2021 Legislative Session, One for the Ages
Only 275 bills of the 3,096 introduced passed this Session and will go to the Governor. The building was off-limits to citizens and lobbyists for the most part. FADA had to depend on your calls and emails to House members and Senators. We are so proud of those of you who stopped and responded when we asked.
What Failed:
  • Big Tech Data Privacy bill – Dead (Trial lawyer version DOA) (SB 1734)
  • Dealer bills from Braman and FADA died in committee (HB 1065 and HB 677)
  • Anti-dealer bills on state procurement and right to repair –Dead (SB 1152 and SB 374)
What Passed:
  • COVID Liability Protection for Businesses – Passed early in Session (SB 72)
  • 10 Day Notice Required to DMV for Major Changes or Non-renewal of Garage Policy (SB 1194)
  • Florida No-fault Insurance is retired and all drivers will buy 25/50k limits. Florida will become a comparative law state and drivers will have to ensure themselves properly for their own protection, the protection of others they damage and protection against uninsured or under-insured drivers. Medical payments coverage will be optional. (Insurers are asking for a veto by Governor DeSantis)

The Details:

The top priority of the Governor and leadership to pass a complicated data privacy bill failed in the contentious last week of Session. This is great news for all dealers and other Florida businesses. But don’t rest – it will be back and you will need to continue to educate your Legislators back home.

The scary part of the debate over this data privacy bill was that it was backed by the House and Senate leadership and the Governor. This legislation was a potential political win-win in the eyes of those in power in Tallahassee because the public outcry against the big tech companies has never been more real and focused. Ultimately, FADA and other business groups made it clear that the House version, with trial lawyers as the enforcers, would be an awful blow to Florida businesses. The Senate version, while more business-friendly, was still complicated and would have cost you thousands of dollars in compliance. This heat seeking missile narrowly missed passage in the last week and we all breathed a sigh of relief!

Braman Management offered up their franchise bill and it was filled with some issues that the automakers did not want to discuss, let alone see passed. As a result our opponents hired a cadre of lobbyists and went to work to convince the House and Senate leadership that our ideas were not something that should be considered during such a difficult legislative Session. The OEMs and JM Family teamed up to oppose our DMV bill and the Braman bill and they were successful.

With our legislation in a holding pattern, FADA focused on a few bills that required full scale opposition to ensure that they did not pass. One bill introduced by Senator Jeff Brandes would have pulled all state and local vehicles into a single purchase program and our dealers who today provide assistance and service to their localities would have been completely removed from the procurement process. That bill died in committee (SB 1152).

The farming community became the focus for a bill that would have eventually lead to us fighting the long standing battle with independent repair shops over the right to repair. Your factory lobbyists joined us in battling this right to repair farm equipment bill and it was rejected. This same legislation continues to appear as part of a national effort by the independent repair facilities to get the codes and technical abilities to do repair work on your vehicles (SB 374).

COVID protection for businesses helps to ensure that your dealership will not be sued as long as you provided a reliably safe environment for your employees and customers (SB 72).

In a larger bill DMV asked for the ability to ensure that dealers keep their required insurance coverages in place. If you renew or terminate coverage or make significant changes you must notify DMV within 10 days to avoid fines and penalties (SB 1194).

Florida caught up with other states and passed a “save the retailers” tax bill that results in proper sales tax collections on online sales. Not a problem for us as we have had a system for proper taxing of autos for years (SB 50).

Property insurance reform passed and the result should be an improvement in homeowners’ insurance availability and future pricing (SB 76).

When you step back and look at the commitment these 160 men and women make to lead our government it is almost hard to fathom how a process that offered up 3096 bills for consideration ended up passing only 275 bills for the Governor’s signature. This is a definite sign of the times and this small pass ratio was not due to COVID. Yes, the buildings were essentially off-limits to Florida’s citizens and the lobby corps, which made it hard to put on a full court press to pass your bills. But this legislature took on some huge issues but failed to act on thousands more, so we were not the only association to see its agenda go up in smoke during the 60 day Session.