In the Capitol this week: Pro-Business and Retirement Fund Bills

It was a relatively lax week in legislative chambers in Tallahassee, as state lawmakers debate bills and amendments up for consideration in the 2011 Florida Legislative Session.


Gov. Rick Scott created the Statewide Drug Trafficking Strike Force. “I applaud Governor Scott’s vision for a comprehensive statewide strategy to address the problems of prescription and illegal drug abuse in our state,” said House Speaker Dean Cannon in a statement he release on Monday.


HB 5005 and 5007 would streamline and reduce regulations for businesses in Florida. HB 5005 would repeal license requirements for certain industries. HB 5007 would merge duplicative authority of licensure agencies. Both were introduced on Monday.


House Bill 1405 would reduce a state employee’s contribution to their retirement fund by 3 percent. It also raises the retirement age from 62 to 65 for new state hires, based on the longevity of the state’s existing workforce. The state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program would also be eliminated for new enrollees.


“House Bill 1405 proposes reasonable adjustments to the Florida Retirement System. These adjustments are necessary to avoid layoffs, pay cuts and other detrimental actions that would adversely affect public employees,” said Representative Ritch Workman (R-Melbourne), sponsor of HB 1405. “These adjustments to the system will avoid more severe measures and will help modernize the Florida Retirement System.”


The proposed fiscal year 2011-2012 General Appropriations Act passed the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday. “The Florida House crafted a realistic and responsible budget that offers achievable cuts in order to prioritize critical needs without raising taxes on families and businesses,” said House Speaker Cannon (R-Winter Park).


“The House budget package ensures that we fulfill our constitutional responsibility to balance the state budget in the near-term, but also provides for future security through the preservation of our bond rating by setting aside adequate reserves.”