Florida lawmakers deal with a variety of payments. Some heart on hot-button points certain to draw ample consideration and at the very least a couple of hearings. Others die and not using a listening to, both because of the disinterest or distaste of committee Chairs, technical points with the laws or as a result of the payments fell via the proverbial cracks amid a landslide of different, extra eye-catching proposals.

The under record of 25 payments is a mix of each. Some would probably have benefited Sunshine State residents and companies in the event that they grew to become coverage. Others are extra divisive and doubtlessly dangerous. What they’ve in frequent is that they’re all fascinating and more likely to come again in future Classes, for higher or worse.

For now, nevertheless, they’re useless.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has boosted the concept of holding media retailers extra accountable for his or her reporting. Picture by way of the Florida Channel.


For the second yr in a row, Pensacola Republican Rep. Alex Andrade carried defamation legislation within the Senate that might have modified the edge to sue for defamation. 

Whereas the idea final yr was boosted by Gov. Ron DeSantis as an opportunity for conservative causes célèbre to carry nationwide media retailers accountable, the invoice angered a variety of conservative radio retailers, lots of them family-owned stations and media teams. 

Drew Steele, a conservative radio host on Fort Myers-based 92.5 FOX Information, predicted in an op-ed revealed in Florida Politics that conservative retailers could also be hit hardest by modifications proposed within the payments. It additionally drew the eye of advisors to Donald Trump, who predicted it will permit assaults on right-wing retailers as a substitute of left-leaning ones. 

The invoice drew the eye of nationally distinguished conservatives, together with Stephen Miller, a coverage adviser to the previous President who mentioned the regulation would stifle conservative speech.

David Borrero proposed a near-total abortion ban. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.


With a pending Florida Supreme Court docket resolution that would set off a ban on abortion after six weeks of being pregnant, legislative leaders in each chambers mentioned passing one other invoice was unlikely this yr. 

That included a measure (HB 1519) from Sweetwater Republican Rep. David Borrero, which might have banned practically all abortions in Florida. It by no means bought a listening to. 

A distinct invoice (SB 476) by Fort Pierce Republican Sen. Erin Grall initially sought to make it simpler for fogeys who lose an unborn baby via negligence to file swimsuit for damages. However Grall and the invoice’s Home sponsor, Fort Myers Republican Rep. Jenna Individuals-Mulicka, later expanded it to outline an unborn baby as an individual. 

Democrats and abortion rights activists noticed it as an end-run try to insert “personhood” into state regulation, primarily placing the courts on a path to outlaw abortion. 

After the Alabama Supreme Court docket dominated {that a} state’s structure deems fertilized embryos as individuals, prompting invitro fertilization clinics to close down, the political firestorm that the ruling unleashed halted the invoice’s progress within the Sunshine State.

Lauren Ebook needed to carry the Governor to his phrase. Picture by way of Florida Politics.

Defending ladies who receive abortions

When he ran for President, DeSantis instructed nationwide press that Florida wouldn’t prosecute ladies and ladies looking for abortions. 

State legal guidelines handed within the final two years after the overturning of Roe v. Wade say in any other case. 

Florida regulation as we speak gives that anybody who “actively participates” in an unlawful being pregnant termination might be punished for committing a third-degree felony. That features ladies looking for the process.

So, Senate Democratic Chief Lauren Ebook this yr filed laws to carry DeSantis and his anti-abortion allies within the Legislature to their phrase. She filed laws (SB 34) to amend Florida Statutes to clarify penalties don’t apply to pregnant ladies looking for to terminate pregnancies. 

Rep. Anna Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat who beforehand labored with Deliberate Parenthood, filed a House version of the invoice. 

Neither obtained a single listening to.

Payments to cap pot efficiency had been stamped out. Picture by way of AP.

THC caps in marijuana

Florida voters will quickly study whether or not they’ll have an opportunity to legalize leisure marijuana this November. However they needn’t fear about if the efficiency of the joints on the poll might be blunted. 

An effort to cap THC ranges in adult-use marijuana died in January, failing to discover a area on a Senate Fiscal Coverage agenda. 

A Senate Well being Coverage Committee invoice (SB 7050) that might cap delta-9 ranges had moved out of its first cease on a 7-3 vote. In the meantime, a companion invoice (HB 1269) had made it via all committee stops within the Home. 

However based mostly on the language of each payments, the chambers by no means managed to seek out the identical wave. Senate management made clear it will not take up the Home invoice and not using a thorough vetting, and caps had been snuffed out, probably on the final alternative earlier than voters take into account legalization within the fall.

