Florida Legislature 2013 Pre-Session Report

by Akerman LLP

The Florida Legislature will begin its 60 day annual regular session of passing new laws and regulations on March 5, 2013 and conclude on May 2, 2013. The major legislative issue areas the Florida Legislature will consider in the session are highlighted below.

On January 31st, Governor Rick Scott released his proposed $74.2 billion budget. Not taking inflation into account, this would be the largest budget in state history and a nearly $8 billion increase over what he proposed a year ago. Included in this budget is a $2,500 raise for every classroom teacher in Florida, an increase in per student funding of $400, an elimination of 3,600 positions, one third of which are vacant and most of the remaining would be transferred to private contractors.

The Governor used the budget to continue his goals of strengthening the state's appeal to business by including a tax exemption for manufacturing equipment that is expected to save 17,500 businesses $140 million. The Florida Department of Transportation would receive a $917 million increase under his budget, an 11 percent increase over the current budget. Most of the money goes to the transportation work program, including $3.6 billion for highway construction, $288 million for port improvements, $160 million for rail projects, $287 million for bridge construction and repair, $766 million for land acquisition, and $525 million for road resurfacing.

In the area of environmental protection and conservation, the budget included $75 million for the Florida Forever land buying program and potentially up to $50 million for other land purchases. The budget also included $25 million for beach restoration, $19 million for state park improvements, $6 million for springs protection, and $3 million for Apalachicola River storm water projects and a flow study.

The budget included $116.3 million to cover the 30 percent of Floridians who currently qualify for Medicaid and are not enrolled but are expected to enroll by 2014. The budget complied with the mandatory areas of the Affordable Care Act, including $703.5 million for the increase in Medicaid payment rates to match Medicare rates. The Governor waited until Florida was granted its second Medicaid waiver from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to implement its managed care program to announce his support for a three year expansion of Medicaid to cover Floridians living at 138 percent of the poverty level. This three year expansion would not require any funding from the state and would allow the state to compare projected costs to actual costs.

The budget included funding to move 750 Floridians off of the waiting list for services for the developmentally disabled. Also found in the budget was funding for 700 additional medical residency positions. Other areas of  healthcare are facing cuts. Most hospitals will receive a 2 percent cut in Medicaid for patient services reimbursement rates. Epilepsy services were completely eliminated along with chiropractic and podiatric services. An additional $80 million is included for graduate medical education.

Reactions to the budget have been mixed, with Democrats accusing the Governor of pandering and Republican leaders in both Chambers questioning the value of across the board raises that are not contingent upon performance. His support of Medicaid expansion faced backlash from both the Speaker of the House and the members of his Cabinet.

With the Supreme Court upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Florida was forced to begin taking steps to implement this new law. Previous leadership blocked any preemptive preparation, so Florida has already missed several deadlines and has been forced into a federally run state exchange. In order to decide how Florida will handle these new laws, both the House and Senate have formed Select Committees to hear testimony, attempt to reach a consensus, and draft legislation. They are covering areas including market regulation, which includes what the default coverage plan will look like versus the federal plan, medical exchanges, which will become the marketplace for all plans, the financial impact upon the state, and the changes to Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program if expansion takes place. Meetings have included testimony both supporting and strongly objecting to complying with the federal law and no decisions have been made on what direction to take the state in.

The state must also make a decision soon on whether or not to expand Medicaid. Currently it covers those who live at or below the poverty level but there is an option to expand it to cover those at 138 percent of the poverty level. This would bring a large influx of new federal funds but lawmakers are uncertain if this funding will be permanent. The Governor has supported a three year expansion and it appears the Senate will follow suit. The Speaker of the House and the Cabinet have all come out strongly against this.

The Legislature decided last year that the state should move to a Diagnosis Related Group (DRG) payment system in which payment is decided per patient by diagnosis and reimburses the hospital upon discharge, regardless of the length of stay. While for-profit hospitals will benefit from this new system, safety net and teaching hospitals are set to lose a significant sum of money. The cuts are so severe, because the current DRG model they are moving towards does not take into account the wave index in different regions of the state.

Finally, the Legislature will have to address Assisted Living Facilities (ALF). After an in depth investigation by The Miami Herald exposed wide spread negligence amongst the 2,997 facilities in Florida, a reform bill was pushed last year but died at the end of Session. This year, Senator Sobel (D-Hollywood) is sponsoring SB 646 and a House bill. HB 187 is being sponsored by Representative Fasano (R-Newport Richie). SB 646 is not as stringent as last year's bill and has received mixed reactions so far. The bill clarifies ALFs' responsibilities in providing care for residents with mental health problems, provides the Agency for Health Care Administration more authority to revoke a facility’s license, and requires ALFs to inform new residents of the nature of complaints about the facility made to the state’s ALF ombudsman program.

