Wednesday, 20 June 2018 09:08

FRF 2018 Legislative Session Wrap Up

We are happy to share FRF’s success this past Legislative Session! In total, the Florida Retail Federation team was actively engaged in more than 25 pieces of legislation and multiple budget issues that had an impact on our industry. We are pleased with the proposed tax package that was approved which includes a 3-day Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, an expanded 7-day Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday and a continued reduction in the business rent tax. We are also excited to share the news that FRF was able to keep the felony threshold at its current limit of $300. This will deter retail theft and organized retail crime and help protect our smaller businesses. FRF fought all session to not give criminals a cost of living increase on the backs of retailers. We were also successful in not having the state’s beauty industry regulations lowered. With Florida already having some of the lowest required training hours in the country, FRF expressed the importance of not reducing these hours. Keeping the hours as they are will help ensure the safety and happiness of consumers.

FRF pushed for a number of state preemptions that were included in bills at one point during session – regarding general retail sales, sales of cats & dogs and the sale and use of plastic straws. Even though we were unsuccessful in getting them passed, we feel that a great dialogue has been started on the importance of state preemptions which will help us significantly as look at trying again on these preemptions and others next session.

Below is a list of bills and their final outcomes.


GENERAL BUSINESS

SB 348 SB 1014 / HB 6039 | Disposable Plastic Bags
FRF Position: OPPOSE  
Status Update:  The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does: This bill would remove the current preemption from law and allow any city or county to pass regulations on plastic bags.  If this was to happen, we would have a patchwork of regulation throughout the state.

HB 7009 | Workers’ Comp
FRF Position: Neutral
Status Update: The bill did not pass.
What This Bill Does: The House bill seeks to address the dramatic increase in workers’ compensation premiums expected following opinions issued by the Florida Supreme Court.  Unfortunately, the bill doesn’t go far enough.  It does seek to control some claimant attorney fees, require specify of pleading, and require a good faith effort to settle.  It also clarifies and codifies a previous decision of the Florida Supreme Court relating to Temporary Total Disability.

SB 1040 / HB 833 | Organized Retail Crime-Aggregation
FRF Position: SUPPORT 
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does:  This bill would aggregate misdemeanors that add up to $10,000 within 90 days and make them a felony.

SB 166 / HB 1441 | Minimum Wage 
FRF Position: OPPOSE
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does: This bill would adjust the way the state calculates the increases in minimum wage.

SB 928 SB 1218 / HB 713 | Increase Minimum Threshold for Felonies 
FRF Position: OPPOSE
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does: This bill would increase the felony threshold from $300 (current) to $1000 and/or $1500 thus resulting in higher priced items being stolen from Florida retailers.

SB 1392 SB 644 / HB 489 HB 1199Pre-Arrest Diversion Programs
FRF Position: Neutral
Status Update: Passed and headed to the Governor.
What This Bill Does: Establishes a model pre-arrest diversion program for adults that law enforcement can participate in.

SB 1076 / HB 1219 | Franchises 
FRF Position: OPPOSE
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does: This bill attempts to regulate the Franchisor and Franchisee relationship through their contracts.

SB 526 SB 1114 / HB 15 HB 1041 | Deregulation of Professions and Occupations
FRF Position: OPPOSE
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does:  This bill would significantly reduce the number of cosmetology, hairdresser and barber education requirements.  Thus compromising consumer safety.

SB 1534 / HB 7007 HB 7003 | Local Lobbying Registration
FRF Position: SUPPORT
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does: We spend a significant amount of time and resources fighting local governments on bad ordinances.  Each local government has their own set of “lobbying” rules and fees.  This bill would create a statewide lobbyist registration for local government and a fee not to exceed $20.

SB 292 | Solar Energy 
FRF Position: SUPPORT
Status Update: The bill did not pass.
What This Bill Does: This bill adds to the definition of “public utility” a business that utilizes renewable energy.  This bill would allow shopping centers to sell back excess solar energy to their other tenants.

SB 1372 /HB 605  | Mandating the Sale of a Legal Product 
FRF Position: OPPOSE
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does: This bill mandates that pharmacies carry prescription lock boxes in their inventory.

SB 1126 / HB 1311 | Check Cashing 
FRF Position: SUPPORT
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does:  This bill would increase the retail exemption from $2,000 to $7,500 allowing more checks to be cashed at our retailers.

SB 1856 | Beverage Container Deposits
FRF Position: OPPOSE
Status Update: The bill did not pass.
What This Bill Does:  Creates a refund value for recycled beverage containers. Requires retailers to collect these deposits and issue refunds.

SB 1224 / HB 961 | Beer Glasses for Retailers
FRF Position: SUPPORT
Status Update: Passed and headed to Governor.
What This Bill Does: This language would allow a retailer to accept branded glassware from a distributor for on-premises consumption.

