On May 5, the final day of a 60-day legislative session, Florida’s supermajority Republican lawmakers celebrated, along with Democrats and Governor Ron DeSantis. The celebration began as the session ended at 11 a.m. with Governor DeSantis touting the accomplishments of this body in passing an extraordinary number of bills signed into law.
One such law states that the current governor of Florida need not resign office in order to run for president.
Others, whether you own a business, serve in your city’s or county’s government, or are a concerned citizen, will have an effect on the quality of your life.
New Florida Laws in a Nutshell
- Tax breaks on baby diapers
- Allowing people to carry concealed firearms without a permit or training
- Expanding the “Don’t Say Gay” law to include limiting how students can use their preferred personal pronouns in school, and expanding the law to include all grades
- Reducing the number of weeks from 15 to 6 for an abortion, with exceptions for rape or incest
- Increasing the cost of homeowners insurance and utilities
- Providing more affordable housing for homebuyers and residents
- Denying medical care to children with gender dysphoria
- Banning transgender healthcare
- Limiting medical treatment for LGBTQ+ seniors
- Barring state universities from programs encouraging diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Continuing local fair living wage ordinances
- Allowing all Florida students access to vouchers for private schools, which could reduce public school funding
- Imposing additional term limits on school board members, from 12 years to 8
- Eliminating some renters rights
According to Pinellas county officials, some of these new laws will place burdens on and possibly tie the hands of local city government commissions, city workers, and local businesses.
“This will result in a weaker voice for the people in cities throughout Florida, a trickle-down increase to taxpayers and a detriment to their quality of life,” Mary Beth Henderson, mayor of Redington Shores, told The Gabber Newspaper. No less than five other beach mayors expressed similar concerns to this reporter.
New Laws for Florida City Governments
- Reducing city autonomy by overruling local ordinances resulting in limited “home rule” for local government
- Preempting local control over short-term rentals (30 days or less)
- Allowing “advertising platforms” like VRBO and Airbnb to operate without regulating occupancy, zoning, or plan for code enforcement
- Creating increased opportunity for real estate speculators, developers, and attorneys
- Allowing a court of law to award up to $50,000 in attorney’s fees to a plaintiff if the court rules that an ordinance is “arbitrary or unreasonable” encouraging frivolous lawsuits
- Requiring the city or county to suspend any ordinance pending a court ruling
New Laws for Florida Businesses
- Expanding tax breaks for Florida businesses
- Imposing more state oversight on business hiring practices
- Nullifying development agreements with the Walt Disney Company and imposing state oversight of its signature monorail transportation system (SB 1604)
- Limiting migrant labor
- Giving the State power to reject diversity and equity in business and medicine
Republican legislators have reserved more than $10 million in their $117 billion budget to fight lawsuits brought by opponents to some of these new laws. And the legal battle begun by Governor DeSantis against the Walt Disney Company continues, while the legislature’s next regular session doesn’t begin until January 2024.