Legislative Issues

STRAW BAN PROHIBITION Senate Bill 588 and House Bill 603 are both moving in their respective chambers. The bills would ban local governments from enacting ordinances which would prohibit the use of single-use plastic straws in food establishments. Such action would be preempted to the state. The Senate bill has been modified to where it authorizes a study on the issue with the prohibition in place until July, 2021.

SALES TAX HOLIDAYS The tax break package is still in the works and may include the annual back to school tax holiday; a tax break on hurricane shutters; a decrease in the commercial rent sales tax rate; and tax-free diapers and incontinence products.

HAZING Bills strengthening hazing rules on Florida’s college campuses are moving through both chambers. The bills were introduced following some public deaths at fraternity houses where members died as a result of hazing, including alcohol poisoning and injuries.

VACATION RENTALS For the third straight session, several bills have been filed that would govern vacation rentals, including portals such as Airbnb. The most contentious suggestion is the pre-emption of current and future local government ordinances. The House bill by Representative J.W. Grant (R-Tampa) has moved through two of its three committees while the Senate bill by Senator Manny Diaz (R-Miami) is about to be heard in its first committee.

SANCTUARY CITIES Senator Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) and Representative Cord Byrd (R-Jacksonville Beach) are advancing bills that ensure state and local entities and law enforcement agencies cooperate with federal government officials to enforce immigration laws. The House version has tougher penalties than the Senate version, while the Senate bill would give Attorney General Ashley Moody the authority to file civil actions against cities and law enforcement agencies. The House has passed versions of sanctuary city bills for the last three years.

FILM INDUSTRY Bills have been filed in both chambers to create a film industry grant program within the Department of Economic Opportunity to encourage development of the entertainment industry in Florida. While the bill is getting some play in the Senate, it has yet to be heard in any House committee.