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H W Davis
  • Visit Florida on track to survive another legislative session

    Throughout the session, Historic City News has followed an ongoing issue critical to St Johns County regarding the continuation of Visit Florida.  The state’s tourism marketing agency, which was set to shut down next year, is still recovering from a scandal that occurred several years ago.

    Now, the public-private tourism marketing agency has gotten a new lease on life … but disagreements remain between the State House and Senate over how best to proceed.

    • Where things stand: The House on Wednesday passed a bill to extend Visit Florida’s authorization in law until October 1, 2028, while the Senate prefers an extension until 2031.  The Senate says it will accept that version of the bill when it returns to that chamber.
    • What’s the snag: That doesn’t mean everything is settled. The Senate prefers to give Visit Florida $50 million in recurring funds, a steadier funding source than the nonrecurring $50 million preferred by the House, essentially one-time funds that aren’t guaranteed the next year. That issue still needs to be hashed out.
    • How’d we get here: The fight over the state’s tourism marketing agency goes back years — and the agency has managed to survive, albeit with limitations to its budget. Although it was supposed to be eliminated in 2020, lawmakers allowed the organization to stay in existence to 2023.
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