2020 Legislative Session

Thank you once again to Missy Timmins for providing us with our Session report and for all of her hard work on our behalf.  This session begins its 60 days (if it stays on track) today.  Similar to previous years, thousands of bills are filed with only hundreds passing to become law.  In 2019, one of the lowest passage rate years yet, some 200 bills made it to law.  This year we have a bunch of things on our radar and tracking list as seen in the attached report.
You know and have heard it before, each session has its own identity.  This one will likely have a lot of election issues spinning around it so keep your eyes open for strategies related to that.  As a matter of fact, the State has proposed $6.2 million for election funding that will help keep all 67 counties up to par in areas like cyber security.  Don’t forget Amendment 4 (Felon voting rights) didn’t get finished and judges ruled some things as late as this past October.  Water quality is always a high priority and you will see that in our tracking but just know that algae and red tide are going to be on the topic lists.  One that is late to the game is E-Verify which Governor Desantis would like to see employers using to verify employment eligibility.  Gun bills are all the rage again, too, with probably a dozen or so filed already including many that are the opposite of others.  If you want to see the entire list of bills click here https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bills/2020 .
As many of you know there were some changes at FDACS this year.  Bureau Chief Sarah Oglesby and Assistant Division Director Davis Daiker are no longer with DACS.  Assistant Chief Tamara James took over for Sarah in interim and a new person is moving to that seat now from another Division.  Courtney Frazier, formerly DACS Legal Counsel, is now Assistant Division Director to AES Director Kelly Friend.  We welcome the new folks in to their new jobs respectively and say good bye to Sarah and Davis who have moved on to new jobs in the private sector. 
As far as we know, this year won’t be fireworks and bombshells for our industry.  We are keeping close tabs and working with DACS on issues pertaining to us.  We have plenty to watch and plenty to work on through our usual channels.  We will keep you apprised and if something pops up, be ready for us to call you in for the effort.
I hope to see you all in a few weeks at the FPMA Expo in Orlando!
Sean Brantley and Suzanne Graham
FPMA GAC Co-Chairs

Week 2


Thank you once again to Missy Timmins for the report and for the efforts in Tallahassee on our behalf.  Please see the report and some stuff below we are watching. 

Thank you. 
Sean and Suzanne
FPMA GAC Co-Chairs
Also, find UF/IFAS update.

SB 712 - Water Quality Improvements - 2020
General Bill by Mayfield CoSponsors: Harrell  CS Sponsors: Community Affairs
Water Quality Improvements; Citing this act as the “Clean Waterways Act”; requiring the Department Health to provide a specified report to the Governor and the Legislature by a specified date; transferring the Onsite Sewage Program within the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Protection by a type two transfer by a specified date; creating an onsite sewage treatment and disposal systems technical advisory committee within the department; requiring the department to adopt rules relating to the underground pipes of wastewater collection systems; requiring basin management action plans for nutrient total maximum daily loads to include wastewater treatment and onsite sewage treatment and disposal system remediation plans that meet certain requirements, etc. Effective Date: Except as otherwise expressly provided in this act shall take effect July 1, 2020.

SB712 Document

SB 822 - Drones - 2020
Drones; Adding an exception to prohibited uses of a drone, etc. Effective Date: 7/1/2020.

