Joined by Consulates General from countries in South America, Europe and North America, Governor Rick Scott today signed HB 7059 by Representative Daniel Davis relating to drivers licensing into law. The first bill this year to reach Governor Scott's desk, HB 7059 repeals a law requiring an International Driving Permit for all foreign drivers visiting Florida.
Governor Scott said, "Florida is committed to being the number one tourist destination in the world, and signing this bill into law will ensure that our international visitors continue to come to Florida. Florida has had two consecutive years of record visitation to Florida, which has created thousands of jobs for Florida families."
"Tourists from all over the world should be able to visit our state and see everything we have to offer," said Representative Davis. "I thank Governor Scott for his support of this bill and I am proud to join him in this bill signing event."
Co-Sponsor, Senator Jeff Brandes said, "I am proud that Governor Scott joined the legislature in supporting this bill. This new law will allow all visitors to enjoy what we take advantage of every day here in Florida, while also adding to our economy and supporting jobs for Floridians."
Representatives from AAA-The Auto Club Group and the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) also joined Governor Scott in signing this bill into law.
"AAA applauds this swift action by the Florida Legislature and Governor Rick Scott repealing the 2012 law that required an International Driving Permit for all foreign drivers," said Kevin Bakewell, chief public affairs officer for AAA."This repeal illustrates the state's commitment to remaining a top US destination for international tourists, including our Canadian neighbors, many of whom call Florida their winter home."
"Effective immediately, Canadians in Florida can go back to doing what they have always been able to do -- drive with peace of mind in the Sunshine State using their provincial driver's license," said Jeff Walker, CAA Vice President of Public Affairs. "CAA is pleased that the voices of its members and others were listened to by state officials, and that the state of Florida has removed any uncertainty."
Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA said, "Last year, the Florida tourism industry welcomed nearly 14 million visitors from 181 countries who spent $15 billion. We thank Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for taking quick action to ensure our vital international visitors continue to feel welcome in the Sunshine State."
Kevin McGurgan, Consul General of the UK said, "I welcome the repeal of the international driving license law. If implemented, this legislation would have unnecessarily affected many of the 1.5 million UK nationals who visit Florida annually."
The Consulate of Italy said, "We applaud the Governor and Legislature for their quick action in repealing this burdensome requirement, which had raised concerns among many Italians traveling to Florida for business or pleasure. This action will certainly enhance Florida as both a tourism and a business destination for Italian citizens."
Eva Alexandra Kendeffy, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany said, "The German Consulate General is very pleased that Florida has repealed the international driver license law. This will create legal certainty and facilitate German tourism to Florida. A substantial number of German tourists visit Florida's manifold attractions and beautiful beaches every year. They will highly appreciate this measure."
Eliminating the Tax on Manufacturing Equipment
Governor Scott signed the bill at the Florida Chamber of Commerce's International Days, where he also highlighted the importance of eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing equipment and supporting Florida ports, in order to maximize Florida's international trade.
"Florida faces a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform our economy and become a global hub for trade, logistics, services and Florida-origin exports," said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. "The Florida Chamber's International Days conference is laser focused on the important role international business plays in our state's economy. As we prepare to make Florida more competitive by doubling Florida-origin exports, the Florida Chamber is pleased to work side-by-side with Governor Rick Scott in helping to enhance Florida's manufacturing base -- an industry essential to growing Florida's international trade."