competitive. I’m looking forward with the Florida Chamber to advance more pioneering policies in the years to come,” SENATOR BRANDES said.

Governor Scott Signs Florida Chamber-Backed Ridesharing Bill Into Law

Florida Governor Rick Scott today removed a major road block to ridesharing technologies by signing into law a Florida Chamber of Commerce-backed bill that embraces innovation, strengthens job growth and provides ridesharing opportunities for Floridians and the 112+ million annual visitors to Florida.

Sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg) and Representative Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater), HB 221 creates consistent and responsible statewide regulations for transportation network companies. By setting reasonable insurance standards, the newly signed law not only helps ensure safety for riders and the public in general, it encourages innovation in the growing ridesharing sector – and the jobs and economic activity they bring with them – to move to Florida.

Why It Matters

Florida Chamber Foundation research shows that by 2030, Florida’s population will grow to approximately 26 million, an addition of six million new residents. Long-term forecasts predict Florida will have more than 160 million annual visitors by 2025. Consistent regulations like those provided by the passage of this bill are an important step toward ensuring Florida’s transportation infrastructure can accommodate population growth and help the state remain economically competitive well into the future.

 

“The Florida Chamber thanks the Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott for sending a strong signal to innovative companies that they are welcome in Florida,” said DAVID HART, Executive Vice President for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “Innovation leads to economic development and competition, and statewide access to ridesharing increases transportation options in our communities and transforms the way they move and do business.”

Lawmakers Pass Florida Chamber-Backed Ridesharing Legislation

Florida lawmakers today removed a major road block to ridesharing technologies by passing Florida Chamber of Commerce-backed legislation that embraces innovation, strengthens job growth and provides ridesharing opportunities for Floridians and the 112+ million annual visitors to Florida.

“Today’s passage of meaningful ridesharing legislation is a victory for the business community and a strong signal to innovative companies that they are welcome in Florida,” said DAVID HART, Executive Vice President for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber of Commerce knows first-hand that innovation leads to economic development and competition. Statewide access to ridesharing increases transportation options in our communities and transforms the way they move and do business.”

 

Sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Representative Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater), HB 221 establishes consistent and responsible statewide regulations for transportation network companies. By setting reasonable insurance standards, the bill not only helps ensure safety for riders and the public in general, it encourages innovation in the growing ridesharing sector – and the jobs and economic activity they bring with them – to move to Florida.

Florida Chamber Foundation research shows that by 2030, Florida’s population will grow to approximately 26 million, an addition of six million new residents. Long-term forecasts predict Florida will have more than 160 million annual visitors by 2025. Consistent regulations like those provided by the passage of this bill are an important step toward ensuring Florida’s transportation infrastructure can accommodate population growth and help the state remain economically competitive well into the future.

“The Florida Chamber congratulates lawmakers, as well as our Transportation Network Company partners Uber and Lyft for helping to make Florida more competitive,” HART said.

What’s Next?

HB 221 now travels to Governor Rick Scott’s desk.

Lawmakers Lift Major Road Block And Pass Florida Chamber-Backed Ridesharing Legislation

TALLAHASSEE (April 19, 2017) – Florida lawmakers today removed a major road block to ridesharing technologies by passing Florida Chamber of Commerce-backed legislation that embraces innovation, strengthens job growth and provides ridesharing opportunities for Floridians and the 112+ million annual visitors to Florida.

 

“Today’s passage of meaningful ridesharing legislation is a victory for the business community and a strong signal to innovative companies that they are welcome in Florida,” said DAVID HART, Executive Vice President for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “The Florida Chamber of Commerce knows first-hand that innovation leads to economic development and competition. Statewide access to ridesharing increases transportation options in our communities and transforms the way they move and do business.”

 

Sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Representative Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater), HB 221 establishes consistent and responsible statewide regulations for transportation network companies. By setting reasonable insurance standards, the bill not only helps ensure safety for riders and the public in general, it encourages innovation in the growing ridesharing sector – and the jobs and economic activity they bring with them – to move to Florida.

Florida Chamber Foundation research shows that by 2030, Florida’s population will grow to approximately 26 million, an addition of six million new residents, and long-term forecasts predict Florida will have more than 160 million annual visitors by 2025. Consistent regulations like those provided by the passage of this bill are an important step toward ensuring Florida’s transportation infrastructure can accommodate population growth and help the state remain economically competitive well into the future.