Citizens Property Insurance
One of the most controversial battles to be fought this session involves Citizens Property Insurance (Citizens). There is a push from many Republicans to depopulate Citizens while raising the rates for the users left. While a bill has not yet been released, Senator David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs), chair of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, has been drafting a reform bill. Among its major provisions will be a 5 percent annual reduction to the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund for three years, disqualifying homeowners from Citizens if private insurance is available at 115 percent of the Citizens rate to them, and the ability for Office of Insurance Regulation to request up to a 24.9 percent rate increase without a public hearing (up from 14.9 percent). The bill will also statutorily require Citizens' agents to actively search for private market replacements for policyholders and remove them from Citizens if possible. Policies will not be offered to any new construction seaward of the coastal construction control line (roughly U.S. Route 1 for east coast homes) unless they are built to code-plus. Furthermore, homes valued over $300,000 would be excluded from all new policies.

This issue will be contentious and drawn out. Two prominent South Florida Republican Senators, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami) and Anitere Flores (R-Miami), are strong opponents of this version of reform and are largely siding with the Democratic caucus. The Senate continues to work with draft legislation while the House has yet to produce any legislation indicating their direction.

Taxation and Economic Development
The Governor used the proposed budget to continue his goals of strengthening the state's appeal to business by recommending approximately $161 million in tax exemption and relief.

Chief among his proposals is a sales tax exemption for the purchase of manufacturing equipment for all new and existing businesses that is expected to save 17,500 businesses approximately $140 million.

The Governor is also recommending an increase to the Corporate Income Tax (CIT) exemption by another $25,000, thereby increasing the number of businesses that would not pay the tax. The total CIT exemption would be raised to $75,000, an increase from the current $50,000 (which was raised from $25,000 to $50,000 last year by lawmakers). This increase in the exemption is expected to assist about 2,000 businesses and cost about $19.7 million in recurring revenue.

The Governor believes that decreasing the taxes that businesses have to pay will "create jobs for Florida's families" and allow them to boost investments in their businesses which will make the state more attractive to out-of-state businesses and propel the state's economic growth.

In addition to these business-friendly tax relief proposals by the Governor, the Florida Legislature is considering additional tax issues such as requiring the collection of the state's sales tax on sales made over the Internet to Florida customers, and to reducing the rate of the state's Communication Services Tax (CST).

The Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee acted on a bill last week that requires out-of-state retailers that conduct business over the Internet to collect and remit Florida's sales tax for sales made to Florida customers, exempt sales tax on manufacturing equipment, and clarify the CST.  SB 316 by Sens. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) and Gwen Margolis (R-Miami) was approved by the Committee on a 10-1 vote. Sales tax on Internet sales – SB 316 provides that a representative of a dealer, in addition to an agent, soliciting or transacting business in the state may cause the dealer to have nexus for mail order sales.  Under the bill, a dealer would be required to collect and remit sales tax if the dealer:

  • has a physical presence, or nexus, in the state, or
  • the activities conducted in Florida on behalf of the dealer are significantly associated with the dealer’s ability to establish and maintain a market in Florida.

Sales Tax Exemption for Machinery and Equipment – SB 316 expands the availability of the sales tax exemption for machinery and equipment from new or expanding businesses, to all businesses.

CST – SB 316 reduces the rate charged against the sales price of communication services from 6.65 percent to 5.65 percent, and reduces the rate charged against the sales price of direct-to-home satellite service from 10.8 percent to 9.8 percent. In addition, the bill states that a dealer of communication services may only collect a combined rate of 5.8 percent.

The Republican leadership of both Chambers of the Florida Legislature have expressed support for taxing Internet sales if it is revenue neutral, as they are opposed to raising any taxes. Therefore, this bill provides a mechanism for the Legislature to return any taxes collected as a result of this bill to Florida taxpayers in addition to the relief already provided in the bill.

The Florida Department of Revenue (DOR) would be required to develop a tracking system to determine the amount of sales tax collected by out-of-state dealers as a result of this bill. The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) will use the information provided by DOR to determine the amount of sales taxes remitted in the previous calendar year and estimate the amount of sales taxes collected that will be expected in the following fiscal year. The Legislature is required to use the estimates to reduce taxes in an amount not less than the amount estimated by the REC, taking into account the reductions already provided for in the bill to the communication services tax and the sales tax exemption for machinery and equipment.

