Legislative Issues

TAX PACKAGE A comprehensive package providing $168.6 million in tax relief passed both chambers during the extended session. Included in this legislation are: sales tax holidays for disaster preparedness and back-to-school purchases; tax breaks for farmers and homeowners who experienced property damage during the 2017 hurricane season; a tax exemption for personal hygiene products; reduced aviation fuel tax; and permanently lowered sales tax on commercial leases from 5.8 to 5.7 percent.

CHILD MARRIAGE Marriage by individuals under the age of 18 will no longer be permitted in Florida, with exceptions for pregnant 16 and 17-year olds who have parental permission, provided the age difference between the parties is not greater than two years. Sherry Johnson, who was forced into marriage at age 11, has been the face of this legislation for the past two years.

YEAR-ROUND DAYLIGHT SAVINGS The Legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill which would make Daylight Saving Time permanent throughout the state. However, the federal government has the ultimate authority over such a change. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio has filed a bill in Congress.

DIRECT PRIMARY CARE AGREEMENTS Representatives Danny Burgess (R-Zephyrhills) and Mike Miller (R-Orlando) were successful in amending the Florida Insurance Code to eliminate third party payers from the primary care provider-patient relationship and its related administrative costs. Business groups have worked to pass this bill for four years.

ROAD DESIGNATIONS Few transportation bills passed this session, but one did that will memorialize 38 individuals through the naming of portions of roads throughout the state.

COMMUNITY ASSOCIATIONS A bill regulating community associations successfully made it through both chambers. Among other things, it changed board member terms to eight consecutive years unless approved by two-thirds of the association member votes; makes the association the official record keeper; changes disclosure liability; requires posting of information on bids, contracts, materials and equipment; allows for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations; requires notification of HOA member meetings to be sent to certain addresses; and extended deadline for associations to create websites to January 1, 2019.

FIRST RESPONDERS PSTD Passing both chambers unanimously, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be added as an illness covered by workers’ compensation insurance for first responders.