Relating to Communications Services Taxes
SB 266 (Hukill) 

  • Summary: SB 266 reduces the communications services tax (CST) rates by two percent, reducing the general rate from 6.65 percent to 4.65 percent and the rate on direct-to-home satellite from 10.8 percent to 8.8 percent. The bill also makes conforming changes to the statutes that authorize a communications services dealer to collect one combined rate that includes both the CST and the gross receipts tax to reflect this two percent reduction in the communications services tax. The effective date of the bill would be January 1, 2015
    • Fiscal Impact: It is estimated that the fiscal impact to Counties will be approximately:
      • SFY 2015: $7.5 million (State Fiscal Year = 4.5 months)
      • Recurring Impact: Approximately $20 million annually
  • Status: SB 266 has been referenced to three committees:
    • Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities – Passed on 2/4/2014 (8 Yeas; 0 Nays)
    • Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Appropriations - Not Scheduled Yet
  • Outlook:
    • 2-4-2014: The proposed tax cut was not included in the Governor’s proposed tax reform package and there is currently no companion bill in the House.
    • 3-6-2014: No change in outlook from 2-4-2014
    • 3-14-2014: No change in outlook from 3-6-2014

Relating to Communications Services Taxes
House Proposed Concept

  • Summary: The House Proposed concept reduces the communications services tax (CST) general rate from 6.65 percent to 6.00 percent and the rate on direct-to-home satellite from 10.8 percent to 10 percent. The effective date of the concept language would be January 1, 2015
    • Fiscal Impact: It is estimated that the fiscal impact to Counties will be approximately:
      • SFY 2015: $2.5 million (State Fiscal Year = 4.5 months)
      • Recurring Impact: Approximately $6.7 million annually
  • Status: The concept has not been filed as a bill yet
  • Outlook:
    • 3-6-2014: It is anticipated that the concept will be filed as a House Finance and Tax Committee bill in the 2nd or 3rd week of session
    • 3-14-2014: No change in outlook from 3-6-2014
Relating to Tax on Sales, Use, and Other Transactions

(Sales Tax Exemption - Commercial Leases) SB 176 (Hukill) 

  • Summary: SB 176 reduces the sales and use tax rate on commercial leases by 1 cent from the current state rate of 6% to 5%. The effective date of the bill would be January 1, 2015.
    • Fiscal Impact: It is estimated that the fiscal impact (January 1, 2015 effective date) to Counties will be approximately:
      • SFY 2015: $6.8 million (State Fiscal Year = 5 months)
      • CFY 2015: $11.1 million (Local Fiscal Year = 8 months)
      • Recurring Impact: Approximately $17.2 million annually
  • Status: SB 176 has been referenced to four committees:
    • Commerce and Tourism – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Community Affairs – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Appropriations – Not Scheduled Yet
  • Outlook:
    • 2-4-2014: The senate bill has not been heard yet.  The senate bill is much more favorable to local government than the House version (HB 11 – Stuebe). The proposed tax cut was included in the Governor’s proposed tax reform package; however the proposal includes only a .5 cent reduction from 6% to 5.5% in the tax rate.  It has yet to be determined which of the three versions will have the best chance of passing, although it widely believed that the House version is too expensive relative to the State’s available appropriations.
    • 3-6-2014: No change in outlook from 2-4-2014
    • 3-14-2014: No change in outlook from 3-6-2014

Relating to Tax on Sales, Use, and Other Transactions
(Sales Tax Exemption - Commercial Leases) HB 11 (Stuebe) 

  • Summary: HB 11 phases in an incremental repeal of the sales and use tax rate on commercial leases by 1 cent per year, including local options taxes levied by local governments over a six year period.  The effective date of the bill would be July 1, 2014.
    • Fiscal Impact: It is estimated that the fiscal impact to local governments (after the full repeal) will be approximately:
      • Recurring Impact: Approximately $400 million annually
  • Status: HB 11 has been referenced to three committees:
    • Finance & Tax Subcommittee – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Appropriations Committee – Not Scheduled Yet
  • Outlook:
    • 2-4-2014: The senate bill has not been heard yet.  The senate bill is much more favorable to local government than the House version (HB 11 – Stuebe). The proposed tax cut was included in the Governor’s proposed tax reform package; however the proposal includes only a .5 cent reduction from 6% to 5.5% in the tax rate.  It has yet to be determined which of the three versions will have the best chance of passing, although it widely believed that the House version is too expensive relative to the State’s available appropriations.
    • 3-6-2014: No change in outlook from 2-4-2014
    • 3-14-2014: No change in outlook from 3-6-2014

Relating to Emergency Communication System (E-911 Fees)
HB 175 (Stuebe), SB 294 (Hays)  

