Florida lawmakers are entering the final two weeks of their annual 60-day session — the period when bills either start flying, or start dying. It's when things get unpredictable and hectic as deals are being made on the largest issues facing lawmakers. And even though lawmakers have had seven weeks to iron out differences between House and Senate bills, the next two weeks is when bills can rapidly start changing. There was some evidence last week that deals are in the works as Senate health care bills started coming closer to the House bills. Republican Speaker Jose Oliva has made reducing health care costs a priority.
Being treated fairly is what most people want these days. In all aspects of life, there are issues, situations and rules which we don’t like or agree with. However, if there is fairness, most people learn to accept things, even the negative ones. Impact fees are special taxes applied to a specific construction project to cover the cost of that structure’s impact on transportation, schools, fire departments, parks and libraries. The county or city wants the homeowner, builder or commercial project developer to pay upfront for the base expenses for living in that community.
A bill prohibiting local governments from imposing additional licensing requirements was passed in the Florida House of Representatives last week. But it’s gone through some changes since it was filed Feb. 6 by State Rep. Michael Grant (R-Port Charlotte). Before its passing, Preemption of Local Occupational Licensing, or HB 3, went through three different committees: the business and professions subcommittee, the state affairs committee and the commerce committee. Each gave its analysis, and voted favorably, for the bill.
In the final three weeks of their session, legislators have an opportunity to boost the economy by ensuring that affordable housing trust funds are used for their intended purpose. With the passage of the William E. Sadowski Act in 1992, legislators created a dedicated funding source for the development of affordable housing. Each year, the Act generates hundreds of millions of dollars through the collection of a documentary stamp tax on the sale of real estate. Unfortunately, over the past 10 years, the Legislature has diverted nearly $1.4 billion to balance the state budget.
A business lobbyist has moved to block a bill that would help a state opioid lawsuit against drugmakers and pharmacies—including Purdue Pharma, Walgreens and CVS — jeopardizing a potentially billion-dollar case against the industry. With only two weeks left in the legislative session, a bill to give Attorney General Ashley Moody access to certain patient-level information from the state’s drug database is stuck after Senate President Bill Galvano expressed concerns about patient privacy.
When we talk about immigration bills advanced at the state and local level, we cannot avoid thinking about costs — particularly when we live in a state in which one in five of us is an immigrant, producing nearly $29 billion in annual tax revenue. The truth is: we cannot afford the human and financial costs of anti-immigrant propositions. More strikingly, we cannot afford the collateral effects that a bill like SB 168 can have as we enter a Census year
In a move that’s ignited fierce debate, Florida lawmakers appear set to approve controversial legislation that aims to ban so-called "sanctuary cities" in the state. Bills in the House and Senate both passed their final committees last week and are making their way to discussion. The legislation would require local police to honor requests from federal immigration authorities to detain people who are thought to be in the United States illegally. The House version would fine local governments that don’t cooperate with federal requests.
Republican state lawmakers’ hatred of Big Government is only surpassed by their ardor for scapegoating immigrants in the name of public safety and economic stability. Not only are they hypocritical, they are wrong on both counts. After clearing raw and emotional hearings in the state Senate Rules Committee and passing 9-8, a contentious bill to ban so-called “sanctuary cities” will now get a full Senate vote. Though the legislative push for this proposal is mostly for political show, the practical realities are overreaching, intrusive and dangerous.
Foster Folly News
Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that following President Donald Trump’s commitment to federally fund 100 percent of the first 45 days of Hurricane Michael recovery, Bay County is receiving $18.5 million in recovery funding. These funds will be used to reimburse Bay County for removing 2.3 million cubic yards of debris in the 45 days following Hurricane Michael’s landfall. This is also the first Bay County project reimbursed under the Florida Division of Emergency Management’s (FDEM) expedited reimbursement process, which FDEM Director Jared Moskowitz put in place at the direction of Governor DeSantis.
News Talk Florida
Bay County is getting $18.5 million in federal funds as Northwest Florida continues to recover from Hurricane Michael which slammed into the region back in October. On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that the federal government is sending the funds to Bay County as reimbursements for debris cleared in the 45 days after the hurricane hit. “When I took office, I made a commitment to the people of Bay County that we would make sure they rebuild stronger than before,” said DeSantis. “Today, we are continuing to deliver on that commitment.
The long, intense red-tide outbreak in the Gulf of Mexico that finally ended late last year, and the streaming waters filled with blue-green algae in South Florida, led to at least two beneficial results: It raised the consciousness of governments, businesses and residents in a state where environmental regulation had been devalued; it caused Floridians to ask whether they had contributed to the problems. During and after the nasty episodes — which killed marine life, depressed tourism and triggered respiratory and perhaps other illnesses in humans — the search for causes and solutions intensified.