While the REC has not yet determined the fiscal impact of SB 316, specifically the sales tax on Internet sales, it is estimated that the rate reduction of the CST will likely cost about $151.6 million, while exemption of machinery and equipment from the sales tax would result in a $114 million impact.

The section of the bill addressing the CST would take effect on January 1, 2014; the remaining portions of the bill take effect on July 1, 2013.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Akerman LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Akerman LLP

Akerman LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
- hide

JD Supra Privacy Policy

Updated: May 25, 2018:

JD Supra is a legal publishing service that connects experts and their content with broader audiences of professionals, journalists and associations.

This Privacy Policy describes how JD Supra, LLC ("JD Supra" or "we," "us," or "our") collects, uses and shares personal data collected from visitors to our website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") who view only publicly-available content as well as subscribers to our services (such as our email digests or author tools)(our "Services"). By using our Website and registering for one of our Services, you are agreeing to the terms of this Privacy Policy.

Please note that if you subscribe to one of our Services, you can make choices about how we collect, use and share your information through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard (available if you are logged into your JD Supra account).

Collection of Information

Registration Information. When you register with JD Supra for our Website and Services, either as an author or as a subscriber, you will be asked to provide identifying information to create your JD Supra account ("Registration Data"), such as your:

  • Email
  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Company Name
  • Company Industry
  • Title
  • Country

Other Information: We also collect other information you may voluntarily provide. This may include content you provide for publication. We may also receive your communications with others through our Website and Services (such as contacting an author through our Website) or communications directly with us (such as through email, feedback or other forms or social media). If you are a subscribed user, we will also collect your user preferences, such as the types of articles you would like to read.

Information from third parties (such as, from your employer or LinkedIn): We may also receive information about you from third party sources. For example, your employer may provide your information to us, such as in connection with an article submitted by your employer for publication. If you choose to use LinkedIn to subscribe to our Website and Services, we also collect information related to your LinkedIn account and profile.

Your interactions with our Website and Services: As is true of most websites, we gather certain information automatically. This information includes IP addresses, browser type, Internet service provider (ISP), referring/exit pages, operating system, date/time stamp and clickstream data. We use this information to analyze trends, to administer the Website and our Services, to improve the content and performance of our Website and Services, and to track users' movements around the site. We may also link this automatically-collected data to personal information, for example, to inform authors about who has read their articles. Some of this data is collected through information sent by your web browser. We also use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect this information. To learn more about cookies and other tracking technologies that JD Supra may use on our Website and Services please see our "Cookies Guide" page.

How do we use this information?

We use the information and data we collect principally in order to provide our Website and Services. More specifically, we may use your personal information to:

  • Operate our Website and Services and publish content;
  • Distribute content to you in accordance with your preferences as well as to provide other notifications to you (for example, updates about our policies and terms);
  • Measure readership and usage of the Website and Services;
  • Communicate with you regarding your questions and requests;
  • Authenticate users and to provide for the safety and security of our Website and Services;
  • Conduct research and similar activities to improve our Website and Services; and
  • Comply with our legal and regulatory responsibilities and to enforce our rights.

How is your information shared?

  • Content and other public information (such as an author profile) is shared on our Website and Services, including via email digests and social media feeds, and is accessible to the general public.
  • If you choose to use our Website and Services to communicate directly with a company or individual, such communication may be shared accordingly.
  • Readership information is provided to publishing law firms and authors of content to give them insight into their readership and to help them to improve their content.
  • Our Website may offer you the opportunity to share information through our Website, such as through Facebook's "Like" or Twitter's "Tweet" button. We offer this functionality to help generate interest in our Website and content and to permit you to recommend content to your contacts. You should be aware that sharing through such functionality may result in information being collected by the applicable social media network and possibly being made publicly available (for example, through a search engine). Any such information collection would be subject to such third party social media network's privacy policy.
  • Your information may also be shared to parties who support our business, such as professional advisors as well as web-hosting providers, analytics providers and other information technology providers.
  • Any court, governmental authority, law enforcement agency or other third party where we believe disclosure is necessary to comply with a legal or regulatory obligation, or otherwise to protect our rights, the rights of any third party or individuals' personal safety, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security or safety issues.
  • To our affiliated entities and in connection with the sale, assignment or other transfer of our company or our business.

How We Protect Your Information

JD Supra takes reasonable and appropriate precautions to insure that user information is protected from loss, misuse and unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration and destruction. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. You should keep in mind that no Internet transmission is ever 100% secure or error-free. Where you use log-in credentials (usernames, passwords) on our Website, please remember that it is your responsibility to safeguard them. If you believe that your log-in credentials have been compromised, please contact us at privacy@jdsupra.com.

