The Florida Legislature concluded the 2023 Session sine die Friday at 11:00 A.M. The House and Senate agreed to a $117 billion budget. This year, 355 bills passed both the House and Senate.
Below is a weekly update from Gunster’s Government Affairs Consultants with a summary of the week’s issues, how they may impact your business and a recap of bills that moved through the Legislature this session.
SB 266 – Higher Education: SB 266 by Representative Erin Grall passed the full House this week. The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
The bill includes several provisions intended to focus state university administrative and curricular activities on education that benefits students and the state. Specifically, the bill:
- Requires the Board of Governors (BOG) of the State University System to:
- Include in the alignment of university missions, and in its strategic plan, economic development needs of the state and nondegree credential attainment, respectively.
- Provide a directive for universities regarding their programs for any violations of state law regarding discrimination and those based on specified theories.
- Modifies personnel policies at each university by:
- Assigning hiring authority to the president, who may delegate authority to the executive team or individual deans.
- Prohibiting a pledge or oath in the admissions or personnel process except those to state or federal law, or the State or United States Constitution.
- Specifying that the faculty grievance process terminates with the university president.
- Requiring the university president to present to the university board of trustees evaluations and salaries for personnel earning over $200,000.
- Provides additional restrictions on public education institution spending, to include diversity, equity, and inclusion and social and political activism, with exceptions for students organizations, compliance with law, accreditation, and access programs.
- Adds to the preeminent state research universities program a metric regarding STEM-related research, and revises the number of standards an institution must meet to earn a designation.
- Modifies the general education program to:
- Require a periodic review of general education core courses.
- Specify standards for general education core course.
- Require the Articulation Coordinating Committee to submit to the state-level governing boards for approval institution-approved general education course.
- Creates the Institute for Risk Management and Insurance Education, and modifies the purpose, goals, or authorized activities of the Hamilton Center for Classical and Civic Education, Florida Institute of Politics, and the Adam Smith Center for the Study of Economic Freedom.
- Specifies that a required change in accreditation for public postsecondary institutions is a one-time-only change, and prohibits an accrediting agency from compelling an institution to violate state law.
- Modifies the “buy one, get one free” tuition waiver program to include up to two state approved teacher preparation programs, and specifies that students may not lose the tuition waiver if the program is removed from the approved list after enrollment.
HB 443 – Education: HB 443 by Representative Susan Valdes passed the full Senate this week. The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
The bill modifies provisions related to charter school enrollment preferences, charter school sponsors, and the Florida Teachers Classroom Supply Assistance Program. The bill authorizes a charter school to give enrollment preference to students who are the children of a school safety officer assigned to the charter school. In addition, the bill modifies the Florida Teachers Classroom Supply Assistance Program (FTCSAP) to support more classroom teachers by expanding the definition of a classroom teacher for the purposes of the FTCSAP. It also requires a school district to calculate a prorated share of funds to a classroom teacher who teaches less than full time.
Lastly, the bill authorizes private tutoring for up to 25 students in identified facilities.
HB 1069 – Education / Child Protection in Public Schools: HB 1069 by Representatives Adam Anderson and Stan McClain passed the full Senate this week. The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
The bill will restrict instruction on sexual health, such as health education, sexually transmitted diseases and human sexuality to grades 6 through 12, regulate the use of pronouns that do not correspond to the “sex” of a student, teacher or employee as defined by naturally occurring hormones and genitalia at birth, refer to marriage as “heterosexual,” ignoring that current, federal law recognizes same-sex marriage, mandate instruction that gender is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth — an immutable, unchanging characteristic, and allow the objection of one person to restrict access to library materials for all the students where the objection is occurring while the material undergoes review.
HB 891 – Year-round School Pilot Program: HB 891 by Representative Patricia Williams passed the full Senate this week. The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
To study the issues, benefits, and schedule options for instituting a year-round school program for all students, the bill created, beginning with the 2024-25 school year, a year-round school pilot program. The bill allows school districts to apply for participation in the pilot program and specifies that the Commissioner of Education must select five school districts to participate in the program.
HB 733 – Middle School and High School Start Times: HB 733 by Representative John Paul Temple passed the full Senate this week. The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
The measure would require middle schools to start “instructional classes” no earlier than 8:00 a.m. and high schools from starting earlier than 8:30 a.m. School districts will have until fall of 2026 to meet the requirements and make the appropriate transportation implementations.
SB 1580 – Protections of Medical Conscience: SB 1580 by Senator Jay Trumbull passed the full House this week. The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
The bill prohibits health care providers from being discriminated against or suffering adverse action for declining to participate in a health care service based on a conscience-based objection (CBO) and authorizes the attorney general to bring a civil action for appropriate relief. It also provides legislative intent and provides that a health care providers or payor has the right to opt-out of participation in or payment for a health care service based on a CBO.
