TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of New World screwworm in Key deer from a wildlife refuge in Big Pine Key, Florida. USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirms this is a local infestation of new world screwworm. This is the first local infestation in the United States in more than 30 years. In response to this infestation, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today declared an agricultural state of emergency in Monroe County, Florida, which can be accessed here.
“The screwworm is a potentially devastating animal disease that sends shivers down every rancher’s spine. It’s been more than five decades since the screwworm last infested Florida, and I’ve grown up hearing the horror stories from the last occurrence,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “This foreign animal disease poses a grave threat to wildlife, livestock and domestic pets in Florida. Though rare, it can even infect humans. We’ve eradicated this from Florida before, and we’ll do it again. We will work with our partners on the federal, state and local level to protect our residents, animals and wildlife by eliminating the screwworm from Florida. The public’s assistance is crucial to the success of this eradication program.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:October 3, 2016
Average person expected to spend almost $83 this year on Halloween candy, decorations, and costumes for a nationwide total of $8.4 billion
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today that consumer spending on Halloween is expected to set an all-time high with the average person spending almost $83, up from $74 in 2015. Total spending nationally on Halloween is expected to reach $8.4 billion up from $6.9 billion last year.
“More families are making a bigger deal out of Halloween each year, with consistent increases in per consumer spending, which should make for frighteningly good sales figures for retailers this month,” said FRF President and CEO Randy Miller. “We fully expect Florida’s Halloween sales to meet or exceed the national numbers thanks to sustained positive economic indicators and a healthy state economy.”
According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s Halloween Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, U.S. consumers are expected to spend an average of $82.93, up from last year’s $74.34, with more than 171 million Americans planning to partake in Halloween festivities this year.
According to the survey, consumers plan to spend $3.1 billion on costumes (purchased by 67 percent of Halloween shoppers), $2.5 billion on candy (94.3 percent), $2.4 billion on decorations (70 percent) and $390 million on greeting cards (35.4 percent).
When it comes to preparation, 71 percent of consumers plan to hand out candy, decorate their home or yard (49 percent), dress in costume (47 percent), carve a pumpkin (46 percent), throw or attend a party (34 percent), take their children trick-or-treating (30 percent), visit a haunted house (21 percent) or dress their pet(s) in costume (16 percent).
Searching for the perfect costume inspiration will lead consumers to sources such as online (35 percent) and in-store (29 percent). Social media is the fastest-growing influencer for the perfect costume, particularly Pinterest (17 percent), which has seen 133 percent growth since 2012. Some other places for inspiration include friends/family (19 percent), Facebook (17 percent), pop culture (16 percent) and print media (14 percent).
When it comes to where consumers will shop for the season, 47 percent of shoppers will visit discount stores to buy their Halloween-related items this year and 36 percent will visit a specialty Halloween/costume store, up from 33 percent last year. In addition, 26 percent of customers will visit grocery stores/supermarkets, 23 percent will visit department stores and 22 percent will shop online.
The survey asked 6,791 consumers about Halloween shopping plans. It was conducted September 6-13 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.
For Immediate Release: September 29, 2016
FRF & FPMA eager to see the positive impact this legislation will have in keeping Floridians and visitors safe from credit card fraud at Sunshine State gas stations
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, and the Florida Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association (FPMA), remind Floridians statewide that effective October 1, increased security measures take effect at gas stations statewide to protect consumers from gas pump skimmer fraud. SB912, sponsored by Senator Anitere Flores and Representative Dana Young, becomes law this weekend in protecting credit card information while also making it easier to charge someone for committing gas pump skimmer fraud.
“With more than 10,000 gas pumps in Florida, and the potential for one skimmer to impact more than 100 people, this important legislation will go a long way towards protecting millions of Florida’s residents and visitors,” said Randy Miller, FRF President & CEO. “FRF and FPMA were proud to work with Senator Flores, Representative Young and Commissioner Adam Putnam on the passage of this bill and we look forward to it making Florida a safer place.”