Children's Information

Our Website and Services are not directed at children under the age of 16 and we do not knowingly collect personal information from children under the age of 16 through our Website and/or Services. If you have reason to believe that a child under the age of 16 has provided personal information to us, please contact us, and we will endeavor to delete that information from our databases.

Links to Other Websites

Our Website and Services may contain links to other websites. The operators of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using our Website or Services and click a link to another site, you will leave our Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We are not responsible for the data collection and use practices of such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of our Website and Services and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Information for EU and Swiss Residents

JD Supra's principal place of business is in the United States. By subscribing to our website, you expressly consent to your information being processed in the United States.

  • Our Legal Basis for Processing: Generally, we rely on our legitimate interests in order to process your personal information. For example, we rely on this legal ground if we use your personal information to manage your Registration Data and administer our relationship with you; to deliver our Website and Services; understand and improve our Website and Services; report reader analytics to our authors; to personalize your experience on our Website and Services; and where necessary to protect or defend our or another's rights or property, or to detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud, security, safety or privacy issues. Please see Article 6(1)(f) of the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR") In addition, there may be other situations where other grounds for processing may exist, such as where processing is a result of legal requirements (GDPR Article 6(1)(c)) or for reasons of public interest (GDPR Article 6(1)(e)). Please see the "Your Rights" section of this Privacy Policy immediately below for more information about how you may request that we limit or refrain from processing your personal information.
  • Your Rights
    • Right of Access/Portability: You can ask to review details about the information we hold about you and how that information has been used and disclosed. Note that we may request to verify your identification before fulfilling your request. You can also request that your personal information is provided to you in a commonly used electronic format so that you can share it with other organizations.
    • Right to Correct Information: You may ask that we make corrections to any information we hold, if you believe such correction to be necessary.
    • Right to Restrict Our Processing or Erasure of Information: You also have the right in certain circumstances to ask us to restrict processing of your personal information or to erase your personal information. Where you have consented to our use of your personal information, you can withdraw your consent at any time.

You can make a request to exercise any of these rights by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

You can also manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard.

We will make all practical efforts to respect your wishes. There may be times, however, where we are not able to fulfill your request, for example, if applicable law prohibits our compliance. Please note that JD Supra does not use "automatic decision making" or "profiling" as those terms are defined in the GDPR.

  • Timeframe for retaining your personal information: We will retain your personal information in a form that identifies you only for as long as it serves the purpose(s) for which it was initially collected as stated in this Privacy Policy, or subsequently authorized. We may continue processing your personal information for longer periods, but only for the time and to the extent such processing reasonably serves the purposes of archiving in the public interest, journalism, literature and art, scientific or historical research and statistical analysis, and subject to the protection of this Privacy Policy. For example, if you are an author, your personal information may continue to be published in connection with your article indefinitely. When we have no ongoing legitimate business need to process your personal information, we will either delete or anonymize it, or, if this is not possible (for example, because your personal information has been stored in backup archives), then we will securely store your personal information and isolate it from any further processing until deletion is possible.
  • Onward Transfer to Third Parties: As noted in the "How We Share Your Data" Section above, JD Supra may share your information with third parties. When JD Supra discloses your personal information to third parties, we have ensured that such third parties have either certified under the EU-U.S. or Swiss Privacy Shield Framework and will process all personal data received from EU member states/Switzerland in reliance on the applicable Privacy Shield Framework or that they have been subjected to strict contractual provisions in their contract with us to guarantee an adequate level of data protection for your data.

California Privacy Rights

Pursuant to Section 1798.83 of the California Civil Code, our customers who are California residents have the right to request certain information regarding our disclosure of personal information to third parties for their direct marketing purposes.

You can make a request for this information by emailing us at privacy@jdsupra.com or by writing to us at:

Privacy Officer
JD Supra, LLC
10 Liberty Ship Way, Suite 300
Sausalito, California 94965

Some browsers have incorporated a Do Not Track (DNT) feature. These features, when turned on, send a signal that you prefer that the website you are visiting not collect and use data regarding your online searching and browsing activities. As there is not yet a common understanding on how to interpret the DNT signal, we currently do not respond to DNT signals on our site.

