Congratulations!! We’ve made it to the end of the 2023 Legislative Session where both Chambers adjourned sine die on Friday, May 5. This year, the following business was conducted:
- 1,873 Bills and Proposed Committee Bills (PCBs) filed
- 2,674 Amendments filed
- 3,229 Votes Taken
- 52 Floor Sessions
- 356 Bills passed both chambers
The 2023 Budget process began early this year with the House and Senate presenting their proposed budgets within the 3rd week of the legislative session. The House proposed a $112.9 billion budget, and the Senate proposed a $113.6 billion budget. Each chamber’s budget is less than the proposed $114.8 budget presented by Governor DeSantis. On April 22, the House and Senate allocated $45.42 billion in General Revenue that was distributed in various program areas such as $14 million for Prek-12 Education and $15 million for Health Care and Health and Human Services. Budget negotiations began on April 24 and continued through the week and weekend ending on May 1. On May 2, the agreed upon $117 billion spending plan was filed, kicking off the 72-hour “cooling off” period countdown before a vote can take place. Members were able to vote on the budget on the last day of the legislative session, Friday, May 5.
The budget includes $2 billion for the new school choice expansion program (HB 1). The program also incudes an additional $250 million in reserves in case the cost of the new private school voucher program is more than anticipated. Environmental and conservation efforts are getting a 17% boost in spending, including more than $1 billion for land acquisition and hundreds of millions for water quality and supply initiatives. The budget also provides $25 million for a drone replacement grant program for law enforcement agencies and State employees will receive a 5% pay increase. The budget is now headed to Governor DeSantis desk where he has line-item veto power. It is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2023.
HB 235 – Alternative Mobility Funding System by Representative Robinson (W)
SB 350 – Alternative Mobility Funding Systems by Senator Brodeur
HB 235 by Representative Robinson will provide clarity for local governments in the adoption of mobility plans and the use of a mobility fee system and the impact fees associated with the system. HB 235 provides a definition for mobility fees and mobility plans. The bill will prohibit a transportation impact fee or fee that is not a mobility-based fee from being imposed within the area that is within a mobility plan; mobility fees will also need to be updated every five years under HB 235. The bill will also authorize local governments to adopt alternative mobility planning and fee systems and includes specific criteria to be used by a local government in adopting a mobility plan and fee for transporting mitigation improvements and requiring these fees to be expended over a specific time. CS/HB 235 received unanimous support in the Local Administration, Federal Affairs, and Special Districts Subcommittee as well as the Ways and Means Committee. The bill died in its final committee of reference, Commerce Committee. The Senate companion, SB 350 by Senator Brodeur, was referred to four committees, but was never scheduled for its first hearing thus, SB 350 died in committee.
HB 89 – Building Construction by Representative Maggard
SB 512 – Building Construction by Senator Hooper
HB 89 by Representative Maggard states that a local enforcement agency or local government may not make or require any changes to a building plan unless otherwise required for compliance with the Florida Building code, Florida Fire Prevention Code, or an amendment set forth by a local government. HB 89 adds language permitting a Class A air-conditioning contractor to perform certain duties including, but not limited to, the reconnecting of breakers and fuses on an electrical circuit and the replacement – and other potential fixes – to switches and boxes. The bill also requires a local government to inform building permit applicants of the specific parts of a building plan that do not apply with either Florida Fire Prevention code, Florida’s Life Safety Code, or local amendments and allow the applicant to rectify the issues to receive the permit. HB 89 passed favorably in the House with a vote of 116 Yeas and 0 Nays. The bill was then substituted for the senate companion, SB 512 by Senator Hooper, before favorably passing the Senate with a vote of 38 Yeas and 0 Nays. The bill has been enrolled and will soon be presented to the Governor where he has 15 days to approve and sign into law.
