Legislative Issues

CORAL REEFS Representative Kristin Jacobs (D-Coconut Creek) and Senator Lauren Book (D-Plantation) are sponsoring a bill to establish the Southeast Florida Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area. The conservation area includes the sovereign submerged lands and state waters offshore of Broward, Martin, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties from the St. Lucie Inlet in the north to the northern boundary of the Biscayne National Park in the south.

BLACK BEARS A pair of bills in both chambers would prohibit the harvesting of saw palmetto berries (one of black bears’ favorite foods) and would ban the Florida Wildlife and Conservation Commission from permitting the recreational hunting of black bears.

HELMETS Senator Perry is sponsoring legislation that would increase the age at which a person is required to wear a helmet from 16 to 21. It would also require both motorcycle and moped drivers under 21 to display a special license plate.

PURCHASING TOBACCO Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) is sponsoring Senate Bill 1288 which would increase the minimum legal age from 18 to 21 to buy cigarettes, tobacco chew and electronic vaping devices and products.

MEDICAL MARIJUANA AT SCHOOLS Senator Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) is sponsoring legislation that would provide direction for schools to allow students who are prescribed medical marijuana to use the medicine in school.

FANTASY SPORTS Senator Dana Young (R-Tampa) is sponsoring a bill that would legalize fantasy sports games and exempt them from state gambling regulations.  Participants would be required to pay an entry fee in order to play these fantasy contests. If these games are deemed Class III gaming under federal law, however, it could impact the 2010 Seminole Compact. Representative Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) is the House sponsor.

SALES TAX HOLIDAYS A group of bills are moving through both chambers that would offer tax relief to Florida residents. They include a Disaster Preparedness Tax Exemption, which proposes a 10-day sales tax holiday on certain items relating to disaster preparation; an annual sales tax holiday for veterans; and a Small Business Saturday sales tax holiday to promote shopping at local businesses.