Notices & Alerts


2017 Legislative Session

For information on legislative issues that were passed or defeated in the 2017 legislative session, view the FRLA’s 2017 Legislative Scorecard.

2016 Legislative Session

For information on legislative issues that were passed or defeated in the 2016 legislative session, view the FRLA’s 2016 Legislative Scorecard.

2015 Legislative Session

For information on legislative issues that were passed or defeated in the 2015 legislative session, view the FRLA 2015 Legislative Scorecard.


Past Advocacy Work

COMMUNICATIONS SERVICES TAX (CST): PASSED – 2014

Throughout 2012, the Department of Revenue (DOR) started sending out negative audits to hotel companies around the state resulting in tax bills for communications services over the internet that had never been collected before. In one case, a hotel was assessed $138,000 in new tax bills for communication services.

These “CST” audits were completed without notice to the industry or the public and the inconsistent auditing process, caused uncertainty and confusion in the hospitality industry. In essence, the hotel industry was unable to determine what constitutes a taxable event under the new enforcement interpretation of the DOR as it relates to communications services tax.

After eighteen months of working with the DOR with no resolution, and over 90 cases with tax liabilities over $100,000 held in abeyance, legislation became necessary. With recommendations from the Department of Revenue, HB 803, provided the necessary clarification that certain communications over the internet, especially between a franchisor and franchisee, does not make hotels a communications service provider.

Industry cost savings over $116 million.

(Using an average audit of $50,000 and 50% of the hotels, motels and bed & breakfast registered with DBPR.)

PAID LEAVE PREEMPTION: PASSED – 2013

Beginning 2012, the business community came under attack by local governments and organized labor groups wanting to mandate certain employee benefits. Immediate action was required during the 2013 Legislative Session. Local governments continue to intrude in areas where they have never ventured before. County and municipal governments around the state started to seek enactment of ordinances that would require businesses to provide certain employee benefits, including paid leave.

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association created a coalition of more than 30 associations and businesses with the ultimate goal of preempting local governments from passing ordinances requiring employers to provide certain employee benefits not already required by state or federal law.

Mandated paid leave was considered by both the Orange County and Miami-Dade County Commissions in 2012. Similar measures across Florida and the country seeking to mandate that all private sector employers provide both full and part time workers various employee benefits, including paid leave, continued to grow.

Annual industry cost savings over $156 million.

(Based on an average of 15 employees per restaurant/hotel, earning $10 per hour, receiving 6 days paid leave per year, and using 25% of the restaurants/hotels registered with DBPR.)

* The above example is based upon a reasonable interpretation of the requirements form the proposed Orange County ballot initiative.

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION TAX RATE REDUCTION: PASSED – 2012

For two years state lawmakers have pushed back significant hikes in the state’s unemployment compensation taxes, however, businesses across the state are scheduled to get a sizable tax rate hike in 2012.

Florida’s trust fund began to deplete in 2009 by skyrocketing unemployment, causing Florida to borrow from the federal government. The taxable wage base was scheduled to increase from $7,000 to $8,500 in 2009, but business groups persuaded the legislature to delay an increase in the wage base for two years in hopes the economy would turn around and spark new hiring.

Unfortunately, Florida has endured sustained high levels of unemployment and 46,000 businesses in Florida would have seen the minimum tax rate per worker jump from $72.10 per employee to $171.00 (minimum rate). The maximum rate (high risk experience) would have jumped from $378.00 to $459.00. Since 2009 Florida has been forced to borrow $2.4 billion from Washington to keep the trust fund solvent.

Annual industry cost savings of $50 million. (Based on 1 million hospitality employees with a savings of $50 per person.)

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: FAILED – 2013

With the recent decision by the President of the United States to raise the Federal Minimum Wage for government employees many states, including Florida, have seen bills designed to match or exceed Federal standards.

SB 456 and HB 385 were introduced in the 2013 Florida Legislature to increase Florida’s minimum-wage to $10.10 per hour, up from the current $7.93 per hour.

Currently, Florida’s minimum wage is based on the percentage increase in the federal Consumer Price index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers in the South Region.

Would have cost the industry an additional 22% of labor costs.


Resources

Combat Human Trafficking: Recognize the Signs
Traffickers use hotel and motel rooms when setting up encounters between victims of sex trafficking and those individuals purchasing sex. Labor trafficking is also present in both the hotel industry’s workforce and in the supply chain of its products. The U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline found hotels and motels to be a common venue for sex trafficking, with nearly 10 percent of known trafficking cases reported to them in 2016 taking place in a hotel or motel. Because of this, it is extremely important that hotel and motel staff members are educated on the signs of such activity so it can be reported in the proper manner. Below are suggested tools to combat human trafficking: