Your Monday Morning Tea: Florida Legislation Update- What passed and what failed

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Lot's of information here - attempted to hit the high points

Credits: The St. Augustine Record

The Associated Press

St. Petes Blog

The Tampa Bay Times

The Florida Senate Website

Florida Politics

Mayfield Minutes

 

Florida 60-day legislative session comes to a harmonious end

A good high level Summary

TALLAHASSEE — The Legislature wrapped up its annual 60-day session Friday after passing an $82.3 billion budget in a session that ended with more harmony than drama.

The House passed the budget on a 119-1 vote and sent it over to the Senate. State representatives then lingered on the chamber floor waiting for final passage on the Senate side while the Beatles’ “Come Together” blared from speakers. The Senate then passed it 40-0.

Last year the song could have been “Hit the Road, Jack,” which the House did three days early, leaving town without a budget and with a long list of dead bills.

The official ending time was 6:45 p.m., when House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner banged their gavels and then met in the rotunda between the chambers for a ceremonial hanky drop.

Even Democrats were saying great things about a legislative session where Republicans outnumber them by about a 2-1 ratio.

“Both chambers have been able to work together the past 60 days, and I think we’ve had some pretty good bills,” said Democratic Rep. Alan Williams, of Tallahassee.

Even Gov. Rick Scott, who had some of his top priorities crushed, including a $250 million fund to lure businesses to Florida and many of his proposed tax cuts, said it was a positive session.

The defeat of many Scott priorities has prompted speculation that the governor could veto large chunks of the budget. Scott, for his part, downplayed any dissatisfaction and suggested he was overall pleased with the final spending plan. But last year, Scott vetoed nearly $500 million, and a repeat of that could prompt Republicans to override Scott. One downside to that plan is that it would require legislators to return to town during an election year.

Other than the budget, the Legislature waited until the last day to pass long transportation and education bills, along with measures that will give Florida residents greater transparency on health care costs, require that the state-created Citizens Property Insurance give customers information on other policy options and require health insurance companies to cover speech and physical therapy for people with Down Syndrome.

Overall, lawmakers passed more than 260 bills.

Among them were measures to set water polices, place new restrictions on abortion clinics, allow terminally ill patients to use marijuana for medical purposes, replace a statue of a Confederate general that represents Florida in the U.S. Capitol, require an arrest before police can seize money and property, and require at least 10 of 12 jurors vote to condemn prisoners before they can receive the death penalty.

Additionally,about 1,600 bills died

 Like a $3 billion gambling agreement that Scott negotiated with the Seminole tribe, a proposal to allow guns on state college campuses and a bill that would have given civil rights protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

For complete details click the link below

. http://staugustine.com/news/florida-news/2016-03-11/florida-60-day-...

 

Florida has new laws on Confederate statue, gay marriage 

 Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith‘s time representing Florida in the U.S. Capitol is coming to an end while clergy will be able to say no to gay weddings under new laws approved by Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday.

Among other new laws: Florida will boycott companies that boycott Israel, disabled veterans will get free parking at public airports and Floridians will be able to designate a custodian to access and manage their social media, email and online financial accounts when they die or become incapacitated.

And a new law that took effect when Scott signed the bill will force the State Board of Administration to identify companies that boycott Israel and then notify them they are on a “scrutinized companies” list. The board is responsible for managing the state’s retirement fund.

If the companies continue to boycott Israel, the board would not be allowed to invest in them. It would also place limits on state agencies from contracting with companies on the list.

The push to take action against companies that boycott Israel is a reaction to a global movement backed by pro-Palestinian groups.

“The state of Florida will not waver in our support of Israel, one of our greatest allies and friends. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanction movement is fueled by anti-Semitism, and has no place in Florida or any part of the world that values freedom and democracy,” Scott said in release announcing the bill signing.

Another new law will allow people to use food stamps to buy fresh produce at farmers markets, flea markets and similar open-air venues.

For complete details click the link below

http://saintpetersblog.com/florida-new-laws-confederate-statue-gay-...

