The Eighth week of the Legislative Session ends today, and some bills are moving through the Florida House and Senate while others are dying since we only have one week left until Sine Die. 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 top issues and how they may impact your business and a close look at this week’s happenings around the capital city.



This week, the House and Senate convened joint budget conference sub-committees to negotiate the final budget for the fiscal year 2024-2025. While many line-items were agreed upon by both chambers, there are certain key projects and areas that have been referred to the appropriations chairs, Representative Leek and Senator Broxson, for further discussion. Senate President Passidomo, along with the chairs, has stated that a completed budget will be submitted for final approval by the full chambers no later than Tuesday, March 5. It is important to note that there is a mandatory 72-hour review period before state legislators can vote on the conference committee report, which is the final budget.


SB 328/HB1239 – Affordable Housing

The Live Local Act, a bill that updates the affordable housing law, has passed the full House and is now headed to the governor’s desk for approval. This legislation aims to bring transparency and clarity to various aspects of affordable housing, such as zoning regulations, density restrictions, property tax exemptions, and airport zoning provisions. Additionally, the bill includes an extra $100 million for the Hometown Heroes Program, which assists first-time, income-qualified homebuyers with down payment and closing cost assistance. The Live Local Act seeks to enhance affordable housing opportunities and support those looking to purchase their first homes. Gunster will have a comprehensive update early next week of this legislation.


HB 919 – Artificial Intelligence Use in Political Advertising

Lawmakers in Florida have passed a measure that would require disclaimers on political advertisements created using generative artificial intelligence (AI). The bill, which received final approval with a vote of 32-0 in the Senate and 104-8 in the House, now awaits Governor Ron DeSantis’s signature. Under the bill, political ads utilizing AI-generated content such as images, video, audio, or graphics must include a disclaimer stating that they were created in whole or in part using generative AI. Violations of this requirement would be considered a first-degree misdemeanor, and penalties would apply to those who pay for, sponsor, or approve such advertisements. The Florida Elections Commission would establish rules to expedite hearings on alleged violations. The passage of this measure is seen as a significant step in addressing the potential impact of AI technology on elections.


HB 7073/SB7074 – Taxation

The Florida House has approved a bill that includes sales tax holidays for consumers and significant tax cuts for businesses. The bill, projected to save businesses and consumers a total of $870 million over three years, passed with an 88-17 vote. The package includes four sales tax holidays, although they have been reduced compared to the current fiscal year. The back-to-school sales tax holiday would last for two weeks starting July 29, while a second two-week holiday for the Spring semester is not included. The “Freedom Summer” sales tax break on events and outdoor items has been reduced to a “Freedom Month.” Additionally, the bill includes a “tool time” sales tax holiday. The bill also includes a $184 million cut to insurance premium taxes, which would only apply if insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners. The most significant cut is a reduction in the business rent tax from 4.5% to 1.25% for one year, starting July 1. This cut is tied to the state’s unemployment trust fund and is projected to save businesses $339.6 million. The Senate’s tax cut plan does not include this provision, and differences between the two bills will be resolved in the final week of the Regular Session.


SB 330/HB 1617 – Behavioral Health Teaching Hospitals

Florida legislators are advancing a component of Senate President Kathleen Passidomo’s “Live Healthy” agenda by establishing new teaching hospitals specializing in behavioral health education. The bill, SB 330, aims to strengthen the state’s workforce and support behavioral health education by designating up to eight facilities as “behavioral teaching hospitals.” These hospitals, affiliated with state medical schools, would receive additional funding and provide research, education, and healthcare services. Initially, only Tampa General Hospital was designated, but amendments expanded the list to include UF Health Shands Hospital, UF Health Jacksonville, and Jackson Memorial Hospital. The bill also establishes a grant program and a Florida Center for Behavioral Health Workforce to address workforce issues. The legislation is part of Passidomo’s broader “Live Healthy” initiative and passed out of the full House this past week.


HB 1007/SB 1006 – Nicotine Products and Dispensing Devices

A bill that would limit the sale of flavored vaping products in Florida has passed the House with a vote of 83-26. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Toby Overdorf, would prohibit the sale of any vaping products that have not received FDA approval. Currently, only 23 products owned by Big Tobacco companies have received clearance out of the 26 million products submitted for approval. Supporters of the bill argue that these restrictions will protect Florida’s youth and combat the illegal vaping market, which was valued at $363 million last year. A similar measure is being sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Keith Perry and is up to be heard by its chamber next week.