HB 975 – Solid Waste Management by Representative Holcomb
SB 798 – Solid Waste Management by Senator Ingoglia
HB 975 by Representative Holcomb intends to create open competition and provide commercial businesses with freedom of choice in hopes of eliminating price gauging. HB 975 will prohibit local governments from enacting an ordinance, regulation or rule that will prohibit or unreasonably restrain a private entity from providing recycling or solid waste management to commercial, industrial, or multifamily residential properties. Local governments may implement regulations for private solid waste management entities by requiring them to obtain a permit, license, or nonexclusive franchise equivalent, but the permit, license or nonexclusive franchise equivalent may not cost more than the administrative costs associated with permit issuance. HB 975’s provisions will not apply to a municipality or county that is the sole provider of solid waste collection services in its jurisdiction performed by employees of the municipality or county using municipal or county-owned equipment. According to the bill’s sponsor, local governments may be negatively impacted to the extent that these local governments currently charge a franchise fee more than the associated administrative costs. HB 975 received 11 Yeas and 5 Nays in the Local Administration, Federal Affairs, and Special Districts Subcommittee. It was referred to two more committees but died in its second committee of reference, Civil Justice Subcommittee. The Senate companion, SB 798 by Senator Ingoglia, was referred to three committees, but was not scheduled for a hearing thus, it died in committee.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
CS/HB 1149 – Carbon Sequestration by Representative Masullo
CS/HB 1149 by Representative Masullo will authorize the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to conduct a study on carbon sequestration activities and programs. Carbon sequestration is the process – both geologic and biologic – of capturing and storing atmospheric CO2 to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The study must include, at minimum, a comprehensive list of existing state agency carbon sequestration activities, recommendations for a state level exchange program to assist in the recruitment of agriculture producers to participate in these activities, and the legislature’s recommendations for the creation of these programs and activities. The legislature will appropriate $500,000 to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to conduct these studies. HB 1149 received unanimous support in its first committee of reference, Agriculture, Conservation and Resiliency Subcommittee; however, it was not heard in its second committee of reference, Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee thus, it died in committee. HB 1149 did not have a companion Senate bill.
HB 1379 – Environmental Protection by Representative Steele
SB 1632 – Environmental Protection by Senator Brodeur
HB 1379 by Representative Steele will prohibit new septic tanks in places overseen by basin management action plans (BMAPs) such as Banana River Lagoon, Central Indian River Lagoon, North Indian River Lagoon, and the reasonable assurance plan for the Mosquito Lagoon. It requires existing developments to switch centralized sewer systems or enhanced nutrient-reducing septic tanks by 2030, unless it is impossible to do so, in which case an enhanced nutrient-reducing septic tank must be installed. The bill also requires BMAPs to organize water facility upgrades and prioritize advanced waste treatments. An amendment filed by the Senate creates a technical advisory committee to provide septic tank recommendations and requires the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to weigh in on issues involving agriculture in land acquisitions. A similar bill, SB 1632 by Senator Brodeur, successfully passed its three committee of references and was substituted by HB 1379. HB 1379 passed favorably in the House with a vote of 115 Yeas and 0 Nays. It passed favorably in the Senate with a vote of 40 Yeas and 0 Nays. The bill has been enrolled and will soon be presented to the Governor where he has 15 days to approve and sign into law.
SB 280 – Controlled Substances by Senator Brodeur
HB 365 – Controlled Substances by Representative Plakon
SB 280 by Senator Brodeur will amend current statutes to classify the supply of a substance or mixture that is proven to have caused, or is proven to be, a substantial factor in the death or serious injury of an individual. Under current law, a controlled substance is required to be the proximate cause of death for a victim. SB 280, ‘substantial factor’ is defined as the use of a substance or mixture [of substances] alone is sufficient to cause death, regardless of whether any other substance or mixture used is also sufficient to cause death. Under the changes made by the bill, individuals guilty of distribution will have committed a felony in the second degree. Repeat offenders found guilty of the same crime will have committed a felony in the first degree. SB 280 also specifies that unlawful distribution may be from a person who directly or indirectly provided the substance or mixture to the victim who suffered severe bodily injury or drug overdose. SB 280 passed favorably in all three committees of reference and was substituted by the house companion, HB 365 by Representative Plakon. An amendment was proposed for HB 365 but failed allowing the measure to pass favorably in the Senate with a vote of 31 Yeas and 6 Nays. The bill has been enrolled and will soon be presented to the Governor where he has 15 days to approve and sign into law.
