Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The 2022 Florida Legislative session commenced on Tuesday, January 11. 3,549 pieces of legislation will be considered this session. Each year, thousands of bills are filed during the 60-day session and it can be difficult to makes sense of which laws could impact your business. As Director of Government Affairs for Stearns Weaver Miller, I am monitoring issues of importance on behalf of firm clients and will update you with the “Rotunda Report” – a high-level report of five important bills or issues from session each week. Below are the five from this week, January 11-14.

Opening Day of Session
Governor Ron DeSantis delivered his final State of the State address of his first-term. He outlined some of his priorities in his $99.7 billion recommended budget, including teacher bonuses and the creation of a new law enforcement office dedicated to enforcing election laws. Senate President Wilton Simpson delivered remarks outlining the Senate’s priorities this session, many of which align with the Governor’s. House Speaker Chris Sprowls’ opening remarks mentioned the House looking at the state’s “risk portfolio,” including improving cybersecurity infrastructure and addressing the threat of hurricanes. 

Redistricting Moves Forward
On Thursday, the Senate Reapportionment Committee approved its draft of Florida’s congressional map and state Senate map. The full Senate will consider the maps for final adoption. The House Reapportionment Committee also met on Thursday and discussed several maps, but did not take a formal vote.

Data Privacy Bills Filed
This week, we saw the expected return of the data privacy issue from 2021. HB 9 and SB 1864 are similar to last year’s bills, requiring certain businesses to publish privacy policies and advise consumers, if asked, what data they collect, how they collect it and how it is used. A private cause of action is the key issue between the House and Senate on this issue. The House bill creates a private right of action to enforce the law, while the Senate bill authorizes the Attorney General to sue businesses who violate the law. Data privacy legislation is also a priority of the Governor.

COVID-19 Liability
On Thursday, the Senate Rules Committee passed SB 7014, extending COVID-19 liability protections for health care providers through June 1, 2023. Earlier today, the House Health and Human Services Committee adopted PCB HHS 22-01, a proposed committee bill identical to the Senate bill.

Preemption Battle
On Wednesday, the Senate Community Affairs Committee favorably reported CS/SB 280. The bill will now move forward to the Senate Rules Committee. This bill would require local governments to stop enforcing regulations challenged in court by businesses and individuals. Local governments would also be required to produce a “business impact estimate” prior to passing a regulation. The House companion, HB 403, is currently in the House Civil Justice and Property Rights Subcommittee.

I would be happy to speak with you about any of the issues above. For more information, please contact me.