 

 Gov. Scott signs 26 Bills into law:   (As of March 10th)

Gov. Rick Scott today signed 26 bills into law, including protections for pastors that refuse to marry gay couples and the replacement of one of Florida's statues in the U.S. Capitol

The Pastor Protection Act, (HB43) which Scott already said he planned to sign, will give churches and pastors immunity from litigation if they deny a marriage they don't support on religious grounds. The measure was pushed by religious groups in the wake of same-sex marriage being legalized statewide. 

Florida will also move forward in the process to replace a statue of Edmund Kirby Smith, a confederate general, one of just two representing the state in National Statuary Hall. 

Other new laws will open up professional guardians of the elderly to greater regulation, and will allow minors to have their criminal records sealed earlier, part of a broader push in the Legislature to "decriminalize adolescence," in the words of Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart. 

SB 86: Prohibiting the State Board of Administration from investing in companies that boycott Israel.

SB 80: Family Trust Companies – This bill revises requirements under the Family Trust Company Act.

SB 112: Absentee Voting – This bill replaces the term “absentee ballot” with the term “vote-by-mail ballot” in Florida Statutes.

SB 196: Public Records – This bill relates to public records and the Department of Transportation (protects companies’ financial information).

SB 222: Parking for Disabled Veterans – This bill grants free parking at public airports to vehicles with a Disabled Veterans or a Paralyzed Veterans of America designation.

SB 232: Guardianship – This bill expands oversight by the Department of Elder Affairs and provides for the regulation of professional guardians.

SB 310: National Statuary Hall – This bill relates to the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol.

SB 386: Expunction of Records of Minors – This bill relates to the criminal records of minors.

SB 396: Nonresident Plaintiffs in Civil Actions – This bill removes a bond requirement in certain civil cases.

SB 416: The Location of Utilities – This bill relates to the relocation of utilities for certain projects. 

SB 458: Transfer of Structured Settlement Payment Rights – This bill revises court procedures relating to structured settlement agreements.

SB 494: Digital Assets – This bill designates access and control of an individual’s digital assets.

SB 7002: A Review under the Open Government Sunset Review Act – This bill reenacts a public records exemption related to local government audits.

SB 7024: A Review under the Open Government Sunset Review Act – This bill reenacts a public records exemption for the Florida Center for Brain Tumor Research.

SB 7030: A Review under the Open Government Sunset Review Act – This bill reenacts an existing public records exemption for certain governmental processes.

HB 43: Churches or Religious Organizations – This bill specifies that clergy are not required to perform marriages if in violation of sincerely held religious beliefs.

HB 103: Transactions in Fresh Produce Markets – This bill allows SNAP to be used to buy fresh food.

HB 111: Jury Service – This bill allows individuals unable to perform jury duty for physical reasons to be permanently excluded upon request.

HB 145: Financial Transactions – This bill makes revisions to statutes related to financial transactions.

HB 173: Medical Faculty Certification – This bill allows certain medical school faculty physicians at Florida Atlantic University to practice medicine in Florida.

HB 525: The Small Community Sewer Construction Assistance Act – This bill expands program eligibility to include additional small counties and special districts.

HB 613: Workers’ Compensation System Administration – This bill revises various components of Workers’ Compensation System Administration.

HB 695: Title Insurance – This bill revises certain requirements related to title insurance.

HB 719: Education Personnel – This bill revises certain requirements related to the Department of Education and provides additional training for principals. 

HB 739: Secondhand Dealers – This bill helps secondhand dealers identify and return stolen items.

HB 875: Motor Vehicle Service Agreement Companies – This bill allows motor vehicle service agreements to expand coverage.

I added the following based on previously received updates.

    Senate Bill 672: Educational Options
SB 672 increases postsecondary education and employment opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities. It also provides an incentive for district school boards and charter schools to create a school uniform policy. In addition, through the Personal Learning Scholarship Account program, families of students with disabilities will be able to provide a more customized education for their children to better meet their unique abilities.

