SB 88 & HB 1601 – Relating to Farming Operations

On Wednesday, April 21, SB 88 by Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) was substituted for HB 1601 by Representative Jayer Williamson (R-Pace) on second reading and was rolled to third reading.

The bill amends and strengthens the Florida Right to Farm Act, which is intended to protect reasonable agricultural activities conducted on farmland from nuisance lawsuits. The bill provides stronger liability protections to farms that comply with best management practices and environmental regulations, and:

  • Adds Agritourism to the list of practices protected by the Right to Farm Act;
  • Institutes parameters regarding punitive and compensatory damages; and
  • Limits eligibility to file a lawsuit to individuals located within one half mile of the activity.

SB 88 will now be read a third time on the House floor and receive votes.

AIF supports legislation that protects Florida’s farmers and helps to eradicate bad faith litigation which drives up the cost of doing business, insurance rates, and negatively affects those providing food and resources to the state.


HB 839 – Relating to Express Preemption of Fuel Retailers and Related Transportation Infrastructure

On Wednesday, April 21, HB 839 by Representative Tom Fabricio (R-Hialeah) was read a third time on the House floor and passed with 79 yeas and 38 nays.

The bill preempts the regulation of transportation energy infrastructure to the state, and specifies that any existing or future law, ordinance, regulation, policy, or resolution that is contrary to the preemption is void. Specifically, the bill prohibits local governments from:

  • Prohibiting the redevelopment of a fuel retailer or the necessary related transportation infrastructure within that specific local government’s entire jurisdiction;
  • Any action resulting in a de facto jurisdiction-wide prohibition against a fuel retailer or related and necessary transportation infrastructure; and

Mandating any required infrastructure on a fuel retailer, including electric vehicle charging stations.

The bill does not preempt a municipality, county, special district, or political subdivision from adopting and implementing ordinances, regulations, policies, or resolutions on the siting, development, or redevelopment of fuel retailers or necessary related transportation infrastructure that are consistent with other allowable uses and general law.

HB 839 will now go to the Senate for consideration.

AIF supports legislation that removes onerous regulations on Florida businesses that will streamline operations and allow these entities to operate on a statewide regulation basis rather than a patchwork of local ordinances.


HB 919 – Relating to Preemption Over Restriction of Utility Services

On Wednesday, April 21, HB 919 by Representative Josie Tomkow (R-Auburndale) was read a second time on the House floor and was rolled to third reading.

The bill preempts municipalities, counties, special districts, or other political subdivisions of the state from restricting utility service choice, regardless of fuel source. The bill prohibits these entities from enacting or enforcing any resolutions, ordinances, rules, codes, or policies that restrict a property owner, tenant, or utility service customer’s choice of utility service type from a utility service provider.

HB 919 will now be a read a third time on the House floor and receive votes.

AIF supports legislation that enhances free market decisions by consumers and allows Florida businesses equal opportunity to serve and operate in the various corners of the state.


HB 485 – Relating to Personal Care Attendants

On Wednesday, April 21, HB 485 by Representative Sam Garrison (R-Orange Park) was read a second time on the House floor, was amended, and was rolled to third reading.

The bill will allow nursing homes to employ personal care attendants (PCA) and to allow a PCA to work as a nursing assistant (and count as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) for the purposes of staffing requirements) for a period of up to four months if the PCA is participating in the PCA training program established by the Agency for Health Care Administration in consultation with the Board of Nursing. The training program must consist of at least 16 hours of education which will lead to a PCA becoming a CNA. The bill defines a PCA as a person who provides care to and assists residents with tasks related to the activities of daily living and prohibits a PCA from performing any task that requires clinical assessment, interpretation, or judgment, or from working as a PCA for more than one nursing home before becoming a CNA.

The bill also specifies that a PCA must complete the 16 hours of education prior to having any direct contact with a resident.

HB 485 will now be read a third time on the House floor and receive votes.

AIF supports legislative efforts that expand access to care and keep health care costs low for Florida businesses.


HB 969 – Relating to Consumer Data Privacy

On Wednesday, April 21, HB 969 by Representative Fiona McFarland (R-Sarasota) was read a third time on the House floor and passed with 118 yeas and 1 nay.

The bill gives consumers certain rights related to personal information collected by a business. It requires businesses to comply with consumer requests on stored information and make the information available on the businesses’ website. The bill allows the Department of Legal Affairs to bring an action against, and collect civil penalties from, a business who violates these requirements.

The bill also creates a new private right of action that will open up employers to class action lawsuits.

To businesses, the bill has an estimated total cost of compliance of $36.5 billion.

HB 969 will now go to the Senate for consideration.

AIF opposes legislation that imposes onerous and costly mandates on private businesses. The expense created by this legislation will be passed on to the consumer. This legislation casts a wide net that will catch and harm small businesses that drive Florida’s economy.