The thought of paying $4,000 for a great Taylor Swift ticket has lots of people indignant. Picture by way of AP.

Ticketmaster monopoly-stifling

Nosebleed seats at Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen live shows now promote for hundreds of {dollars}. Unhealthy Bunny cross costs soared 35% since 2019 to comparable sums. 

One thing have to be carried out. And this yr, Andrade and Lake Mary Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur answered the decision with twin payments (SB 204, HB 177) aimed toward taking over the problem. 

The laws would have prohibited stay venues from promoting tickets via only one firm and banned arenas and live performance halls from promoting or transferring passes at costs larger than initially listed. It could even have compelled venues to let performers promote tickets too. 

These insurance policies little question would make a dent within the earnings of LiveNation, an industry mammoth and the proprietor of Ticketmaster that now controls greater than 70% of the ticketing and stay occasion market, together with 80% of all live shows. Ticketmaster’s near-monopoly stronghold on the business has attracted a 19-state lawsuit and comparable laws in California and Tennessee. 

It additionally bought Congress talking. However it garnered little motion in Tallahassee. Brodeur yanked his invoice from consideration after seeing scant help at its first committee cease. Andrade’s by no means bought a listening to — blocked, he mentioned, by Home Commerce Committee Chair Bob Rommel, who “simply didn’t prefer it.” 

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo mentioned she had no intention of giving trans-stifling ID payments play within the chamber. Picture by way of Florida Politics.

Transgender id erasure

Home lawmakers handed laws to require intercourse — and never gender — to seem on authorities paperwork and criminalize altering the designation. 

The invoice (HB 1639), sponsored by Republican Reps. Doug Bankson of Apopka and  Dean Black of Jacksonville additionally impacted protection of gender affirmation surgical procedure and protection for conversion remedy, a remedy extensively thought of quack science by most medical associations. 

No companion model of the laws was ever filed within the Florida Senate. 

The identical day transgender activists held a “Let Us Dwell” march on Tallahassee to name out the invoice as trans erasure, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo instructed the press she had no intention of listening to the Home invoice within the higher changer. 

Of notice, the motive force’s license portion of the invoice has already been carried out administratively, with the Division of Freeway and Motor Autos telling Tax Collectors to deal with gender modifications as a violation of present false ID statutes.

Satirically, outward bigotry is what killed an effort to ban displaying the rainbow flag at public amenities. Picture by way of AP.

Delight flag ban

It was dubbed the “don’t show homosexual” invoice by critics.

Borrero, Fort Myers Republican Sen. Jonathan Martin and Republican Rep. Randy Positive of Palm Bay filed laws (SB 1120, HB 901) to ban flags representing any political, racial or ideological viewpoint from being displayed at public amenities. 

Whereas that may cowl many flag sorts, it was extensively seen as focusing on the rainbow flag cherished by the LGBTQ group. And that appeared to be the interpretation amongst members of the general public, together with John Labriola of the Christian Household Coalition, who known as the Delight flag discriminatory. 

“There is no such thing as a shade there for heterosexuals,” he mentioned through the invoice’s first committee cease. “How is that inclusive? It’s a extremely offensive flag.” 

With the quiet half mentioned out loud, Martin known as for the invoice to be postponed.

Jonathan Martin additionally had a troublesome time passing a proposal to guard historic monuments. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Historic monument protections

After which Martin went to a different committee to current a invoice about defending historic monuments. 

Once more, he burdened his laws (SB 1122) would cowl every kind of army memorials from Unconditional Give up in Sarasota to a tribute to Union troopers in his district. 

Critics and supporters alike noticed it mainly as a invoice to protect Accomplice monuments. 

It didn’t assist that Black, the Home sponsor, initially included language in regards to the outdated Edmund Kirby Smith statue in his invoice (SB 395) or that he so tied it to Jacksonville’s elimination of the Tribute to the Ladies of the Southern Confederacy.

However once more, it was supporters from the general public who doomed the invoice by brazenly supporting White supremacy, prompting a Democratic walkout and main Passidomo the subsequent day to say perceptions of the laws had been “abhorrent.”

Three days is lengthy sufficient for Joel Rudman. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Gun buy ready interval

There’s a three-day ready interval to purchase a gun in Florida, however that wait may be prolonged till a background test is accomplished. The Home handed a invoice (HB 17) by Navarre Republican Rep. Joel Rudman that might have required the gun to be delivered after the three-day interval (excluding holidays and weekends) no matter whether or not the background test was accomplished or not. 

The Senate, although, didn’t maintain a listening to on its model of the invoice (SB 1124) that Martin sponsored.