Senate Bill 552: Environmental Resources
SB 552 modernizes our existing water policies to reflect the progress we have made in protecting our water resources and focuses our efforts on the water quality and supply challenges we continue to face through the use of scientifically sound, responsible solutions.

House Bill 7003: Individuals with Disabilities
HB 7003 strengthens pathways to economic independence for persons with disabilities. The legislation creates the Financial Literacy Program for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities to provide information and outreach to individuals with disabilities to assist them in establishing economic independence. In addition, the bill creates the Employment First Act and the Florida Unique Abilities Partner Program.

House Bill 131: Unattended Persons and Animals in Motor Vehicles
HB 131 would shield a Good Samaritan rescuer from civil liability for property damage to a vehicle as a result of their actions to free a trapped child, disabled adult, elderly person, or pet in imminent danger. The bill is intended to empower the bystander to save the potential victim’s life without fear of a potential lawsuit from the owner of the vehicle.

House Bill 7101: Sentencing for Capital Felonies
HB 7101 overhauls Florida’s death penalty by requiring that at least 10 members of a 12-person jury recommend the death penalty for it to be imposed. In January, Supreme Court Justices had ruled that Florida’s current law gave judges too much authority in death sentences and did not give jurors a sufficient role in the decision.

 SB 130 Discharging a Firearm: 

Discharging a Firearm; Prohibiting the recreational discharge of a firearm in certain residential areas; providing criminal penalties; providing exceptions, etc.

SB 158 Diver Licenses: 

Identification Cards and Driver Licenses; Providing for a person’s status as a lifetime freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, hunting, or sportsman licensee, or boater safety identification cardholder, to be indicated on his or her identification card or driver license upon payment of an additional fee and presentation of the person’s lifetime freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, hunting, or sportsman’s license, or boater safety identification card; providing a waiver of the replacement fee in certain circumstances, etc.

SB 228  Mandatory Minimum Sentences: 

Mandatory Minimum Sentences; Deleting aggravated assault from the list of convictions which carry a minimum term of imprisonment if during the commission of the offense the convicted person possessed a firearm or destructive device; deleting aggravated assault from the list of convictions which carry a minimum term of imprisonment if during the commission of the offense the convicted person possessed a semiautomatic firearm and its high-capacity detachable box magazine or a machine gun, etc.

For complete details click the link below

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/scott-signs...

 

Jeff Atwater: 

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater praised his colleagues in the Legislature Friday for passing HB 221, which curbs “balance billing” by Florida health insurance providers.

“The Florida Legislature was tasked with striking a finely tuned and balanced solution to a multifaceted problem,” Atwater said. “While all sides of this health care community presented valid perspectives and strong opinions throughout the legislative process, I’m pleased that our legislative leaders kept consumers at the forefront of this conversation, ultimately removing them from this complex billing equation.”

The bill would stop consumers from receiving bills from out-of-network providers for the cost of healthcare not covered by their insurance so long as it was an “emergency situation.” The practice is particularly common in emergencies, when in-network providers may not be the timeliest or most convenient provider, and can end up sticking patients with giant bills.

“This legislation is a win for every Florida family—both those that have experienced balance billing in the past and those that thankfully will not have to,” Atwater said

http://saintpetersblog.com/jeff-atwater-praises-legislature-curbing...

WINNERS AND LOSERS:

http://saintpetersblog.com/look-bills-passed-died-florida-year/ ;

WINNERS

– Requirements that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

– A water policy that aims to clean springs, protect groundwater and restore the Everglades.

– A package of bills that expands a program providing scholarships to families of children with autism, Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities and creates employment and higher education incentives for the intellectually disabled.

-A measure that allows parents to move their children across county lines to any public school with capacity.

– A three-day sales tax holiday for back-to-school clothes.

– The so-called “Right To Try” bill that allows terminally ill people to use medical marijuana.

– A bill that specifies in law that clergy don’t have to marry same-sex couples.

– A memorial to Holocaust victims to be built on the Florida Capitol compound.

