Sixty Days for 4.7.21 — A prime-time look at the 2021 Legislative Session

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Your nightly review of Session news. It’s ‘Sixty Days’ — right now.

Sixty Days — A prime-time look at the 2021 Legislative Session:

The Last 24

The Senate passed its $95 billion spending plan in the early afternoon and the House followed this evening by giving the OK to its $97 billion budget. Once the initial approvals are out of the way, the Legislative Session moves to its next stage — budget conferences. The deliberations come as state economists predict rosier state revenue collections and federal coronavirus relief funds are flooding state coffers, opening the door for lawmakers to adopt a budget on the high end of the spectrum. Senate budget chief Kelli Stargel said her chamber’s plan is a “worst-case scenario,” though she indicated the chamber will remain frugal with its budget amid uncertainty. Notably, the House budget includes the federal relief funds while the Senate budget was crafted before the federal funding was a sure thing. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Wayfair. The House officially coupled a plan (SB 50) to collect online sales tax and slash Florida’s commercial rent tax in half.

Boost or sweep? Senators greenlit a revised plan (SB 2512) to provide $200 million for affordable housing but also direct some trust fund dollars to environmental priorities.

Pension killer. Legislation (SB 84) that would lock out new employees from joining the state’s pension plan is ready for a vote in the Senate.

Rate relief. The Senate signed off on a major revamp to Florida’s insurance regulations (SB 76) in a 27-13 vote.

Northern storage. The Senate passed a plan (SB 2516) that would expedite reservoir construction north of Lake Okeechobee.

Dim futures. A stripped-down bill (SB 86) aimed at pushing college students toward degree fields with better job prospects now awaits a full Senate vote.

Bottom’s up. Senators passed a bill (SB 148) that would allow restaurants to continue selling to-go cocktails after the pandemic ends.

Cleanup cash. Senators added $3 million to the budget to address the environmental calamity at the Piney Point industrial site.

T21. This Session’s attempt (HB 987) to bring vape products under state tobacco regulations and raise the state minimum purchase age to 21 cleared its second House committee.

Whatcha think? The Senate voted along party lines to send a bill (HB 233) calling for a survey of college professors’ ideological beliefs to the Governor’s desk.

Clean slate. The Senate unanimously passed a bill (SB 274) that would broaden a juvenile’s ability to expunge their arrest record.

Power struggle. By a 12-2 vote, a House panel approved a bill (HB 1567) that would put the state in charge of utility pole regulation.

Walkin’ back. A bill (HB 5011) to eliminate the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund by shifting its contents to the state’s general fund reserves is ready for a floor vote in the House.

In loving memory. A measure (HB 217) that would rename the Southeast Coral Reef Ecosystem Conservation Area after the late Rep. Kristin Jacobs is headed to the Governor.

Coronavirus numbers

Positive cases:

— 2,057,359 FL residents (+5,712 since Tuesday)

— 39,388 Non-FL residents (+173 since Tuesday)

Origin:

— 16,490 Travel related

— 812,182 Contact with a confirmed case

— 22,547 Both

— 1,206,140 Under investigation

Hospitalizations:

— 86,292 in FL

Deaths:

— 34,476 in FL

Vaccinations:

— 10,212,057 Doses administered

— 6,630,107 Total people vaccinated

— 2,715,857 First dose

— 332,300 Completed one-dose series (+47,714 since Tuesday)

— 3,581,950 Completed two-dose series (+96,869 since Tuesday)

Quote of the Day

“We save lives, we’ve done good, and if they come down here and try to smear us, I’m gonna hit them right between the eyes.” — Gov. Ron DeSantis, on the “60 Minutes” report on Florida’s vaccine rollout.

Your Metz Husband Daughton-sponsored question of the day is: Guests can witness a surgical procedure at this Disney park.

As always, click here to tweet your answer with cc: @MHDFirm. The first person with the correct answer will get a shoutout in 60 Days!

Last time, we asked: Who was the first Florida Governor to spread his inaugural celebration around the state, holding events in Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Tallahassee during a three-day period?

Answer: Gov. Jeb Bush.

Congrats to Christina Johnson (@ChristinaOn3PR), the first person to tweet the correct answer!

Bill Day’s Latest

3 Questions

Every Legislator knows passing legislation can be a multiyear process, but nobody knows it better than a Representative in the minority party. Democrat Rep. Dan Daley talked with us about three bills he filed this year, including one encouraging swim lessons for kids that looks like it might pass. 

Florida Politics: You have a bill (HB 951) that deals with some of the issues that led up to the Parkland shooting. Can you talk about that? 

