Waiting until the 59th day of its 60 day session, the Florida Legislature finally delivered the predicted and what some termed the "kill shot"
to mandated paid sick leave. This priority legislation, which was strongly supported by the Central Florida Partnership along with a broad coalition of key
Florida business interests, was sponsored by House Majority Leader Rep. Steve Precourt (R-Orlando) and Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) and will
preempt local governments from enacting paid sick leave mandates. All Republican members of the Central Florida Legislative Delegation supported the
preemption legislation which was opposed by all Democratic delegation members. The bill is now on Gov. Scott's desk for signature and, upon becoming law,
it will effectively nullify the Orange County referendum on paid sick leave slated for the August 2014 primary election.
"The leadership of Rep. Precourt and Senator Simmons is to be commended for steering this necessary and important measure through the legislature on behalf
of Florida's business community. Without passage of preemption legislation businesses throughout our state would have potentially faced a hodgepodge of
conflicting and costly paid sick leave mandates largely advocated by activists funded by out of state special interests that would place them at a
competitive disadvantage," said Central Florida Partnership Vice President for Public Policy Mike Ketchum.
In addition to the paid sick leave mandate win and the long sought elimination of the sales tax on manufacturing equipment, the influential Florida Chamber
again this session scored some huge wins for the business community with more than 25 bills on its 2013 Business Agenda passing the legislature.
Included among these were two important bills spearheaded by two members of the Central Florida Legislative Delegation – Sen. Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) and
Rep. Larry Metz (R-Groveland). The Hays legislation will close a costly loophole in the workmen's compensation law while Rep. Metz successfully worked to
bring greater predictability to the civil justice system by greatly improving Florida's expert witness standard.
Legislative sessions always contain disappointments for some and for the region there were some major session disappointments. Topping the list was the
failure of legislation to provide tax subsidies benefitting certain sports venues throughout Florida, including the Daytona International Speedway and the
planned future soccer stadium in Downtown Orlando. The latter was heavily lobbied by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer but to no avail as the controversial "venues
package" succumbed in the final minutes of the session over the opposition of House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) and what appeared to be a
growing legislative aversion to the granting of lucrative economic development subsidies.
Also failing due to opposition of some local governments and House leaders was the attempt sponsored by Senators David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs) and
Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) to supplant the Orlando-Orange County Expressway authority with the creation of a Central Florida Expressway Authority that would
overlay Lake, Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties. Irreconcilable differences over composition of the new authority's board coupled with serious concerns
over the apportionment of toll revenues among the affected counties led to the demise of the proposal this year.
Click here to learn about the Central Florida Legislative Delegation.
Michael L. Ketchum
Vice President, Public Policy
Central Florida Partnership
Vice President, Advocacy
Orlando, Inc. (Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce)