The seventh week of the Legislative Session ends today, and bills are moving through the Florida House and Senate. Gunster’s Government Affairs team is working hard, closely tracking legislation and meeting with legislators to monitor and lobby on behalf of our clients.

Below is a weekly update from Gunster’s Government Affairs Consultants with a summary of the week’s issues and how they may impact your business, a recap of bills moving through the Legislature, and a close look at this week’s happenings around the capital city.



SB 94/HB 31 – Partisan Election of Members of District School Boards: proposes an amendment to the Florida Constitution to require district school board members to be elected in a partisan race. If adopted by a three-fifths vote of the membership of each House of the Legislature, members of district boards may not be elected on a partisan basis until the general election held in November 2026. SB 94 was approved by the full Senate Wednesday. The proposal now heads to the 2024 ballot for a vote.

HB 1259 – Education: would require school districts to share funding with charter schools for school buildings and capital expenses using local tax dollars. The share would gradually increase over five years. HB 1259 passed out of its last committee stop and now heads to the House floor. Its Senate companion SB 1328, passed its final committee on Thursday and now heads to the full Senate.


HB 1475/SB 1676 – Hemp: SB 1676 passed its last committee stop on Thursday with an amendment aligned with the similar House version that takes out the milligrams per container per package of THC. This particular language in the bill was an issue of several critics. HB 1475 passed out of its last committee Monday with an amendment removing the milligram restriction. Both bills are ready to be heard by their respective full chambers.

The bills maintain age limits for purchase and usage, as well as a ban on the packaging that’s “attractive to children.”

HB 1521 /SB 1674 – Facility Requirements Based on Sex: HB 1521 passed the full House on Wednesday and now heads to the Senate. A similar Senate companion still has one more committee stop before being heard by the full Senate. 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.

SB 1550 / SB 1552 – Prescription Drugs: Both bills were passed by the full Senate on Wednesday, making it ready for a full House vote. The House companion was heard and passed out of its last committee stop Friday.

This legislation was filed to place restrictions on pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) 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 1580/ HB 1403 – Protection of Medical Conscience: SB 1580 passed its final committee stop Wednesday and is now heading to the full Senate. HB 1403 was sent to the full House for a vote last week.The legislationwould allow doctors and insurance companies the freedom to drop patients based on what they’re calling “conscience-based objection.”


Everyone in Florida who holds a property insurance policy will see a 1% increase on their insurance policy starting October 1st. The increase is expected to last a year unless more time is needed to pay off the $150 million in bonds. The increase comes after the Office of Insurance Regulation ordered the emergency assessment on Monday at the request of the Florida Insurance Guaranty Association, which maintains policies when companies become insolvent. The insurance industry blames litigation, hurricanes, and the high cost of reinsurance. The 1% increase is not included on auto insurance policies.


HB 7063/SB 7062 – Taxation: The Senate Finance and Tax Committee advanced the Senate’s annual tax package on Tuesday. The proposed tax package worth $973 million in tax savings includes the following:

  • “Freedom Summer” sales-tax holiday, from May 29 through Sept. 4, that would allow shoppers to avoid paying sales taxes when they buy outdoor gear such as boating and camping supplies and children’s athletic equipment.
  • two 14-day back-to-school tax “holidays.”
  • 14-day tax holiday on disaster-preparedness supplies around the start of hurricane season
  • provide financial benefits to the thoroughbred industry

The House proposed tax package worth $1.4 billion includes the following:

  • 1% cut to the business rent tax for 13 months.
  • 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.


PCB APC 23-09 – The Voluntary Cleanup Tax Credit program (Brownfields Tax Credit) is a corporate income tax credit administered by the Department of Environmental Protection and used as an incentive for businesses to voluntarily rehabilitate brownfield properties and restore them to productive use. The current annual cap for the program is $10 million in each state fiscal year. The demand for the program has consistently outpaced the available funds, leading to a rolling backlog for the program in most years. The bill increases the annual funding for the tax credit from $10 million to $36.1 million, beginning in FY 2023-24. The bill passed out of its only committee stop Friday.


HB 1317/SB 1346 – Local Regulation of Nonconforming or Unsafe Structures: prevents local governments from getting in the way of developers who want to demolish a building and put up a new one within a half-mile of the coast. The older buildings would have to be deemed unsafe or below the baseline of flood elevation established by the Flood Zones. The bill would not apply to any building on the National Register of Historic Places. Critics of the bill from St. Augustine and Miami are worried about removing historical structures in Miami’s Art Deco district and within the half-mile coast along St. Augustine beach. HB 1317 passed out of its last committee stop and is ready to be heard by the full House. The Senate companion is waiting to be heard in its last committee stop.

SB 302/HB 3 – Government and Corporate Activism: SB 302 was passed by the full Senate on Wednesday, and the bill now heads to Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk. The legislation would prohibit financial institutions from engaging in any “unsafe and unsound practice” or applying a “social credit score” when offering services. They wouldn’t be able to deny or cancel services to people based on political opinions, affiliation, or speech. The bill would also require investment decisions in the Florida Retirement System Defined Benefit Plan to prioritize the highest returns without consideration of the standards known as “ESG.”

SB 1604/HB 439 – Land Use and Development: SB 1604 passed out of its last committee stop on Wednesday with an adopted amendment. The amendment was legislation to address Walt Disney World and nullify the eleventh-hour agreements adopted by the outgoing Reedy Creek Improvement District with Walt Disney World. This was the legislation Governor Ron DeSantis mentioned would be forthcoming in his press conference on Monday. He also said that Disney will now be subject to state inspections of its buildings and monorail systems, and rides if someone is injured. Further, Governor Ron DeSantis mentioned selling off the company’s utility company and possibly looking into selling or developing land in the district for affordable housing or even a prison.

HB 7049/SB 7054 – Central Bank Digital Currency: HB 7049 passed out of its last and only committee stop on Wednesday. Its similar Senate companion passed out of its last committee stop on Thursday. Both bills are now able to be heard by their respective full chambers.

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.

HB 1355 /SB 264 – Interests of Foreign Countries: HB 1355 passed out of its last committee stop on Wednesday and is now headed to the full House. Its similar companion, SB 264, passed the full Senate last week and is ready for a full House vote.

HB 1355 does the following:

  • Bans companies tied to countries of concern — China, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, Syria, Cuba, and North Korea — from doing business with Florida’s government.
  • Blocks foreign countries of concern and their agents from owning farmland or property within 20 miles of a military installation. Foreign principals can continue to hold such land but not buy more after July 1, 2023, but would be compelled to register with the state. They would also have to divest themselves of that property interest within two years.
  • Mandates that the offsite storage of certain personal medical information must be in the continental United States, a territory of the United States, or Canada.
  • Enhances penalties for extortion by a “foreign agent who acts with the intent of benefiting a country of concern,” making the crime a first-degree felony with a potential 30-year prison term as punishment.


House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, said Thursday that he expects formal budget negotiations to start Monday morning.


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 0837Civil Remedies 03/24/23 03/31/23 03/24/23 Approved 
HB 0001Education 03/27/23 04/03/23 03/27/23 Approved 
HB 0102Housing 03/28/23 04/04/23 03/29/23 Approved 
HB 0543Public 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 0300Pregnancy 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 Penalty04/20/2304/27/2304/20/23Approved

*For more information, click the link to read previous Weekly Legislative Updates. 


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.

About Gunster
Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 13 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa Bayshore, Tampa Downtown, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 260 attorneys and consultants, and over 270 committed professional staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at


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