Access/Correct/Update/Delete Personal Information

For non-EU/Swiss residents, if you would like to know what personal information we have about you, you can send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com. We will be in contact with you (by mail or otherwise) to verify your identity and provide you the information you request. We will respond within 30 days to your request for access to your personal information. In some cases, we may not be able to remove your personal information, in which case we will let you know if we are unable to do so and why. If you would like to correct or update your personal information, you can manage your profile and subscriptions through our Privacy Center under the "My Account" dashboard. If you would like to delete your account or remove your information from our Website and Services, send an e-mail to privacy@jdsupra.com.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Privacy Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our Privacy Policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use our Website and Services following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this Privacy Policy, the practices of this site, your dealings with our Website or Services, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

JD Supra Cookie Guide

As with many websites, JD Supra's website (located at www.jdsupra.com) (our "Website") and our services (such as our email article digests)(our "Services") use a standard technology called a "cookie" and other similar technologies (such as, pixels and web beacons), which are small data files that are transferred to your computer when you use our Website and Services. These technologies automatically identify your browser whenever you interact with our Website and Services.

How We Use Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

We use cookies and other tracking technologies to:

  1. Improve the user experience on our Website and Services;
  2. Store the authorization token that users receive when they login to the private areas of our Website. This token is specific to a user's login session and requires a valid username and password to obtain. It is required to access the user's profile information, subscriptions, and analytics;
  3. Track anonymous site usage; and
  4. Permit connectivity with social media networks to permit content sharing.

There are different types of cookies and other technologies used our Website, notably:

  • "Session cookies" - These cookies only last as long as your online session, and disappear from your computer or device when you close your browser (like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome or Safari).
  • "Persistent cookies" - These cookies stay on your computer or device after your browser has been closed and last for a time specified in the cookie. We use persistent cookies when we need to know who you are for more than one browsing session. For example, we use them to remember your preferences for the next time you visit.
  • "Web Beacons/Pixels" - Some of our web pages and emails may also contain small electronic images known as web beacons, clear GIFs or single-pixel GIFs. These images are placed on a web page or email and typically work in conjunction with cookies to collect data. We use these images to identify our users and user behavior, such as counting the number of users who have visited a web page or acted upon one of our email digests.

JD Supra Cookies. We place our own cookies on your computer to track certain information about you while you are using our Website and Services. For example, we place a session cookie on your computer each time you visit our Website. We use these cookies to allow you to log-in to your subscriber account. In addition, through these cookies we are able to collect information about how you use the Website, including what browser you may be using, your IP address, and the URL address you came from upon visiting our Website and the URL you next visit (even if those URLs are not on our Website). We also utilize email web beacons to monitor whether our emails are being delivered and read. We also use these tools to help deliver reader analytics to our authors to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

Analytics/Performance Cookies. JD Supra also uses the following analytic tools to help us analyze the performance of our Website and Services as well as how visitors use our Website and Services:

  • HubSpot - For more information about HubSpot cookies, please visit legal.hubspot.com/privacy-policy.
  • New Relic - For more information on New Relic cookies, please visit www.newrelic.com/privacy.
  • Google Analytics - For more information on Google Analytics cookies, visit www.google.com/policies. To opt-out of being tracked by Google Analytics across all websites visit http://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout. This will allow you to download and install a Google Analytics cookie-free web browser.

Facebook, Twitter and other Social Network Cookies. Our content pages allow you to share content appearing on our Website and Services to your social media accounts through the "Like," "Tweet," or similar buttons displayed on such pages. To accomplish this Service, we embed code that such third party social networks provide and that we do not control. These buttons know that you are logged in to your social network account and therefore such social networks could also know that you are viewing the JD Supra Website.

Controlling and Deleting Cookies

If you would like to change how a browser uses cookies, including blocking or deleting cookies from the JD Supra Website and Services you can do so by changing the settings in your web browser. To control cookies, most browsers allow you to either accept or reject all cookies, only accept certain types of cookies, or prompt you every time a site wishes to save a cookie. It's also easy to delete cookies that are already saved on your device by a browser.

The processes for controlling and deleting cookies vary depending on which browser you use. To find out how to do so with a particular browser, you can use your browser's "Help" function or alternatively, you can visit http://www.aboutcookies.org which explains, step-by-step, how to control and delete cookies in most browsers.

Updates to This Policy

We may update this cookie policy and our Privacy Policy from time-to-time, particularly as technology changes. You can always check this page for the latest version. We may also notify you of changes to our privacy policy by email.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about how we use cookies and other tracking technologies, please contact us at: privacy@jdsupra.com.

- hide

This website uses cookies to improve user experience, track anonymous site usage, store authorization tokens and permit sharing on social media networks. By continuing to browse this website you accept the use of cookies. Click here to read more about how we use cookies.