Displaying items by tag: 2021 Legislative Session

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 8, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

SB 50 Passes House Floor; Bill Requires Out-of-State Businesses to Collect and Remit Sales Tax

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida House today passed SB 50, the Senate companion to House legislation sponsored by Rep. Chuck Clemons and Rep. Chip LaMarca. This legislation will relieve Floridians of a cumbersome tax payment obligation and level the playing field for Florida retailers to competing with foreign out-of-state businesses.

“This historic measure is a win for all Floridians as it provides equity in sales tax collection, bolsters Florida's COVID-ravaged Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund and provides long-term relief on Florida's Business Rent Tax,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “The proposal provides a substantial boost to Florida’s retail industry that will allow for economic recovery, increased hiring and higher wages. We’re extremely grateful to House sponsors, Rep. Clemons and Rep. LaMarca, and Speaker Sprowls for their leadership in tackling this critical issue. We look forward to the timely concurrence of the Florida Senate.”

SB 50, sponsored by Sen. Joe Gruters passed the Senate floor last month.

Given a new amendment was added, SB 50 will now be sent back to the Florida Senate for approval.

To read SB 50, visit: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/50.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Published in Media Relations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 8, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Tallahassee, FL – Upon final passage of SB 50 on the Senate floor today,  Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, released the following statement:

"There was a resounding sigh of relief from Florida retailers across the state today as they witnessed the passage of SB 50 by both chambers in the State Legislature. This critical legislation applies the online sales tax requirements fairly across all businesses, no matter whether they are headquartered here in Florida, across the country or around the world. By fixing the glitch, the Legislature has also established a source of revenue to replenish the state’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund. Importantly, the legislation provides long-term tax relief for all businesses that pay the commercial rent tax. We are thankful for the support of Senate President Wilton Simpson, House Speaker Chris Sprowls and bill sponsors, Senator Joe Gruters, Representatives Chuck Clemons and Chip LaMarca, for their efforts to "fix the glitch" in Florida's tax system."

To read SB 50, visit: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/50.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Published in Media Relations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 29, 2021

CONTACT: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (202) 680-9262

Governor Ron DeSantis Signs SB 72 into Law, Establishing Protections for Businesses Against Frivolous COVID-19 Claims & Lawsuits

Tallahassee, FL –  Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 72 into law today, which establishes COVID-19 liability protections for Florida businesses and health care workers. 

"The Florida Retail Federation is thankful to our Governor for his leadership and support for Florida retail businesses during this unprecendented time," says Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. "The COVID-19 pandemic has brought severe challenges to our retailers both small and large. But our Florida businesses have remained resilient in their recovery. They have reopened quickly and thoughtfully to safely serve their communities. With this bill signed into law, Florida retailers have the liability protection they deserve. We appreciate the leadership of Sen. Brandes and Rep. McClure for championing this key legislation." 

SB 72, Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19, will protect Florida businesses and health care providers who work in good faith to implement public health guidelines to prevent the spread of illness, from frivolous and unjust lawsuits. 

The legislation provides requirements for a civil action based on a COVID-19-related claim and provides that the plaintiff has the burden of proof in such action. The newly-signed law is effective immediately and applies retroactively. 

Florida retailers have gone above and beyond to protect their teams and their customers during the pandemic. To keep customers safe and healthy while shopping, retail store team members are taking appropriate health precautions to prevent the spread of illness. Many stores are offering alternatives to shopping in-store, such as curbside or delivery services.

To read SB 72, visit: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/72.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Published in Media Relations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 16, 2021
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

The Florida House Ways & Means Committee Hosted Workshop Discussion with Florida Retailers on Impact of Broken System to Florida Businesses

Tallahassee, FL – The House Committee on Ways & Means hosted a workshop on Monday to discuss remote commerce and sales and use tax. The workshop featured a panel that included three Florida retailers and members of the Florida Retail Federation (FRF).

The workshop was prompted by House Bill 15, a proposal sponsored by Representatives Chuck Clemons and Chip LaMarca that would “fix the glitch” in Florida’s tax laws by enforcing the collection of sales tax from online businesses.

Currently, all of Florida’s retailers collect and remit state and local sales taxes, but online and foreign businesses do not. Members of the FRF who participated in the workshop include: Clara Arrington, the assistant general counsel of Badcock Home Furnishings, Larry Sinewitz, the executive vice president of BrandsMart USA, and Debbie Harvey, president and COO of Ron Jon Surf Shop.

During the discussion, the retailers described the damaging effects of "showrooming," or visiting a store in-person to view a product and then purchasing at a discounted rate from an online retailer.

“Our sales associates work hard,” said Clara Arrington of Badcock Home Furnishings. “They’re knowledgeable about the products. Customers are able to come in, see the products, see what they look like, how they feel, ask questions… but they’re able to look on their phones and see other retailers that have been given a 6 to 7 percent head start. Not only does that hurt the corporation, but it hurts the dealers who are small business owners and the associates who operate on a commission structure. We’re at a disadvantage because of the unequal enforcement of the sales tax.”

Consumers may find the same product available in-store and online at a competitive price before sales tax is calculated, but the total price could be 6 to 7 percent cheaper if the out-of-state retailer fails to collect and remit the sales tax owed.

Lary Sinewitz of BrandsMart USA echoed this problem. He stated, “When somebody can come into our marketplace and sell things for 7 percent cheaper than we can just because they are not collecting the sales tax... it’s just not correct.”

“All we’re asking for is a level playing field. If we do that – we and our 1700 employees – can stay in businesses. “

Debbie Harvey, a former chair of the FRF, also spoke to the committee. She explained the lack of enforcement of sales tax from purchases made from out-of-state vendors place her business at a price disadvantage. Ultimately, it hurts the employees, who are fellow Florida residents and neighbors who support the state's economy.

“The proposed legislation is crucial to the success of our Florida retail stores,” said Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “Florida retailers just want a fair shake. It's time we fix the glitch and require out-of-state retailers to comply with the law. We are proud to support House Bill 15, and we are grateful to Reps. Clemons and LaMarca for bringing this issue to light.”

You may watch the online commerce workshop here.

To learn more about HB 15, click here.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION

The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Published in Media Relations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 25, 2021
CONTACT: Amanda Bevis (202) 680-9262

SB 72 Passed Its First Committee Stop, Senate Judiciary, with 7-4 Vote

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 72 today, a measure sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes that will protect Florida businesses that implement public health guidelines to prevent the spread of illness, from frivolous and unjust lawsuits. The Florida Retail Federation was present to urge Senators to support the proposed measure.

"Florida retailers are hiring Floridians, working on the front lines to provide essential supplies throughout the pandemic and giving back to their communities. On behalf of all of our retailers - small and large - we support his legislation,” said Jake Farmer of the Florida Retail Federation. "This is important to allow our retailers to safely reopen and fully recover.”

SB 72, Civil Liability for Damages Relating to COVID-19, provides requirements for a civil action based on a COVID-19-related claim and provides that the plaintiff has the burden of proof in such action. If passed and signed into law by the Governor, the law will be effective immediately and apply retroactively. Next, the bill will be heard by the Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee.

Florida retailers have gone above and beyond to protect their teams and their customers during this unprecedented time. To keep customers safe and healthy while shopping, retail store team members are wearing masks to prevent the spread of illness.

Many stores are offering alternatives to shopping in store. Take advantage of curbside or delivery services where available. If you’re shopping online, please remember to "Find It In Florida" and consider purchasing from stores that have a physical presence in Florida.

ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION
The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.

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Published in Media Relations
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