Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Earlier today, the Legislature adjourned the 2023 Regular Session. Out of 1873 bills that were filed, only 356 bills were passed. Below is a high-level update of significant bills and issues that occurred during the ninth and final week of session, May 1-5.
The House and Senate adopted SB 2500, the state’s budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, which begins July 1. The $117 billion budget is the largest in state history. The budget provides increases in several areas including $2 billion for the new school choice expansion program, HB 1, and a 17% boost in environmental spending, including more than $1 billion for land acquisition and hundreds of millions for water quality and supply initiatives. A summary of the budget can be accessed here.
Local Ordinance Lawsuit Bill Passes
Under a new law passed this week, businesses in Florida would be able to sue local governments to block enforcement of local laws that could hurt their business. SB 170 will allow businesses to sue local governments over ordinances that are arbitrary or unreasonable. Local governments would be required to post a business impact statement prior to passing an ordinance. Ordinances relating to the adoption of a budget, procurement, grant agreement, or to comply with state or federal mandates, would be exempt from this new law.
Data Privacy Bill Passes
The Legislature passed SB 262, a technology transparency and data privacy bill. The bill creates consumer protections for the use of online information and cracks down on targeted advertising by allowing consumers to opt out of having their personal data shared online. It would only apply to companies that make more than $1 billion in gross revenue. Consumers will also be able to access and correct any personal data collected by companies. Additionally, it provides an opt-out provision regarding facial recognition software and bans companies from collecting consumers' personal information through voice recognition features without authorization.
Bill Banning Some Foreign Property
A bill that restricts representatives of hostile countries from buying land in some parts of Florida was passed late yesterday. SB 264 restricts real property purchases by certain people from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria. Chinese nationals who are not legal U.S. residents would not be able to buy any Florida property. People from the other targeted countries would be restricted from buying property near military bases or other critical sites.
Restrictions on Prohibiting COVID Mandates Passes
The House passed SB 252, a bill that would permanently prohibit restrictions on face masks and COVID vaccine mandates. It will also give patients the right to access alternative treatments for the disease after consulting with a doctor. Legislators had previously adopted bans on vaccine mandates and vaccine passport requirements back in 2021. However, some of those provisions were set to expire later this year.
Thank you for subscribing to the Rotunda Report. The 2024 Legislative Session begins in January. I would be happy to speak with you regarding issues from this session or the next that could impact your business. For more information, please contact me.