Legislative Session 2022 February 8 Update

The old Florida State Capital building, now a museum, stands in front of the new capital offices in Tallahassee, Florida.
We are excited to share that both of the bills filed that will further protect agritourism operators are moving through the Legislature. Senate Bill 1186, by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow), passed its second committee, the Senate Finance and Tax, unanimously, Thursday, February 3rd. It will be heard next in the Appropriations Committee, its final stop.
House Bill 717, by Josie Tomkow (R-Auburndale), was heard in the House Ways & Means committee on Tuesday, January 27th and in the State Affairs committee on Tuesday, February 9th and passed both committees unanimously.  The House bill is ready to be heard on the Floor.  
These bills would prohibit a property appraiser from denying or revoking a farm’s agricultural land classification solely due to a bona fide farm conducting agritourism activities. The latest staff analyses of the Senate bill may be read here and the House bill here.Your Association was present at all of the meetings and will continue to make our voice heard so that support for the bill continues.  Additionally, we appreciate the support of the Ag Coalition and its members who have been present at the committee hearings.

The Association has been very supportive of VISIT Florida, the division of tourism marketing within Enterprise Florida. Bills extending the program have passed all of their committees in both the House (HB 489 by Representative Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg) and Senate ( SB 434 by Senator Ed Hooper (R-Palm Harbor).  The Senate voted to pass the bill today by a vote of 36-1  and will send it to the House for consideration. The House bill is waiting to be debated on the floor soon. The bills will extend the VISIT Florida program from sunsetting on October 1, 2023 to either October 1, 2028 (House version) or 2031 (Senate version).  If you recall, FATA has received grants in the past from VISIT Florida to publish our toolkit and our create our mobile app.

Additionally, VISIT Florida is seeking an appropriation from the Legislature. The appropriation subcommittee chairs released their recommendations yesterday and included $50 million for VISIT Florida (non-recurring dollars in the House; recurring dollars in the Senate).

We will continue monitoring these bills and more as session continues. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Lena Juarez
Executive Director