– An overhaul of Florida’s alimony law that ends permanent alimony payments and urges judges to enforce equal time-sharing of children between divorced parents.

– Three ballot measures dealing with taxes. One that would grant property tax breaks for first responders disabled in the line of duty, one that would exempt solar panels from tangible personal property taxes, and another that would lock in place the value of a home belonging to a senior citizen who is eligible for a property tax break.

– A requirement that police arrest someone before seizing their property.

– A measure that allows students who transfer schools to become immediately eligible for sports while adding stricter penalties to for schools and coaches found guilty of recruiting violations.

– A bill that attempts to fix Florida’s unconstitutional death penalty law by requiring at least ten jurors vote to condemn prisoners before they can be sentenced to die.

– A requirement that life insurance companies check each year to see if policyholders are still alive and then contact beneficiaries if they’re not.

– A bill that requires gas stations install devices to prevent illegal credit card skimmers in pumps.

– Changes to Florida Kidcare that allows children of legal immigrants to become immediately eligible for subsidized health insurance instead of waiting five years.

___

LOSERS

– Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal to create a $250 million fund to lure businesses to Florida

– A bill to allow concealed weapons permit holders to openly carry their guns.

– A bill that would let people carry guns on state college campuses.

– Civil rights protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

-A bill that would require the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to study and create regulations for fracking.

– A statewide policy regulating car services like Uber and Lyft.

– The $3 billion gambling deal Scott negotiated with the Seminole Tribe.

– A bill that would ban nearly all abortions.

– A bill giving the governor authority to use military force to prevent people from settling in Florida if they come from Eastern Hemisphere countries where “invaders” live or train.

– A bill that would have made clear that fantasy sports games are legal in Florida.

-A measure to limit driver’s license suspensions for non-driving violations

– Mandatory recess in Florida elementary schools

– Allowing school districts to offer tests such as the SAT and ACT as alternatives to Florida’s high-stakes standardized test.

 

 MORE  WINNERS AND LOSERS

The following articles include bills as well as congressmen and women in their efforts to push bills through the process. (There is a tremendous amount of interesting information in the links)

http://floridapolitics.com/archives/203789-takeaways-tallahassee-wi...

http://saintpetersblog.com/takeaways-tallahassee-winners-losers-201...

 below are a few of the highlights.

What a difference a year makes. Tallahassee went from the dysfunction of 2015 – the House going home early, no budget, a Special Budget Session – to the trains-on-time Session of 2016. Heck, the chilly capital even warmed up to the high 70s by Sine Die. No wonder there are more winners than losers this year than last. Some of those losses smart, though. As in: Really, Legislature? You couldn’t even pass a measure guaranteeing that school kids get 20 minutes of recess a day?

— WINNERS —

 Gov. Scott approved SB 552, which “implements policies to protect and restore water and natural resources statewide, with a focus on meeting water quality and supply needs.” Crisafulli in particular wanted the measure passed before he leaves the Legislature since this is his last year in office. But water policy has been a priority of Putnam’s as well. As Scott put it, “we’re going to continue to protect the Everglades, but this is going to go further, and include our springs.”

Joe Negron — It was a good year for Joe. With a testy leadership battle in the rear view mirror, the Stuart Republican doubled down on public policy. He passed a dental carve-out bill and carried pro-Israel legislation, fending off attacks from opponents that included a video and outbursts in committee meetings. Don’t forget the Legacy Florida bill, where he worked with environmentalists and advocates alike. And even though a fantasy sports bill didn’t pass, Negron established a role in the gaming scene. See you next year, Mr. President Designate.

Jeff Atwater on life insurance reform — On Atwater’s must-do list for 2016. He has inveighed against insurance companies what are lax in finding beneficiaries of life insurance policies,  holding on to $8 billion nationwide. New legislation forces them to find beneficiaries when a policyholder has died and policy benefits need to be paid. If they can’t, the companies have to pay the proceeds to the Bureau of Unclaimed Property, which will hold it till the person who is supposed to get it can be found.