SB912, which passed unanimously this past legislative session, requires gas stations to have, at a minimum, security tape on their pumps to show the pump hasn’t been tampered with. The law would make the crime of tampering with a gas pump a second degree felony and the possibility of 15 years prison time, which is an increase from the previous penalties of a third degree felony and just five years in prison. The new law also makes law enforcements’ job easier to charge someone who is in possession of counterfeit credit cards. Previously, it would require ten fake cards to be charged with a second degree felony, now it only requires five cards for the same charge.
Florida’s convenience stores increased from 9,737 in 2014 to more than 10,000 in 2015, which ranked third among all states according to the 2016 National Association of Convenience Stores/Nielsen Convenience Industry Store Count.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
Founded in 1937, the Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide three out of every four jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year. In fact, more than three out of four of Florida’s budget dollars come from retail-related activity. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.
Below is the Emergency Rule that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has issued regarding notification of pollution. The Emergency Rule as drafted creates questions about when notification is required. We are working with DEP to clear up these questions. We recognize and agree with the necessity of prompt notification of pollution. Our businesses, our communities and our state are best served when pollution is quickly and completely addressed and its harm is minimized or eliminated. We want to make sure our member businesses are fully compliant without creating unnecessary burdens for local officials and needless concern for citizens. As we receive more detailed information from DEP, we will share this information with you.
Notice of Emergency Rule
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
RULE NO.: 62ER16-1
RULE TITLE: Public Notice of Pollution
SPECIFIC REASONS FOR FINDING AN IMMEDIATE DANGER TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH, SAFETY OR WELFARE: In a "Specific Finding of Immediate Danger to the Public Health, Safety, or Welfare," which was published on the date of this emergency rule (available at www.dep.state.fl.us/pollutionnotice) and filed with the Secretary of State's Office, Secretary Steverson found that there is a need to immediately require specific notification to the public of any incident or discovery of pollution that may cause a threat to the air, surface waters, or groundwater of the state. These circumstances present an immediate hazard to public health, safety, or welfare which requires emergency action.
REASON FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE PROCEDURE IS FAIR UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES: Prompt notification to the public is necessary regarding any incident or discovery of pollution that may cause a threat to the air, surface waters, or groundwater of the state such that public health could be at risk. The Secretary will commence rulemaking procedures for the emergency rule immediately.
SUMMARY: The provisions of the action provide a requirement that owners and operators of any installation provide notifications to the Department, local government officials, and the public whenever there is an incident or discovery of pollution at an installation within 24 hours. In addition, the owner and operator would be required to provide a subsequent notice within 48 hours that describes any potentially affected areas beyond the property boundary of the installation, and the potential risk to public health, safety, or welfare. The owners and operators are required to notify the Department, local government officials, and the property owner within 24 hours of becoming aware that pollution from an installation has affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation.
THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE EMERGENCY RULE IS: Robert A. Williams, Chief Deputy General Counsel, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 3900 Commonwealth Blvd., MS-35 Tallahassee, FL 32399
THE FULL TEXT OF THE EMERGENCY RULE IS:
62ER16-01Public Notice of Pollution
Any owner or operator of any installation who has knowledge of any pollution at such installation shall provide notice of the pollution as follows:
(1)Within 24 hours of the occurrence of any incident at an installation resulting in pollution, or the discovery of pollution, the owner or operator shall notify the Departmentand the following persons, in writing, of such pollution:
(a)The mayor, the chair of the county commission, or the comparable senior elected official representing the affected area.
(b)The city manager, the county administrator, or the comparable senior official representing the affected area.
(c)The general public by providing notice to local broadcast television affiliates and a newspaper of general circulation in the area of the contamination.
(2)Within 48 hours of the occurrence of any incident at an installation resulting in pollution, or the discovery of pollution, the owner or operator shall notify the Department and persons identified in (1)(a) through (1)(c), in writing, of any potentially affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation, and the potential risk to the public health, safety, or welfare.
(3)Within 24 hours of becoming aware of pollution from an installation that has affected areas beyond the property boundaries of the installation, the owner or operator shall notify, in writing, the property owner of any affected area, the Department, and the persons identified in (1)(a) through (1)(b).
