The third week of the Legislative Session comes to a close 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 issues of the week and how they may impact your business, a recap of bills that are moving through the Legislature and a close look at this week’s happenings around the capital city.



SB 202 / HB 1 – Education (relating to school choice): were placed on the Special Order Calendar in the Senate on Wednesday. The Senate chose to substituted SB 202 by Senator Corey Simon for HB 1 by Kaylee Tuck.The Senate passed HB 1, along partisan lines by a 26-12 vote. HB 1 is now eligible to be presented to Governor DeSantis for his signature or veto. If the bill is presented to Governor DeSantis before May 5 (the final day of session), he will have seven consecutive days after the presentation to act.

HB 1069 – Education (relating to school and reproductive instruction): was considered and reported favorably with a committee amendment by the House Education Committee on Thursday. The committee amendment expands upon the bill’s existing language that would allow for parents to object to books that they feel contain sexual content. It also included language from CS/HB 1223 by Representative Adam Anderson – Public PreK-12 Educational Institution and Instruction Requirements, which would expand existing parental authority over a child’s education by extending the existing prohibition on instruction relating to sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through grade 3 to include pre-K through grade 8 and expressly states that charter school must comply with this requirement. The amended language would also, among other prohibitions, forbid an employee, contractor, or student, as a condition of employment, enrollment, or participation, at a public K-12 educational institution, be required to refer to another individual by a personal title or pronouns that do not align with the person’s sex.

Having passed its final committee of reference, the HB1069 by Representative Stan McClain is eligible to be placed on the House Special Order Calendar. Although slightly different from the House version, the Senate companion to HB 1069, SB 1320 – Child Protection in Public Schools by Sen. Clay Yarborough, is in its final committee of reference, the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy.

HB 733/SB1112Middle School and High School Start Times: which requires would require middle and high schools to have a later start time advanced in the House Education and Employment Committee on Thursday making it eligible to be placed on the Special Order Calendar and heard on the House floor. The measure would require middle and high schools around that state to start classes no earlier than 8:00 am and 8:30 a.m., respectively. If approved, school districts will have until fall of 2026 to meet the requirements and make the appropriate transportation implementations. SB 1112 by Senator Danny Burgess is scheduled to get its first committee hearing this coming Monday in the Senate Education Pre-K – 12 Committee.


SB 300 / HB 7 – Pregnancy and Parenting Support (relating to abortion): SB 300 was reported favorably by a 7-4 vote from the Senate Committee on Health Policy. Each of the four amendments offered by Senators Lauren Book and Tracie Davis failed to earn enough votes.

SB 236 / HB 837 – Civil Remedies: were placed on the Special Order Calendar in the Senate on Wednesday. The Senate chose to substitute SB 236 for HB 827 by Representative Tommy Gregory, a bill that many are calling a massive tort reform. Several amendments were filed on the bill during second reading, but none were adopted. HB 827 was read a third time on the Senate floor on Thursday and passed by a vote of 23-15, largely along partisan lines. The Governor approved and signed the bill into law March 24, 2023.

The bill makes the following changes: revamps laws regarding comparative negligence, reduces the statute of limitations for filing negligence lawsuits from four years to two years, eliminates “one-way” attorney fees in lawsuits against insurers, shields owners of property such as apartment complexes from premises-liability lawsuits if people are injured in crimes, and makes it harder to pursue “bad faith” lawsuits against insurers.


SB 102 / HB 627 – Housing (relating to affordable housing): SB 102 by Senate Alexis Calatayud, legislation also called the “Live Local Act,” was heard on the House floor on Thursday and Friday. The measure received some bipartisan support, passing 103-6. SB will now head to Governor Ron DeSantis for a decision.

The bill includes new tax breaks for homebuilders intended to spur the creation of new affordable projects and puts more than $700 million into the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, the State Housing Initiatives Program, or SHIP, and the State Apartment Incentive Loan Program, or SAIL. The bill also bans local rent control ordinances. Additionally, it expands eligibility requirements for the Hometown Heroes down payment assistance program to full-time employed Floridians. That program provides up to $35,000 in zero-interest loans for first-time home buyers.


SB 150 / HB 543 – Public Safety: the House bill by Representative Chuck Brannan was placed on the House Special Order Calendar and read a second and third time. The measure passed the House by a 76-32 vote. It will now be sent to the Senate for consideration. The Senate companion measure, SB 150 by Senator Jay Collins, awaits being placed on the Senate Special Order Calendar. 

In current form, the bill would allow people to carry guns without a state concealed-weapons license. It would also bolster school safety by providing money for school hardening, better coordinating threat-assessment services and allowing armed “guardians” in private schools. The bill does not change any prohibitions of a person who was previously prohibited from carrying a gun – if they were prohibited from carrying a gun before they are still prohibited from carrying a gun now. An amendment by fellow Republican, Mike Beltran, was filed on the bill but later withdrawn which would have allowed “open carry” of firearms.  