 

“The Florida Chamber congratulates lawmakers, as well as our Transportation Network Company partners Uber and Lyft for helping to make Florida more competitive,” HART said.

 

HB 221 now travels to Governor Rick Scott’s desk.

 

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Ridesharing Bill Passes the Florida House 115-0

Florida’s future depends on embracing new types of industries that use cutting edge, and sometimes disruptive, technologies to provide new services demanded by customers across the state. One such example is the rise of ridesharing companies like Lyft and Uber, which provide tens of millions of trips to communities across Florida. Some local governments have limited the adoption of ridesharing services by passing a patchwork of unneeded regulations. Today, the Florida House passed the Florida Chamber-backed HB 221 by an overwhelming majority. Sponsored by Representative Chris Sprowls, this bill will provide a safe, consistent, and responsible statewide regulatory framework.

HB 221 will now be sent to the Senate, which has successfully moved the companion bill, SB 340, through two committee stops. The Senate measure is sponsored by Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and is co-sponsored by: Sen. Frank Artiles (R-Miami), Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Spring Hill), and Sen. Dana Young (R-Tampa).

 

Join the Floridians for Ridesharing Coalition

Ridesharing is quickly becoming an important part of Florida’s economy and our state infrastructure system, so getting it right the first time is crucial for Florida’s future. If you’re interested in joining the Florida Chamber and other business and safety organizations in the Floridians for Ridesharing Coalition.

Learn more about where the Florida Chamber stands on ridesharing and other transportation issues, click here or contact Chris Emmanuel to join our fight for Florida’s future.

Capitol Update: Ridesharing

As the Florida Legislature gathered for its first week of committee meetings for the New Year, the Florida Chamber was honored to stand with Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) and Representative Chris Sprowls (R-Clearwater) in support of growing our innovation economy and furthering Florida’s competitiveness. Senator Brandes and Representative Sprowls are sponsoring legislation (SB 340 and HB 221) which provides a statewide regulatory framework that will allow Transportation Network Companies, like Lyft and Uber, to grow and meet rising consumer demand while protecting public safety.

The Florida Chambers stands with our members, Lyft and Uber, at a press conference earlier this week urging lawmakers to do what 37 other states have already done – pass a statewide ridesharing law.
The Florida Chamber will continue to provide you with regular updates on this and other important regulatory issues.

Learn More

This week, the Florida Chamber released its 2017 Competitiveness Agenda, which outlines our specific policy positions on innovation, transportation and more. Click here to learn more.

Summit Focuses on Protecting, Growing and Supporting Florida’s Defense Industry, Military and Veterans Workforce

State Leaders Gather at Florida Chamber Foundation’s Annual Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunity Summit

 

ST. PETERSBURG, FL (August 17, 2016) – Governor Rick Scott will join military and defense industry experts and elected officials at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Military, Defense and Veterans Opportunities Summit in St. Petersburg today to discuss the opportunities and challenges in Florida’s military economy and leveraging veteran’s expertise and skills.

It is estimated that every Florida business is located within 100 miles of a military installation, making Florida one of the most strategically important states for the U.S. armed forces and a pivotal location for military personnel, defense industry innovations and veterans.

“Florida’s military and defense industry puts nearly 775,000 Floridians to work each year and contributes almost $80 billion to our economy,” said TONY CARVAJAL, Executive Vice President of the Florida Chamber Foundation. “However, Florida is expected to experience significant demographic, political and economic shifts throughout the next 15 years that will need to be addressed in order to support our veterans and bring more high-wage, high-skill jobs to Florida’s workforce.”

Today’s event will feature a lineup of experts including:

  • Governor Rick Scott
  • Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam
  • Congressman Gus Bilirakis
  • Senator Jeff Brandes
  • Representative Paul Renner
  • Representative Jimmie Smith
  • Cissy Proctor, Executive Director, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity
  • Glenn Sutphin, Executive Director, Florida Department of Veteran Affairs

“The military and defense industry is a pillar of Florida’s economy, improving economic prosperity and providing jobs for thousands of Floridians,” said COMMISSIONER PUTNAM. “Florida continues to be at the forefront of new innovations and technology, attracting both the companies and talent needed to grow this industry.”