Pam Bondi – Call her a big winner. Every single one of Bondi’s priorities made it through the Legislature. The Legislature OK’d bills that required evidence kits in sexual offense cases be tested within 30 days of being received; gave law enforcement more flexibility to prosecute synthetic drug dealers; and made tweaks to the state’s RICO Act. She was also able to kill a bill that could have affected her office’s Medicaid fraud litigation.

Rob Bradley — The Fleming Island Republican led the effort to expand the Right to Try Act to include medical marijuana. He included language to get the low THC product to patients as soon as possible. He also can take some credit for the passage of a bill that would allow Jacksonville to put a referendum on the ballot to extend the infrastructure sales tax to help defray the $2.6 billion unfunded pension liability.

Miguel Diaz de la Portilla — As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, the Miami Republican refused to hear bills he said he thought discriminated against immigrants. The decision effectively killed bills that would have created tougher deportation penalties and that would have required local law enforcement to comply with federal immigration laws. He also stopped legislation that would have allowed concealed weapon holders to openly carry their guns and concealed carry on campuses.

Jeremy Ring — The former Yahoo executive spearheaded a push to allow high school students to count computer coding as a foreign language, even going toe-to-toe with his own caucus over the proposal. The Margate Democrat also sponsored legislation to give more protections to people with autism when dealing with law enforcement, and backed legislation to reaffirm Florida’s commitment to keep state dollars from funding state sponsors of terror in Iran.

 Jose Felix Diaz passed his KidCare bill to expand healthcare for children of legal immigrants and is making a name for himself as the go-to man on controversial issues.

Americans for Prosperity-Florida — As an economic incentive package picked up steam in the Senate, Americans for Prosperity-Florida began to push back on the measure. They called the proposal, which included film incentives and Gov. Scott’s $250 million Enterprise Florida Fund, “corporate welfare” and began a direct mail campaign to voters who lived in districts of lawmakers who supported the proposal. Do we need to remind where the economic incentive package ended up?   IT WAS CRUSHED

Children, dentists and MCNA – A contentious Medicaid children’s dental bill finally cleared the Legislature. Republicans Rep. Jose Felix “Pepi” Diaz and Senate President-designate Joe Negron pushed the bill in the House and Senate, despite vigorous opposition from HMOs. The bill, which eliminates dental care from the list of minimum services managed-care plans are required to offer, was backed by Fort Lauderdale-based MCNA Dental; and cleared the Legislature in part because of the work of Southern Strategy GroupPaul Stanford, and The Mayernick Group.

Counties — The squabble over how to pay for juvenile detention costs is nearing an end. The proposal requires counties that aren’t fiscally constrained to pay $42.5 million for detention costs in fiscal 2016, with the state picking up the rest of the tab. In the following years, it’s a 50-50 split. The proposal – sponsored by Sen. Latvala and Rep. Chris Latvala, and supported by the Florida Association of Counties — is intended to end a years-long battle over how juvenile detention costs are paid.

Lenny Curry – The Jacksonville Mayor’s pension reform proposal sailed through the Senate this week, and will soon make its way to the governor’s desk. The measure would impose a pension tax via referendum if signed into law. With big assists from the JAX Chamber, not to mention a triumvirate of powerhouse lobbying firms – The Fiorentino Group, Southern Strategy Group, Ballard Partners – Curry is on pace to finally tackle the city’s massive, $2.6 billion unfunded pension liability. If Scott signs off (and there’s no sign as yet that he wouldn’t) Duval County residents will then vote the idea up or down later this year. It remains to be seen whether they’ll approve extending the half-cent Better Jacksonville Plan infrastructure sales tax all the way to 2060, Curry’s pitch to get the city’s extremely stressed fiscal house in order.

Digital Assets protection — Sen. Dorothy Hukill rates for guarding your ghost in the machine. Lawmakers passed and Scott signed her bill (SB 494) that would protect one’s “digital assets” after death, meaning someone of your choosing could have access to and control your financial accounts, social media and anything else you have online. The bill faltered last year, after Facebook said it conflicted with federal online privacy laws. Hukill tweaked the language to require giving “explicit consent” for someone to access and control your stuff.

