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2021 Legislative Report #7 DATE: March 12, 2021

Posted 18 days ago by Regina Pommer

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RE: 2021 Legislative Report

DATE: March 12, 2021

THIS WEEK IN REVIEW:

Week two of the 2021 Legislative Session is now over. The second week was packed full of committee meetings on both policy and budget issues. Both chambers also held meetings on the floor to debate legislation.

Senator Jennifer Bradley’s bill banning anonymous code complaints passed its final Senate committee this week. Intended to discourage “frivolous” complaints lodged by citizens that use code enforcement officers as “pawns”, there was a lot of controversy in discussion during the committee. Senator Jeff Brandes argued that it could lead to harassment of people that make legitimate claims. Sen. Bradley stated that it should decrease the number of complaints made and that if it got to that level, the police should be called. Its next stop will be the Senate floor for debate.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls and Senate President Wilton Simpson unveiled a plan to use the sales tax monies collected from online purchases to avoid increasing businesses taxes next year. The Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund was hit hard during the shutdowns due to COVID-19 and traditionally would cause and increase in taxes on businesses to refill the coffer. This proposal would avoid that, diverting the expected $1 billion windfall into the fund once the state requires sales taxes to be collected for all online purchases.

HB 969 by Rep. Fiona McFarland passed committee this week despite stiff opposition from business and lawyers. One of the Governor’s priorities this session, the bill would require businesses to furnish when requested what data a company has on them, how they got it, and how they use it. In addition, they also would have to publish a privacy policy that allowed consumers to opt out of having their data collected. The enforcement would fall under the Attorney General’s office and there would be punishment for both intentional and unintentional use of the data.

The third week of Session will begin Monday, March 15, 2021 and the 2021 Legislative Session will end on April 30, 2021.