SB822 Document 1 | SB822 Document 2

Week 5


We are past the halfway point officially.  That doesn’t mean anything other than it can heat up quickly from here.  We have seen some games played with strike-all amendments and substitutes and there are plenty of opportunities to do more of that.  Missy Timmins is doing a phenomenal job for us and keeping us in a good position should we need to bark loud.  So far, so good for FPMA members!  As of right now, we have no reason to assemble in Tallahassee for any big issues so I think we are doing ok.
As Missy has said several million times, each session has its own personality (and filled with personalities!) and this session is no exception.  There is the usual infighting and fights along party lines as well as the drama of the day.  We seem to have such a problem just spending 60 days doing the work of the people, don’t we?  Missy has put together another great report to catch the highlights and I wanted to share a few other things Missy, Suzanne and I have been following along the way.
Occupational licensing reform is making its way through stops now along with a few other deregulation packages for business.  What has gained traction is the Governor’s call for uniformity in licensing and creating a predictable business environment.  The Senate has basically removed local licensing from the fold for all 410 municipalities in Florida.  It does not affect state licensing and does not at this point affect your pest control licensing.  We are watching closely anyway because there is still time for amendments and they may be impacting. The other deregulation packages include one that would review so many occupational licenses each year to determine if licenses are really needed to protect the welfare, health, and safety of Floridians.  We, of course, have kept FPMA in front and will always protect our licensing.  The good news is that we aren’t sure this will remain the way it started.  We are watching and honestly not too worried since we are definitely in need of regulation and licensing!
We are watching the struggles develop between the Commissioner’s office and the legislature.  It would appear that Commissioner Fried has more than one battle going with the legislature and it will probably last to the end.  She has funding tied up now because of her gas pump stickers with her face on them, she has the Department of Energy being cut from her control and she has the issue with gun permits and medical marijuana cards in the background.  On another note, the positions that were vacated earlier in AES have been filled and we have already been working with Assistant Director Courtney Frazier.  We are certain the fight will continue in the legislature but at this point, it has not directly affected AES with the exception of seeing some parts of the DACS bill stripped away (Chapter 487 Raw Ag Commodity Fumigation language).  We will continue to support the Department and work with our AES friends.
In a more general business front, E-Verify is making everyone look stupid.  In my humble opinion, the State needs to let Federal deal with Federal.  I am not sure what this rush was to pursue E-Verify as a mandate to all employee hires, especially in a state that has so much verified immigrant labor in agriculture sectors, hospitality sectors, landscaping, construction and more.  The House has lost its mind if it thinks this is a good idea (in my opinion) and at least the Senate has allowed the option of E-Verify or traditional I9 document lists.  Even as I write this paragraph, a Committee Substitute has been filed that changes the bill again, expanding further into the private sector and completely including anyone in the public sector (contracting included) as well as including the entire ag industry.  This is going to be a show.  Keeping our eyes peeled!
Missy has also been helping us help IFAS!  See the reports from Mary Ann Hooks attached to see where the funding sits.
By the way, the only thing these elected officials must do by Law is the budget.  And the budget is getting close.  The Legislature will debate the key stuff in the $92 million state budget.  Looks like teachers will get a raise, but probably not bonuses and state workers at lower level paying jobs will see a raise of some sort.  Everglades, water quality and projects that address algae blooms will get funded more than $625 million and Florida Forever land preservation programs get only about $20 million of the $100 million the Governor requested and far below the $300 million traditionally marked.  It seems that the Florida Forever money was shifted to cover the other issues with water quality being the priority.
On the Federal level, the war wages on against neonicotinoid pesticides.  FPMA is working with other stakeholders and will keep you apprised.  If you are knowledgeable on responding to the EPA here is the link:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/02/03/2020-01995/pesticide-registration-review-proposed-interim-decisions-for-several-neonicotinoid-pesticides-notice
But that might be a longer fight than we think.  President Trump just proposed a $6.7B reduction in EPA funding for FY2021.  That follows previous reductions.  EPA is having a hard time being years late to deadlines already as witnessed in our industry’s re-registration eligibility determinations.  It should be interesting to see how this influences other things.
There is always something on the federal level but I will leave that stuff alone for now.  I appreciate your support!!  Thank you all and have a good day!!!

UF/IFAS Update
UF/IFAS Workload Update

Thank you. 
Sean and Suzanne
FPMA GAC Co-Chairs

FPMA GAC, et al,
As we approach the end of the session the drama continues.  As of late Friday night, Florida lawmakers came to a voice vote agreement to extend the session one more week to settle final differences on the state budget.    The extension was mutually agreed upon and leaders met over this weekend to finalize details.  Now it will be printed and presented to lawmakers for the 72 hour review period followed by the respective House and Senate votes.  That would mean they will likely vote on Wednesday if the schedule is true.  Allegedly coronavirus is the cause of the last minute chase due to the effects on the economy (tourism, sports, school, etc.).  We will keep watching of course.
I sent the Florida coronavirus stuff out as a source of information for you.  Here is Georgia’s article of interest:  https://www.wctv.tv/content/news/Georgia-under-public-health-State-of-Emergency-568800581.html  Here in FL, Governor DeSantis is pushing for domestic travel restrictions expressing concerns that transient spread is happening here in FL by visitors who are sick.  He has also mobilized the National Guard to help administer and process testing.  We are in new territory with so much hype from the media and misinformation that no one has certainty.  This thing will impact everyone and I am sure your business is being affected or will be affected soon.  We need to stay vigilant and stay calm.  FPMA President Suzanne Graham issued a statement to members about our concerns for our regional meetings and at this point, FPMA is maintaining a cautious watch on the situation without recalling or canceling any scheduled events.  If you are planning to attend a meeting make sure it is still happening because some venues have canceled (UF IFAS rooms, for example, are all canceled) and some speakers have corporate policies restricting travel and meetings. 
If you haven’t seen the news on former Mayor of Tallahassee and Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum you might be shocked.  The man who the DNC was so deeply in love with and who garnered 49% of the votes and lost by only 30,000 votes has fallen hard and fast.  I will let you read the article yourself but suffice it to say his problems and the investigations that were still underway previously are going to huge.  https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article241165641.html  Oh and a quick search said he was “undressed” and the other dude was “in chaps only”.  Wow.  Just wow. 
In another FPMA Alert:
On Monday, the City of Maitland put the elimination of the professional exception from the summertime fertilizer blackout on the agenda for a public hearing on March 23, 2020, at 6:30 PM at City Hall in Maitland (1776 Independence Lane, Maitland, FL).

