A Brief Examination of Florida's 2018 State Legislative Session
Published: August 31, 2018
A brief examination of relevant legislation from the most recent session of the Florida State Legislature.
Following on previous research conducted on the legislation from Virginia, California, New York, and Texas, the General Government Services research team has conducted research on legislative activity from the Florida State Legislature’s most recent session.
The Florida State Legislature is a bicameral body consisting of the 40 seat Senate and the 120 seat House of Representatives. Members of the Legislature are term limited, meaning members of the House may be elected up to 4 terms and Senators can be elected for up to 2 terms. The Legislature is a party-time body, meeting for 60 day regular sessions each year. The 2018 session lasted from January 9 through March 11.
In the 2018 Regular Session, the Florida State Legislature introduced 3193 pieces of legislation. Of these, 2203 were in the House of Representatives and 990 were in the Senate. Of these, in the House 166 were enrolled into new laws, while 34 in the Senate were enrolled.
Legislation introduced and enrolled in this session covered a range of areas, including some that may have a direct impact on companies interested in doing business with the State of Florida. HB 545 was enrolled into law that now will prohibit companies on the scrutinized companies that boycott Israel list from submitting proposals or entering or renewing contracts with state and local government entities in Florida. There are provisions included, however, that may allow some exceptions. This act took effect as of July 1, 2018.
One new law, from HB 1073, addressed a number of topics, but one may be of particular importance to vendors. This law now states that it is the intent of the Legislature to create the Florida Open Financial Statement System, which will be an interactive repository for governmental financial statements. It also states that the Chief Financial Officer may choose contractors to build a software tool to manage financial filings. The law then states the CFO must require all work on these products to be completed by December 31, 2021. This could be of interest to vendors working in this field and may be something to watch as the project develops further.
There was some additional relevant legislation that did not pass into new law, or was withdrawn prior to introduction. Although these bills will not be enacting any changes, it does shed some light on priorities, and may be worth monitoring should they be introduced again in the future.
For vendors working in transportation-related field, an unsuccessful bill, HB 441, was introduced that sought to establish a system for online verification of motor vehicle insurance. The bill did note that the Department of Transportation may contract with a private vendor to assist in establishing the system. The bill sought to have the system installed and operational by July 1, 2021. Although this was not enrolled in 2018, it may be worth watching to see if it is revisited in some form in the upcoming 2019 session.
One bill, which was actually withdrawn before being introduced, HB 387, sought to bring about some changes for Small Businesses, specifically for veteran employment. The act would have established the Veterans Employment Small Business Grant Program within the Department of Economic Opportunity. The purpose of the program was to stimulate investment in the state’s economy by providing grants to small businesses that employ discharged or disabled veterans. Although this bill was withdrawn, it does indicate some interest in boosting employment opportunities for veterans, which could be valuable to watch for businesses who do so.
These brief insights into some of the legislation from Florida’s 2018 legislative session shed some light on a few relevant areas relating to conducting business with the state, and provide a glimpse of what may lie ahead in the coming years. More information on all legislation form Florida’s most recent legislative session can be found here.