Daley: I’m actually working with the Parkland parents on that. I’m a graduate of Stoneman Douglas. I was on the City Commission in Coral Springs the day of the shooting, so I was there within maybe 30 minutes of the shooting. So, that bill would actually require school districts to report any threats or incidents that fall into a certain category. Schools must notify parents, teachers and staff within 24 hours of the incident that the incident took place, what steps were taken to remedy the issue and who they can contact for more information. It’s all anonymous, so it’s not like they’re putting out the name of the student or anything like that. But parents have a right to know. I think that’s a lot of the problem that we realized from Douglas. This kid had been causing issues for years, threatening and talking about his guns and doing all this other stuff, and nobody ever knew about it. Nobody was ever aware. He threatened people. He threatened to bring his guns to school. Nobody ever did anything about it. I’m hopeful that either that bill will move, or we’ll be able to amend that language onto another piece of legislation like the School Safety bill. It’s really important to my district. It’s really important to the state, keeping kids safe and letting parents know when something is going on in their school. 

Florida Politics: You are sponsoring legislation that encourages parents to enroll their children in swim lessons.

Daley: My co-prime sponsor is Jim Mooney, so it’s a bipartisan bill. It requires school districts to ask a parent, when the parent enrolls their child in school, if the child is able to swim. If the answer is yes, that’s awesome. That’s great. If the answer is no, the school districts are required to hand the parent a document that outlines why it’s so important to teach your kid how to swim, especially given the fact that in Florida, water is literally all around us. And it provides five low-cost or no-cost options for that parent to go and get their child swim lessons. There’s no fiscal impact. It’s providing parents the information of low-cost or no-cost providers. So, they may be nonprofits. There may be programs in that region of the state that offer free or reduced-cost swimming lessons. It puts into perspective the idea that it is important to teach your child to swim, and then gets them to actually get those lessons.

There’s so much going on in the world that it’s just not always on the top of people’s minds. And so, I think you have a huge percentage of students who are entering school who don’t know how to swim, and that’s unacceptable in this state. There’s water everywhere. I’ve got the largest number of swimming pools per capita in the southeastern United States in my district. Everybody in Florida should know how to swim.

Florida Politics: You have legislation that deals with animal cruelty filed for the second year in a row. The bill didn’t make it out of committee last year; what’s different this year?

Daley: So that’s Ally’s law. A bill named after a cute little Boston terrier, who was abused by her previous owners. She was actually surrendered to the veterinarian’s office. The veterinarian knew or should have known that there was abuse of this animal, and never reported it. So, the bill would actually require veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal abuse, just like doctors are required to report suspected cases of child abuse. It’s the same thing, just now applied to animals. That’s good for the health and the welfare of the animal, but also — I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard of something called the toxic triad? It basically says that there are three main types of abuse: There’s child abuse, spousal abuse and animal abuse. One can be an indicator of others. So, if we’re rooting out animal abuse, it may be an indicator of other abuse going on in the home. 

Florida Politics: Is that bill going to move this year?

Daley: It’s an uphill battle, and I’m not really sure why. The Florida Veterinarian Association has worked on some language with us, which would put them to neutral on the bill, and for some reason, my colleagues in the Legislature just don’t think animal abuse is important enough to hear.

Lobby Up

Miami’s Design District is stocked with first-class fashion, design, architecture and dining experiences.

The much-hyped neighborhood on the northern end of Miami is already has a lot going for it, and development plans aim to make it an even bigger draw.

Now, one of the most recognizable names in fashion and design is looking for a seat at the table as those plans are hashed out.

Ballard Partners founder Brian Ballard signed a lobbying deal with LVMH last week. Short for Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the company is parent to a suite of luxury brands including, of course, Moët, Louis Vuitton and Hennessy.

The company’s fashion portfolio also includes a dozen other labels, such as Christian Dior, while its watches and jewelry division — or “house” in company parlance — includes premium brands such as Tiffany & Co., Bvlgari and Tag Heuer.

No matter one’s taste, chances are they’ve crossed paths with an LVMH subsidiary.

The people behind LVMH — Bernard Arnault and his family — have an estimated net worth of over $150 billion, which earned them the No. 3 slot on the 35th annual Forbes World’s Billionaires list.

Ballard Partners did not return a request for comment, but indications are their lobbying work is related to infrastructure projects in and around the design district, which Ballard Partners also represents.

Breakthrough Insights

The Next 24

The House will hold a floor session at 9 a.m.

The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee will consider a bill (SB 1976) that would prohibit free-standing emergency rooms from representing themselves as urgent care centers when meets at 9 a.m. in Room 412 of the Knott Building.

The Senate Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee will take up a bill (SB 1412) to boost pedestrian safety in midblock crosswalks when it meets at 9 a.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is scheduled to testify before the U.S. International Trade Commission on their investigations into foreign imports and unfair trade practices harming cucumber and squash growers. The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and will be streamed via WebEx.

The Senate Agriculture, Environment and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee will consider legislation (SB 1900) that would revise the duties and responsibilities of the Florida Digital Service when it meets at 11:30 a.m. in Room 110 of the Senate Office Building.

The Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee will hear a bill (SB 402) that would nix the requirement that legal notices be published in newspapers. The committee meets at 11:30 a.m. in Room 37 of the Senate Office Building.

The Senate will hold a floor session at 2:30 p.m.

Also, the following committees will meet.

— The Senate Education Appropriations Subcommittee meets at 11:30 a.m., 412 Knott Building.

Full committee agendas, including bills to be considered, are available on the House and Senate websites.

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