The Florida Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday that preventing frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19 is at the top of its priority list as the state’s 2021 legislative session approaches. Also high on the list: investing in Florida tourism promotion and bolstering the state’s infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population.
“Some opportunity personal injury trial lawyers are planning to make this already formidable challenge even more fraught with uncertainty by using the pandemic as a reason to sue local businesses,” said chamber member Chas Bailes, president of the Orlando-based ABC Fine Wines and Spirits.
“Many of these lawsuits will be frivolous and not intended to ever go to trial, while putting local businesses in the position of absorbing costs they cannot afford.”
Bills to prevent frivolous lawsuits have already been filed in the Florida House and Senate.
The chamber also plans to focus this year on promoting Florida tourism.
“As we've been waiting through this pandemic, the world is building a pent-up demand to be able to come back to this great state that we all call home,” said Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Wilson. “And so as the world is thinking about when will they be able to travel again, the Florida Chamber knows, and we believe, that for every one dollar that’s invested in Visit Florida, taxpayers get a $3.15 return on that one dollar of investment.”
The powerful business lobby also intends to focus on workforce development and infrastructure improvements in Tallahassee as the legislature meets for its new session beginning in March.
The chamber expects Florida’s economy to return to pre-pandemic levels by mid-2022, though it says the tourism industry may take longer to rebound.
Contact Sydney Boles at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.