SB 1550 – Prescription Drugs: SB 1550 by Jason Brodeur passed the full House this week. The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
This legislation places restrictions on Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and create transparency. PBMs are also known as “middlemen” due to “spread pricing.” Spread pricing describes the practice of charging an insurer one price for a drug and paying the pharmacy a lower cost while pocketing the difference. Studies have shown that PBMs have increased the out-of-pocket costs of prescriptions by being the intermediaries between drug manufacturers and health insurers. Legislation relating to PBMs has been filed in the previous years with changes to better regulate the practice of PBMs.
SB 230 – Health Care Practitioner Titles and Designations: SB 230 by Senator Gayle Harrell passed the full House this week. The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
The bill creates s. 456.0621, F.S., for health care partitioner titles and designations. The bill provides that if someone other than an allopathic or osteopathic physician attaches to their name any of the titles or designations listed in the bill, in an advertisement or in a manner that is misleading, deceptive, or fraudulent, the person is practicing medicine or osteopathic medicine without a license and is subject to the provisions in the Florida Statutes relating to the unlicensed practice of a health care profession. Those titles or designations include:
· Doctor of medicine. · M.D. · Doctor of osteopathy. · D.O. · Physician. · Emergency physician. · Family physician. · Interventional pain physician. · Medical doctor. · Osteopath. · Osteopathic physician. · Doctor of osteopathic medicine. · Surgeon. · Neurosurgeon. · General surgeon. · Resident physician. · Medical resident. · Medical intern. · Anesthesiologist. · Cardiologist. · Dermatologist. · Endocrinologist. · Gastroenterologist. · Gynecologist. · Hematologist. · Hospitalist. · Intensivist. · Internist. · Laryngologist. · Nephrologist. · Neurologist. · Obstetrician. · Oncologist. · Ophthalmologist. · Orthopedic surgeon. · Orthopedist. · Otologist. · Otolaryngologist. · Otorhinolaryngologist. · Pathologist. · Pediatrician. · Primary care physician. · Proctologist. · Psychiatrist. · Radiologist. · Rheumatologist. · Rhinologist. · Urologist.
SB 252 – Protection from Discrimination Based on Health Care Choices: SB 252 by Senator Colleen Burton passed the full House this week. The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
The bill prohibits educational institutions, business entities, and governmental entities from requiring proof of vaccination with one of the specified types of vaccinations, post infection recovery from COVID-19, or a COVID-19 test to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the entity or institution. The bill also prohibits business and governmental entities from certain employment practices based on an employee’s, or a potential employee’s, vaccination or post infection status or the refusal to take a COVID-19 test. The bill provides exceptions to these prohibitions for health care providers and practitioners, as long as the provider or practitioner meets specific requirements established by the bill, and for when a mask or facial covering is required safety equipment. Business entities and governmental entities that violate these provisions are subject to discipline by the Department of Legal Affairs (DLA), while educational institutions are subject to discipline by the Department of Health (DOH). Such discipline may include fines of up to $5,000 for each violation.
HB 1521 – Facility Requirements Based on Sex: HB 1521 by Rachel Lora Saunders Plakon passed the full Senate this week. The bill will now head to Governor DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
This legislation would mandate people to use school and other public restrooms that align with their gender at birth or face potential misdemeanor charges if they refuse to leave when asked. The bill also requires public places like stores and schools to have bathrooms for men and women or unisex restrooms. If someone suspects a person’s gender doesn’t match that designation, they could ask them to leave and call the police if they don’t under the bill.
HB 387 – Physician Certifications for the Medical Use of Marijuana: HB 387 by Representative Spencer Roach passed the full senate this week with an amendment.
This bill will expand Florida Statute 456.47, Use of Telehealth to Provide Services, to include telehealth for medical marijuana recertification and with the addition of the amendment this week, will add greater recourse for black farmers to apply and gain licensure for medical marijuana.
HB 7063 – Taxation: HB 7063 by Representative Spencer Roach passed the full senate this week with an amendment.
The full House passed their tax package worth $1.3 billion on Thursday. It includes the following:
- 1% cut to the business rent tax.
- Several sales tax holidays, including an expansion of the Annual Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday held at the beginning of the fall semester and at the beginning of the spring semester. Another tax holiday included in the plan is “Freedom Summer,” which runs from Memorial Day to September 4 and is estimated to save residents $224 million on concert tickets, sporting equipment, and camping supplies.
- Tax exemption on pet food and medication during the state’s Annual Disaster Preparedness Tax Holiday, which would run from May 27 to June 9.
