GCPPA and PPAF Successfully Petition for Bill Amendment in Tallahassee

Today, the Gold Coast Promotional Products Association (GCPPA) and the Promotional Products Association of Florida (PPAF) announced a major legislative victory in Tallahassee.

In 2008, a Tallahassee home health care bill passed that included a section outlawing “remuneration of any size” to any doctor, nurse, or any referral source in health care. The intent was to outlaw big honoraria, country club memberships, cruises and the like from being given to these individuals in exchange for their endorsement or referrals.

An unintended consequence of the legislation severely impacted the promotional products industry. The phrase “remuneration of any size” meant that pens, notepads, coasters or any other product used to promote a brand to a health care professional were roped in with the big-ticket items and were similarly banned.

The boards of GGPPA and PPAFlorida became aware of this law and the remuneration clause early in 2009. “We really had no idea that it had passed. Nor what we could do about it,” said Wayne Greenberg, MAS, legislative chair for PPAF. “We just knew that we had to create awareness of our industry.”

What did was create a new bill to amend the previous one, specifically the “remuneration” clause. GGPPA and PPAFlorida aided in drafting new language for the bill, to read as:

“Remuneration” means any payment or other benefit made directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind. However, if the term is used in any provision of law relating to health care providers, the term does not apply to an item that has an individual value of up to $15, including, but not limited to, a plaque, a certificate, a trophy, or a novelty item that is intended solely for presentation or is customarily given away solely for promotional, recognition, or advertising purposes.

“It took two legislative sessions, hiring a lobbyist to take us around, two promotional products days in the state capital to raise awareness, and a lot of sweat equity on the part of the two legislators who sponsored our bill to see it through,” Greenberg said. “It passed with two minutes left in the 2012 legislative session. Special thanks to our sponsors Senator Jack Latvala and Representative Jim Frishe who made it happen. And a big thanks to Ms. Mary Ann Stiles of Stiles & Grace, P.A., our lobbyist who mentored, cajoled and pushed every step of the way.”

Not only does the bill correct the damaging language in the original health care bill, it also raised awareness of the law and sets a precedent for other affected business sectors that need to have their grievances addressed.

“A lot of hard work went into this effort and we just barely got it through this year,” Greenberg said, adding, “The journey was worth it.”

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