It is critical that we have a strong showing of professionals in the chambers that evening.   EREF and FPMA are working together to urge members in the Maitland area/or with accounts in the area to attend the meeting on the 23rd   
Here is EREF information for your edification prior to the meeting.
A “playbook” for the City can be found on the EREF website here: http://www.ereflorida.com/downloads/ 
Clicking on the links found on the website noted above provide extensive detailed talking points on the matter  

Next week, EREF will put up an email “Campaign” on their website (www.EREFLorida.com ) and a link. Users will be able to click on the link and be taken to a website where they can enter their name, email address, and affiliation (as well as an optional personal message), and it will send the City Council a standard email expressing opposition to their action.  
Please watch for an email that will indicate when this link is "live" and be sure to participate and speak your mind!.

Stay tuned for further updates next week.

E-Verify did pass in an amended form and is on the Governor’s desk.  Basically, nothing changes for you.  You may use either I-9 forms or E-Verify under most conditions.  We will have the whole thing listed in the final report.  Our FDACS bill did pass and it doesn’t really have anything to do with most of us.  However, late last week we did have a fight that most of you do not know about.  We fought quietly for a reason and got our message across perfectly.  We will be meeting with the concerned party at some point in the future but we are very staunchly maintaining our position.  The issue involved a last-minute amendment that attempted to provide an exemption for direct pay employees (read: salesman or 1099 employees) as pest control employees.  Basically they tried to assert that the federal tax code (26 USC S 3508) provides a carve-out exemption for the definition of an employee in FS Chapter 482.091.   Obviously that would be catastrophic to the framework of 482 and our industry and have a direct effect on consumer protections and our industry’s health.  We were preparing for the nuclear option of having people go to Tallahassee and using Voter Voice and also direct calls but we averted it before that could happen.  We owe Missy Timmins a great big round of applause for getting this done quickly and cleanly.  There are also a few key people on your team that worked on this who are included in our thanks (they choose anonymity).  And in a rare moment that we should be recognizing further, the CPCO and FPMA used resources together to stand united as an industry.  That one is done for now and we will be handling the conversation as it comes in the future.  FPMA will not support undermining our industry in this regard.  We will keep you posted on this one. 
There is always something to keep up with on the federal level and NPMA had its Legislative Days session last week right before the shutdown of visitors over the coronavirus.  Overall, the meetings went well and the industry, by and large, is in a good position with current bills being tracked on the federal level.  There is always work, but we seem to be in a good position right now. 
Tuesday is your day to vote in FL.  Please do it.  Don’t be lazy or un-American (just called you out if you don’t vote!).  Here are some facts on the Presidential race: 

  • Republican voters
    • You have Trump as incumbent
    • Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld
    • Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente
    • Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh (who ended his campaign in February)
  • Democrat voters
    • Former Vice President and Former Senator from Delaware Joe Biden
    • Congresswoman from Hawaii Tulsi Gabbard
    • Former Congressman and current Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders
    • There may be other names on the ballot that have dropped out already.  The field was huge and some names will remain on ballots.
  • Florida Democrats have 248 delegates on the line—219 pledged delegates and 29 superdelegates (https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/03/politics/democrats-delegate-rules-2020-explained/index.html If you want help on what that means)
    • The Democrat Party’s nomination requires 1991 delegates to win
    • It is all official, if not called mathematically before, at the 2020 DNC in Milwaukee, WI July 13-16
    • Last check has Biden at 627, Sanders 551, Gabbard 2.  Some dropped candidates have stolen delegates from the count prior to leaving the race.
  • Republican candidates need 1276 delegates to win the Republican nomination. 
    • Trump has 833 so far, Weld has 1
    • Florida has 122 delegates for the Republican candidate

We will get out more about the session soon.

Thank you. 
Sean and Suzanne
FPMA GAC Co-Chairs


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"In the midst of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
‚Äč~Albert Camus