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Committee Week 5 Update
Contact Information
Office Locations
District:
8383 Seminole Boulevard
Suite B
Seminole, FL 33772
727-395-2512
  
Capitol:
222 The Capitol
402 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399
850-717-5066
Staff
District Secretary
 
Legislative Assistant
  
My 2017 Bills
Requires the establishment of civil citations or similar diversion programs for juveniles in each county for certain offenses.
  
Reduces the sales tax paid on commercial leases incrementally until it's eliminated over a specified number of years.   

Authorizes a matching grant program for local governments to implement flood hazard risk mitigation policies and projects.

HB 953- Legislative Redistricting and Congressional Reapportionment

Requires court to provide for expedited hearing & ruling in challenge to state legislative or congressional district boundaries.

 

HB 955 - High School Graduation Requirements  

Revises requirements for NGSSS to include financial literacy. Revises credits for standard high school diploma to include instruction in personal financial literacy and money management.
 


 

Tourism & Gaming Control Subcommittee Passes Gambling Control Bill
The Tourism & Gaming Control Subcommittee passed a bill last week that seeks to approve a 2017 Gaming Compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida and tackels issues related to pari-mutuel wagering, cardroom gambling, slot machine gambling, and other gambling.
 
The bill will create a new 20 year compact with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. State revenues from the compact will be used exclusively for education, focusing on recruiting and retaining the best teachers, helping underserved students from persistently failing schools, and increasing funding for higher education.
 
The bill also closes loopholes and shuts down card games not authorized by the Legislature, limits gambling to current locations, removes inactive and delinquent gambling permits, and prohibits the issuance of new gambling permits. This will limit gambling in our state and protect our national and international brand.
 
This bill strikes a reasonable balance between controlling gambling and establishing long-term certainty and predictability for existing gambling entities in our state. I will keep you updated as the bill moves through the legislative process.

House Committee Votes on Legislation to Hold Government Accountable
Last Thursday, the House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee unanimously passed HB 479, which increases transparency and accountability in government. The bill holds government accountable by ensuring state agencies and many other government entities have internal controls in place to curb waste, fraud, and abuse and promote efficiency in their operations. In addition, the bill increases transparency by extending the amount of time budget documents for cities and counties must be available online so citizens know how their tax dollars are being spent. Finally, the bill reforms public testimony laws so people will have the opportunity to speak at local board and commission meetings without having to submit their comments in advance.
 



February 28, 2017
Dear Friends,
  
Last week we finished our fifth and final Committee week in preparation for the 2017 Legislative Session. During this week a number of bills were heard and passed in House Committees. We will continue to hear member bills, proposed committee bills, and appropriation project bills during the first few weeks of Session.

Throughout the Session, I will continue to keep you up-to-date with periodic newsletters letting you know about bills under consideration and any new laws that are passed. As always, thank you for your confidence in my service to District 66. It is an honor and a privilege to be your voice in Tallahassee.

In Your Service,
  Rep. Sig 3
Larry Ahern
House Works to Create Uniform Rules for Ridesharing Companies
  
Last Tuesday, the House Government Accountability Committee passed HB 221, which establishes a regulatory framework for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft and preempts regulation to the state. This means that ridesharing companies would only have to worry about state laws and regulations relating to the operation of their businesses. Currently, ridesharing companies in Florida have to follow local laws and regulations, which change from city to city. Some cities have even tried to ban their operation.
 
HB 221 would implement standardized regulations for ridesharing companies, including but not limited to: minimum insurance requirements for drivers and companies; a zero tolerance policy on drug and alcohol abuse by drivers; extensive background and driving history checks; nondiscrimination and disability access compliance; and requirements to maintain records on riders and drivers.
 
Local governments should not keep ridesharing companies from operating successfully in Florida. Ridesharing companies are efficient, safe, convenient, and most importantly, provide flexible jobs. The next stop for HB 221 is the House floor, where all members of the Florida House of Representatives will vote on the bill.



While In the District...
 
Attending the Habitat for Humanity home dedication for the DeJesus/Marcano Family in Largo.

Photo with Habitat for Humanity, Executive Director Mike Sutton (left), and County Commissioner Pat Gerard (far right).

Photo with County Commissioner Janet Long, and former State Senator Dennis Jones at the Mr. & Mrs. Seminole Awards Banquet. 

