Submitted by Madeline Wright, Assistant Director of Legislative Affairs
As the Legislative session is rapidly approaching, we are working hard in Tallahassee to prepare and, hopefully, see our Farm Bureau priorities cross the finish line. Our two main initiatives for this year are crafting health plans for our members and combatting labor issues by reducing housing regulations for H2-A workers. Please find a debrief of those below.
HEALTH PLANS – One challenge we see our producers face as small business owners is increased costs – costs for inputs, cost of fuel, and other costs, such as affordable healthcare for their families. Farm Bureau is uniquely positioned to address that challenge through a new member benefit that includes an emerging opportunity of health plans. Too often health insurance is too expensive for small business owners and the Health Insurance Marketplace provides no alternative. Partnering with Tennessee Farm Bureau Health Plans, Florida Farm Bureau can provide a health plan option to our members. It will take a tweak to State law, and we are preparing to address this in the 2024 Legislative Session.
LABOR – We are seeing the impacts of the immigration bill from last session, increased costs for H2A workers, and potentially, new regulations at the local and federal level when it comes to heat illness and standards. HB 1343 almost crossed the finish line last session to prohibit local governments from regulating farm worker housing. We want to reduce the obstacles to doing business in Florida and a patchwork of local ordinances will create additional undue burdens on our growers. This bill has been filed again for the 2024 Legislative Session, and we are anticipating success this year.
FARM BUREAU DAY – It is also important to note that Florida Farm Bureau Day will take place on January 16. We look forward to having our members in Tallahassee to be the voice of agriculture on the Hill!
We look forward to having you join us for the 2024 Farm Bureau Day and Taste of Agriculture Reception. If you plan to attend Farm Bureau Day in Tallahassee, please