Most of the local projects that were in the final state budget survived Governor Rick Scott’s veto pen. However, a $1 million appropriation to assist with the designing of the Beulah/Interstate 10 Interchange was vetoed. Local projects that were funded in the signed budget include:
• $3 million for the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Facilities at the Pensacola Airport
• $3 million for the Baars Classroom Building at Pensacola State College
• $200,000 for Re-entry Alliance Pensacola
• $1,000,000 for the Filipino-American Association of Pensacola Community Center Redevelopment
• $750,000 for Lakeview Center
• $150,000 for felony and/or misdemeanor pretrial or post-adjudicatory veterans’
treatment intervention programs in Escambia County
Governor Rick Scott recently signed legislation that could put Florida on permanent Daylight Savings Time. The Florida Chamber of Commerce developed this memo which explains what happens next and the potential outcomes for this legislation.
Florida Chamber Members and Friends
Christopher Emmanuel, Policy Director
Mark Wilson, President and CEO
March 27, 2018
Florida Daylight Savings Time Legislation - the Long and Uncertain Path Forward
Since the recent passage of legislation dealing with a potential change to Florida’s Daylight Savings Time (DST) approach, the Florida Chamber has received numerous inquiries regarding what the legislation does, and what the actual implementation process looks like. This member benefit memo is designed to help bring members and their employees up to date on DST legislation that was recently signed into law by Governor Scott, and its uncertain path forward.
It is important to note that time zones and Daylight Savings Time are set by federal law. Neither the Florida Legislature nor the Governor have the authority to change the state’s participation in DST without changes in federal law. Here’s the key takeaway: despite all the rhetoric, changes are not imminent and are, in fact, very unlikely to occur anytime soon.
2018 Florida Legislative Session Action
During the 2018 Legislative Session, the Florida Legislature passed HB 1013 relating to Daylight Savings Time by a vote of 103Y-11N in the House and 33Y-2N in the Senate. The full text of that bill can be found here.
House Bill 1013 expresses a future intent of the legislature to act if Congress acts on DST: “If the United States Congress amends 15 U.S.C. s. 260a to authorize states to observe daylight saving time year-round, it is the intent of the Legislature that daylight savings time shall be the year-round standard time of the entire state."
As outlined below, this merely expresses the intent of the Florida Legislature and has no practical effect nor does it bind future legislatures or governors to this policy. Governor Scott signed HB 1013 on March 23, 2018.
HB 1013 has an effective date of July 1, 2018. Even after that effective date, there will be no changes to time zones or required actions by the state of Florida. The bill does not authorize or mandate any actions by the Governor or other public officials. The 2018 legislature merely had their intent codified in law.
Future Legislatures are NOT bound to Act by HB 1013
A legislature "may not bind the hands of future legislatures." Neu v. Miami Herald Pub. Co., 462 So. 2d 821, 824 (Fla. 1985). See also Straughn v. Camp, 293 So. 2d 689, 694 (Fla. 1974). This law clearly expresses the future intent of the legislature to act under particular circumstances. If those circumstances ever arise, then a future legislative body is free to ignore this statute.
However, there are two federal bills that warrant paying close attention to. H.R. 5279, sponsored by Rep. Vern Buchanan, and its companion S. 2537, sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio seek to make Daylight Savings Time permanent across the country.
H.R. 5278 and S. 2536, with the same sponsors respectively, seek to exempt Florida from the nation’s DST program. Both H.R. 5278 and S. 2536 were filed the week of March 12, 2018. Both bills have yet to be scheduled or heard in committee.
From here, there are four possible options:
While there was virtually no opposition to this year’s Daylight Savings Time legislation, broadcasters and certain contractors have expressed disapproval after its nearly unanimous passage in the legislature. Some tourism and retail businesses have indicated support for the concept. Since this concept could potentially come back around to the legislature and governor after Congressional action, your opinions on the proposal, and your thoughts on how it might have a positive, negative or no consequence impact on Florida’s economy are important. Please share your thoughts by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-521-1242.
In the meantime, it’s going to be a very busy election year. Your support of the Florida Chamber’s efforts to elect pro-jobs candidates is important. Learn how you can get involved by contacting Marian Johnson at email@example.com or 850-521-1241.
