Special Session Produced Corporate Welfare Lite

As far as I know, light beer is still beer. It may be watered down, but it is still beer.

The special session wrapped up Friday afternoon and we now have a new economic incentive program called the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. This new program will be funded at $85 million and can be used by Governor Rick Scott at his discretion without any accountability, transparency or legislative oversight.

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SPECIAL SESSION ALERT: New economic incentive program in special session leads to more questions than answers

We are now in day 2 of a 3-day special session called by Governor Scott, Speaker Corcoran and Senate President Negron. The special session was called after Governor Scott and Speaker Corcoran along with President Negron agreed to increase the per-student spending in the education budget and to increase funding for Visit Florida from $25 million to $76 million as well as create a new economic incentive program called the “Florida Job Growth Grant Fund”.

Speaker Corcoran had made eliminating corporate welfare programs embedded in Enterprise Florida, the public-private partnership with the state, the centerpiece of his agenda during the past session. Speaker Corcoran also put Visit Florida square in his sights, even filing a lawsuit to force Visit Florida to hand over a million-dollar contract between Visit Florida and rap artist Pitbull. Speaker Corcoran pushed House legislation to eliminate Enterprise Florida and only appropriate $25 million for Visit Florida, down from last year’s $76 million appropriation. Although, the Senate would not agree to eliminate Enterprise Florida, they did agree to defund the 21 incentive programs used by Enterprise Florida.

With the session ending on May 8th, we were grateful that steps were finally taken to end corporate welfare programs that picked winners and losers and granted special privileges to certain companies. But, this special session could be the undoing of all the hard work from the past session. This new agreement made behind closed doors will push through a new economic incentive program without the needed time to debate this new program and be able to ask questions.

Just how the new economic incentive program “Florida Job Growth Grant Fund” will work is still unknown. This new program will be funded at $85 million and can be used by Governor Scott at his discretion, without legislative approval. The special session House bill HB 1A and the Senate bill SB 1A outline this new program, but is very vague as how it will work. Supposedly the $85 million cannot be used to benefit any one company, but can be used for infrastructure projects and job training to attract companies to relocate to Florida.

This new program may be a good program that just ensures Florida has the best infrastructure and trained workers that will bring companies to Florida. Our concern, is that infrastructure projects are now being funded through the legislative process, where these individual infrastructure projects are debated and vetted as a needed and appropriate use of taxpayer money. Even job training is being done now through Florida CareerSource and the Career and Professional Education Act (CAPE Act) that assist individuals in job training to attain employment in occupations that are considered "targeted industries".

Since we are funding infrastructure projects and job training now, why does the Governor need this pot of money to use at his discretion and without legislative oversight?

How will the Governor decide who will qualify to receive these grants?

If Governor Scott cannot use the fund for any one company, how will he know what kind of infrastructure is needed?

If Governor Scott cannot use the fund for job training for any specific company, how will he know what kind of job training will be needed?

If Governor Scott will use this fund to attract certain “qualified target industries”, isn’t that looking more like corporate welfare that will pick what industries win and which industries lose?

Even the legislators in Tallahassee right now are asking questions about this new program and nobody seems to be able to answer questions on exactly how this program will work, except for very broad parameters.

Our position is that we should have more time to ask questions, legislators should have more time to ask questions. We do not want to have another Nancy Pelosi moment, where the bill will have to be passed before we can know what is in it.

TAKE ACTION

Please call your Representative and Senator and ask them to demand more time to vet the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund. Our elected representatives are supposed to make sure our taxpayer dollars are being spent efficiently, and we do not know enough about this new program that was put together last minute and behind closed doors.

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE

CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR STATE SENATOR

IMPORTANT: Make sure you save the contact information to your representative in your cell phone. 


The third time’s a charm for Ride Sharing Services in Florida

SB 340/HB 221 were bills filed this past session that would prevent local governments from regulating "transportation network companies" such as Uber and Lyft and would adopt a uniform, common sense law focused on safety and access to the new technology.

It makes no sense that 67 counties and 410 municipalities would create their own set of regulations, which would make it impossible for ride-share drivers to comply as they serve neighboring cities and counties.