The Everglades Foundation – It helped pass HB 989, creating a dedicated source of revenue for Everglades restoration in the amount of the lesser of 25 percent or $200 million for Everglades of Amendment 1 funds. The bill also allocates 7.66 percent of Amendment 1 dollars to fund springs restoration capped at $75 million and $5 million per year to Lake Apopka clean-up for 10 years. Nick Iarossi of Capital City Consulting, and Claudia Davant, Dave Ericks and Robert Beck of Adams Street Advocates also played role the passage.

Higher education — State universities scored when it came to bonding of PECO funding. Just to name a few: Heiser Natural Sciences Building at New College of Florida got $4.2 million; Florida International University got $7.1 million for a satellite chiller plant; and $8 million for Florida International University land acquisition. Those schools should be thanking Capital City Consulting for that.

Barbara Lumpkin – Florida, the state with the second largest population of ARNPs, took a major step toward quality and access to care by passing HB 423, the “Barbara Lumpkin Prescribing Bill,” a law which allows Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners (ARNP) and Physician’s Assistants (PA) to practice to the full extent of their abilities.  The law, on its way to the governor’s office, will expand prescribing authority for trained professionals. Credit to Janet DuBoisCorinne Mixon and Allison Carvajal for never giving up on pushing for this bill.

Publix – The Lakeland-based supermarket chain lobbied lawmakers to pass a measure blocking local governments from enacting Stryofoam-container bans. (To be clear, cities that already passed a ban are unaffected, but future ones are not allowed.) Publix uses scads of Styrofoam, from its deli counter to the meats section. Environmental advocates hate the stuff, saying it winds up in waterways and the sea. Kudos goes to Teye Reeves of Floridian Partners, the lead lobbyist for the supermarket giant.

Supervisors of Elections — The possibility of a pay raise makes the state’s county elections chiefs a winner. Lawmakers OK’d a proposal that puts supervisors of elections base salary in line with those of elected clerks, comptrollers, property and tax collectors. The average increase is $18,540 a year. Tip your hat to David Ramba, who pushed for the change. Two state lawmakers — Sen. Alan Hays and Rep. Alan Williams — are running for supervisor of elections. We’re sure that had nothing to do with the push for action this year.

Florida Sheriffs Association —  The group took on Sen. Don Gaetz and Rep. Matt Gaetz on the open-carry gun proposal — and won. They also backed a measure that requires 10 jurors to support a death recommendation, a proposal that was signed by Gov. Rick Scott. Also in their win column: A bill that provides additional protections to people on the autism spectrum during interactions with law enforcement officers.

The Fiorentino Group — From bee stings to peanut butter, the potential for a dangerous allergic reaction is high at public and private schools across the state. The Legislature heard the call for action, and this year to change state law to allow the schools to use Epipens without fear of liability. The firm also pushed lawmakers to restore $11 million in PECO dollars for the University of North Florida; a big win for the First Coast delegation.

Law enforcement officers — The Florida Police Benevolent Association lobbied for legislation to require law enforcement agencies to set policies and procedures for body cameras. And the Legislature heard their call. The Legislature sent the bill — pushed by Sen. Chris Smith and Rep. Shevrin Jones — to the governor on Thursday. Gov. Scott now has until March 24 to sign the bill, which also requires departments to have proper training and policies governing camera usages.

Children’s Campaign — Saw the passage of a juvenile expunction bill and juvenile record confidentiality legislation.

Local taxpayers — Floridians won’t have to shell out more in property taxes this year to help pay for education increases. The Legislature is putting forward $290 million to hold down local property taxes that would have otherwise gone to the state’s school-funding formula.

