Dear Colleagues and Friends,

Below is a high-level update on the five most significant bills and issues that occurred during the 2022 Florida Legislative session’s fifth week, February 7-11.

Budget Plans Released 
This week, the House released its proposed budget of $105.3 billion and the Senate released its proposed budget of $108.6 billion. Both proposed budgets were reported favorably by each chamber’s Appropriations Committee and will head to the floor for final action. Once approved, House and Senate members will meet in a budget conference committee to reconcile any outstanding funding issues between the two budgets before agreeing to a final budget.  

Redistricting Back On
The Florida Supreme Court denied Governor Ron DeSantis’ request for an advisory opinion on the lines of a North Florida congressional district, allowing the final redistricting map to begin to move through the House committee process. The House released a new proposed congressional map that will be considered next week by the Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee.

Data Privacy Begins to Move  
This year’s highly anticipated data privacy bill, HB 9, was heard by the House Commerce Committee, its first stop. The bill would give consumers the right to determine what personal information can be collected, deleted or corrected. Consumers would also be able to opt-out of the sale or sharing of that personal information. The House included a private cause of action to enforce the provisions against businesses who violate the proposed law. The bill drew strong resistance from business interests and associations who argue that the private cause of action would be damaging to Florida businesses. The Senate companion, SB 1864, has not yet been heard in committee.

Surfside Response
HB 7069, the House’s response to last year’s building collapse in Surfside, Florida, was filed by the Pandemics and Public Emergencies Committee. The bill creates a statewide building recertification requirement for condominiums and cooperative buildings that are three or more stories, 30 years after initial occupancy and for buildings located within three miles of the coast, 25 years after initial occupancy. Community Associations will be required to conduct reserve studies and apply for recertification every 10 years. The bill would prohibit associations from waiving reserves for items that require inspection. A similar bill in the Senate, SB 7042, has been referred to Senate Appropriations.

Crypto Gets Closer 
A bill that defines how cryptocurrencies could be sold or traded by money services companies in Florida is ready for the Senate floor. SB 486 creates definitions in Florida law to distinguish a person trading or selling cryptocurrencies from a person or a company acting as a broker or bank. Those conducting third-party transfers would be regulated by the Office of Financial Regulation as money services businesses, similar to other financial institutions. The bill would require cryptocurrency money services businesses to meet various thresholds including holding real currency liquidity, having surety bonds and maintaining certain market values. The House companion, HB 273, is already on the House floor.

I would be happy to speak with you about any of the issues above. For more information, please contact me.