Additional items for discussion will include BRAC and sequestration, federal issues, veteran leadership and the future of military, defense and homeland security industries.

In addition to the day-long conference discussions, a new animated online video, entitled Florida Leads in Military, Defense and Homeland Security Industry, will be released.

Follow the Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2016 Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit on Twitter using the hashtag #IsFLReady.

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Sen. Jeff Brandes Discusses Diversifying Florida’s Economy on Bottom Line

Florida will continue to grow at a steady pace- in fact, between now and 2030 it’s estimated that there will be approximately 4-5 million new drivers on the road. Our state has a unique opportunity to meet challenges head on, like issues from infrastructure investments, building an innovation economy, ensuring we can diversify our economy and creating solar options for Floridians that make sense.

Click the video below to hear Sen. Jeff Brandes, 2016 Florida Chamber Honor Roll recipient, discuss these issues and more.

Want to hear more from Senator Brandes on military, defense and veteran opportunities? He will be a speaker at our annual Florida Chamber Foundation Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit on August 17 in St. Petersburg Florida. Click here to register or to learn more about the event.

Find Out How to Qualify for R&D Tax Credit

The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) will begin collecting applications for the R&D Tax Credit against the Corporate Income Tax for tax year 2015 on Sunday, March 20, 2016. The application will be live online until March 26, 2016 at 11:59 PM. During that time, the amount of credits that will be awarded is $23 million, and if applications exceed the cap, will be awarded on a pro-rata basis.

Prior to applying through DOR, companies must certify through the Department of Economic Opportunity that they are a qualified targeted industry business. For additional information on how to apply, including screenshots of the application and information on how to qualify, DOR has released a “Tax Information Publication.”

R&D Tax Credits for 2016 Tax Year

During the 2016 Legislative Session, the Florida Chamber, along with Representatives Ed Narain (D-Tampa), Jay Fant (R-Jacksonville), Matt Gaetz (R-Shalimar) and Senator Jeff Brandes (R- St. Petersburg), advocated to increase the $9 million cap for a second year in a row. Unfortunately, these efforts were not fruitful. The maximum amount of tax credits awarded during the 2017 application period, for the 2016 tax year, will be $9 million. However, these credits will continue to be awarded on a pro-rata basis if the cap is exceeded.

Get Involved:

Contact Carolyn Johnson and share the great R&D work that you are performing in Florida or how fewer credits awarded in 2017 might impact your business at 850-521-1235 or cjohnson@flchamber.com.

Florida Chamber-Backed Education Bills Pass Full Legislature

Furthering Florida’s reputation as a leader in education, the Florida Legislature has passed several Florida Chamber-backed education bills this session.

A talented workforce is Florida’s best long-term economic strategy. By providing additional school choice options, quality teacher improvement programs, and ensuring that students can take advantage of customized learning options, the following bills will help Florida’s students continue to remain globally competitive in our 21st century economy:

  • HB 189, sponsored by Representative Manny Diaz and Senator Travis Hutson, creates an alternative, streamlined certification route for professional educators wanting to teach STEM subject courses. This new certification route allows Florida’s students greater opportunities for STEM involvement at earlier levels of learning, which will help to position Florida as a global leader in high-tech, high-wage job creation.
  • HB 837, sponsored by Representative Michael Bileca and Senator Kelli Stargel, will further a parents’ rights to choose the best education for their child. By making improvements to the John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program, more students with disabilities will be able to take advantage of additional access to high quality education programs. This bill also includes improvements to Florida’s dual enrollment program for high school students, which helps to ensure students are career and college ready.
  • HB 1365, sponsored by Representative Ray Rodrigues and Senator Jeff Brandes, creates a Competency-Based Education Pilot Program, which will allow students to advance at their own pace based on their mastery of concepts and skills. The existing one-size-fits-all system of education is struggling to consistently meet the individual needs of each student. This legislation takes a step forward in reconsidering the status quo in order to equip them for success in the 21st century.

The Florida Chamber commends the Florida Legislature for their commitment to securing Florida’s educational future.

The Florida Chamber’s Bottom Line: Senator Jeff Brandes