The Florida Legislature will convene on March 5, 2013 for its regular session with nearly 40 percent of the Senate body made up of newly elected legislators. Attorneys in Gunster’s government affairs practice are monitoring the legislative issues closely. Here is a list of what are expected to be the top issues for legislators this session:
Senate Republicans still maintain a majority in the Senate; however, Democrats gained two seats, narrowing the Republicans’ advantage to 26-14 for the next two years.
If successful, the initiative would require businesses with at least 15 full- or part-time employees to offer paid sick time.
Because of the once-a-decade redistricting and Florida’s term limits for state level officials, all 160 state legislative seats are on the ballot this year.
This year’s session focused on the state budget and redistricting, as well as some high profile issues like reforming personal injury protection insurance, destination casino resorts and higher education reform.
Florida workers’ compensation rates are increasing and most businesses are not prepared for the higher financial burden. The rates are scheduled to increase an average of 8.9 percent in 2012.
Legislators may yet determine how Florida should tax hotel rooms sold by online travel companies – but it won’t be easy and it may not be this year.
On Thursday, February 2, 2012, the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Finance and Tax submitted SB 2098, addressing the state’s ability to levy and collect sales tax from online sales in Florida.
E-Verify is back on the legislative map. The Florida House and Senate both have versions of a bill that will require employers in the state to determine the eligibility of new hires to work in the U.S. Employers who fail to do so will lose their license to do business in the state until they register with E-Verify.
Earlier this year, the Town of Yankeetown, Florida sued to overturn HB 7207, which created the Community Planning Act. This was the single largest piece of growth management legislation in decades. Yankeetown did not approve and sued to have it overturned on several grounds, including the prohibition on referenda for comprehensive plan changes. Yankeetown’s Charter provided for referenda for approval of any comprehensive plan changes.