The house capturing vary police say the bullet that hit Nicole Allen got here from. Picture by way of Palm Seaside Sheriff’s Workplace.

Capturing throughout property strains

When you’re a Florida resident in a rural space not solely zoned for residential use, watch out for stray bullets; there’s not a lot, legally, to guard you from them. 

Nicole Adams realized this the laborious approach whereas engaged on her farm in Lake Value Seaside in September, when she was shot — nonfatally, luckily — within the again.

The Palm Seaside Sheriff’s Workplace traced the spherical to a neighbor’s dwelling capturing vary, nevertheless it couldn’t cost anybody with a criminal offense as a result of the capturing didn’t violate present statutes. 

Residents across the state have complained about the issue for years, and Boynton Seaside Democratic Sen. Lori Berman has tried for years to deal with it via laws to no avail. This yr’s effort, which included the assistance of Wellington Democratic Rep. Katherine Waldron, got here with an intriguing twist: Slightly than run the laws (SB 270, HB 259) as a gun invoice, Berman introduced it as a matter of property rights — particularly, hold your bullets in your property or face prices. 

Berman’s invoice narrowly cleared its first committee cease in January earlier than stalling out. Waldron’s by no means bought heard.

Bobby Payne aimed to reverse a post-Parkland age restrict on lengthy gun purchases. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Decrease age restrict to purchase rifles

Typically you simply want some capturing observe out on the vary. 

That’s principally what the Home did when it carried a invoice (HB 1223) to decrease the age from 21 to 18 for lengthy gun purchases right through the committee course of and voted it off the ground, regardless that it didn’t have a companion invoice within the Senate.

Republican Reps. Bobby Payne of Palatka and Tyler Sirois of Merritt Island sponsored the measure.

The Legislature raised the age restrict from 18 to 21 in 2018 following the mass capturing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas Excessive Faculty, which left 17 useless, together with 14 college students. However it was half of a bigger invoice that included college security enhancements, and the vote break up each events. 

Some Republicans who voted in opposition to that invoice due to its gun restrictions have been itching to repeal the age restrict piece.

When you’re packing warmth, Mike Beltran thinks you need to have the ability to present what you’re working with. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Open carry 

Republican lawmakers have rolled again many gun regulation restrictions, however regardless of pleas from firearm activists, laws to permit the open carrying of weapons in public hasn’t gained traction. 

This yr’s invoice (HB 1619) was sponsored by Rep. Mike Beltran, a Riverview Republican.

It didn’t have a Senate companion and by no means obtained a listening to.

Kratom merchandise stay largely unregulated in Florida regardless of the passage final yr of a so-called “Kratom Client Safety Act.” Picture by way of AP.

The actual Kratom Client Safety Act

Technically, Florida lawmakers final yr passed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, a measure Sarasota Republican Sen. Joe Gruters tried to cross for years to crack down on haphazardly formulated and typically harmful kratom items. 

However the invoice’s title was deceptive. Gruters needed to impose stringent processing, reporting and labeling necessities for merchandise containing kratom, a plant of Southeast Asian origin with euphoric components that some folks use to handle drug withdrawal signs. 

By the point it cleared the Legislature in Could, nevertheless, Andrade, the Home sponsor, had reduce all these security requirements besides one: a ban on under-21 gross sales.

The strictures Gruters needed returned this year, this time with Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry’s title hooked up to them. And whereas Andrade once more carried a companion measure, it once more was the weaker of the 2, aiming simply to set narrower labeling necessities for kratom merchandise. 

The payments didn’t go far.

Shevrin Jones known as elements of Florida’s new public college requirements for African American historical past classes ‘a slap within the face.’ Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Erasing insult to damage

When Florida launched its new Okay-12 curriculum for African American historical past final July, one part specifically gained a variety of consideration — and no scarcity of ire. 

In its steerage for center college pre-Civil Conflict classes, the curriculum acknowledged that public faculties should educate college students “how slaves developed abilities which, in some cases, could be applied for their personal benefit.” Evidently, the backlash was heated and far-reaching. 

To not point out bipartisan. Vice President Kamala Harris decried the requirements. So did U.S. Sen. Byron Donalds, a Republican Trump ally

And so Sen. Shervin Jones and Rep. Christopher Benjamin, each Miami Gardens Democrats, filed laws with Beltran to easily take away the requirement.

Jones, an training skilled, known as the usual “a slap within the face” to Black Floridians.

“We will’t be the laughingstock for this foolishness,” he mentioned. “It’s baffling that we even must have this dialog.” 

