This was a busy week in the Florida House. Here is a brief summary of some notable legislation heard by House committees.
HB 155 – Prohibition of Electronic Gaming Devices
On Friday, the House Select Committee on Gaming passed legislation to outlaw Internet cafes in Florida. As you may have seen earlier this week, a federal investigation led to the arrest of 57 people and the closure of 49 Internet cafes across Florida. Charges include operating illegal slot machines, racketeering, and money laundering. Both the House and Senate are expected to move swiftly on this matter and take action against these establishments.
HB 7011 – Florida Retirement System
The State Affairs Committee, which I chair, met this week and discussed HB 7011 – Pension Reform, which relates to Florida’s retirement system. The House is trying to reform and modernize Florida’s retirement system by requiring new employees hired after January 1, 2014 to enroll in a 401(k)-style retirement plan. Let me be clear – this bill does not impact the benefits of those who are currently enrolled in the Florida Retirement System.
HB 7065 – Everglades Improvement and Management
After passing through the State Affairs Committee last week, the Appropriations Committee this week voted in favor to move HB 7065 forward, and it is now able to heard on the House floor. The Everglades Forever Act (EFA) is the primary Florida law pertaining to the management, protection, and restoration of the Everglades. This bill amends the Everglades Forever Act to help move the final phase of Everglades restoration forward.
HB 569 – Campaign Finance
One of the House’s main priorities this year is fixing our state’s campaign finance system. HB 569 was passed favorably this week in the State Affairs Committee. This legislation will increase transparency and accountability in our elections system by requiring more frequent campaign finance reporting and ensuring dollars raised by political committees are spent to directly influence elections.
HB 4011-Red Light Cameras
HB 4011 received its first committee hearing this week. This bill would repeal the statutory authority for local governments to use red light cameras.