SB 1046/HB 189 – Gaming Control

Legislation aimed at cracking down on illegal gambling is awaiting a hearing on the House and Senate floors. The bill seeks to increase penalties for illegal gambling, with offenses escalating from a second-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony on the first offense and potentially becoming first-degree felonies for subsequent offenses. The House bill has been amended to include a provision that requires a cease-and-desist letter to be sent before any arrests can be made, allowing establishments to contest the violation. However, concerns have been raised that the Senate bill does not provide the same opportunity for recourse or clarity. Veterans’ groups and small businesses have expressed opposition to both versions of the bill. The bill sponsor, Sen. Jonathan Martin, acknowledges the need for clarity and is in favor of the House amendment. Amendments filed since his statement have not addressed all the concerns raised during the Senate committee meeting. Veteran organizations are seeking further clarity and protection for their volunteers.

HB 49 – Employment and Curfew of Minors

A bill to loosen work restrictions for 16- and 17-year-olds in Florida is moving forward after revisions drew support from labor unions. The bill, HB 49, was approved by the Senate Rules Committee with a vote of 15-3. It addresses issues such as the number of hours these young individuals can work. The original version passed by the House was more far-reaching, but the revised Senate version gained support from the AFL-CIO. The Senate version maintains the restriction of 30 hours of work during school weeks but allows parents, guardians, or school superintendents to waive the limit. The House version would have removed the restriction on working more than eight hours a day, while the Senate version only lifts the restriction on holidays and Sundays. The Senate changes also specify work hours from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. when school is scheduled the next day. The House bill moved the start of the workday to 6 a.m. Additionally, the Senate version requires 16- and 17-year-olds working eight hours or more to have a 30-minute meal break after four continuous hours of work. The bill will now go to the full Senate, and if passed, it will need to return to the House for consideration. Critics of the bill argue that easing work restrictions could hinder students’ education and exploit minors to address labor shortages. The Senate version exempts homeschooled or virtual-instruction students from certain restrictions.

SB 676/HB 1099 – Food Delivery Platforms

The Florida Senate unanimously approved a bill on Thursday that would grant the state control over the regulation of food delivery platforms. The measure, known as SB 676, would preempt local regulations and has received support from various groups and businesses, including the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, Associated Industries of Florida, and Uber Technologies. The bill aims to ensure that food delivery companies cannot take orders or arrange deliveries from restaurants without the restaurants’ consent. It also prohibits delivery platforms from offering prices different from those listed on restaurant menus without mutual agreement. The measure does not impact businesses that provide their own food delivery services. A similar bill, HB 1099, has made progress in the House committees and is poised to be considered by the full House.


HB 433/SB 1492 – Employment Regulations

Legislation that would eliminate local ordinances setting a minimum wage for contractors and subcontractors has passed the full House. The bill, HB 433, also prevents cities and counties from passing laws to protect workers from heat overexposure. Republicans successfully defended the bill against amendments from Democrats aimed at weakening its impact. The bill requires the Department of Commerce to establish regulations for heat exposure for workers by 2028 if federal regulations are not released by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Republicans argue that employers have a vested interest in taking care of their employees and that mandates from local governments are unnecessary. Democrats, however, believe that the bill leaves outdoor workers vulnerable. They proposed amendments to accelerate the deadline for state-level heat exposure protections, ensure that anti-discrimination laws are not affected, inform voters about potential wage cuts, and conduct a study on statewide regulations for heat exposure protections. The bill is expected to undergo a final vote on Friday. The Senate version of the bill, SB 1492, only preempts heat exposure ordinances and does not include wage preemption for contractors.

HB 1365/SB 1530 – Unauthorized Public Camping and Public Sleeping

The Florida House has approved a controversial proposal that would prohibit homeless people from sleeping in public areas, with concerns raised about the potential costs for local governments. The bill, supported by Governor Ron DeSantis, passed with a vote of 82-26 along party lines. It aims to make it easier for residents and business owners to challenge local officials regarding how homelessness is addressed. The Senate is set to consider a similar proposal on Monday. The bill would prevent individuals from sleeping on public property and allow designated areas for sleeping or camping that meet certain standards. Critics argue that the bill criminalizes homelessness and would increase costs for local governments. They advocate for investments in transitional housing and shelters instead. The bill also grants residents and business owners the ability to file civil lawsuits against local governments for allowing illegal sleeping or camping. The House rejected several proposed amendments, including those related to domestic violence perpetrators and extending the duration of the designated areas.

HB 1195 – Millage Rates

Legislation that would raise the voting threshold for millage rate hikes in Florida has passed the House with an 85-21 vote. The bill, HB 1195, prohibits localities from increasing property taxes without a two-thirds vote by the local legislative body. It aims to align localities with the state’s rules, where a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds supermajority to raise taxes was passed six years ago. The bill would go into effect in July and would impact budgets starting as early as October. The Senate’s version of the bill, SB 1322, has not received a hearing in Appropriations, so its future is uncertain.