Group photo with Florida members of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) during a trip to the State Capitol. 
Speaking with BOMA members in the Senate Chambers of the Old Capitol about this year's legislative outlook, along with information about my bill HB 223.

Ways & Means Committee Focuses on Floridians
  
The Ways & Means Committee made the most of their final interim committee week, passing HJR 21, which limits property tax assessments on non-homestead properties, and tackling concepts related to local government fiscal responsibility.
 
The committee began its meeting by passing HJR 21, which is a proposed constitutional amendment that would permanently retain the current 10% cap on annual non-homestead assessments approved by voters in 2008.
 
The committee then focused on solutions that will help ensure local governments responsibly use taxpayer dollars. During the discussion, the following four ideas were highlighted: 1) prohibiting property tax increases where local governments have unencumbered fund balances; 2) prohibiting local governments from enacting, extending or increasing local option taxes unless they have not increased property taxes in the last three years; 3) having local option taxes approved by voters only at general elections with a 60% voter approval; and 4) having any new debt that exceeds five years in length be approved only at general elections with 60% voter approval.
 
I think these ideas are worth exploring further as they make their way into bill form. I believe all Floridians deserve responsible government at all levels - local, state, and federal - when their tax dollars are at play. As this issue develops, I will make sure to keep you informed.


Health Subcommittee Passes Bill to Increase Drug Pricing Transparency
  
Last week, the Health Innovation Subcommittee passed HB 589, which relates to drug price transparency. Specifically, the bill doubles the number of drugs listed on MyFloridaRx.com, which is Florida's prescription drug pricing website. The website currently includes 150 of the most commonly prescribed brand name drugs and associated generic equivalents and allows patients to compare prices of the drugs by location. You can search the website by county, city, and drug.
 
More information provided to the public through MyFloridaRx.com will allow Floridians to make cost-effective choices for themselves and their families. Ultimately, drug price transparency empowers patients and lowers the costs of drugs by encouraging competition.


Community Events

St. Petersburg

Heart Screenings

Free Heart Health Tests

Fri. - March 3rd 

 

Largo

Caring Heart 5k Run

Supporting Caregivers

Sat. - March 4th

More Information

 

House Committee Votes to Extend Post-Service Lobbying Bans
The Rules Committee passed a bill last Tuesday that would extend the current ban on post-service lobbying from two years to six years. As amended by the committee, the ban prevents legislators and statewide elected officers from personally representing a person or entity for compensation before any state agency or state government body, including the Legislature.
 
The committee also passed a joint resolution, which would propose an amendment to Florida's Constitution that would apply the same extension of the post-service lobbying ban from two to six years. If the resolution passes both houses of the Legislature by a three-fifths vote, then the proposed constitutional amendment would appear on the 2018 ballot, where it would require 60% voter approval for passage.
 
Extending the timeframe of the lobbying ban will help eliminate any actual and perceived revolving door of elected officials profiting off their time in public office.


House Reauthorizes The Florida National Guard Foundation & Florida Veterans Foundation
On Wednesday of last week, the House Local, Federal & Veterans Affairs Subcommittee passed two bills to reauthorize both the Florida National Guard Foundation and the Florida Veterans Foundation. The Florida National Guard Foundation funds and administers emergency financial assistance and scholarship programs to current members of the National Guard as well as their families. The Florida Veterans Foundation provides similar benefits and assistance to Florida's veterans and their families as well as partnering with all levels of government in order to improve the wellbeing of veterans.
 
The authorization for the foundations are subject to sunset rules, which means the foundations must be reviewed and reauthorized to continue. I am a supporter of making Florida the most military and veteran friendly state and continuing both of these foundations advances that mission.
 
House Committee Votes to Repeal Red Light Cameras
The House Government Accountability Committee passed HB 6007 last week to repeal the authorization for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and local governments to install and maintain red light cameras. The committee's decision follows a previous review by the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee of the 2015-2016 Red Light Camera Summary Report, which shows an increase in total crashes and injuries at intersections with red light cameras.
 
Although red light cameras may have good intentions, the data shows they simply do not work.
 
The next stop for HB 6007 is the House floor, where all members of the Florida House of Representatives will vote on the bill.
 
Florida House of Representatives | | larry.ahern@myfloridahouse.gov | http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4505&SessionId=66
8383 Seminole Boulevard
Suite B
Seminole, FL 33772
Florida House of Representatives, 8383 Seminole Boulevard, Suite B, Seminole, FL 33772

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