(5)Failure to provide this notification shall be considered a violation and subject to penalties for purposes of Section 403.161, Florida Statutes.
Rulemaking Authority 377.22(2), 403.061(7), 403.061(8), 403.062, 403.855(1), 403.861(9) FS. Law Implemented 377.21, 377.371, 403.061(16), 403.061(17), 403.061(18), 403.062, 403.855(3), 403.861(9) FS. History-New 9-26-16.
THIS RULE TAKES EFFECT UPON BEING FILED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE UNLESS A LATER TIME AND DATE IS SPECIFIED IN THE RULE.
EFFECTIVE DATE: 09/26/2016
Today, Governor Rick Scott activated Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to support local small businesses impacted by Hurricane Hermine. The bridge loan program (managed by the FL Dept. of Economic Opportunity) will provide short-term, interest-free loans to small businesses that experienced physical or economic damage during the storm and recovery efforts. The application period is from today through October 31, 2016.
DEO is currently surveying businesses in the affected counties. To access the business survey, PLEASE CLICK HERE and select “Hurricane Hermine” from the drop-down menu.
DEO administers the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program to provide an expedient cash flow to businesses damaged by a disaster. The short-term, interest-free loans help bridge the gap between the time damage is incurred and when a business secures other financial resources, including payment of insurance claims or longer-term loans. Up to $10 million from the General Revenue Fund has been allocated for the program.
Owners of small businesses with two to 100 employees located in 51 counties affected by Hurricane Hermine can apply for short-term loans for up to $25,000. Loans are granted in terms of 90 or 180 days and are interest-free for that time period. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to August 31, 2016, and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Hermine.
To complete an application by the Oct. 31 deadline, or for more information on the program, visit www.floridadisasterloan.org. For questions regarding the Emergency Bridge Loan Program, contact the Florida Small Business Development Center Network state office at 850-898-3489.
Governor Scott has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of impacts from TS 9. Please find linked a copy of the declaration. Emergency pricing regulations are in effect for the counties listed in this declaration. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us.
Samantha H. Padgett
Vice President and General Counsel
Florida Retail Federation
The Florida Retail Federation has historically been a major participant in political campaigns and leadership funds. Using the resources entrusted to us by our members, we provide tangible support to candidates for political office who share our pro-business, pro-retail philosophy. The Florida Retail Federation’s PAC announced endorsements for the following candidates running for public office. These candidates are all pro-business and supporters of retail, and we look forward to working with them in their new legislative seats:Florida Senate
|Frank Artiles||Joe Negron|
|Lizbeth Benacquisto||Keith Perry|
|Doug Broxson||Bobby Powell|
|Anitere Flores||Kelli Stargel|
|Rene Garcia||Dana Young|
|Larry Ahern||Mike LaRosa|
|Ramon Alexander||Chris Latvala|
|Ben Albritton||MaryLynn Magar|
|Loranne Ausley||Alex Miller|
|Bryan Avila||Mike Miller|
|Michael Bileca||George Moraitis|
|Colleen Burton||Sam Killebrew|
|Matt Caldwell||Jeanette Nunez|
|Neil Combee||Jose Oliva|
|Bob Cortes||Kathleen Peters|
|John Couriel||Rene Plasencia|
|Manny Diaz||Elizabeth Porter|
|Jose Felix Diaz||Holly Raschein|
|Brad Drake||Dan Raulerson|
|Tom Goodson||Paul Renner|
|Blaise Ingoglia||Ross Spano|
|Clay Ingram||Chris Sprowls|
For Immediate Release: August 1, 2016
Retailers once again expecting big crowds this year as parents, students and business professionals take advantage of tax free shopping
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, reminds Florida families, consumers and its 270,000 retailers that the popular annual back-to-school shopping season takes place this weekend, August 5-7. This annual tax free weekend allows Sunshine State families to save on supplies and clothes to prepare their children and themselves for the upcoming year. Nationally, the average family is expected to spend $673.57 on apparel and accessories, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36. Nationally, sales for this back-to-school shopping weekend are expected to reach $75 billion, up from $68 billion last year.
