The sixth 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.



During the second half of session the focus shifts more toward legislative activity on the floor as the work of the House and Senate committees wind down. Committees and subcommittees will continue to hold regular meetings through April 25, but the number of bills still awaiting hearings in committee are steadily decreasing. A few House non-budget policy subcommittee chairs and Senate committee chairs have told members that they may not meet again this session, although all those panels are able to meet through April 25.


SB 662/HB 699 – Student Online Personal Information Protection: The Florida Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a measure designed to protect students’ data. The bill would restrict the way operators of websites and applications used in schools can collect and use students’ data. Under the bill, operators would be prohibited from using “targeted advertising” on students or sharing, selling, or renting students’ information. Operators also would be required to collect “no more covered information than is reasonably necessary to operate” websites or applications. House Bill 699 by Representative Traci Koster needs approval from the Education & Employment Committee before the full House can consider it.

HB 1259/SB 1328 – Education Funding: These bills would require public schools to share a portion of their districts’ local sales tax revenues to cover charter school building costs. The shift in the funding model for school facilities would happen over five years, and the funds would be split between charter schools and traditional public schools based on the number of students. The House proposal allows colleges and universities to use state money, including increasing the maximum wage for state university employees. It would also allow higher education institutions to carryover funds from one year to the next for other purposes within the university. That provision was once law, but lawmakers changed it five years ago. The Senate companion does not include any language relating to funding for universities. Both bills are on their last committee stop.

SB 1320 – Child Protection in Public Schools: A proposal that would also strengthen book-banning objections, passed along party lines with a 14-6 vote in front of the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy. The bill is considered to be an expansion of last year’s legislation (HB 1557), titled the Parental Rights in Education Act. Labeled by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law because it prohibits instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity specifically for kindergarten through third-grade students and at other grades where it is not “age-appropriate.” SB 1320 by Senator Clay Yarborough would expand that prohibition through the eighth grade.

The bill also states that students will be taught that biological males impregnate biological females by fertilizing the female’s egg with the male’s sperm, and “these roles are binary, stable, and unchangeable.” As for pronouns, employees and contractors would be blocked entirely from offering their preferred pronouns to students unless those pronouns “correspond to his or her sex.”

The bill is now eligible to be considered by the full Senate. Similar legislation (HB 1069 by Representative Adam Anderson) passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy.

SB 94/HB 31 – Partisan Election of Members of District School Boards: The bills propose an amendment to the Florida Constitution to require district school board members to be elected in a partisan race. If passed, the measure will be placed on the ballot for Florida votes to consider during the 2024 general election. If approved by voters, the bill will not take effect until the 2026 general election.  SB 94 Senator Joe Gruters is now eligible to be considered by the full Senate. HB 31 by Representative Spencer Roach passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Rules.


HB 1409/SB1416 – Dissolution of Marriage: HB 1409 by Representative Alex Andrade was reported favorably by the House Judiciary Committee. The bipartisan proposal is now eligible to be considered by the full House. The Senate companion measure, SB 1416 by Senator Joe Gruters, is currently eligible to be considered by the full Senate after passing all of its committees of reference.

HB 1409 amends s. 61.08, FS, to prohibit the award of permanent alimony. As such, the types of alimony a court may award include temporary, bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative, and durational alimony. The bill increases the current presumptions relating to the length of a marriage and clarifies which types of alimony are available depending on the length of the marriage in question. The bill also amends s. 61.14, FS, to refine the process by which an award of alimony, support, or maintenance may be reduced or terminated.

The bill also amends s. 61.13, FS, to remove the requirement that the alleged substantial and material change in circumstances that warrants modification must also be unanticipated. In addition, the bill clarifies that a parent’s relocation to be closer to his or her child, under certain circumstances, is a substantial and material change in circumstances to modify the time-sharing schedule and parenting plan.

The changes made by the bill are only applicable to initial petitions for dissolution of marriage or petitions for support unconnected to the dissolution of marriage filed or pending as of Jul. 1, 2023. The bill is not likely to have a fiscal impact on state or local government but may have a fiscal impact on the private sector and spouses who rely on alimony payments.


HB 1355/SB 264 – Interests of Foreign Countries: HB 1355 by Representative David Borrero was reported favorably by the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. The bipartisan proposal is now eligible to be placed on the agenda in the House State Affairs Committee. The Senate companion measure, SB 264 by Senator Jay Collins, passed the Senate Chamber last week. It is now in House Messages.

HB 1355 generally restricts the role certain foreign countries may take with respect to land ownership in the state. The bill restricts a governmental entity’s ability to contract with certain foreign countries of concern and further prohibits foreign countries of concern, including China, from purchasing or otherwise acquiring real property in the state. The bill places specific limitations on the type and location of real property that may be owned or acquired by a foreign country of concern. Notably, the bill prohibits a foreign principal from owning real property within 20 miles of a military installation and further prohibits the foreign ownership of agricultural land.

