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Session Update: Week 1
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.
 

HB 1365 - Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program
Creates the Early Childhood Music Education Incentive Pilot Program within the Department of Education.


 

HB 1441 - Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board

Revises composition of the board.


 

Florida House Passes Tough Lobbying Ban
The Florida House passed a bill last Friday that would extend the current ban on post-service lobbying from two years to six years. The ban prevents legislators and state officers from personally representing a person or entity for compensation before any state agency or state government body. This new six-year ban would be the first of its kind and the strictest ban in the country.
 
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. I believe holding public office is a sacred trust and I was proud to support this bill with my colleagues.

House Subcommittee Votes to Hold Public Employee Unions Accountable
The House Oversight, Transparency & Administration Subcommittee passed HB 11, which reforms the yearly public employee union recertification process to increase transparency and accountability. HB 11 requires public employee unions to be transparent by reporting in their annual registration renewal application the number of employees eligible to be in the union and the number of employees who do and do not pay dues to the union. If 50 percent or more of eligible union members do not pay dues, the union must reapply for certification. The certification of a union that does not comply with these requirements is revoked. Unions that represent law enforcement officers, firefighters, and corrections officers are not included in these changes, except for the reporting requirement.
 
HB 11 is a positive step towards increasing transparency and holding public employee unions accountable to the workers they represent. I will keep you informed as this bill moves through the legislative process.

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Dear Friends,
  
Last week we finished our first week of the 2017 Legislative Session. During this week a number of bills were heard and passed in House Committees. Additionally, several bill were heard and passed on the House floor. We will continue to hear member bills, proposed committee bills, and appropriation project bills during the first few weeks of Session.

Throughout 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

Photos from Opening Day of Session 2017
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Representative Ahern standing at attention in the upper right hand corner during the opening prayer song.

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House Speaker Richard Corcoran giving his opening day remarks.

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Governor Rick Scott giving his annual State-of-the-State Address to a Joint Session of both Senate and House Members.

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Representative Jose Oliva - Chair of the Rules & Policy Committee discusses new House rules. 

Florida House: Page and Messenger Program

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Photo with my sponsored Page this year during the 1st week of Session, along with her mother. 

Each year during the 60 day legislative session students are invited to participate and observe their state government in action. Pages and Messengers range from age 13 to 18, and perform various tasks within the State Capitol and on the House Floor. Along with their assistance, students are provided with opportunities to tour the Governor's Mansion, the Florida Supreme Court, the Museum of Florida History, and the Historic Capitol. At the end of their volunteering experience students often hold a mock session in the House Chamber to put their newfound knowledge to use. For more information about this great program and to consider participating next year, visit the link for more information.

Subcommittee Passes Three Free Market Health Care Reforms
  
Last week, the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee passed three important free market health care reforms.
 
First, the subcommittee passed HB 7, which eliminates the Certificate of Need (CON) program in Florida. The CON program requires certain health care providers to get permission from the state before entering the health care marketplace. The CON program limits innovation and access in the health care marketplace and increases health care costs for Floridians.
 
Second, the subcommittee passed HB 145, which expands the use of ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) and allows recovery care centers (RCCs) in the state. ASCs are non-hospital facilities that provide surgical care. ASCs have highly skilled staff and surgeons and are less expensive and more convenient than having surgery in a hospital. RCCs provide post-surgical and post-diagnostic, short-term medical and nursing care, support, and pain control for patients that do not require hospitalization. RCCs exist in some states, but not Florida.
 
Third, the subcommittee passed HB 375, which requires all Florida hospitals and ASCs to complete and publish patient culture surveys. A "patient safety culture survey" is a survey conducted by a health care facility which asks employees about patient safety and quality of care. The surveys help hospitals identify and fix problems. If published, the survey data can also help Floridians make decisions about which facilities are best for their own care and that of their families.
 
All three of these bills are aimed at increasing access to quality and affordable health care for all Floridians.

House Subcommittee Tackles Professional Deregulation
  
The Careers & Competition Subcommittee passed a comprehensive bill last week seeking to deregulate certain professions. The goal of the bill is to provide more job opportunities for Floridians while protecting their health and safety.
 
The bill would remove certain professions and entities from regulation by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, reduce the hours of training required to obtain certain licenses, and eliminate the requirement that certain licensees obtain a certificate of authorization for their businesses, as well as other changes.
 
There are numerous professions effected by the bill, including: interior designers; hair braiders; hair wrappers; body wrappers; boxing announcers; boxing timekeepers; labor organizations and business agents; talent agencies; auctioneers; barbers; restricted barbers; nail specialists; facial specialists; full specialists; asbestos abatement consultants and contractors; architects; landscape architects; geologists; and yacht and ship brokers.

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Community Events

Pinellas Park

Firefighter's ChiliBlaze

Fri. - March 17th

6:00 PM - 11:00 PM

 

Indian Shores

St. Patrick's Day Festival

Sat. - March 18th

11:00 AM - 4:00 PM

More Information

 

House Committee Approves Local Government Ethics Reform
The Appropriations Committee passed a bill last week to reform ethics guidelines for local governments. Some of the provisions of the bill include the following: requiring certain elected local officers to file a more detailed financial disclosure; expanding annual ethics training requirements for local officers; expanding restrictions when a conflict of interest exists; and requiring lobbyists to register with a statewide database before they can lobby local government bodies.
 
Public office is a public trust, and the Florida House is committed to passing legislation in support of this.


Commerce Committee Protects Florida Property Owners
Last week, the Commerce Committee passed a bill that seeks to protect Florida property owners by limiting property tax assessments on non-homestead properties.
 
HJR 21 is a proposed constitutional amendment that would permanently retain the current 10 percent cap on annual non-homestead assessments approved by voters in 2008. This effort is necessary to avoid a substantial tax increase for Floridians.
 
Committee Passes Bill Focused on Local Government Fiscal Transparency and Responsibility
Last week, the Ways & Means Committee passed two bills that would increase local government fiscal transparency and responsibility.
 
One bill focuses on helping citizens gain access to important information so they can be more engaged on important government decisions. Some of the bill's provisions include: easing access to voting records related to local option taxes and debt issuances; easing access to tax history and property tax information; and expanding public notice requirements.
 
The other bill would help ensure local governments use taxpayer dollars responsibly. For example, in certain cases the bill would prohibit property tax increases and prohibit local governments from enacting, extending or increasing local option taxes.
 
House Subcommittee Votes to Expand Civics Education
The PreK-12 Quality Subcommittee passed a bill last week that would strengthen civics education in our K-12 public schools and post-secondary institutions.
 
The bill proposes three primary changes to current law. First, the bill would designate September as "American Founders' Month," and encourage all public schools to coordinate instruction related to the nation's founding fathers. Second, the bill would require the Just Read, Florida! Office to develop and provide access to sequenced, content-rich curriculum programming, instructional practices, and resources that help elementary students increase their background knowledge and literacy skills. Finally, the bill would require students entering into the Florida College System or State University System in the 2018-2019 school year, or later, to either take a civics course or pass a civic competency test.
 
If it becomes law, this legislation will help students become civically engaged adults who make positive contributions to their communities.
 
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Florida House of Representatives | | larry.ahern@myfloridahouse.gov | Rep Larry Ahern's Legislature site.
8383 Seminole Boulevard
Suite B
Seminole, FL 33772
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Florida House of Representatives,8383 Seminole Boulevard, Suite B, Seminole, FL 33772
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