“The back-to-school sales tax holiday remains one of the most popular shopping periods of the year in Florida with students, parents and business professionals looking forward to saving money on the clothes and items they need for school or work,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “We’re excited about what the weekend will bring in terms of increased sales for businesses and the important savings for consumers.”
The holiday means big savings for shoppers and big business for retailers, which has become the second largest shopping weekend after Black Friday. As part of the holiday, shoppers don’t have to pay sales tax on back-to-school items including clothing and shoes priced at $60 or less, and school supplies less than $15 per item. For a complete listing of all eligible items, please click HERE.
This year’s back-to-school sales tax holiday allows eligible businesses to OPT OUT of participating when less than five percent (5%) of their gross sales of tangible personal property during calendar year 2015 were sales of items that would be exempt during the tax holiday period. Qualified businesses had until August 1 to notify the Department of Revenue that they were opting out and must post a notice at each business location stating their choice not to participate in the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday.
According to FRF’s partners at the National Retail Federation’s recent survey, families with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 on apparel and accessories, electronics, shoes and school supplies, up from last year’s $630.36 for a total of $27.3 billion, according to the survey. That’s an increase of 9.6 percent from last year’s $24.9 billion and compares with a total growth of 54.8 percent over the past 10 years.
The numbers follow a pattern in which spending often increases one year as families stock up on supplies only to drop off the next as they get a second year out of longer-lasting items like backpacks or computers. Spending then increases in the third year once children outgrow clothing or items need to be replaced.
According to the survey, K-12 consumers plan to spend $9.54 billion on clothing (purchased by 95 percent), $8.27 billion on electronics such as computers or calculators (57 percent), $5.12 billion on shoes (94 percent) and $4.37 billion on school supplies such as notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes (96 percent). Parents say they will spend an average $235.39 on clothing, $204.06 on electronics, $126.35 on shoes and $107.76 on school supplies.
While discount stores continue to be the choice of the largest share of shoppers at 61 percent, the number is at its lowest level in the survey’s history. But 46 percent of parents said they would shop online, a dramatic jump from last year’s 36 percent. The vast majority of online shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping (89 percent of those surveyed) and conveniences like buy online, pick up in store (54 percent).
Bigger Kids, Bigger Bills
College students and families with children in college plan to spend an average of $888.71, according to the survey. That’s down slightly from $899.18 last year, but total spending is expected to be up at $48.5 billion compared with $43.1 billion last year due to an increase of consumers shopping for back-to-college.
The survey found college consumers plan to spend $11.54 billion on electronics (purchased by 50 percent), $7.49 billion on clothing (70 percent), $6.23 billion on dorm furnishings (43 percent), $5.78 billion on food items (69 percent), $4.26 billion on personal care items (72 percent), $3.84 billion on shoes (67 percent), $3.53 billion on school supplies (81 percent), $3.14 billion on gift cards (36 percent) and $2.7 billion on branded collegiate gear (49 percent). Spending on electronics will average $211.33, apparel and accessories $137.29, dorm furnishings $114.21, food $105.88, personal care items $78.03, shoes $70.39, school supplies $64.64, gift cards $57.54 and branded gear $49.41.
Discount stores still account for the largest share of college shopping, visited by 44 percent of consumers, but the number is at its lowest level in the survey’s history. Only 34 percent will visit a college bookstore, also a new low. Online shopping is the choice of 38 percent of shoppers, down from 39 percent last year and a peak of 45 percent two years ago.
The survey of 6,809 consumers asked about both back-to-school and back-to-college plans was conducted June 30-July 6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.2 percentage points.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION
As the world's largest retail trade association and the voice of retail worldwide, the National Retail Federation's global membership includes retailers of all sizes, formats and channels of distribution as well as chain restaurants and industry partners from the U.S. and more than 45 countries abroad. In the U.S., NRF represents the breadth and diversity of an industry with more than 1.6 million American companies that employ nearly 25 million workers and generated 2010 sales of $2.4 trillion. www.nrf.com.