FAC News Clips - January 17, 2020 -

Florida Today

Florida bill could preempt cities from regulating Airbnb-style rentals

The battle over short-term vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods has started again in Tallahassee with many Brevard homeowners having a vested interest in the outcome of what has become an annual skirmish. On one side, vacation rental companies are seeking to block Florida cities and counties from imposing local regulations on them. On the other, property owners who see short-term home rentals as a noisy, disruptive nuisance want the business controlled.

Orlando Sentinel

FBI to start keeping states in the loop on election breaches

The FBI, in a change of policy, is committing to inform state officials if local election systems have been breached, federal officials told The Associated Press. In the past, the FBI would alert local governments about attacks on their electoral systems without automatically sharing that information with the state. That meant state officials, left in the dark, might be in a position of certifying the accuracy of election results without realizing there had been problems in individual counties.

Panama City News Herald

Florida House moves forward on Constitution Revision Commission repeal

The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday gave final committee approval to a proposal (HJR 301) that would ask voters in November to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, which drew across-the-aisle criticism for its 2018 work. An effort to eliminate the Florida Constitution Revision Commission, which placed seven constitutional amendments on the 2018 ballot, is headed to the House floor. The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday gave final committee approval to a proposal (HJR 301) that would ask voters in November to abolish the Constitution Revision Commission, which drew across-the-aisle criticism for its 2018 work.

Business Observer

Taxes, regulations on the docket in Tallahassee

The Florida State Legislature kicked off its 60-day 2020 session Jan. 14. A slate of tax and regulatory bills with potential impact on the business community had been prefiled. Among them: Business rental tax: Florida lawmakers have chipped away at the state’s Business Rental Tax three straight years. Among likely 2020 legislative proposals is a half-percent BRT cut, which lowers the sales tax on commercial leases from 5.5 to 5% beginning Jan. 1, 2021. Such a 0.5% tax reduction would save Florida business owners an estimated $829 million over the next five years, state economists project.

Florida Weekly

State, national groups take aim at Florida gun law

The legal battle over a 2011 Florida gun law continues to ratchet up. State and national groups — including two prominent gun-control organizations — filed briefs Thursday urging the 1st District Court of Appeal to reject the law, which threatens tough penalties if city and county officials approve gun regulations. One of the briefs described the National Rifle Association-backed law as having “unprecedented penalty provisions” that led to similar measures in other states. The brief, filed by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Brady gun-control group, the League of Women Voters of Florida and Equality Florida Institute, Inc., said the law has “chilling effects” on city and county officials.

Pensacola News Journal

Should Escambia County raise its hotel tax? Commissioners say yes, but with a caveat

A majority of Escambia County Commissioners voiced support for raising the county's hotel bed tax at some point this year, but only when they finalize a list of projects that would be funded by the increased tax. The top two items on the list would be to help partially fund the Bob Sikes Bridge replacement and a potential Pensacola Bay Center renovation or replacement. The commission discussed increasing the bed tax, officially known as the Tourist Development Tax, by one cent at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday.

WTXL

Leon County forms 2020 U.S. Census committee ahead of survey

If you don't do it, you could be missing out for the next ten years. Everybody, no matter your citizenship, should register for the 2020 United States Census. "Leon County government and the city of Tallahassee take this process very seriously," said Mathieu Cavell, who's on Leon County's 2020 Census committee. What may not seem like a big deal now has a big impact on our future. The 2020 United States Census survey reports who you are and will help determine how districts will be laid out as well as how much money your area will get.

Route Fifty

Cities Will Save Democracy, but Only If We Measure It

Is a decline in global democracy inevitable? Trust—the oil that fuels the gears of democratic government—has sunk steadily. According to Freedom House, 2018 marked the 13th consecutive year of democracy weakening worldwide. Similarly, a Gallup poll found that among the American public trust in the federal government has dropped to an all-time low of 38%. Is a decline in global democracy inevitable? Trust—the oil that fuels the gears of democratic government—has sunk steadily. According to Freedom House, 2018 marked the 13th consecutive year of democracy weakening worldwide. Similarly, a Gallup poll found that among the American public trust in the federal government has dropped to an all-time low of 38%.