HB 1073/SB 1532 – Mitigation

A bill to expand the water quality enhancement credit program to allow private entities to purchase credits is headed to its final hearing on the Senate floor after passing the House this week. Currently, only governmental entities may purchase water quality enhancement credits under the program. Specifically, the bill provides that water quality enhancement credits may be sold to governmental entities seeking to meet an assigned basin management action plan allocation or reasonable assurance plan or to applicants for the for the purpose of achieving net improvement performance standards after reasonable assurances have been provided for the design and construction of all onsite stormwater management. Regarding mitigation banking, the bill allows limited use of local government land for private mitigation banks, provided that the private mitigation banks are located in credit-deficient basins and would produce certain habitat type credits that are unavailable or insufficient in such basins. The Legislature believes this will expand opportunities to leverage success in nutrient removal by creating a marketplace for businesses and development to work together and with governmental entities to achieve water quality goals and requirements.

SB 738/HB 789 – Environmental Management

The Senate passed a bill this week which mandates nonindustrial stormwater management systems in accessible residential or urban areas to have side slopes with a horizontal-to-vertical ratio no steeper than 4:1 and requires those systems to be stabilized with vegetation to prevent erosion and support pollutant removal. There are exceptions to allow steeper slopes if adequate erosion and sediment control best management practices are implemented and is fenced, greenscaped, or have other barriers installed to prevent accidental incursion into the system. The bill supersedes all side slope rules that have been adopted by DEP, WMDs, or delegated programs as of July 1, 2024. This would include the Department of Environmental Protection’s stormwater rule ratification that is also moving through the Legislature this Session. In addition, the bill clarifies that causes of action under the Water Quality Assurance Act must be limited to damages to real or personal property directly resulting from pollution that was not authorized by any government approval or permit. The bill provides that the strict liability exceptions to such causes of action include those specified in s. 376.82, F.S., regarding the rehabilitation of a brownfields site. The Senate bill sponsor shared that he believes this legislation will aide in the redevelopment of brownfield sites and will clarify Legislative intent that strict liability standard will not apply if all state statutes and standards are met as required.

 These requirements will supersede all existing side slope rules including those currently in rule and in the Department of Environmental Protections stormwater rule ratification legislation. Additionally, the bill revises legal provisions to enable actions for damages to real or personal property resulting directly from unauthorized discharges of pollution, highlighting that negligence need not be proved, only the fact of the discharge or pollutive condition. The bill is in messages for the House to take up next week.


SB 7002 – Deregulation of Public Schools/School District Finance and Budgets, Facilities, and Administration and Oversight

The Florida House unanimously passed a bill on Wednesday as part of an effort to deregulate public schools. The bill, known as SB 7002, includes provisions that provide flexibility for school districts regarding reporting requirements. For instance, the bill allows districts to publish notices of intent to adopt tentative budgets on their websites instead of in newspapers. The Senate had previously passed the bill, but the House made revisions. One of the revisions approved by the House is the requirement for the State Board of Education to waive fees related to exams and certifications for certain teachers. This waiver can benefit educators who are certified to teach exceptional student education and want to add a subject coverage to teach elementary education. It can also help elementary education-certified teachers who seek to obtain certifications in exceptional student education. Representative Robin Bartleman commended the proposed fee waivers, acknowledging the financial burden on teachers. With the House revisions, the bill will now return to the Senate for further consideration. Additionally, there are two other education deregulation bills awaiting votes in the House after passing in the Senate.

HB 1291/SB 1372 – Educator Preparation Programs

The Florida House has passed a measure aimed at keeping “identity politics” out of teacher preparation programs, while critics argue that it amounts to academic censorship. The bill, which passed with a vote of 81-31, prohibits teacher-prep programs at colleges and universities from including instruction on “identity politics” or theories related to systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege. Democrats in the House voiced concerns about the bill, stating that it limits educators’ ability to teach the realities of history. The measure also requires that programs not distort significant historical events. This bill follows previous legislation that restricted the teaching of certain race-related concepts in schools. Supporters of the measure argue that it prevents indoctrination of educators, while opponents claim it hinders teaching real history. The Senate version of the bill is now ready for consideration.

HB 1 – Online Protections for Minors & HB 3 – Online Access to Materials Harmful to Minors

The Florida Senate has taken a procedural step to consider a revised proposal aimed at keeping children off social media. House Speaker Paul Renner and Governor Ron DeSantis have been negotiating on the issue after DeSantis raised concerns about a social media bill (HB 1) that passed the House and Senate. The bill, which Renner prioritized, seeks to prevent minors under the age of 16 from creating accounts on certain platforms. DeSantis vetoed the bill. However, the Senate’s procedural move allows lawmakers to add a negotiated social media proposal to a related bill (HB 3) and pass it. Senate President Kathleen Passidomo expects the Senate to address the issue on Monday. If the proposal passes the Senate, it will go to the House for a final vote before the legislative session ends on March 8. The move resolves the speculation surrounding how lawmakers would address the social media issue. Renner and DeSantis have been exploring alternatives to the bill, which raised questions about its constitutionality and infringement on parental rights. The bill aims to prevent children under 16 from creating accounts on certain social media platforms and requires platforms to terminate existing accounts held by minors. It also includes criteria for determining which platforms would be subject to the restrictions and requires age verification for account creation. Supporters argue that social media negatively impacts children’s mental health and can be used by predators, while critics argue that parents should have the authority to decide whether their children use social media.