- “Tool-Time” Sales Tax Holiday from September 2 through September 8 for tools and other home improvement items.
- Sales tax exemption on gas stoves, which will save buyers an estimated $6.8 million.
- Permanent exemption for machinery and equipment to produce renewable natural gas
- Tax exemption for certain baby and toddler items.
SB 1604 – Land Use and Development Regulations: SB 1604 by Senator Blaise Ingoglia passed the full House this week with an amendment. The bill will now head to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
The bill revises local comprehensive planning requirements by increasing the two required planning periods to a 10-year and 20-year period, from 5 and 10, and prohibiting local governments that fail to update their comprehensive plans in accordance with the 7-year evaluation and appraisal process from initiating or adopting any publicly-initiated plan amendments.
Also, the bill prevents an independent special district from complying with the terms of a development agreement executed within 3 months preceding a law modifying the manner of selecting members of the governing body of the special district, and requires the new governing body to vote on whether to seek readoption of such development agreement within 4 months of take office.
SB 7054 – Central Bank Digital Currency: SB 7054 passed the full House this week and will now head to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
A proposal that amends Florida’s UCC to define “central bank digital currency” and to expressly state that “money,” as the term is used in Florida’s UCC, does not include a central bank digital currency. Practically speaking, the bill rejects the model amendment proposed by the ULC and the ALI that would redefine “money” for the purposes of the UCC to include a central bank digital currency.
SB 540 – Local Government Comprehensive Plans: SB 540 by Senator Nick DiCeglie passed the full House this week and will now head to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
The bill provides that in challenges to the comprehensive plan and plan amendments, including small scale plan amendments, the prevailing party is entitled to recover attorney fees and costs, including reasonable appellate attorney fees and costs.
The bill revises the statute regulating land development regulations, to provide that land development regulations relating to any characteristic of development other than use, or intensity or density of use, do not apply to Florida College System institutions.
SB 1718 – Immigration: SB 1718 by Senator Blaise Ingoglia passed the full House this week and is now headed to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk for consideration.
The bill, in part:
· Beginning July 1, 2023, requires private employers, with 25 or more employees, to use E-Verify for new employees.
· Expands violations and penalties related to human smuggling when smuggling a minor, more than five people, or when a defendant has a prior conviction for human smuggling and allows prosecution of human smuggling under the Florida Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.
· Prohibits a county or municipality from providing funds to issue community ID cards for individuals who are not lawfully in the country.
· Invalidates driver’s licenses that are exclusively issued by another state to undocumented immigrants and requires the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) to issue citations and maintain a list of out of state classes of driver licenses that are invalid.
· Removes the authority for unauthorized immigrants to be admitted to the Florida Bar, effective November 1, 2028.
· Requires persons who are in the custody of a law enforcement agency and subject to an immigration detainer to submit DNA to the statewide DNA database.
· Requires hospitals that accept Medicaid to collect immigration status data related to admissions and emergency room visits and report to the Agency of Health Care Administration (AHCA).
· For the 2023-2024 fiscal year, provides a $12 million nonrecurring appropriation to the Division of Emergency Management for the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program.
SB 1250 / HB 1305 – Transportation: HB 1305 passed the full House this week and now heads to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk for consideration.
HB 1305 isa general transportation proposal that would allow the Florida Department of Transportation to cover the cost of certain projects in rural areas and would allow law enforcement agencies to install automated license plate readers on state highways, as well as addressing some local transportation issues.
This includes bill includes an amendment that targets Disney’s monorail system. The amendment would give Department of Transportation oversight of the monorail and other fixed-guideway transportation systems “located within an independent special district created by local act which have boundaries within two contiguous counties.” This amendment is part of the planned legislation Governor Ron DeSantis mentioned would be coming in his press conference last week. The Governor said that Disney will now be subject to state inspections of its buildings, monorail systems and rides if someone is injured.
HB 761 – Telephone Solicitation: HB 761 by Representative Tom Fabricio passed the full House this week and will now head to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk for his consideration.
This legislation would clarify certain provisions of this law, including
definitions, written consent requirements, and creates a safe harbor for legitimate
- Prevented devastating oversight of municipalities who own and operate electric, gas, water, and sewer services. The proposed legislation would have forced a utility who serves consumers outside their corporate boundaries to limit rates, fees, and charges as well as limiting the portion of municipal utility revenues that may be used to fund non-utility related general government functions.
- Passed substantive language relating to Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) who manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of pharmacy benefit plans or programs. This soon to be national model is aimed at providing transparency including fees and clawbacks charged to unaffiliated pharmacies, methods to steer patients toward PBM-owed pharmacies, unfair audits and complicated methods to determine pharmacy reimbursement, authorizations and other administrative restrictions, use of specialty drug lists and policies, and impact of rebates and costs to payers and patients.