Sadly, the dialog was neither far-reaching nor long-lasting. Each measures died and not using a listening to.

Blaise Ingoglia tried to set time period limits for hundreds serving on County Commissions throughout the state. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Time period limits for county commissioners

Payments from Spring Hill Republican Sen. Blaise Ingoglia (SB 438) and Escambia County Republican Rep. Michelle Salzman (HB 57) sought to impose time period limits on long-serving County Commissioners. 

However the debate over the way to restrict time period lengths was finally too nice to resolve.

Exhausting-line conservatives had been adamant eight years was sufficient time on a county governing board, the identical as for state lawmakers. That situation wasn’t sellable within the Senate. 

Florida has 373 County Commissioners throughout its 67 counties, a majority of which might have been affected by the laws. Eight counties already impose an eight-year time period restrict, whereas three extra — Broward, Lee and Polk — permit Commissioners to serve for 12 years. 

Most Commissioners face no time period limits.

Gayle Harrell was behind a not-so-successful effort to permit native governments to transform all public faculties of their space into constitution faculties. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Constitution college conversions

Ever for the reason that days of Gov. Jeb Bush, the GOP-led Legislature has pushed the boundaries of college selection choices, together with an aggressive transfer final yr in approving common vouchers for all Okay-12-age college students. 

This yr, one other aggressive transfer aimed toward permitting cities to approve the conversion of all public faculties of their space to constitution faculties failed to achieve momentum. 

The invoice (HB 109), one other Andrade proposal, handed via one Home committee. 

Its Senate analog by Stuart Republican Sen. Gayle Harrell didn’t transfer in any respect.

Sixty p.c approval for an modification to the Florida Structure isn’t a excessive sufficient bar for Rick Roth. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Elevating modification thresholds

The Legislature for years has sought methods to make it tougher to amend the Florida Structure. 

The newest try got here from West Palm Seaside Republican Rep. Rick Roth, who filed a joint decision to lift the edge for passing an modification on the statewide poll. 

HCR 335 would have required an modification to obtain help from 66.67%, or two-thirds, of voters to cross. 

The Home Ethics, Elections & Open Authorities Subcommittee superior the matter in January. However Roth was by no means capable of finding help amongst even 2.5%, or one-fortieth, of the Senate. 

With no Senate model of the invoice filed, the matter stalled early within the Home.

Worry of international interference in Florida elections via tainted voting machines had been represented in a number of items of laws this Session. Picture by way of AP.

Overseas voting machines

Throughout an election yr, a big and controversial elections invoice was at all times going to be a heavy raise. 

There have been three this yr — SB 1752, HB 359 and HB 1669 — that might have banned foreign-owned, operated or produced voting machines forward of the November 2024 election. 

Different elements of the payments would have severely restricted mail ballots and allowed extra ballot watchers. 

Sponsors included Ingoglia, Roth and Republican Reps. Berny Jacques of Seminole and Taylor Yarkosky of Monteverde.

Not one of the payments obtained a listening to.

Home Speaker Paul Renner spoke in regards to the positives and negatives of requiring Major runoffs. However no committee in his chamber weighed the problem. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Major runoffs

Earlier than 2002, Florida had runoff elections for Major contests, however these had been junked as a part of elections reforms following the 2000 Presidential Election debacle. 

The difficulty had not been raised once more till Week 5 of Session this yr, when the Home State Affairs Committee launched a invoice (PCB SAC 24-06) to convey them again. 

However the backlash from Republicans, together with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and Ingoglia, a former Republican Occasion of Florida Chair, was swift. 

Home Speaker Paul Renner mentioned he understood their issues, equivalent to decreasing the chances for hard-right candidates and the higher expense of holding extra elections. 

He additionally acknowledged arguments for the invoice, equivalent to guaranteeing that every get together’s nominee has at the very least 50% help from the voters. 

Regardless of that, the invoice was by no means heard — even within the Home.

Jason Brodeur sought to extend the amount of cash an individual may obtain by suing the federal government. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Sovereign immunity cap will increase

One other try to extend the caps on lawsuit injury awards in opposition to the federal government didn’t cross the end line this yr. 

This yr’s try (SB 472, HB 569) by Brodeur and Republican Reps. Fiona McFarland of Sarasota and Toby Overdorf of Palm Metropolis bought farther than most. It reached the ground within the Senate and moved via two panels within the Home. 

The payments would have elevated the cap from $200,000 to $400,000 for one particular person and from $300,000 to $600,000 per incident. Beneath the present regulation, anybody awarded damages after suing a authorities entity should get a claims invoice handed by the Legislature to obtain any quantity awarded above the caps.