SB 1052 / HB 851Lost or Abandoned Property
FRF Position: SUPPORT
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does: Provides for disposal or donation of personal property lost or abandoned on premises of certain complexes or facilities if such property is unclaimed after 30 days.


TAXES

SB 76 / HB 519 | Small Business Sales Tax Holiday 
FRF Position: Neutral
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does: This bill would allow for a 1 day sales tax holiday following Black Friday for certain size small businesses.

SB 816 / HB 69 | Annual Sales Tax Holiday for Veterans
FRF Position: Neutral
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does:  Providing an annual sales tax holiday for veterans.

HB 7087 SB 620Taxation
FRF Position: SUPPORT
Status Update:  To be voted on Sunday, 3/11/2018.
What This Bill Does:  This is the Annual Sales Tax Package that includes: Back to School Sales Tax Holiday| August 3rd-August 5th (Clothing, shoes & bags $60 or less. School supplies $15 or less), Disaster Preparedness Tax Holiday| June 1st - June 7th, and Business Rent Tax Reduction (.1%).


PHARMACY

SB 524 / HB 431 | Strep & Flu Tests 
FRF Position: SUPPORT
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does:  For our Pharmacy Council members this would allow your pharmacists to expand their scope of practice and allow them to test & treat for flu and strep. For general retailers, this is another access point for healthcare for your employees.

SB 8  / HB 21 | Controlled Substances
FRF Position: Neutral
Status Update: Passed and headed to the Governor.
What This Bill Does:  This bill is the opioid abuse package. It includes three of FRF’s priorities: limits on first fills, Doctors reporting to the PDMP and E-Prescribing for C2’s. Additionally, it includes language for Pharmacists to report to check the PDMP for certain drugs as well.


GROCERY/ CONVENIENCE STORE

SM 1016  / HM 847 | Restricting Eligible SNAP Benefits 
FRF Position: OPPOSE
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does: This is a memorial asking Congress to prohibit the use of SNAP benefits on soda.

SB 1020 / HB 667 | Alcohol Delivery Clarification
FRF Position: SUPPORT 
Status Update: Passed and headed to the Governor.
What This Bill Does:  This bill clarifies that businesses and third parties can deliver alcohol and order it electronically. 

SB 994 / HB 797Tobacco Products
FRF Position: OPPOSE
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does: Restrictions for retailers on E-Cigs and E-liquid. Outlawing any tobacco vending machines.  We opposed any additional regulations and requirements imposed on retailers.

SB 1288 / HB 1029 | Tobacco Products - Increasing the Age
FRF Position: OPPOSE
Status Update: The bills did not pass.
What This Bill Does:  Restrictions on retailers who sell tobacco products. Prohibits tobacco vending machines. Increases age of sale from 18 to 21.

Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: December 5, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Florida’s leading retail advocacy organization highlights those issues and topics important to retailers and which will be the focus in the upcoming 2017 Legislative Session

TALLAHASSEE, FL – With the Florida House of Representatives in committee weeks this week and the Senate set to follow suit next week, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced its 2017 Legislative Agenda in preparation for the upcoming 2017 Legislative Session in March. The agenda highlights those issues which are important to the success of retailers and Florida’s business community and which FRF will be focused on.

Published in Media Relations
Friday, 08 January 2016 10:09

2016 Legislative Issues

1ST AMENDMENT ACCESS (Support) We would support a legislative effort to preempt local governments from requiring lobbyists for non-profits to pay outrageous fes or meet burdensome requirements in order to speak, write a letter or make a phone call to local officials.

BAD DEBT SALES TAX REFUND (Support) We support efforts to increase the current 64% refund level of the sales taxes remitted on bad debts to 100% of the remitted taxes on debt that has gone bad on a private label credit cards.

BAN THE BOX (Oppose) We would oppose any legislation that restricts employers from asking about applicant’s criminal record.

BUSINESS RENT TAX REFORM (Support) Florida is the only state that assesses a sales tax on commercial real estate leases. We support efforts to reduce the tax rate by 1% each year to lessen this tax burden.

COMBINED REPORTING (Oppose) We oppose this Corporate Tax Filing that requires a multi-state company to report on a combined basis the operations of all related entities involved in a unitary business.

CORPORATE TAX EXEMPTION FOR RETAILERS (Support) We support any reduction in the corporate income tax rate for retailers.

CONVENIENCE BUSINESS SECURITY (Support) We support legislation that would allow for training of all convenience store employees to ensure the safety and security for employees, customers and owners.

DATA SECURITY (Support) We support legislation that would strengthen data security when using credit cards to prevent fraud.

DRONE LEGISLATION (Oppose) We oppose any legislation that would restrict the sale of drones.

E-CIGARETTE TAXES/PREEMPTION (Support) FRF & FPMA support legislation that preempts any regulations of these products to a state level and preempts local ordinances.