  • Summary: Among a variety of technical updates to current law the major emphasis of the legislation is to provide a mechanism for collection of the E911 fee on prepaid wireless services by retailers at the point of sale.  In conjunction with applying the fee to prepaid wireless services the actual fee is being proposed at a reduced rate equal to creating a revenue neutral impact on the total amount of revenue currently collected.
    • Fiscal Impact: The revenue estimating conference is currently working on determining the appropriate new fee amount that would result in an approximate revenue neutral impact
  • Status (House): HB 175 has been referenced to three committees:
    • Energy & Utilities Subcommittee - Passed on 1/8/2014 (13 Yeas; 1 Nays)
    • Finance & Tax Subcommittee – Passed on 2/19/2014 (17 Yeas; 0 Nays)
    • Regulatory Affairs Committee – Not Scheduled Yet
  • Status (Senate): SB 294 has been referenced to three committees:
    • Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities - Passed on 1/14/2014 (9 Yeas; 0 Nays)
    • Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax – Passed on 2/19/2014 (8 Yeas; 0 Nays)
    • Appropriations – Not Scheduled Yet
  • Outlook:
    • 2-4-2014: The fee proposal was recommended by the Governor in his current 2015 budget proposal along with a recurring appropriation equal to $13 million to replace temporarily lost revenues due to the imposed fee reduction in exchange for broadening the tax base (pre-paid customers).  Both bills are currently expected to pass in their respective legislative chambers.  The undetermined issue is whether or not the legislature will appropriate the recurring $13 million as recommended in the Governor’s budget.
    • 3-6-2014: Both Senate and House bills continue to move with almost no opposition.  However, it is still unclear what the final “new” rate will be.  Both bill sponsors are still in discussions with the Governor’s office.
    • 3-14-2014: No change in outlook from 3-6-2014

 Relating to Discretionary Sales Surtaxes
(Homelessness Local Option and Use of Funds for Maintaining Transportation Infrastructure)
HB 723 (Rooney), SB 786 (Latvala) 

  • Summary: The legislation authorizes counties to use proceeds & interest of local government infrastructure surtax for maintenance of transportation infrastructure only after the approval of an ordinance adopted via a countywide referendum. The legislation also authorizes counties to levy discretionary sales surtax for homeless services & facilities pursuant to ordinance conditioned to take effect upon approval of referendum.  The proposed local option for homelessness services would be included underneath the existing cap on combined local discretionary surtaxes levied by counties.
    • Fiscal Impact: The revenue estimating conference has yet to provide an analysis of this legislation
  • Status (House): HB 723 has three committees of reference.
    • Finance & Tax Subcommittee – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Local & Federal Affairs Committee – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Appropriations Committee – Not Scheduled Yet
  • Status (Senate): SB 786 has four committees of reference.
    • Children, Families, and Elder Affairs - Passed on 3/4/2014 (10 Yeas; 0 Nays)
    • Community Affairs – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Transportation – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Appropriations – Not Scheduled Yet
  • Outlook:
    • 2-4-2014: Undetermined
    • 3-6-2014: The Senate bill was heard and passed with no opposition. It is currently anticipated that the Senate version will continue to move forward. Although there are three committees of reference left, staff will continue to pursue timely scheduling of the legislation in each of its referenced committees.  Currently staff has encountered some political challenges with the House Finance and Tax Committee that have prevented the bill from being scheduled to be heard.
      • 3-14-2014: No change in outlook from 3-6-2014

Relating to Entertainment Industry
(Film and Entertainment production incentive program)
HB 983 (Diaz), SB 1640 (Commerce and Tourism) 

  • Summary: Both bills provide technical revisions to the existing incentive programs and provides for appropriation to fund the program over several years.  Currently, the House bill provides funding in the amount of $200 million per year for six years.  The Senate bill provides funding in the amount of $50 million per year for six years.
  • Status (House): HB 983 has three committees of reference.
    • Economic Development & Tourism Subcommittee – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Finance & Tax Subcommittee – Not Scheduled Yet
    • Economic Affairs Committee – Not Scheduled Yet
  • Status (Senate): SB 1640 has not been assigned committees of reference.
  • Outlook:
    • 3-6-2014: The Senate bill was heard in the Commerce and Tourism committee as PCB 7056 and passed with no opposition.  The bill was then re-filed as a committee bill (1640) and is awaiting new references.  A coalition of private and public parties has been formed in support of this legislation. 
    • 3-14-2014: No change in outlook from 3-6-2014
Relating to Florida Retirement System (FRS)

SB 1114 (Formerly PCB 7046 - Community Affairs)

