TALLAHASSEE, FL (March 14, 2022) — The 2022 Florida legislative session saw passage of the largest budget in state history, fuelled by record general revenue resulting from Florida’s national leadership in private-sector job creation. While social issues dominated many media headlines, Floridians and job creators saw legislators invest significant long-term funding in Florida’s continued economic momentum and preparation for the nearly 4 million additional residents Florida can expect by 2030. The extension of commonsense COVID liability protections, VISIT FLORIDA, necessary protections for local businesses from burdensome and overreaching local government, coupled with long-term infrastructure investments, will go a long way towards furthering Florida’s competitiveness.
As important as what passed, often is what does not. Whether increased taxes and costs for local businesses, new employer mandates, or efforts to further contribute to Florida’s bottom-5 legal climate, the Florida Chamber led efforts to protect Florida’s competitiveness. Importantly, harmful data privacy legislation that included a sweeping new cause of action and massive additional costs to Florida businesses already navigating record-inflation due to misguided D.C. policies was defeated by a united business community. The Florida Chamber believes consumers’ data must be properly protected from nefarious misuse or abuse, but the sweeping new cause of action in this legislation would have created a cottage industry for trial lawyers with little benefit to consumers. In addition, further work remains to improve Florida’s bottom-5 legal climate, including overdue reforms necessary to stabilize Florida’s property insurance market and rising premiums resulting from ever-increasing litigation.
“Florida needs to create 1.63 million net new jobs by 2030 and working together as a unified business community is how we will keep Florida’s economy growing and competitive,” said Florida Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Mark Wilson. “As Florida continues to pace the nation’s economic recovery out of the pandemic, Florida’s business climate must remain a priority if we are going to continue on a path to grow private sector jobs, diversify our economy, and create additional economic opportunities for Floridians.”
From day one of the 2022 legislative session, a top priority of the Florida Chamber was extending the necessary COVID-19 protections for healthcare providers through June 2023. Originally passed in 2021, the extension of these commonsense protections means healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic can continue caring for Floridians without fear of facing frivolous litigation.
“Year round, the Florida Chamber team advocates for Florida’s Business Agenda,” said Florida Chamber Board of Directors Volunteer Chairman Charles Bailes, III, Chairman and CEO of ABC Fine Wine & Spirits. “Uniting Florida’s job creators is essential to keeping Florida, Florida so the right things continue to happen to ensure Florida remains competitive and the best place to live, work, raise a family, start a business, and retire.”
A second Florida Chamber priority, extending the statutory authority of the Florida Tourism Marketing Association, also known as VISIT FLORIDA, continues its important mission of driving tourism’s economic impact on Florida, thanks to the support of the Legislature this session. Tourism is a key driver of Florida’s $1.23 trillion economy, and the mission of VISIT FLORIDA is even more important as our state continues its economic momentum out of the pandemic.
Below are a few highlights of the Florida Chamber-championed legislative priorities that passed this session:
- Healthcare COVID-19 Liability Protections: Extends the commonsense COVID-19 liability protections expiring for healthcare facilities to continue to protect our healthcare heroes from frivolous litigation through June 2023.
- Florida Tourism Marketing: Reauthorizes VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s tourism marketing arm, through October 1, 2028, to provide certainty and allow VISIT FLORIDA to long-term plan and hire and retain top talent.
- Significant Long-Term Infrastructure Funding: Investment in the infrastructure necessary to meet the needs of current and future Floridians with another $10B+ for the FDOT’s five-year workplan, approximately $362M for attainable workforce housing, and record funding for water quality, resiliency, and environmental restoration efforts.
- Net Metering Reform: Modernizes Florida’s net metering policy to ensure that all energy customers pay their fair share for the maintenance of Florida’s reliable, efficient, and resilient electrical grid.
- Student Assessments Overhaul: Replaces the end of the year high-stakes Florida Statewide Assessment with a computer-based state standards-aligned progress monitoring testing system to better support student growth and improve accountability to teachers and parents throughout the school year.
- Local Business Protection Act: Protects local businesses from burdensome and overreaching local government regulations by allowing local businesses to recoup damages if a regulation results in a significant loss of business profitability.
- Continued Investment in Diversifying Florida’s Economy: Full funding of VISIT FLORIDA, Enterprise Florida and Space Florida continues Florida’s economic momentum to becoming a top 10 global economy by 2030.
“It is encouraging that the Florida Chamber saw passage of multiple priorities drawn from our 2022 Jobs and Competitiveness agenda,” said Florida Chamber Executive Vice President of Governmental and Political Relations Frank Walker. “However, much unfinished business remains as we prepare our 2023 legislative agenda. The Florida Chamber will continue uniting the business community to ensure Florida capitalizes on its economic momentum to reach the goal of becoming the 10th largest economy in the world by 2030.”
The Florida Chamber team is analyzing thousands of votes and will soon release its Legislative Report Card, showcasing grades earned by all 159 legislators in the Florida House and Senate based on their votes during the 2022 Legislative Session. The Florida Chamber Legislative Report Card is an annual opportunity to recognize members of the Florida Legislature who placed making Florida more competitive through private-sector job creation above special interests and their attempts to protect the status quo. The Report Card also lets Florida families, small businesses, taxpayers, and voters know who voted in favor of private sector job creation and a stronger economy.
As we head in to the 2022 General Election, we need to unite as a business community to make sure the right candidates are recruited and elected so that the right outcomes can continue to happen in Florida.
To view the Florida Chamber’s full legislative review of what passed, what was defeated and what remains unfinished business for next year, visit https://conta.cc/3KCFZu2.