SB 300/HB 7 – Pregnancy and Parenting Support: legislation that would ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy are both on their last committee stop.  SB 300 was reported favorably by a 7-4 vote in its first committee stop on Monday and is scheduled to be heard in Fiscal Policy this Monday, March 28th.

HB 121 – Florida Kidcare Program Eligibility: a measure, sponsored by Representative Robin Bartleman and Dana Trabulsy that would increase the income eligibility threshold for coverage under the Florida Kidcare program was reported favorably with an amendment by a unanimous vote from the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee. The amendment removed the two-year phase-in for income eligibility increases and requires income eligibility to increase to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level as of January 1, 2024. The Senate companion, SB 246 by Senator Alexis Calatayud, is waiting to be agenda in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Health and Human Services.


SB 1416/HB 1409 – Dissolution of Marriage: SB 1416 by Senator Joe Gruters was reported favorably in its first committee stop on Thursday advancing it to its last committee stop, Senate Rules Committee. The House companion, HB 1409 by John Temple, will be heard in its first committee stop this Monday. The proposed legislation would not end permanent alimony on existing agreements – legislation that has been filed and vetoed three times in the past; however, the proposal would provide a process for ex-spouses paying alimony to modify an existing agreement when they want to retire.


HB 3 – Government and Corporate Activism: was placed on the Special Order Calendar in the House on Thursday. After hearing questions on the bill, the House moved to consider several amendments offered by Representative Eskamani. All three amendments offered failed to receive enough votes to be adopted into the bill. The bill was placed on third reading and, after a lengthy debate period, passed with a vote 80-31. HB 3 will now be certified by the House and sent to the Senate for their consideration. The Senate companion measure to HB 3, SB 302 by Senator Erin Grall, has not been heard in committee.


Senate Confirmation Hearing: A public hearing was held for consideration of the below-named executive appointments to the offices indicated and all were confirmed.

Governing Board of the Northwest Florida Water Management District

Everett, Ted (Chipley) 03/01/2025

Upton, Anna H. (Tallahassee) 03/01/2024

Roberts, George A. (Panama City) 03/01/2026

Patronis, Nicholas Jimmy (Panama City) 03/01/2026

Governing Board of the South Florida Water Management District

Bergeron, Ronald M. (Weston) 03/01/2026


This week, the Florida State Senate and House released budget proposals. The Senate is seeking $113.7 billion while the House is proposing $113 billion. Both, the House, and Senate Appropriations Committees plan to hear their appropriation bills on Tuesday, March 28.


Red Dog Blue Dog

State leaders mixed up drinks at Township in Tallahassee on Tuesday night during the 8th annual Red Dog Blue Dog event as they raised funds to benefit the Animal Shelter Foundation, the Leon County Humane Society and Last Hope Rescue. This annual event reaches across party lines to raise money for animals in need.

Last year, nearly $60,000 was raised and the blue team consisted of Senator Shevrin Jones and Senator Jason Pizzo and Representative Michael Grieco and Representative Michelle Rayner. Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book stepped in for Sen. Jones when he had to leave for work. The red team was Senator Aaron Bean, Senator Jason Brodeur and Senator Joe Gruters and Representative Demi Busatta Cabrera.


Planned Legislation

On Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced legislation to protect Floridians from the “Biden administration’s weaponization of the financial sector through a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).” The legislative proposal protects consumers and businesses from a federally controlled CBDC by:

  • Expressly prohibiting the use of a federally adopted Central Bank Digital Currency as money within Florida’s Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).
  • Instituting protections against a central global currency by prohibiting any CBDC issued by a foreign reserve or foreign sanctioned central bank.
  • Calling on likeminded states to join Florida in adopting similar prohibitions within their respective Commercial Codes to fight back against this concept nationwide.

As of this report, no bills have been filed relating to this proposal.

On Tuesday, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson, State Senator Jay Collins, State Representative Kaylee Tuck, and agriculture stakeholders announced a legislative proposal to prohibit local governments from levying special assessments on Florida agricultural lands.

On Wednesday, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson, State Senator Colleen Burton, and State Representative Will Robinson hosted a press conference in Tallahassee highlighting proposed legislation that protects Florida’s children from high-potency THC products and brings commonsense reforms to Florida’s hemp statutes.

Bills Received from the Legislature

Governor Ron DeSantis approved 8 bills Friday, including HB 837 (Civil Remedies) that was presented to him earlier today.

BillTitleDate PresentedGovernor’s DeadlineDate Acted UponAction
SB 0032Florida Statutes03/22/2303/29/2303/24/23Approved
SB 0034Florida Statutes03/22/2303/29/2303/24/23Approved
SB 0036Florida Statutes03/22/2303/29/2303/24/23Approved
SB 0038Florida Statutes03/22/2303/29/2303/24/23Approved
SB 0040Florida Statutes03/22/2303/29/2303/24/23Approved
SB 0042Florida Statutes03/22/2303/29/2303/24/23Approved
SB 0044Florida Statutes03/22/2303/29/2303/24/23Approved
HB 0837Civil Remedies03/24/2303/31/2303/24/23Approved


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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