–MIXED BAG–

The Legislative Black Caucus — Took a hit from The Florida Times-Union, which disclosed members’ junket to a Indian casino in Alabama run by the same tribe seeking a gaming compact from Florida for a facility it plans near Pensacola. But also saw the demise of disfavored bills, such as “stand your ground” and pro-guns measures.The Competitive Workforce Act – The pro-LGBTQ measure had Republican backers such as Jack Latvala and a corporate narrative. After a decade or so of failure, the act finally got its first hearing and nearly passed a Senate committee. In the House, Majority Leader Dana Young joined nine other House Republicans in supporting the bill, which aims to prohibit employment, retail and other discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity. It would have amended the state’s Civil Rights Act.

Drillers — A bill to regulate fracking died in the Senate for the second year in a row. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Garrett Richter in the Senate and Rep. Ray Rodrigues in the House, would have required drillers to get permits before fracking could begin and put a moratorium in place until a study and rules were completed. No legislation means no moratorium. But increased concerns over the effects of fracking elsewhere could mean increased scrutiny on companies looking into alternative drilling techniques.

-LOSERS -

Rick Scott – Didn’t really get his $1 billion tax cut. Didn’t get his $250 million business incentive fund. Didn’t get the $3 billion-over-seven-years Seminole Compact approved by lawmakers. His Secretary of Health (see below) is out of a job. Upside: No one will remember or care by the time he runs for U.S. Senate.

Carlos Lopez-Cantera — Session flew by, and no one seemed to notice the Lieutenant Governor. He made a few appearances on the floor of the House, but didn’t seem to make a political splash when he needed it the most. His official calendar was light during the Legislative Session, and if he advocated for his boss’ priorities, it didn’t seem to help much.

Department of Corrections — House and Senate budget writers scrapped Secretary Julie Jones request for 734 new correctional officers. The department wanted the positions so they could shift from 12-hour shifts to eight-hour shifts. While forest firefighters and crime lab analysts will get a pay raise, corrections officers won’t see more cash in the budget. Give the department a break, these guys (and gals) are in an incredibly stressful and dangerous job.

Don Gaetz — The Niceville senator pushed a proposal to allow Floridians to openly carry their weapons as long as they have a concealed-weapon permit. When Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, said he would not hear the bill, Gaetz slammed the Miami Republican, saying DLP “promised and then reneged on a commitment” to meet with supporters to negotiate differences. Gaetz tried to add his open-carry bill to a bill relating to slungshots, but was shot down when Rules Chairman David Simmons told him the amendment was out of order.

Garrett Richter — The Naples Republican said his bill to regulate fracking might have been the “most important bill” he filed on behalf of his constituents. There’s just one problem: The bill didn’t pass. Richter did a yeoman’s job at trying to get the bill through the Senate, but couldn’t get it to the finish line.

Harris Corp. – The Brevard-based radio communications giant did ultimately got its way when it came to a $7 million line item to “refresh” the state’s existing inventory of law enforcement radios. The House – and Harris PR efforts – argued the move was necessary to update equipment, though no state agency requested it. But the Senate argued the issue was “vendor-driven” and could jeopardize a competitive bidding process for when the contract expires in 2021, which Harris lobbied against. Competitor Motorola Solutions and the Senate, however, can take solace in the fact the Department of Management Services bid is still scheduled to go ahead.

Enterprise Florida — The state’s public-private economic development arm said it desperately needed money for its quick action closing fund. The governor pushed for $250 million to help lure jobs. EFI CEO Bill Johnson said cutting the money would cost the state 50,000 potential jobs. He even called out Americans for Prosperity for its campaign to shut down the funding efforts. But it didn’t matter: Lawmakers slashed funding from the final spending plan.

Film industry — Making a movie in Florida just got a little tougher. The Legislature rejected efforts by state lawmakers — including Venice Republican Sen. Nancy Detert and  Sen. Latvala— to approve an economic incentive package that included film incentives. Film Florida lobbied lawmakers to support the proposal, saying the state has lost more than $650 million in film projects in the past three years. With Detert leaving the Senate, the film industry is losing a big advocate.