Traditionally, cities and counties, particularly smaller locales with extra modest tax bases, have opposed growing the caps as a result of it will enhance insurance coverage prices.

Former Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Maury Hernandez and Matt Cowart, President of the Broward Deputy Sheriff’s Affiliation, IUPA Native 6020, addressing members of the Broward Legislative Delegation on Oct. 4. Picture by way of The Florida Channel.

Making Maury Hernandez complete

For a legislative physique that so typically proclaims to “again the blue,” the story of ex-Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Maury Hernandez is perplexing. 

Greater than 16 years in the past, Hernandez was off-duty when he gave chase to an out-of-control motorcyclist who shot him within the head, leaving him partially paralyzed and unable to proceed his police profession. 

The shooter, a felon, ought to by no means have been on the road. Within the previous 4 months, he accrued 40 site visitors and administrative violations, together with reckless driving and unauthorized possession of a firearm. 

Regardless of all that, his parole officer on the Division of Corrections by no means reported him. 

A number of present and former lawmakers, together with Republican Sen. Tom Wright, Democratic Rep. Mike Gottlieb and Republican Rep. Alex Rizo, who sponsored payments (SB 14, HB 6005) this yr to pay Hernandez $10 million for his ache and monetary losses, agreed the state ought to compensate him for its negligence. 

However for the seventh straight yr, the Legislature largely snubbed Hernandez, now 44, as a result of the state’s sovereign immunity regulation doesn’t classify what occurred to him as one thing for which it’s liable. 

Legally talking, nevertheless, nothing is stopping the Legislature from making Hernandez complete.

Uber and its rideshare rivals need a fairer shake at Orlando Worldwide Airport. Picture by way of AP.

Uber, Lyft vs. Orlando airport

At each airport and seaport in Florida, transportation community corporations like Uber and Lyft are charged the identical or practically the identical charges to choose up passengers on the amenities as taxicabs — with one exception: Orlando Worldwide Airport. 

The extremely trafficked vacationer vacation spot prices larger charges to Uber and Lyft, one thing Ingoglia tried to deal with in a invoice (SB 7076) that might have required them to be charged the identical fee as taxis. 

The invoice moved via two Senate committees however by no means had a Home companion measure.

Travis Hutson filed a number of payments to manage large-scale fantasy sports activities platforms. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Fantasy sports activities

Payments to manage large-scale fantasy sports activities platforms and impose license charges made all of it the best way to the Senate ground, however stalled on the market within the ultimate week of Session. 

One invoice (SB 1568) by Palm Coast Republican Sen. Travis Hutson would have established guidelines for fantasy sports activities operators with prize payouts of $1,500 or extra per season or greater than $10,000 per yr. 

One other (SB 1566) Hutson filed would have required a first-time license charge of $500,000, with a yearly renewal charge of $250,000. 

The Home didn’t act on the problem till late in Session, however superior an identical payments (HB 7079, HB 7081) by Lighthouse Level Republican Rep. Chip LaMarca

These payments, nevertheless, had been by no means placed on the agenda for the Home ground, signaling that issues the payments would punish newbie, leisure operators gained out.

Yvonne Hinson led an failed cost to carry wrongdoers at a “infamous” ladies’s jail in Ocala to larger requirements. Picture by way of Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

Physique cameras at Lowell jail 

Lawmakers this yr once more sidestepped a proposal to convey extra accountability to Lowell Correctional Institute, an Ocala ladies’s jail the place federal investigators discovered “infamous acts of sexual abuse, together with rape, in opposition to prisoners.” 

The motion Jones and Gainesville Democratic Rep. Yvonne Hinson demanded via twin payments (SB 108, HB 391) was easy: outfit Lowell’s guards, a few of whom had been accused of violently mistreating inmates, with physique cameras. 

There isn’t any query about whether or not extra surveillance is required. In a 2020 report, U.S. Division of Justice personnel wrote 22 instances about how the “insufficient” digital camera structure on the facility enabled sadistic guards and workers. And in 2020, the Florida Division of Corrections settled a lawsuit with the household of a prisoner paralyzed by a guard suspected of “repeatedly” raping prisoners. 

“With the rise of incidents in our jails,” Jones instructed Florida Politics in November, “it is just proper that ranges of accountability are put in place for the security of these incarcerated and our correctional officers.” 

Martin and Tavares Republican Rep. Keith Truenow, who chaired the committees every invoice was to seem at first, apparently disagreed and by no means scheduled them for a listening to. 


Jacob OglesGrey Rohrer and Jesse Scheckner contributed to this report.

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