The bill also amends the Florida Electronic Health Records Act and Florida Health Care Licensing Procedures Act to require that any offsite storage of medical information and patient records be physically maintained at a location within the United States, a territory of the United States, or Canada.


SB 300/HB 7 – Pregnancy and Parenting Support: Both bills were considered by the full House during Thursday’s session. The House substituted HB 7 by Representatives Jenna Persons-Mulika and Jennifer Canady for SB 300 by Senator Erin Grall. The House passed SB 300 by a 70-40 vote, despite over 50 amendments offered by House Democrats. The bill was sent to the Governor and signed into law shortly after the House passed the bill.

SB 300 amends and creates multiple provisions of law related to pregnancy support and wellness services, the state’s Family Planning Program, and the termination of pregnancies.

HB 1403/SB 1580 – Protections of Medical Conscience: HB 1403 by Representative Joel Rudman was reported favorably by the House Committee on Health and Human Services on Monday. The Senate companion, slightly different than the House version, is eligible to be heard in the Senate Committee on Rules.

The bill, among other changes to the statute, would establish a health care provider’s or health care payor’s right to decline to participate in any health care service, including treatment and research, that violates the provider’s or payor’s sincerely held religious, moral, or ethical beliefs. The bill establishes the way in which healthcare providers and students must raise a conscience-based objection. The bill would also prohibit individuals and entities from discriminating against a healthcare provider or payor based on a conscience-based objection. The bill provides civil immunity to health care providers and payors for exercising their right of conscience and provides whistleblower protections.


HB 7063 – Taxation: The House Ways & Means Committee unanimously advanced the House’s annual tax package on Thursday. The 73-page proposal includes a permanent sales tax exemption on baby and toddler necessities, including diapers and other incontinence products. While the proposal included those tax exemptions that Governor Ron DeSantis recommended, the proposal does not include the Governor’s call for a one-year sales tax exemption on basic household items under $25. The 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.

On Wednesday, the Senate began discussing its tax package plans in the Senate Finance and Tax Committee. Some of the Senate’s priorities included:

  • Compensation for local governments impacted by recent property tax cuts.
  • Permanent sales tax exemption on firearm safety products.
  • Reduction in the business rent tax.

A bill has yet to be filed by the Senate, but we expect to see a final tax package hammered out during budget conferencing between the House and Senate over the next few weeks.


HB 1521/SB 1674 – Facility Requirements Based on Sex: HB 1521 by Representatives Rachel Plakon was reported favorably along partisan lines by the House Commerce Committee. The bill is now eligible to be considered by the full House. The Senate companion measure, SB 1674 by Senator Erin Grall, is eligible to be heard in its last committee of reference, the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy.

The measures would create the “Safety in Private Spaces Act.” It would, among other changes to the statute, limit instances when a person may enter a restroom or changing facility designated for the opposite sex to the following circumstances:

  • Assisting or chaperoning a minor child, elderly person, or disabled person.
  • Law enforcement or governmental regulatory purposes.
  • Emergency situations.
  • Custodial, maintenance, or inspection purposes, if not in use; or
  • If the appropriate designated restroom or changing facility is out of order or under repair and the opposite designated restroom or changing facility contains no person of the opposite sex.

HB 1221/SB 626 – Broadband Internet Service Providers: HB 1221 by Representative Josie Tomkow was heard in and reported favorably by the House Commerce Committee. The bill is now eligible to be considered by the full House. The Senate companion measure, SB 626 by Senator Nick DiCeglie, was reported favorably by its committees of reference and is eligible to be considered by the full Senate.

The bills provide explicit authority for rural electric cooperatives in Florida to “engage in the provisions of broadband.” The bill defines this phrase to mean:

  • Providing broadband service directly, through an affiliate, or pursuant to an agreement with a third party; or
  • Accepting broadband grant funding pursuant to the Florida Broadband Opportunity Program or from any other federal or state program offering grants to expand broadband Internet service to unserved areas of the state.

Under the bill, if a rural electric cooperative provides broadband, all poles owned by the cooperative are subject to the PSC’s pole attachment regulations on the same basis as poles owned by investor-owned electric utilities. The PSC is granted access to the cooperative’s books and records to the limited extent necessary to exercise its authority. The bill provides for the continued confidential treatment of certain records received by the PSC under existing public record exemptions. The bill provides that it may not be construed to impair the contract rights of parties to an existing pole attachment agreement.


Senate Confirmation Hearings

The Senate Committee on Criminal Justice held executive appointment confirmation hearings for the following persons and corresponding offices:

Secretary of Health Care Administration

Jason C. Weida, Pleasure of Governor – (Vote: 7-3) (Recommended Confirm)


Bills Received from the Legislature

Governor Ron DeSantis approved five bills this week, including the Public Safety bill, which authorizes a person to carry a concealed weapon with or without a valid license to carry a concealed weapon and the Pregnancy and Parenting Support bill.

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 

*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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