DeSantis signs 27 bills into law in marathon session
Fri, May 26, 2023 3:00 PM
By Andrew Powell, The Center Square
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis put his pen to work, signing 27 bills into law this week covering topics such as crime, regulation of drones and other issues.
Most of the new laws signed on Thursday will go into effect on July 1, the first day of the fiscal year.
Criminal justice and law enforcement
House Bill 537 excludes offenders of heinous crimes from being eligible for gain-time and incentive gain-time to reduce supervision time and requires the court to impose additional conditions on dangerous offenders.
HB 667 requires a court to determine whether taking the deposition of a minor under the age of 16 who is a victim of a sexual crime is appropriate. The bill also requires a victim to be notified of specified information when contacted by those acting on behalf of the defendant in a criminal proceeding.
HB 1307 creates criminal penalties for the possession, installation, use, or aiding in the use of a contaminant device designed to be inserted into retail fuel dispensers for the purpose of altering, manipulating or interrupting its normal function. Criminal penalties also apply to anyone who modifies a vehicle's factory-installed fuel tank with the intention of using it to hold or transfer fuel. The bill allows for the forfeiture of vehicles and other equipment used for retail fuel theft.
Senate Bill 50 adds current judicial assistants and their spouses and children to the list of specified personnel and family members who are exempted from public record requirements for identification and location information. HB 1215 is a similar bill that relates to the exemption of public records of investigators and inspectors and their families.
HB 535 authorizes travel expenses for members of law enforcement in cases of bereavement and increases the amount of money paid toward the funeral costs of officers who are killed in the line of duty. The bill also authorizes the use of state motor vehicles to attend the funeral of a state law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty.
SB 232 protects vulnerable persons and specifies the conditions under which a person commits exploitation of a person over the age of 65 years. The bill provides criminal penalties and authorizes a person who is in imminent danger of exploitation to petition for an injunction for protection.
HB 33 creates the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact and provides for the recognition of psychology licenses in compact states, as well as authorizing a compact state to require a license. The bill also designates a state commissioner and the employees of the commission as state agents for the purpose of applying sovereign immunity.
HB 35 further adds to HB33, and provides an exemption from public records requirements for information held by the Department of Health or the Board of Psychology pursuant to the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact and exempts public meeting requirements for certain meetings. SB 218 revises the definition of the term "telehealth provider" to include people who are licensed as genetic counselors.
HB 761 prohibits certain telephone sales calls and outlines the conditions that could lead to civil actions for text message solicitation.
HB 7063 is a taxation bill that revises provisions related to tourist tax reimbursement, exemptions for religious and educational property and homestead exemptions, as well as certain surtaxes that are found to be unconstitutional.
HB 487 revises eligibility for plans of deferred compensation established by a chief financial officer. Injured employees can be ordered by a CFO to get an evaluation by an expert medical advisor in order to decide on compensation claims. The bill also revised certain laws around funeral insurance and revised the procedures around procuring a bail bond agency license.
SB 346 is a bill related to public construction and requires that certain contracts provide a detailed list of all expenditures in order to complete projects with local government entities. A date of completion must be given within five days of submitting the list, and the final completion date must be at least 30 days after the contracted items have been delivered. The bill also stipulates that final payment will be withheld until services have been fulfilled.
SB 708 reduces the time that someone can respond to an estoppel letter, which validates lease terms for a third party, from 14 days to 10 days, allowing a mortgage provider to send a corrected letter if the first was not used. The bill also prohibits a mortgage provider from refusing to accept outstanding funds that were included in an estoppel letter.
SB 1068 prohibits political subdivisions from withholding the issuance of a development permit or other use approval to a drone delivery service. The bill also prohibits enacting or enforcing ordinances that prohibit a drone delivery service based on the service’s drone port. Drone ports are also exempt from the Florida Fire Prevention Code and the Florida Building Code with the exception of a stairwell if the building is taller than one story.
HB 645 amends the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Act, and adds several state definitions of a "critical infrastructure structure" which includes water and wastewater treatment plants, gas refineries, seaports, airports, dams and military installations. A 60-day prison term and a possible $500 fine will apply to anyone who willfully operates a drone over such facilities or infrastructure.
SB 1154 revises the Labor Pool Act and provides that workers are provided fresh drinking water and bathroom facilities. The bill also states that an aggrieved worker alleging a violation of the labor pool law must give written notice of the violation, and allow the labor pool the opportunity to rectify the alleged violation.
SB 1318 is a bill that defines the term crew and exempts a spaceflight entity from liability for the injury or death of a crew member that is the result of spaceflight activities. The new law also requires that a spaceflight entity have its crew sign a warning statement.
HB 49 authorizes certain entities to preserve and restore abandoned and historic cemeteries and creates Historic Cemeteries Program Advisory Council.
HB 155 dissolves the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, requires the agency to close its affairs and transfer pending activities and also requires that all records held by the authority be forwarded.
SB 1002 provides that vehicle repair shops and its employees are prohibited from offering an inducement to a customer in exchange for making an insurance claim for windshield replacement or repairs. The bill further prohibits a claimant from being forced to use a particular business to repair their vehicle’s glass.
HB 847 removes the authority of a local government from requiring a permit for floating vessel platforms and only allows for a one-time permit for those floating platforms if the owner self-certifies with the exemption criteria. Local governments can also establish restricted areas within 500 feet of sewage pump stations located at a public or private nonresidential marina.
HB 1595 codifies the powers, duties, and obligations of a sheriff. The bill also revises the process of appealing a funding reduction to the operating budget of a municipal law enforcement agency, and requires that there is an elected sheriff in each Florida county, while prohibiting the sheriff’s duties from being transferred to another officer or office.
HB 721 revises the standards for paying out paid family leave insurance in the Sunshine State.
HB 1087 makes changes to the Child Support Program. To receive services from the program, families can send an application or are automatically referred to the service because a parent is receiving cash or food assistance. Payments can also be deferred if the parent obligated to pay child support participates in job training.
addresses several issues related to the agriculture industry, and revises the powers and duties of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Included in the bill is the removal of a law that prohibits a person from testing milk-fat content, and pasteurizing milk.