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 sixth week, February 14-18.

Budgets Adopted 
The House and Senate adopted their respective budgets. The House passed a $105.3 billion budget and the Senate passed a $108.6 billion budget. Both chambers will negotiate a proposed budget during budget conference later this session. There are several differences between the budgets including a state employee pay raise, $100 million hospital critical care funding for nurse training programs and withholding $200 million for school districts that defied the state’s mask mandate ban.

Congressional Redistricting Moves Forward 
The House’s proposed congressional map was reported favorably by the House Congressional Redistricting Subcommittee. Governor DeSantis submitted a second proposed congressional map which was not considered. The proposed map moves to the House Reapportionment Committee next.

Local Ordinances Bill Closer to House Floor
HB 403 was reported favorably by the House Civil Justice and Property Rights Subcommittee, its second committee stop. The bill requires local governments to prepare a “business impact estimate” before adopting certain local ordinances. Local governments would be prohibited from enforcing any ordinance that is the subject of legal action challenging the ordinance’s validity on the grounds that it is preempted by the Florida Constitution or state law or is arbitrary or unreasonable under certain conditions. The Senate companion, SB 280, has already passed the full Senate and is in House messages.

Tax Package Introduced
The House Ways and Means Committee introduced HB 7071, a tax package that focuses on individual taxpayers by expanding the list of tax-free holidays and providing special tax breaks on various items such as toddler clothes, shoes and diapers. The Senate is expected to propose their tax package next week.

Water Bill Amended and Passed
The Senate amended and passed SB 2508, one of the budget conforming bills relating to environmental resources. The bill was criticized by Governor DeSantis last week as it appeared to divert funding for the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir, a key project in managing polluted water from Lake Okeechobee. The amendment removed a section that eliminated dedicated funding for the reservoir. As the bill was part of the budget adopted by the Senate, it will be part of the upcoming budget negotiations with the House.

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