September 25, 2017

Advocacy: Special Report

What Business Interests Want From Florida's Legislature

The Legislature will have no shortage of input from business groups in the 2011 session.

Amy Keller | 3/1/2011


From Education to Infrastructure: The Florida Chamber of Commerce's top priorities this legislative session will include:

» teacher and student Education Reform: The chamber is championing many of the changes contained in last year's SB 6, including tying teacher pay to student performance and achievement.

» Regulatory Reform: Chamber leaders are working with lawmakers on a significant rewrite of the state's growth management laws and are seeking changes to the laws that will speed up permitting. The chamber also supports disposing of the state's costly port security regulations, which were rendered unnecessary by federal regulations put in place after Sept. 11, 2001.

The chamber will continue to support public pension reform that would shift public employees from a defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan and tort reform, including reform of the state's bad faith laws and the state's "crashworthiness doctrine." The doctrine would change the way juries apportion fault in "enhanced injury cases" by requiring them to consider the fault of all entities who contributed to the automobile crash.

Items at the forefront of lobbyist Associated Industries of Florida's agenda include:

» Regulatory Overhaul:

Barney Bishop
Barney Bishop
AIF is backing efforts to dismantle the Department of Community Affairs and kill rules and regulations that it says impede business and stifle job creation. The business group would also like to see some rules and guidelines established for judges who decide unemployment compensation cases. AIF President and CEO Barney Bishop says there is little consistency in their rulings.

» Budget Issues: The group wants a federal waiver exempting the state from federal mandates of the new healthcare law; proposals to combat Medicaid fraud; and an expansion of managed care pilot programs for Medicaid recipients.

» Infrastructure: AIF is supporting both destination gambling resorts and high-speed rail.


Casinos: slotsSheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate, has resumed his quest to bring resort-style casinos gaming to the Sunshine State. Two weeks after the November elections, Adelson met privately with Gov. Rick Scott in Las Vegas to discuss his ideas.

Andy Abboud, vice president of government relations and community development at Adelson's Las Vegas Sands Corp., says that Florida is one of the few states that can support a limited number of large-scale integrated resorts that include shopping, dining, gaming and entertainment. Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment (previously known as Harrah's Entertainment) and Penn National Gaming are also said to be interested in expanding into Florida.

The destination-gamers emphasize the jobs angle: "If the right type of legislation is passed, the legalization of integrated resorts will create tens of thousands of jobs and millions of new visitors to Florida," Abboud told Florida Trend.

Prospects for success? Unlikely, says Tallahassee lobbyist Marc Dunbar, without some kind of subsidy or guarantee to protect Florida's existing horse racing and dog tracks. Dunbar points to Pennsylvania as a good example of a state that was able to rejuvenate its horse and harness racing industry with revenue from slot gaming.

iPoker: Rep. Joseph Abruzzo (D-Wellington) has introduced HB 77, which would allow card room operators to offer online poker in Florida.

Tags: Politics & Law, Government/Politics & Law

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Florida Business News

  • Breaking News: Nova Southeastern University calls $200 million commitment from Patel Family 'transformational'

    Today, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) announces the largest philanthropic gift in its history from Tampa-area cardiologist Dr. Kiran C. Patel and his wife, pediatrician Dr. Pallavi Patel. The commitment from the Patel Family Foundation includes a $50 million gift and an additional $150 million for real estate and facilities. The money will be used to expand the university's programs in osteopathic medicine and health care sciences, and also to develop a new 27-acre campus for NSU in Clearwater, Fla. The Patels are renowned in Florida for their philanthropy, community service and entrepreneurship.

    “This gift and additional investment will enrich NSU’s ability to educate highly-qualified physicians and health care professionals who understand how the medical disciplines can and must work together. These future leaders will represent the cultural diversity of our region, our nation and our world so that they can better serve their patients and communities,” said NSU President Dr. George Hanbury.

    Their $50 million gift, one of the seven-largest to any Florida university in history, catapults NSU to more than 84% of its goal to raise $250 million by 2020 for its Realizing Potential philanthropic campaign.

    Read more at the news release, here.

Florida Trend Video Pick

Haunted maze at Merritt Square Mall
Haunted maze at Merritt Square Mall

Take a tour behind the scenes at the Frightmaze Hotel at the Merritt Square Mall.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

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