From Vouchers to Guns, New Laws Take Effect

From Vouchers to Guns, New Laws Take Effect

By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida

TALLAHASSEE — More school vouchers. Expanded restrictions on teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity. Limits on using TikTok. Carrying guns without concealed-weapons licenses. A larger Florida State Guard.

More than 200 laws passed during the 2023 legislative session, including a record $116.5 billion budget, will take effect Saturday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed nearly 300 bills that the Republican-controlled Legislature passed during the session. About one-third went into effect immediately or will hit the books in October or January.

Here are some of the laws that will take effect Saturday:

— SB 2500, a $116.5 billion budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, which will run from Saturday through June 30. DeSantis vetoed $510.9 million from the budget passed by lawmakers in May.

— HB 1, expanding taxpayer-funded vouchers to all Florida students and eliminating income-eligibility requirements.

— HB 3, prohibiting government investment strategies that consider “environmental, social and governance,” or ESG, standards.

— HB 5, eliminating Enterprise Florida, the state’s business-recruitment agency. Contracts and programs will be shifted to the Department of Economic Opportunity, which will be renamed the Department of Commerce.

— SB 102, making changes to try to expand affordable housing, including boosting funding for housing and rental programs, providing incentives for investment and encouraging mixed-use developments in struggling commercial areas.

— SB 106, designating $200 million to help link hiking and biking trails, which are part of the Shared-Use Nonmotorized Trail Network, to a statewide wildlife corridor.

— SB 214, preventing credit-card companies from tracking firearm and ammunition sales through a separate “merchant category code” at gun businesses.

— HB 225, allowing “opening remarks” of up to two minutes on public-address systems before high-school championship events. The change came amid a legal battle about whether a Christian school should have been able to offer a prayer over the loudspeaker before a championship football game.

— SB 240, offering tax breaks for businesses that employ apprentices or pre-apprentices.

— SB 262, placing restrictions on large online companies about collecting and using consumers’ personal data.

— SB 264, preventing, with some exceptions, property purchases in Florida by people from China who are not U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents.

— SB 266, prohibiting colleges and universities from spending money on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

— HB 379, prohibiting the use of the social-media platform TikTok on devices owned by school districts and through internet access provided by districts. TikTok has been controversial because of its Chinese ownership.

— HB 389, allowing school districts to provide free menstrual hygiene products in schools.

— HB 411, changing residency requirements for county school-board members. The bill will require board members to reside in the districts they represent by the date they take office, rather than at the time they qualify to run.

— HB 477, imposing eight-year term limits on school-board members, down from the current 12 years.

— SB 540, allowing “prevailing” parties to recover legal fees in challenges to local government comprehensive growth-management plan changes.

— HB 543, allowing Floridians to carry guns without concealed-weapons licenses.

— HB 637, barring automakers from offering direct-to-consumer or online sales if their vehicles are currently sold through dealerships in the state.

— SB 766, allowing school districts to use cameras designed to capture images of drivers who illegally pass school buses.

— SB 846, banning state colleges and universities and employees from accepting gifts from “foreign countries of concern” — China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela.

— SB 902, placing additional safety requirements on amusement rides. The bill is named after 14-year-old Tyre Sampson, who was killed when he fell from a ride last year in Orlando.

— HB 931, prohibiting colleges and universities from using “political loyalty” tests in hiring, admissions or promotions.

— HB 1035, spelling out various rights of teachers, including a right to “control and discipline” students and to challenge certain directives from school districts they believe violate state law or State Board of Education rules.

— HB 1069, expanding to eighth grade a 2022 law that barred instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

— HB 1259, requiring school districts to share portions of local property-tax revenues with charter schools.

— HB 1285, expanding and making permanent the Florida State Guard, which DeSantis revived last year. The state guard will expand from 400 members to 1,500 members.

— HB 1305, requiring the Department of Transportation to conduct inspections of the Walt Disney World monorail system. The requirement comes amid a long-running feud between Disney and DeSantis.

— SB 1318, extending liability protections for aerospace companies if crew members are injured or killed in spaceflights.

— HB 1379, directing $100 million a year from real-estate taxes to the Florida Forever land-acquisition program and requiring a plan on how to improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon watershed.

— HB 1521, imposing restrictions on which bathrooms transgender people can use at schools and public buildings. It will require people to use bathrooms that line up with their sex assigned at birth.

— SB 1580, establishing a right for health-care providers to opt out of providing services because of a “conscience-based objection” based on religious, moral or ethical beliefs.

— SB 1604, nullifying agreements reached by Disney and the former Reedy Creek Improvement District board. The Reedy Creek board has been replaced by a DeSantis-appointed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board.

— SB 1718, toughening penalties on people who bring undocumented immigrants into Florida, requiring hospitals to submit data about whether patients are in the country legally and providing $12 million for a program that allows Florida to transport migrants to other parts of the country.

— HB 7063, providing a wide range of tax breaks, including holding a series of sales-tax “holidays” and creating sales-tax exemptions on diapers. It also will reduce a commercial-lease tax starting in December.

— SB 7064, increasing penalties for adult-entertainment businesses that do not verify the ages and identities of workers. The bill is designed to help curb human trafficking.

5 Responses to "From Vouchers to Guns, New Laws Take Effect"

  1. Florida leads the nation to grow and protect it citizens. As stated by a fellow Democrat this year of successful legislation strikes fear into their intolerant hearts and minds. Calling names is all they can do because they hate anyone who doesn’t have their ideas of socialism and communism

  2. “SB 264, should read= “preventing, with some exceptions, property purchases in Florida by people or Businesses from Non-US Territories”. Not just China.

  3. Completely Disagree with you on everything you wrote sound like right wing propaganda or talking points and I hope the next governor will nullify most of the new laws.
    Sound as if you hope the fascist, bully. drunk on power man that managed to change another law that benefits only him and his doners, not taxpayers, allowing him to keep his job while he runs for president.
    Finally I hope he continues to keep poll numbers at 22% or lower.

  4. It is good to see all the bills that have been passed to protect Floridians against the cultural marxism sweeping over this country. We need these protections nationwide.

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