Florida Chamber of Commerce l www.FloridaChamber.com
136 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32301 l (850) 521-1200
More and more candidates are filing for local offices. See the updated candidate list with fundraising totals here.
The Triumph Gulf Coast Board of Directors held their March meeting in Milton and moved towards awarding their first grant. Program administrator Cori Henderson stated during her report that she and Triumph economic advisor Dr. Rick Harper have either met or held calls with submitters from all eight of the disaffected counties.
In his report, Harper stated that they have received some completed full applications but had expected mote at this point. Harper reported that the had received five completed applications, four of which were workforce development projects. Harper did state that the four workforce development projects needed “maturing” before they would be ready for board approval. The fifth full proposal, a $10 million request from the Port of Panama City was thoroughly explained by Dr. Harper. You can see the full application for the Port of Panama City project here.
After thoroughly explaining the project and the economic development impact and benefits, Dr. Harper requested that board allow staff to begin negotiations with the Port of Panama City on the $10 million grant request. Harper said that the port may need to make some changes to their application that would include a better benefit to cost ratio before approving the funds. Board Stan Connally made the motion to begin negotiations with the port. Connally also stated that he liked the amount of outside funds being brought to the project and felt staff could improve the benefit to cost ratio in their negotiations. Board members Allan Bense, Pam Dana, Benjamin Lee and Stephen Riggs all spoke in favor of the port.
The board approved staff to begin negotiations with the Port of Panama City for a grant of up to $10 million. Connally’s motion stated the desire to have the contract ready at the next board meeting for full approval. Dr. Pam Dana was appointed as the board member to serve as board liaison as the contract and term sheet are being developed.
Cori Henderson requested that the boar allow staff to make tweaks to the pre-application to make it less rigorous. Henderson stated that they were finding that applicants were finishing about half of the full application just during the pre-application phase. Staff would not change the pre-application for presenters that have already begun the pre-application process but will be used going forward.
Staff also asked for approval to contract with an expert in the education performance field to assist with the workforce development projects. This person would work on projects on a case-by-case basis and not be a full-time employee. Staff estimated that the case-by-case need would only cost $1,500-$2,500 per project.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Assistant City Administrator Keith Wilkins announced that the city had submitted the full application for the expansion of the Pensacola Airport Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) project and the city had received a $35 million commitment from a private company as a part of their effort.
House Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Chairman and Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Clay Ingram explains why infrastructure and tourism funding is important to Florida’s business community in this Florida Chamber video.
The 2018 Florida Legislative Session ended with only 200 bills passing both the state house and state senate. The Greater Pensacola Chamber saw some legislative priorities pass while others will have to be addressed again next year.
The 2018 legislative tax-cut package included $38 million for a seven-day disaster preparedness sales tax holiday from June 1-June 7 and a three-day sales tax holiday from August 3-5 for back-to-school supplies. Also, the tax rate on commercial leases was reduced for the second consecutive year. This year the rate was reduced from 5.8 to 5.7 percent.
Furthering its reputation as the most military-friendly state in the country, the legislature also passed bills that will help our military and veterans. House Bill 29, sponsored by Rep. Mel Ponder (R-Destin), waives Department of Business Regulation and Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services professional license fees for active duty service members, veterans and their spouses. The bill also waives specific licensure fees for the Office of Financial Regulation, the Department of Financial Services, the Department of Health and Department of Education certificate holders that are active military, veterans and their spouses.
House Bill 29 also:
• Requires the Florida Department of Education to lead and coordinate outreach efforts to educate veterans about apprenticeship and career opportunities.
• Gives priority for attendance in Florida Virtual School to children of an active duty member who is not stationed in the state but their legal residence is Florida.
• Designates March 25th as “Medal of Honor Day” and allows classroom instruction related to the values of the recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
House Bill 75, also sponsored by Rep. Mel Ponder, waives certain fees for active duty members of the United States Armed Forces at Florida College System institutions.
However, there were some business priorities that did not make it through both houses and will have to be fought again next year. Workers’ compensation reform and Assignment of Benefits (AOB) reform both passed the state house but did not make it through the state senate. The Greater Pensacola Chamber of Commerce urges our legislators to tackle these two issues that hurt our local businesses.