Florida’s 149 new laws cover everything from abortion restrictions to strawberries

·5 min read

Nearly 150 laws that Florida legislators passed this year are set to hit the books Friday.

The new laws range from a record $109.9 billion budget to naming a state dessert.

Some of the measures face legal challenges, such as a bill that would prevent abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy and a bill that would restrict how race-related concepts are taught in schools and workplace training.

In all, lawmakers sent 280 bills to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Of that total, 149 that were signed or were awaiting signatures Monday had July 1 effective dates. Seventy-five took effect immediately when signed. Others are to take effect Oct. 1, Jan. 1 or at other times.

As of the end of last week, DeSantis had vetoed 11 measures passed this year.

Here are some of the bills that will become law Friday:

Budget and taxes

DeSantis signed a $109.9 billion budget (HB 5001) for the 2022-23 fiscal year, which will start Friday. The record spending plan was bolstered by federal stimulus money and higher-than-expected state tax revenues.

Lawmakers passed a wide-ranging tax plan (HB 7071) that includes a series of sales-tax “holidays” on such things as back-to-school clothes and supplies and a one-month suspension of the state gas tax in October.

Education

Dubbed by DeSantis as the “Stop WOKE Act,” lawmakers passed a measure (HB 7) that restricts how race-related concepts are taught in schools and workplace training. It has drawn a court challenge.

Lawmakers approved a measure (SB 1048) to replace the Florida Standards Assessments testing program in public schools with a “progress monitoring system” that would test students three times a year.

Lawmakers passed a measure (SB 1054) that will require high-school students, starting in the 2023-24 academic year, to take financial-literacy courses.

Lawmakers passed a bill (HB 1467) to place 12-year term limits on county school-board members and to increase public scrutiny of school library books and instructional materials.

In an issue that fueled a national debate, lawmakers passed a measure (HB 1557) that prohibits instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade and requires that such instruction in older grades be age-appropriate. It has drawn a court challenge.

Lawmakers approved a measure (SB 7044) that requires state colleges and universities to change accreditors at the end of each accreditation cycle and revamps the process of reviewing professors’ tenure.

Healthcare

Amid national legal and political battles about abortion, lawmakers passed a measure (HB 5) that prevents nearly all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law faces a court challenge.

Lawmakers passed a measure (SB 1950) that will help set the stage for the Agency for Health Care Administration to award billions of dollars in Medicaid managed-care contracts.

As the use of telemedicine has increased, lawmakers approved a bill (SB 312) that expands the authority of physicians to prescribe controlled substances through telemedicine.

Lawmakers passed a wide-ranging Department of Health bill (SB 768) that will prevent renewal of licenses for medical-marijuana businesses that have not started to grow, process and sell cannabis.

Law enforcement

Lawmakers passed a wide-ranging bill (HB 3) that includes offering $5,000 bonuses as a tool to recruit law-enforcement officers from other states and provides $1,000 bonuses for law-enforcement officers and other first responders in Florida.

Lawmakers approved a plan (SB 226) that will cover veterinary costs of retired law-enforcement dogs. Handlers of retired dogs will be able to receive up to $1,500 in reimbursements for annual costs.

Local governments and special districts

In an issue stemming from Walt Disney Co.’s opposition to a new law involving instruction in schools about gender identity and sexual orientation, lawmakers passed a bill (SB 4-C) that will dissolve the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which plays a key role for Disney. The law takes effect Friday, starting the clock on the June 1, 2023, dissolution of Reedy Creek and five other special districts in the state.

Lawmakers passed a measure (SB 105) that will allow cities and counties to restrict smoking at beaches and parks that they own. They will not be able to ban smoking unfiltered cigars.

The Legislature passed a bill (HB 7055) that made a series of changes related to cybersecurity, including prohibiting local governments from making ransom payments when hit with “ransomware” attacks.

Water and infrastructure

Lawmakers passed a measure (SB 1038) that will give Putnam County until July 1, 2024, to have a feasibility study to determine if a port could be created on the St. Johns River in Palatka.

With the state threatened by rising sea levels, lawmakers passed a measure (HB 7053) that creates a new resiliency office directly under the governor and expands the Resilient Florida Grant Program.

Juveniles and fathers

Lawmakers passed a measure (HB 195) that will expand the ability of minors to have arrest records expunged if they complete diversion programs. The law will not apply to arrests for forcible felonies and felonies that involve the manufacture, sale, purchase, transport, possession or use of firearms.

In a priority of House Speaker Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, lawmakers passed a bill (HB 7065) that includes creating the “Responsible Fatherhood Initiative” within the Department of Children and Families.

State symbols

In a nod to the strawberry industry around Plant City, lawmakers approved a bill (SB 1006) that designates strawberry shortcake as Florida’s official state dessert.

Ripe strawberries wait to be picked at the “U-Pick” field at Knaus Berry Farm in Homestead, on Jan. 11, 2012. The Florida House voted 109-4 on Friday, March 4, 2022, to send the governor a bill that would make strawberry shortcake the official state dessert. Key Lime Pie is already Florida’s state pie.
Ripe strawberries wait to be picked at the “U-Pick” field at Knaus Berry Farm in Homestead, on Jan. 11, 2012. The Florida House voted 109-4 on Friday, March 4, 2022, to send the governor a bill that would make strawberry shortcake the official state dessert. Key Lime Pie is already Florida’s state pie.
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