HB 917 – Career and Education

The Senate has unanimously passed a bill that permits 16- and 17-year-olds to work on specific construction sites. However, an amendment was made by the Senators to remove a provision related to apprenticeship programs. As a result, the bill, HB 917, will now go back to the House for further consideration. The House previously passed the bill with a vote of 84-30, mostly along party lines, with some Democrats joining Republicans in favor. The bill aims to provide workforce experience for teenagers and expand apprenticeship programs in more school districts, particularly in trades like construction. Sen. Corey Simon, a Republican, emphasized that the bill is not about removing restrictions on children in the workplace but rather about engaging the construction trades and ensuring the protection of children. The bill sets specific requirements for 16- and 17-year-olds working on residential construction sites. Safety concerns for young workers have been raised as opposition to the bill. The House and Senate must come to an agreement on the bill before the end of the Regular Session for it to move forward to Gov. Ron DeSantis for consideration.


HB 1645/SB1624 – Energy Resources

The Florida House recently passed a comprehensive energy bill that addresses various issues, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and offshore wind-energy generation. The measure, sponsored by Rep. Bobby Payne, received a favorable vote of 88-19. A similar bill in the Senate has also progressed through committees and is on track for consideration by the full Senate. The goal of the bill is to prioritize cost efficiency, reliability, and security when determining the state’s energy sources. It aims to replace certain parts of existing state law that emphasize the importance of reducing dependence on foreign oil, mitigating climate change, and promoting alternative energy technologies. Instead, the bill focuses on ensuring an adequate, reliable, and cost-effective energy supply that promotes public health, welfare, and economic growth. One key provision of the bill is the ban on building or operating offshore wind turbines in Florida-controlled waters and within one mile of coastlines. Rep. Payne argues that industrial-scale wind energy is not feasible in Florida. However, Rep. Anna Eskamani believes that technology is constantly evolving and that a ban should not be imposed, as future developments may make wind energy viable.


HB 1503/SB 1716 – Citizens Property Insurance Corporation

In an effort to reduce the size of the state’s Citizens Property Insurance Corp., the Florida House passed a bill that could result in certain private insurers assuming second-home policies from Citizens. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tiffany Esposito, received a favorable vote of 81-28. A similar bill in the Senate has also progressed through committees and is poised for consideration by the full Senate. Citizens, originally established as a provider of last resort, has become the largest property insurer in the state due to private insurers shedding customers and increasing rates due to financial difficulties. Citizens has implemented a “depopulation” program to transfer policies to the private market, allowing approved “admitted” insurance carriers to remove policies from Citizens. The House bill expands this program to include “surplus lines” carriers, which are not subject to the same regulations as admitted carriers, particularly regarding rates. Rep. Esposito argues that surplus lines carriers are well-capitalized, selective in their policy choices, and designed to insure challenging risks, making them stronger than some admitted carriers. However, Rep. Hillary Cassel expressed concerns about the bill and the shift of policies to surplus lines carriers, questioning its impact on reducing constituents’ premiums.

Governor’s Activity 2024

Governor DeSantis vetoed HB 1 (Online Protections for Minors) and H 1377 (Pub. Rec./Investigations by the Department of Legal Affairs) Friday.

BillTitleDate PresentedGovernor’s DeadlineDate Acted UponAction
SB 0072Florida Statutes02/08/2402/15/2402/15/24Approved
SB 0074Florida Statutes02/08/2402/15/2402/15/24Approved
SB 0076Florida Statutes02/08/2402/15/2402/15/24Approved
SB 0078Florida Statutes02/08/2402/15/2402/15/24Approved
SB 0080Florida Statutes02/08/2402/15/2402/15/24Approved
SB 0082Florida Statutes02/08/2402/15/2402/15/24Approved
HB 0001Online Protections for Minors02/23/2403/01/2403/01/24Vetoed
HB 1377Pub. Rec. / Investigations by the Department of Legal Affairs02/23/2403/01/2403/01/24Vetoed
HB 0117Disclosure of Grand Jury Testimony02/28/2403/06/2402/29/24Approved

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 290 attorneys and consultants, and over 290 committed support 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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