Rep. Steve Crisafulli Week 3 Legislative Report

By  //  March 23, 2014

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house passes several key pieces of legislation

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THE CAPITOL, TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Week 3 has been another busy week here in Tallahassee. The Florida House met on Wednesday and Thursday this week to pass several key pieces of legislation.

$400 MILLION MOTOR VEHICLE FEE REDUCTION

The House unanimously passed CS/SB 156 on Thursday. This bill will significantly cut the taxes, fees, and surcharges for motor vehicle registration.

The House unanimously passed CS/SB 156 on Thursday. This bill will significantly cut the taxes, fees, and surcharges for motor vehicle registration.

The House unanimously passed CS/SB 156 on Thursday. This bill will significantly cut the taxes, fees, and surcharges for motor vehicle registration.

Registration costs will be reduced by $25.05 for heavy weight vehicles, $21.55 for middle weight vehicles, and $18.55 for light weight vehicles. It is estimated that the bill will constitute $309 million in tax relief in the 2014-2015 Fiscal Year and $395 million on an annual basis. This bill will directly put money back into the pockets of hardworking Floridians.

CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT

HB 7029 clarifies that students should not be disciplined for simulating a firearm or weapon while playing or wearing clothing or accessories which depict a firearm or weapon or an opinion regarding Second Amendment rights.

In recent years, news reports have reported students, many under the age of 10, being suspended or expelled for simulating a firearm or weapon while playing, or for wearing clothing or accessories depicting firearms or supporting firearm rights.

HB 7029 clarifies that students should not be disciplined for simulating a firearm or weapon while playing or wearing clothing or accessories which depict a firearm or weapon or an opinion regarding Second Amendment rights.

However, this bill does preserve the school board’s authority to discipline students when simulating a firearm or weapon if it disrupts classroom learning, causes bodily harm to another person, or places another person in reasonable harm.

THREATENED USE OF FORCE

CS/CS/HB 89 passed on the House floor on Thursday. Florida law contains a variety of provisions setting forth the instances in which a person may use force in self-defense. As it stands today, the law states a person’s actual use of force is justifiable, and this bill clarifies that a person’s threatened use of force is also justifiable.

In recent years, those who have been convicted of crimes such as aggravated assault for threatening to use force have been sentenced to mandatory minimum sentences pursuant to the 10-20-Life law.

This bill requires a judge to depart from the mandatory minimum sentence required by the 10-20-Life law for aggravated assault convictions if a judge makes certain written findings. The bill also clarifies that a person does not have a duty to retreat before using deadly force if they are in a place they have a right to be and are not engaged in a criminal (rather than unlawful) activity.

One of our top priorities as elected officials is to ensure the safety of Florida’s families. By establishing strong, commonsense self-defense laws, we can help make our state a safer place.

OTHER NOTABLE LEGISLATION

Performance Funding for State Universities

The House Higher Education & Workforce Subcommittee considered PCB HEWS 14-02, which would create an incentive-based funding model for state universities that focuses on helping students get jobs after graduation. If passed, the Board of Governors will design a State University Performance Funding Model that will allocate funds to provide rewards and sanctions based on each university’s performance.

More Tax Relief for Floridians

The Finance and Tax Subcommittee workshopped draft concepts for tax relief and economic development. The Subcommittee explored a broad range of tax cuts, with the goal of encouraging economic prosperity for the citizens of Florida. Four potential sales tax holidays were discussed.

These included holidays for “back to school” items, hurricane preparedness, energy and water efficient appliances, and physical fitness facility member-ships. The Subcommittee also discussed other tax credits and exemptions relating to manufacturing machinery and equipment, car seat and child safety restraints, the Community contribution Tax Credit, and a Qualified Television Loan Program.

The Finance and Tax Subcommittee will propose more than $100 million in additional tax relief for Floridians working from the list of options I just mentioned. Combined with the $400 million in vehicle and tag and title reductions, the House will offer Floridians $500 million in tax relief this year – the biggest tax cut of its kind in ten years.

For regular updates on House District 51, be sure to log on to SpaceCoastDaily.com, and follow me on Facebook (Steve Crisafulli) and Twitter (@SteveCrisafulli). Links to follow me on social media can be found below. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.


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