- Secured a $2 million appropriation for a reclaimed water project for the Town.
- Secured a sales tax exemption for renewal natural gas machinery and equipment and also passed an extension of the current imposition of natural gas fuel taxes until January 1, 2026.
- Provided advice and counsel to a global bond rating agency related to HB 3 Government and Corporate Activism.
- Secured a revision of the prohibition of telephonic sales calls under the Florida Telemarketing Act (FTA) resulting from an inadvertent negative effect on legitimate businesses communicating with their customers. This previous overcite has resulted in a litany of class action lawsuits on Florida businesses many of which are Gunster clients.
- Worked with the House and Senate appropriation chairs to secure $195 million for petroleum contamination cleanup efforts in Florida.
- Secured legislative approval for a $1 million appropriation for our client, the Els for Autism Foundation, located in Jupiter, Florida. This appropriation is designated for a specialized recreation center and aquatics center that will benefit individuals with autism spectrum disorder in the Palm Beach and Treasure Coast area.
- Successful in securing a state appropriation for $750,000 on behalf of The Center for Arts and Innovation.
- Successful in passing legislation that expands Florida Statute 456.47, Use of Telehealth to Provide Services, to include telehealth for medical marijuana recertification.
- Successful in securing a statutory amendment that expands opportunities for black farmers, that were a part of the historic Pigford v. Glickman case, to receive Medical Marijuana Treatment Center licenses through the Florida Department of Health. This addition to Florida law provides a long-awaited remedy to black farmers seeking to enter Florida’s $1.7 billion medical cannabis industry.
- Successful in passing Fair Market Valuation (FMV) legislation which will encourage private investment of water and wastewater utility systems in Florida.
- Successful in passing legislation that would designate all water and wastewater personnel in Florida as essential first responders and would authorize DEP to issue a reciprocal license to qualified water operators and certain veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces.
- Planned and hosted an association client’s fly-in, including planning a reception, a dinner, and over 60 meetings with legislators and executive agency representatives.
- Worked with FDACS, DEP, and the Governor’s Office to secure a proclamation signed by Governor Ron DeSantis declaring April Water Conservation Month.
Bills Received from the Legislature
Governor Ron DeSantis
|Bill||Title||Date Presented||Governor’s Deadline||Date Acted Upon||Action|
|SB 0032||Florida Statutes||03/22/23||03/29/23||03/24/23||Approved|
|SB 0034||Florida Statutes||03/22/23||03/29/23||03/24/23||Approved|
|SB 0036||Florida Statutes||03/22/23||03/29/23||03/24/23||Approved|
|SB 0038||Florida Statutes||03/22/23||03/29/23||03/24/23||Approved|
|SB 0040||Florida Statutes||03/22/23||03/29/23||03/24/23||Approved|
|SB 0042||Florida Statutes||03/22/23||03/29/23||03/24/23||Approved|
|SB 0044||Florida Statutes||03/22/23||03/29/23||03/24/23||Approved|
|HB 0837*||Civil Remedies||03/24/23||03/31/23||03/24/23||Approved|
|HB 0543*||Public Safety||04/03/23||04/10/23||04/10/23||Approved|
|HB 7025||Pub. Rec./Safe School Officers||04/03/23||04/10/23||04/10/23||Approved|
|SB 0106||Florida Shared-Use Nonmotorized Trail Network||04/11/23||04/18/23||04/11/23||Approved|
|SB 0300*||Pregnancy and Parenting Support||04/13/23||04/20/23||04/13/23||Approved|
|SB 0360||Causes of Action Based on Improvements to Real Property||04/13/23||04/20/23||04/13/23||Approved|
|SB 0450*||Death Penalty||04/20/23||04/27/23||04/20/23||Approved|
|HB 0269||Public Nuisances||04/26/23||05/03/23|
|HB 1297||Capital Sexual Battery||05/01/23||05/08/23||05/01/23||Approved|
|HB 1359||Offenses Involving Fentanyl or Fentanyl Analogs||05/01/23||05/08/23||05/01/23||Approved|
|HB 1627||Pretrial Release and Detention||05/01/23||05/08/23||05/01/23||Approved|
|HB 0003||Government and Corporate Activism||05/02/23||05/09/23||05/02/23||Approved|
|SB 1550||Prescription Drugs||05/03/23||05/10/23||05/03/23||Approved|
|SB 1552||Public Records/Pharmacy Benefit Managers||05/03/23||05/10/23||05/03/23||Approved|
*For more information, click the link to read previous Weekly Legislative Updates.
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This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.
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