Advocacy: Special Report
The Legislature will have no shortage of input from business groups in the 2011 session.
Tax Timeout: Growers want no new fees or taxes, says Lisa Lochridge, director of the public affairs division of Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, which will reintroduce a bill (HB 7103, vetoed by former Gov. Charlie Crist) that prohibits local governments from duplicating fees and other regulation already imposed by the state.
Citrus: Florida Citrus Mutual has three priorities:
» Securing pest and disease research funds for the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.
» Monitoring the immigration debate and ensuring that policies don't hurt agricultural interests.
» Monitoring changes in state agencies, most notably the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Department of Citrus.
? HARBOR PILOTS
Incoming: The Florida Alliance of Maritime Organizations, which represents cruise and cargo shipping companies, will battle the Florida Harbor Pilots Association over state laws that require foreign-flagged ships and U.S.-flagged ships coming from foreign ports to use state-licensed harbor pilots in port channels. Under the law, companies are charged fees that pay for the harbor pilots' services. The companies say the law creates a "state-protected monopoly" and inflates the salaries for the pilots, which can range from $100,000 to $400,000. Capt. Joe Brown, president of the Florida Harbor Pilots Association, says efforts to change the state's harbor pilot system are an "attempt by foreign cruise and cargo companies to increase their profits" and threaten the safety and security of the ports.