GMO-MANDATORY LABELING (Oppose) We oppose local or state efforts to mandate additional labeling on food products which would designate that the product includes a genetically modified organism.

INCREASE STATE MINIMUM WAGE (Oppose) We oppose any legislative increase in the state minimum wage.

INTIMATE APPAREL (Oppose) We oppose any legislation that would mandate additional regulation and requirements on retailers relating to intimate apparel purchases.

LOTTERY SALES AT THE POINT OF SALE (Support) We support legislation that would give retailers the option to expand lottery sales at the point of sale terminal.

MANDATORY REPORTING & CHECKING OF THE PDMP BY DOCTORS (Support) We support the Legislature requiring the doctors who write prescriptions for controlled substances to check the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program before writing the prescription and to report their dose into the program.

OPEN CARRY, PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS (Oppose) We oppose any effort to restrict the private property rights of retailers in determining whether to allow open carry of firearms on their property.

OPIOID ABUSE DETERRENT (Support) We support legislation removing the requirement for a prescription for an opioid abuse deterrent. This would allow the medication to be available for pharmacist to dispense.

PREDICTIVE SCHEDULING (Oppose) We oppose any legislation that would dictate to a retailer the manner in which they should schedule their employees.

POLYSTYRENE PREEMPTION (Support) We would support legislation that preempts all regulation of polystyrene to the State.

RETAIN PLASTIC BAG PREEMPTION (Support) We support current Florida law, which designates the state government as the regulator of plastic and paper bags and preempts local regulation. We oppose any effort to eliminate this preemption.

RESTRICTING THE RETAIL SALE OF A LEGAL PRODUCT (Oppose) We oppose any legislation or regulation that restricts the retail sale of a legal product.

SALES TAX HOLIDAYS (Support) We encourage the Governor and Legislators to continue to fund Sales Tax Holidays such as Back to School, Disaster Preparedness, ENERGY STAR and Watersense.

TORT REFORM (Support) We believe that injured parties should recover based on their real expenses, not phantom numbers. We support corrective legislation to help restore truthful damage verdicts in personal injury lawsuits.

UNDERGROUND STORAGE CLEANUP PROGRAM (Support) We support legislation that will protect the owner and the property while participating in the Petroleum Restoration Program.

WORKERS' COMPENSATION REFORM (Support) The outcome of several recent Florida Supreme Court cases could have significant impacts on the future of Florida’s Workers’ Compensation system. We support reforms that will allow Florida to provide reliable and fair benefits to injured workers while also providing consistency and predictability in premiums for employers.

The 2015 Legislative Session concluded Friday with a wild week that included the House adjourning early, the Senate taking legal action and a number of bills either didn’t get passed or their future remains up in the air.

In this week’s video, you’ll hear a recap on what the future holds for these issues:

  • Water Policy
  • Underground Storage Tanks
  • Juvenile Restitution

Special Session

Once a Special Session is scheduled, we will make sure to communicate any dates and potential issues to be discussed with you. Rest assured that FRF will continue working hard for you, our member, and ensure that the retail industry has a powerful and influential voice throughout the legislative process.

If you have any issues or concerns that are important to the success of your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 850.222.4082.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015 10:18

What the House Adjourning Means for You

As many of you know from our updates, the Senate and the House are in a standoff with each other over Medicaid expansion and Governor Scott is in a standoff with the federal government over LIP funding. Due to these issues, the Florida House of Representatives elected to adjourn yesterday at 1:15pm, with three days still left until the end of the 60-day 2015 Legislative Session. House Speaker Steve Crisafulli announced the decision during yesterday’s proceedings.

As a result of this decision, any bills that were not heard by the House prior to adjourning will not be passed this year. There were a few outstanding FRF/FPMA bills which will not be heard based on the House’s decision, and which will impact some of our members. Those include:

  • Petroleum Restoration Program bill by Senator Wilton Simpson & Representative Lake Ray
  • Contaminated Sites bill by Senator Greg Evers & Representative Brad Drake that was backed by the DEP
  • Individuals with Disabilities bill by Senator Nancy Detert

Looking forward, the Senate has chosen to remain in Session at least through today to continue hearing bills that simply need approval by the Senate to then be sent to Governor Scott for his ultimate approval or veto. We will continue to monitor the progress of each of these bills, which we don’t expect to impact our member retailers. Once we hear word on when a Special Session on the budget is scheduled, we will make sure to notify you, and will keep you up-to-date on how things progress in the weeks and months ahead. Your FRF legislative team will remain closely involved with the legislature as decisions are made, as we advocate for your business and the success of Florida’s retail industry.

Overall, FRF & FPMA had a very successful regular Session. Look for our Session Wrap-up to be released upon adjournment of the Senate to outline all the legislation that will benefit you.

Thank you for your support of the Florida Retail Federation and for your continued membership.

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