As we move into the final five days of legislative session, regular committee meetings have concluded. The House and Senate are now engaging in lengthy floor debates on a number of issues still pending before the legislature.
NFIB/Florida is still positioned well to finish with a strong session. We will continue to watch closely for anti-business amendments that are starting to pop up on bills. Last week, there were a pair of anti-business amendments filed on SB 926 which would have raised the minimum wage to $10/hour and restricted employers from prescreening applicants for violent criminal histories. Thank you to all of you who responded last week and emailed your Senators in opposition to those amendments. Your voices were heard and those amendments have NOT been adopted.
Other business issues which will likely come up for a vote this week:
• Public Pension Reform - The legislature will be considering a few bills that would reform the Florida Retirement System and move it toward fiscal solvency by encouraging future public sector employees to go into the defined contribution plan.
• Raising Speed Limits – The Senate passed a bill last week allowing the speed limit to be raised to 75 mph on limited access highways. The House may consider the bill since it has passed all of its House committees of reference.
• Reducing Taxes – The House and Senate are still trying to decide exactly how they will spend the remaining $100 million in tax cuts available this year. The general business tax cuts that are still on the table are: raising the corporate income tax exemption to $75,000 and a reduction in communications services taxes that are paid on cell phones.
• Craft Beer – The fight over whether to allow 64 ounce “growler” sales at local brewpubs, also known as the “beer wars,” has reached fever pitch in Tallahassee. The craft breweries have asked for the state’s permission to sell the growlers in Florida. Current law allows them to sell 32 ounce and 128 ounce growlers but not 64 ounce. The Florida Senate responded with a bill which would allow those growlers but require a whole host of new regulations and restrictions that are designed to slow craft beer industry growth.
We look forward to a busy week.
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