HB 837 – Civil Remedies by Representative Gregory
SB 236 – Civil Remedies by Senator Hutson
HB 837 by Representative Gregory will revise Florida’s current civil justice system. The bill specifies the admissibility of evidence in personal injury and wrongful death cases to give the jury in these cases an accurate picture of medical damages. HB 837 will set clear guidelines for insurance company claimants in third-party cases to reduce third-party bad faith incidents in lawsuits. The bill will also change Florida from a ‘pure comparative negligence jurisdiction’ to a ‘modified comparative jurisdiction’ establishing that the party found to be majority at fault for their own injury cannot recover damages. HB 837 will also adjust the attorney fee calculations. Several amendments were filed, including one by Senator Grall to address bad faith lawsuits against insurance companies, the verdict form regulations, and the enactment date established by the bill; all proposed amendments failed. The Senate Companion, SB 236 by Senator Hutson was substituted for HB 837. The bill passed favorably in the House with a vote of 80 Yeas and 31 Nays. On Thursday, March 23, HB 837 was heard on the Senate floor and passed with 23 Yeas and 15 Nays. On Friday, March 24, the bill was signed by Governor DeSantis, Chapter No. 2023-15 and is now effective.
HB 477 – Term Limits for District School Board Members by Representative Rizo
SB 1110- Term Limits by Senator Ingoglia
HB 477 by Representative Rizo reduces the length of the term limit for school board members to 8 years from 12 years. The term limit applies to terms of office beginning on or after November 8, 2022. As you recall, in the 2022 Legislative Session, the legislature passed HB 1267 establishing term limits of 12 years for school board members. Under HB 1467, individuals may not appear on the ballot for reelection if they have served in that current position for 12 consecutive years. HB 477 is intended to prohibit a school board member from appearing on a ballot for reelection if, by the end of his or her current term of office, the member will be served, or would have served if not for resignation, in that office for 8 consecutive years, aligning with the term limits of the state legislators. A companion bill, SB 1110 by Senator Ingoglia, was referred to three committees of reference but died in its last committee, Rules. HB 477 passed favorably in the House with a vote of 79 Yeas and 29 Nays. It also passed favorably in the Senate with a vote of 30 Yeas and 7 Nays. The bill was ordered enrolled and was presented to the Governor for approval and signature on Monday, May 8. On Tuesday, May 9, the Governor approved this bill that has an effective date of July 1, 2023.
HB 1537 – Education by Representative Rizo
SB 1430 – Education by Senator Avila
HB 1537 by Representative Rizo is a comprehensive education bill intended to support to Florida’s teachers and ensure Florida students are provided with a quality education. Of the many provisions included in the bill, some of the most important include: revising high school graduation requirements to allow students to enroll in career education courses, providing greater funding incentives for career education courses at the middle school level, and requiring the Department of Education and the Board of Governors to work collaboratively on the development of a new advanced course that will allow students to earn a college credit with a passing score on the courses’ final examination. Several amendments were adopted that removed some FEFP provisions, adjusted the Bright Futures Scholarship, and creates accountability for institutions licensed by the Commission for Independent Education. A similar bill, SB 1430 by Senator Avila was substituted for HB 1537. HB 1537 passed favorably in the House with a vote of 115 Yeas and 0 Nays. It passed in the Senate with a vote of 40 Nays and 0 Nays. The bill was ordered enrolled and was presented to the Governor for approval and signature on Monday, May 8. On Tuesday, May 9, the Governor approved this bill that has an effective date of July 1, 2023.