This legislation establishes common-sense guidelines throughout the state, and allows people in Florida to continue benefiting from ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft and allow affordable, reliable rides.

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The Florida Senate fails again to provide real health-care freedom

For the second year, legislation has been filed regarding Direct Primary Care (DPC) agreements. A Direct Primary Care agreement gives Doctors a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, typically by charging patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee that covers all or most primary care services. Direct care benefits patients by providing substantial savings and more access to, and time with, physicians. Direct Primary Care agreements makes doctors responsive to patients, not insurance company bureaucrats or government rule-makers.

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What happened to the Red Light Camera Repeal in the 2017 Florida Legislative Session?

At the beginning of the 2017 session, the odds seemed in our favor to finally repeal red light cameras. After the 2016 general election, several former House members were elected to the Senate that had supported repealing red light cameras during their time in the House, including two Democrats. Speaker Richard Corcoran pledged to move the repeal bill through the House and even though the Senate always killed repeal efforts in the past, Senate President Negron had voiced support for repealing the cameras.

We felt this was the year to finally rid the state of these for-profit cameras that had become a public hazard. Numerous studies showed increased accidents at red light camera intersections proving what we always knew, that Red Light Cameras were not about safety and were all about revenue.

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The Liberty First Network is hitting the road

The 2017 Florida legislative session is complete. What went right and what went wrong in this session? Who were the legislators that were supporting liberty and who was standing in the way?

Find out about all of this and more as the Liberty First Network goes on the road to give the 2017 Florida Legislative Session review.

We will go over what went well in the 2017 Florida legislative session, what went poorly and what you can do to help influence the Florida legislature in 2018.

If you are part of a group or organization and would like to schedule this presentation for your group contact Alex Snitker at (813) 315-0513. Dates are filling up fast so contact us today to schedule your group.

Scheduled Events:

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The Good and The Bad in the 2017 Florida Legislative Session

On Monday May 8th, the Florida Legislature formally ended the 2017 legislative session. The session was scheduled to end on Friday May 5th, but because the House and the Senate could not agree on the final budget in time, the session was extended to the following Monday. The budget was approved by the House and Senate and now will be sent to the Governor for approval, veto or line item vetoes. Tallahassee insiders are predicting that Governor Scott may veto the entire budget which would mean a special session would be called to start the budget negotiations all over again. The state constitution requires the Legislature complete a budget by July 1st to begin the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The reason Governor Scott may veto the entire budget bill is because the legislature did not include several of Governor Scott’s priorities. Governor Scott requested $100 million for tourism marketing under Visit Florida and only got $25 million. Governor Scott requested $85 million for incentives to bring businesses to Florida and the legislature gave him zero.

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May LFN Legislative Update

We held the Liberty First Network May Legislative agenda call on May 1st at 7:00 PM.

Click on the link below to see the presentation and listen to a recording of this call.

https://fccdl.in/8jm6Wi3wV

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LEGISLATIVE TICKER

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE GUN TICKER


Support HB425: Property rights are advanced when owners have the freedom to rent out their property

Many property owners in Florida generate extra income by renting their homes to tourist vacationing in Florida. These types of rentals also help Florida’s tourism by allowing families to save money by staying together in a home instead of multiple hotel rooms. This flexibility promotes more tourism, which produces $67 billion in economic activity every year.

HB 425 prevents local governments from passing new regulations on vacation rentals based solely on their classification, while not affecting local homeowners’ associations and neighborhoods that have adopted their own covenants, declarations, or bylaws.

Local governments have exploited current rental laws with excessive fines, penalties and fees. HB 425 will safeguard property owners from overreaching local governments with state-wide standards that protect property rights.

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Support SB 616: Support our right to carry firearms

SB 616 would allow concealed weapons permit-holders to carry guns in to courthouses and temporarily surrender and store the gun at a security checkpoint.

TAKE ACTION

SB 616 is on Special Order Calendar for Thursday April 27th, 2017 and could be voted on by the full Senate this week.

Call and e-mail your district Senator to support SB 616 and protect our right to carry firearms

CLICK HERE TO FIND YOUR STATE SENATOR

IMPORTANT: Make sure you save the contact information to your State Senator in your cell phone and include both the District office and Tallahassee office numbers.


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