Florida lawmakers draft concrete masonry check-off legislation

Sources: CP staff; National Concrete Masonry Association, Herndon, Va.

Florida State Senator Denise Grimsley’s (R-District 21) Concrete Masonry Products Research, Education, and Promotion Act (SB 944) would create a Florida Concrete Masonry Council and authorize it to manage assessments on unit sales to support industry promotion in the Sunshine State.

Modeled after federal, National Concrete Masonry Association-supported “check-off” legislation, the bill and a companion in the Florida House (HB 703) provide a schedule and procedures for the council to conduct a referendum among producers, contractors and other stakeholders to institute an assessment and a per-unit target level. The council would include nine concrete masonry producers, at least five of them Masonry Association of Florida (MAF) members; two MAF masonry contractor members; plus Florida Building Commission and Florida Home Builders Association representatives.

Senator Grimsley outlines rationale in the bill, such that the Florida Legislature “Intends to promote the growth of the concrete masonry industry in this state; to assure the public that a superior, sustainable construction material is produced by a skilled and educated workforce; to provide for the general economic welfare of the state and of the producers, contractors, and end-use consumers of masonry products; and to provide the masonry industry of this state with the authority to establish a self-governed program to help develop, maintain, and expand the state, national, and foreign markets for masonry products and services that are mined, manufactured, produced, or processed in this state.”

In testimony before the Orange County legislative delegation, MAF Executive Director Pat McLaughlin noted, “Our government wants to create jobs, train people for work and get kids to graduate from high school and into good paying jobs. The masonry industry wants to train, conduct research and tell people that it is good for them and the people of Florida to build with sustainable, energy-efficient products that are 100 percent Florida. We need government on our side and partner with business to accomplish this very important initiative.”