SB 704 – Opioid Abatement by Senator Boyd
HB 783 – Emergency Opioid Antagonists by Representative Caruso
SB 704 by Senator Boyd will expand the authority of pharmacies, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and first responders to possess, dispense and administer emergency opioid antagonists. SB 704 will also expand the civil and criminal immunities for the dispensing and administration of emergency opioid antagonists. The bill will also establish the Statewide Council on Opioid Abatement within the Department of Children and Families to enhance the development and coordination of state and local efforts to abate the opioid epidemic and to support victims. SB 704 received unanimous support in all three committees of reference. The bill was substituted for the House companion, HB 783 by Representative Caruso, where it passed favorably on the House floor with a vote of 116 Yeas and 0 Nays and on the Senate floor with a vote of 40 Yeas and 0 Nays. The bill has been enrolled and will soon be presented to the Governor where he has 15 days to approve and sign into law.
SB 1550 – Prescription Drugs by Senator Brodeur
HB 1509 – Prescription Drugs by Representative Chaney
SB 1550 by Senator Brodeur, also known as the “Prescription Drug Reform Act,” is intended to lower the cost of prescription drugs by regulating pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs are required to obtain a certificate of authority from the Office Insurance Regulation by January 1, and requires the sate insurance agency to report to the governor and Legislature on compliance with the new law. Drug manufacturers would also have to notify the state if there are certain increases in drug prices, including if the cost of a $100 drug increases by 15% or more during the previous 12 months or by 30% or more over a three-year period. The House companion, HB 1509 by Representative Chaney, passed favorably in all three committees of reference. It was substituted by SB 1550 that passed favorably in the House with a vote of 118 Yeas and 0 Nays and in the Senate with a vote of 40 Yeas and 0 Nays. On Wednesday, May 3, the bill was signed by Governor DeSantis, Chapter No. 2023-29 and is effective on July 1, 2023.
HB 111 – Flooding and Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Studies by Representative Hunschofsky
SB 1170 – Flooding and Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Studies by Senator Calatayud
CS/HB 111 by Representative Hunschofsky will expand the current provisions set forth by the legislature’s passage of SB 178 during the 2020 legislative session regarding seal level impact projection studies prior to the commencement of a new building construction in at-risk areas. HB 111 provides a definition for ‘area at risk due to sea level rise’ and provides additional characteristics for determining if an area can be categorized as such. At-risk areas include those susceptible to property or infrastructure damage due to sea level rise. The bill authorizes the Department of Environmental Protection to develop a standard for conducting sea level impact projection studies by which a state-financed constructor must follow. HB 111 will also expand the Resilient Florida Grant Program to provide funding for counties and municipalities to conduct feasibility studies and cover the costs of finding solutions to reduce the impact of flooding and sea level rise. The expansion of the Program will also allocate funding to water management districts to support local government adaptation planning. Its Senate companion, SB 1170 by Senator Calatayud, passed favorably in its three committees of reference and was substituted for HB 111. HB 111 passed favorably on the House floor with a vote of 117 Yeas and 0 Nays and on the Senate floor with a vote of 37 Yeas and 0 Nays. The bill has been enrolled and will soon be presented to the Governor where he has 15 days to approve and sign into law.
SB 1346 – Local Regulation of Nonconforming or Unsafe Structures by Senator Avila
HB 1317 – Local Regulation of Nonconforming or Unsafe Structures by Representative Roach
SB 1346 by Senator Avila creates the Resiliency and Safe Structures Act, providing that a local government may not prohibit, restrict, or prevent the demolition of structures for any reason other than public safety including, nonconforming structures located within one-half mile of the coastline and within Zones V, VE, AO, or AE, as identified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Local governments must authorize replacement structures to be developed to the maximum height and overall building size authorized by local development regulations. This does not apply to single-family homes or structures individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. After receiving 33 Yeas and 6 Nays in the Senate, SB 1346 is currently in messages. The House companion, HB 1317 by Representative Roach, was not scheduled for its second reading. With the legislature adjourning sine die, both versions of the bill have died.