  • Summary:  All current employees can remain in either Defined Benefit (pension) or Defined Contribution (investment) Plan.  Employees hired after July 1, 2015, will have the choice of enrolling into the Defined Contribution Plan or Cash-Balance Plan. Special Risk employees (i.e. Firefighters, Sheriffs, etc.) hired after July 1, 2015, will still be eligible to enroll in the Defined Benefit Plan. Current employees enrolled in the pension or investment plans will be eligible to move to the Cash-Balance plan if they choose to. A Cash-Balance retirement plan guarantees a minimum retirement benefit for its members. Cash-Balance accounts would be funded by employee and employer contributions based on a percentage of monthly compensation, a guaranteed 2 percent interest on the account balance and 75 percent of any investment returns over 2 percent.   Upon retirement, employees may choose to receive their retirement benefits as an annuity or as a lump-sum distribution. No actuarial analysis is available at this time.
  • Status: Passed Community Affairs by a 5-4 vote and has been referred to two committees;  no House companion yet.
  • Outlook:  Not known.  FRS reform remains a leadership priority but is a very controversial issue.  The House has not put forth a package yet. 
FRS Cash Balance Plan Trust Fund

SB 1112 (Formerly PCB SB7040 -Community Affairs)

  • Summary:  Creates a trust fund for the newly created Cash-Balance Plan in SB7046.
  • Status: Passed Community Affairs by a 5-4 vote and has been referred to two committees; no House companion yet.
  • Outlook:  Not known.  FRS reform remains a leadership priority but is a very controversial issue. The House has not put forth a package yet. 

FRS Rates
PSB 7082 (Governmental Oversight)

  • Summary:  The annual bill that sets employer contribution rates for the next fiscal year
  • Increases the employer contribution rates for retiree health insurance subsidy from 1.20% to 1.30%.
  • Changes employer contribution rates for each membership class of FRS as follows:
    • Regular – 3.53 % from 3.55%
    • Special Risk – 11.01% from 11%
    • Special Risk Administrative Support – 4.18% from 4.17%
    • Elected Officers (legislators) – 6.30% from 6.52%
    • Elected Officers (judges) – 10.10% from 10.05%
    • Elected Officers (county officers) – 8.36% from 8.44%
    • Senior Management – 4.80% from 4.81%
    • DROP – 4.30 from 4.63%
    • To address unfunded actuarial liabilities of the system, amends the current 2014 employer contribution rates for each membership class of FRS as follows:
      • Regular – 2.54% from 2.19
      • Special Risk – 7.51% from 6.83%
      • Special Risk Administrative Support – 36.59% from 30.56%
      • Elected Officers (legislators) – 38.66% from 24.85%
      • Elected Officers (judges) – 21.77% from 17%
      • Elected Officers (county officers) – 33.58% from 23.36%
      • Senior Management – 15.04% from 12.27%
      • DROP – 6.72% from 7.01%
  • It has an estimated negative fiscal to counties of $47.72 million to the counties this year.
  • Status:  SENATE:  Passed out of Governmental Oversight this week and will get renumbered and assigned to committees.
  • Outlook:  Very likely to pass.  

Relating to Florida Retirement System (FRS)
SB 184 (Sen. Brandes ) 

  • Summary: Provides for compulsory membership in the Florida Retirement System Investment Plan for employees in the Elected Officers’ Class or the Senior Management Service Class initially enrolled after a specified date; prohibits an elected official eligible for membership in the Elected Officers’ Class from enrolling in the Senior Management Service Class or in the Senior Management Service Optional Annuity Program; requires certain employees initially enrolled in the Florida Retirement System on or after a specified date to be compulsory members of the investment plan.
  • Status: It has not been calendared yet and has no House companion.
  • Outlook: Any FRS reform package will probably be carried in SB7046.
County and Municipal Parks

HB 677 (Rep. Rangel) and SB 378 (Sen. Abruzzo)

  • Summary: Requires counties and municipalities to provide discounts on public park entrance fees to military members, veterans, and the spouses and parents of certain deceased military members, law enforcement officers, and firefighters.
  • Status: SENATE:  Unanimously passed out of Community Affairs and is now in Appropriations, its last stop before it goes to the floor.  HOUSE: Has been referred to three committees but has not yet been calendared.
  • Outlook: Likely to pass due to bi-partisan veteran friendly initiatives.

Collective Bargaining for Public Employees
HB 649 (Rep. Cummings) and SB 816 (Sen. Bradley)

Summary:  Specifies that for purposes of resolving impasse, the sheriff, tax collector, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, and clerk of circuit court are each "legislative body" for their respective employees; provides that board of county commissioners is legislative body for resolving impasse related to wages; requires board of county commissioners to provide supplemental funds to county constitutional officers under certain circumstances; provides that in county that has expressly abolished any such office, such duties are transferred to elected or appointed charter officer if charter is not inconsistent with general law or special law approved by vote of electors; defines term "wages."

  • Status:  Neither bill has been calendared yet. 
  • Outlook: Unknown at this time although it is a priority of the Florida Sheriffs Association.

