[Excerpt; read the full report (PDF) here]

By Mat Forrest & Hannah Gutner

Legislation

VISIT FLORIDA

There was no change on the status of VISIT FLORIDA this week and that was expected. Leadership in both Chambers have indicted this is one of several issues to be negotiated between the Chambers as the Session progresses. However, to be more specific, while negotiations might continue over the next 5 weeks, they will mostly take place behind the scenes. Its highly likely we won’t know the status or the results until the decision is announced in the final days of the Session.

Of course, this doesn’t mean we sit back and silently wait. Please maintain your advocacy and tell your Delegation members why VISIT FLORIDA is important to your DMO.

As previously reported, the VISIT FLORIDA legislation is waiting to be heard on the Senate floor for final passage, but we are not sure when yet. After that it will be sent to the House, and what happens with the Legislation in the House is still a big “TBD”.

The Senate bill is very simple and it just deletes the Sunset date that currently exists.

SB 178 & HB 6031 – relating to Florida Tourism Marketing by Sen. Gruters (R, Sarasota) and Rep. Ponders (R, Fort Walton Beach)
288.1226 Florida Tourism Industry Marketing Corporation; use of property; board of directors; duties; audit.—

(14) REPEAL.—This section is repealed October 1, 2019, unless reviewed
and saved from repeal by the Legislature.

Section 2. Subsection (6) of section 288.923, Florida Statutes, is
amended to read:
288.923 Division of Tourism Marketing; definitions; responsibilities.—

(6) This section is repealed October 1, 2019, unless reviewed and
saved from repeal by the Legislature.

Obviously, this topic is being widely discussed and there have been several media stories on the
topic. While it’s true that the House bill, HB 6031 has not been heard in committee please refer
to the first paragraph of this update. Nothing is ever “dead” until the very end. The House
leadership have multiple procedures they could use in order to pass legislation that removes or
delays the current October 1, 2019 Sunset if they decide that’s what they want to do. Moving
HB6031 is one option but it is not the only option.

Your continued advocacy to support VISIT FLORIDA is needed but don’t stress about the bill
number and committee stops. Simply contact your Delegation Members and tell them how
VISIT FLORIDA benefits your area. If you do that the legislative vehicle will take care of itself.