HB 89 – Building Construction by Representative Maggard
SB 512 – Building Construction by Senator Hooper
HB 89 by Representative Maggard states that a local enforcement agency or local government may not make or require any changes to a building plan unless otherwise required for compliance with the Florida Building code, Florida Fire Prevention Code, or an amendment set forth by a local government. HB 89 adds language permitting a Class A air-conditioning contractor to perform certain duties including, but not limited to, the reconnecting of breakers and fuses on an electrical circuit and the replacement – and other potential fixes – to switches and boxes. The bill also requires a local government to inform building permit applicants of the specific parts of a building plan that do not apply with either Florida Fire Prevention code, Florida’s Life Safety Code, or local amendments and allow the applicant to rectify the issues in order to receive the permit. HB 89 was read a third time and amended by the Senate where it passed with a vote of 38 Yeas and 0 Nays. It was returned to the House for a final vote and passed favorably with a vote of 114 Yeas and 2 Nays. The Senate companion, SB 512 by Senator Hooper, was substituted for the House version. The bill has been enrolled and will soon be presented to the Governor where he has 15 days to approve and sign into law.
HB 671 – Residential Building Permits by Representative Esposito
SB 682 – Residential Building Permits by Senator DiCeglie
HB 671 by Representative Esposito will repeal Florida statutes relating to the timeframe in which single-family residential dwelling permits must be issued and shortens the timeframe for the submittal, processing, and review of an application. HB 671 also requires a local government to reduce permit fees by 75% if a property owner or contractor retains a private provider for pans review or inspection services. Additionally, the bill limits a local government’s ability to request additional information from an applicant to one time and provides that an application will be automatically approved if a local government fails to notify an applicant about necessary revisions within 9 business days. With neither bill making it out of committee prior to the Legislature’s 50-day rule, they have subsequently died.
SB 346 – Public Construction by Senator DiCeglie
HB 383 – Public Construction by Representative Griffitts
CS/SB 346 by Senator DiCeglie relates to contractual agreements for construction services between a local government entity and a contractor. SB 346 will require that contracts include a dollar valuation as reasonable determined by the contractor as a portion of the contract value of the estimated cost to complete each item on the list. Within 20 days of the list’s creation date, a local government must pay the contractor the remaining contract balance including all retainage withheld. A contractor may submit a payment request for the remaining contract balance. The remaining balance does not include the estimated costs to complete the items on the list. Additionally, the bill revises the definition of ‘public works project’ to prohibit the imposition of certain requirements on contractors for certain public construction projects that exceed $350,000 in which either state or local funds are used. The House companion, HB 383 by Representative Griffitts, passed favorably in its two committees of reference and was substituted for SB 346. SB 346 passed favorably in the Senate with a vote of 36 Yeas and 0 Nays and in the House with a vote of 83 Yeas and 29 Nays. The bill has been enrolled and will soon be presented to the Governor where he has 15 days to approve and sign into law.
HB 1395 – Management and Safety of Condominium and Cooperative Buildings by Representative Lopez
SB 154 – Condominium and Cooperative Associations by Senator Bradley
HB 1395 by Representative Lopez amends current law established by the 2022 Special Session D passage of SB 4D relating to building inspections following the collapse of the Surfside Tower in Miami, Florida. HB 1395 will require all condominiums and cooperative buildings to conduct a milestone inspection when buildings reach 25 years, regardless of the location. Local governments can extend the deadline for milestone inspections if certain circumstances arise. Under the bill, condominiums and cooperative buildings may use prior inspections if they were conducted within the last 5 years. HB 1395 will require the Florida Building Commission to create a uniform form for certain inspection reports and allows for an injunction process to enforce milestone inspection and Structural Integrity Reserve Study (SIRS) requirements in county courts. HB 1395 received unanimous support in its three committees of reference. It was substituted for the Senate companion, SB 154 by Senator Bradley, and passed favorably in the House with a vote of 118 Yeas and 0 Nays and a Senate vote of 39 Yeas and 0 Nays. The bill has been enrolled and will soon be presented to the Governor where he has 15 days to approve and sign into law.