On September 24-25, Miami-Dade County held a P3 Institute entitled “The P3 Pipeline: A Forum for the Private Sector.” Among the topics discussed at the Institute was a measure currently before the Florida Legislature that, if enacted, will make the P3 procurement process easier for all parties involved.

Two bills, House Bill 97 and House Bill 95, have advanced to House committees and are moving through the legislative process. HB 97, known as “Public Records and Public Meetings,” is currently in the State Affairs Committee. HB 95, a companion bill known simply as “Public-Private Partnerships,” is in the Appropriations Committee. Approval by all required legislative committees is a necessary step before these bills can be introduced in the 2016 legislative session.

If it passes, HB 97 would exempt unsolicited P3 proposals by responsible public entities from public records and public meeting requirements for a specified time period. HB 95, a corollary bill, revises provisions regarding responsible public entities and unsolicited proposals for qualified projects. In doing so, HB 95 expands the list of entities authorized to conduct P3s to include state universities, special districts, school districts (rather than school boards), and institutions included in the state college system.

On a related note, the bills’ sponsor, Representative Greg Staube (R-Sarasota), has stated that several state legislators (without naming the legislators specifically) are discussing the possibility of a centralized state office that could offer Public Private Partnership procurement expertise to Florida counties. The office could be housed in an existing state agency, like the Department of Management Services or Enterprise Florida, to save money.