Life insurance companies — A win for beneficiaries means a loss for life insurance companies. Under a bill sponsored by Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto and Rep. Bill Hager, life insurance companies need to check annually to see whether their policy holders have died. If they have, then it’s on the company to track down the beneficiaries. It was a top priority for CFO Jeff Atwater, who said companies were making billions off life insurance investments. The kicker? If the governor signs off on the legislation, it goes into effect retroactively.

Marion Hammer —I The House Judiciary Committee declined to hear a bill shifting the burden of proof for Stand Your Ground cases.

Planned Parenthood — The women’s health agency took hits from all sides during the 2016 Legislative Session. The state House initially included language to defund the clinic in its state budget. That language was removed, but lawmakers OK’d a proposal to increase medical requirements on abortion clinics. The measure — sponsored by Sen. Kelli Stargel and Rep. Colleen Burton, both Lakeland Republicans — also prohibits state dollars from going to clinics affiliated with licensed abortion providers. Planned Parenthood officials promised to fight the legislation “with everything we’ve got.”

Recess — Bah humbug, John Legg. The Florida House overwhelmingly supported a bill that requires public schools to provide 100 minutes of recess each week in kindergarten through fifth grade. But the bill, sponsored by Sen. Alan Hays, made no progress in the Senate. Legg, chairman of the Senate Education committee, declined to hear the bill because he said it was a local issue. The so-called recess moms who backed the legislation have said they would continue to lobby for the issues.

Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith — He was a career military man who served as a general in the Confederate army. Born in St. Augustine, Smith spent most of his life outside of the Sunshine State. Still, in 1922 the state decided to erect a statue of Smith in the National Statuary Hall Collection in the U.S. Capitol. He’s been there ever since, but his reign as a famous Floridian might be coming to an end. Gov. Rick Scott OK’d a law to remove and replace his statue with another famous Floridian. Don’t worry, Dr. John Gorrie, the father of air conditioner, isn’t going anywhere.

Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing companies — Everyone knew it wasn’t going to pass, but that doesn’t mean people weren’t holding out hope a compromise between all parties — that includes ride-booking companies, taxicab drivers, the House and the Senate — would be worked out. Those hopes were quashed when Sen. David Simmons pulled his bill that would have mandated minimum commercial insurance requirements for drivers. No compromise could be worked out, when the House said it wouldn’t budget on pre-emption language. Uber blamed Senate President Gardiner, slamming him in a series of advertisements. The House blamed the Senate. The real losers? Drivers and Uber users as local battles over regulations continue.

IF you wish to see the distribution of funds for that $82.3 BILLION dollar budget click the link below:

Budget Summary Conference Report on HB 5001

Fiscal Year 2016-2017

http://www.flsenate.gov/Media/PressReleases/Show/2414

To see the latest bills that the Governor has signed into law click below to review the bills via a PDF file.

http://www.flgov.com/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/2.24.16_Bill_Action.pdf

For future reference this information is available on the main page of the website at:
www.fctpcommunity.org

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE A FACEBOOK PAGE TO VIEW YOUR FCTP PAGE.

Visit us on your Facebook page for daily news and general information:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/First-Coast-Tea-Party-Inc/1174774949.

"You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered."

Lyndon B. Johnson 

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Comment by FCTP on March 14, 2016 at 3:44pm

If you have a fb page just go to the upside down triangle where you would normally log out.. You should see prompts like create page, create group.. Once you decide which you want to set up you will be walked through the process.. Hope that helps get you started.

Comment by FCTP on March 14, 2016 at 3:41pm

 I have found that many more people can be reached via facebbook.. If you have a fb account it is fairly easy to set up a separate page as a group where you can invite people..

Comment by Gerald Davis on March 14, 2016 at 12:54pm

Senator Portilla was a major disappointment with his refusal to allow a committee vote on Open Carry and Campus Carry.

I have a link to a state data base where I can access all of a candidates financial contributors. I want to use it to contact Senator Portillas contributors. I also want to set up a facebook or some type of webpage with these groups/peoples names on it.

I don't have any experience in the facebook or webpage department. Is anyone interested in working on this with me or helping in any way?

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