Legislative Lobbying Expenditures
HB 133 (Rep. Rogers) and SB 192 (Sen. Braynon)

  • Summary: Revises term "expenditure" to exclude use of public facility or public property that is made available by governmental entity to legislator for public purpose, to exempt such use from legislative lobbying requirements; provides exceptions when member or employee of Legislature may accept certain expenditures made by lobbyist or principal; provides reporting requirements; requires each house of Legislature to establish rules governing reporting procedures.
  • Status: SENATE:  Passed Ethics and Elections this week. HOUSE:  Has been referred to three committees but not yet calendared.
  • Outlook: Not known.

Residency of Candidates and Public Officers
HB 571 (Rep. Rodrigues) and SB 602 (Sen. Latvala) 

  • Summary:  Requires candidate or public officer to reside in specific geographic area to have only one domicile at a time; provides factors that may be considered when determining residency; provides exceptions for active duty military members; preempts certain local residency requirements for candidates and public officers.
  • Status:  SENATE: Unanimously passed out of Ethics and Elections and is headed to Judiciary. HOUSE: Unanimously passed Ethics and Elections and is not in Local and Federal Affairs. 
  • Outlook: Likely to pass – leadership has indicated they have a desire to clarify residency requirements.

Relating to Governmental Ethics
SB 846 (Sen. Latvala) /HB 655 (Rep. Hood)

  • Summary:  Specifying the applicability of certain provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees to members of the executive council of certain quasi-governmental entities; requires elected municipal officers to complete annual ethics training; clarifies timing of ethics training requirements of constitutional officers; requires constitutional officers to certify annual ethics training on his or her full and public disclosure of financial interests; authorizes the removal from office of any public official who willfully and knowingly fails to file required disclosure forms; limits withholding of wages to no less than 10% of public salary toward payment of unpaid fines; specifying the applicability of certain provisions of the Code of Ethics for Public Officers and Employees to citizen Support Organizations and Direct Support Organizations.
  • Status:  SENATE:  Was heard voted out of Appropriations this week where it was amended to prohibit local officers – defined as constitutional officers, including county commissioners and school board members, from lobbying the Legislature and Executive agencies.  FAC staff voiced concerns with the way it is drafted and received Senator Lee’s commitment to work with us on new language. HOUSE: It has been referred to three committees but has not been calendared yet.  
  • Outlook: Likely to pass as a leadership priority. 

Government Ethics
HB 655 (Rep. Hood) and SB 606 (Sen. Clemens) 

  • Summary:  Requiring elected municipal officials to participate in annual ethics training; deleting the requirement that each reporting individual or procurement employee file a quarterly statement disclosing certain gifts with the Commission on Ethics; authorizing a reporting individual or procurement employee to request an advisory opinion regarding application of the section from the Commission; preempts one local political subdivision from imposing additional or more stringent code of ethics onto another political subdivision; requires the commission to impose a civil penalty on a person who has filed a complaint with malicious intent under certain circumstances.
  • Status:  SENATE: The bill was TP’d in Ethics and Elections; FAC staff continues to work to amend the political subdivision preemption language. The bill was TP’s again on March 3, 2014, as FAC continues to try to amend the preemption language.  HOUSE:  Bill has not been calendared yet.
  • Outlook: The bill faces opposition from the Commission Ethics and FAC and some noncontroversial provisions appear in SB846, accordingly its outlook is not bright. 

Public Meetings
SB 718 (Sen. Legg) /HB 985 (Rep. Santiago)

  • Summary:  Requires that the notice of a public meeting include a description of each matter to be considered at such meeting; prohibits the board or commission of an agency or authority of the state, a county, a municipality, or a political subdivision from acting upon a matter at a public meeting which was not included in the notice of such meeting; provides an exception for certain emergency matters upon the approval of a super majority of the members of the board or commission.
  • Status:  SENATE:  The bill was heard in Community Affairs this week where concerns were raised over drafting and unintended consequences of making local government less efficient.  Senator Legg has committed to working with us on our concerns.  HOUSE: It has been referred to three committees but has not been calendared yet. 
  • Outlook: FAC has concerns regarding the level of specificity required and will work with the sponsors toward a resolution. 

Public Records
SB 1648 (Formerly PCB7064 Government Oversight /HB 1151 (Rep. Hood)

  • Summary:  Prohibits the use of public funds in payment of dues or membership contributions to any entity that does not comply with public records law. Would require associations like FAC to maintain certain records for public inspection and copying.
  • Status:  SENATE: Passed out of Government Oversight and renumbered as 1648.  It was heard in Appropriations this week, its only committee of reference, where FAC voiced its concerns over the implementation of the changes.  The bill passed out of committee and is headed to the floor. HOUSE: Has not been calendared yet.  
  • Outlook: This is one of the President’s priorities however FAC has questions regarding the types of records that would have to be maintained and will work with staff for a solution.