Weekly Update from March 8, 2024

The 2024 Legislative Session has come to a close. At 2:26pm, the House and Senate Seargent at Arms dropped their handkerchiefs in the rotunda, officially marking the end of Session, a ceremony that dates back over a century. The final week was subject to many extended floor sessions in the House and Senate. Both chambers were not only working to get the budget complete, but also dealt with a long docket of policy bills that had to be passed, amended when necessary, and sent across the rotunda for the opposite chamber to consider. Numerous bills were agreed upon by both chambers and sent to the Governor. However, many bills failed to be heard in time before the legislature adjourned Sine Die. AIF worked closely with legislators this week to keep many AIF priorities on track to being passed into law.

From start to finish, the AIF Advocacy Team was engaged on HB 433, a bill relating to employment regulations and heat ordinances. This bill went through several changes and was one of the final bills to successfully pass this Session.

AIF was also engaged on Senator Erin Grall’s and Representative Jason Shoaf’s public works project bill this year, HB 705. This bill provides another preemption to protect businesses who apply for public works projects from not being rewarded a contract based on the wage rates of the company. HB 705 awaits the signature of the Governor.

This year, the legislature also took significant strides on cybersecurity and artificial intelligence issues. AIF supported HB 473 by Representative Mike Giallombardo and Senator Nick DiCeglie, a bill that provides protections for businesses from civil liability if they abide by the issued guidelines and cybersecurity framework of the state. The bill awaits the Governor’s signature.

AIF applauds the incredible tenure of both Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner for their support for Florida businesses in the 2023 and 2024 Sessions. As a new generation of leaders take over, the work accomplished by President Passidomo and Speaker Renner will be remembered for generations. AIF is also grateful for the work of many members of the legislature who poured their heart and soul into keeping Florida a beacon for future investment and growth while working to keep industries in Florida thriving and successful.

For more information on the legislation mentioned above, and other bills supported by AIF that were acted upon throughout the week, please see below!

HB 433 – Employment Regulations

On Friday, March 8, HB 433 by Representative Tiffany Esposito (R-Fort Myers) was heard, amended, and passed on the Senate Floor with 24 yeas and 15 nays. The bill was immediately sent back to the Florida House and was passed with 74 yeas and 36 nays. Senator Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City) sponsored the Senate companion, SB 1492.

HB 433 was filed as a bill that would preempt local governments from adding additional ordinances relating to workplace heat exposure requirements. It was amended to include preemptions relating to local wage requirements.

Employers are already required under OSHA to provide a place of employment that is free from recognized standards including heat. There are clear standards employers must meet and this bill will prevent another level of regulation in this area and an unlevel regulatory playing field.

Some local governments have enacted ordinances that require businesses to pay mandated wage rates higher than the minimum wage and meet other employment requirements. HB 433 promotes free market principles and ensures consistency by only recognizing the constitutionally mandated state minimum wage.

On Tuesday, March 5, the Florida Senate adopted an amendment that removed the provision relating to local minimum wage preemptions and sent the bill back to the Florida House.

On Thursday, March 7, the Florida House, after receiving the bill from the Senate, added back the local minimum wage provision that was removed by the Senate.

Today, the Senate added language that narrowed the wage preemptions and pushed the effective date portion of the bill to September 30, 2026. The House concurred with the amendment and passed the bill.

HB 433 will now go to the Governor for approval.

AIF supports regulatory consistency in workplace safety regulations that prevents a patchwork of local regulations that could include unattainable standards which do little to protect employees while opening an onslaught of fines penalties, and other punitive measures.


HB 705 – Public Works Projects

On Monday, March 4, HB 705 by Representative Jason Shoaf (R-Port St. Joe) was read for a third time on the Senate Floor and passed with 28 yeas and 12 nays. Senator Erin Grall (R-Vero Beach) sponsored the Senate companion, SB 742.

This bill ensures that public works projects that use local funds may not require contractors to pay specific wage rates or provide locally mandated employment benefits. This provision already applies to projects that use state dollars. Some local governments are currently requiring the use of prevailing wage rates in their public works contracts. These requirements can dramatically impact project costs and impact an employer’s flexibility in employment decisions. AIF believes that the state minimum wage requirement and the free market are sufficient to ensure proper wage levels.

HB 705 will now go to the Governor for approval.

AIF supports legislation that keeps businesses competing through free market access to public programs.


HB 473 – Cybersecurity Incident Liability

On Tuesday, March 5, HB 473 by Representative Mike Giallombardo (R-Cape Coral) was read for a third time on the Senate Floor and passed with 32 yeas and 8 nays. Senator Nick DiCeglie (R-St. Petersburg) sponsored the Senate companion, SB 658.

This bill tackles civil liability from the cybersecurity perspective. As businesses, large and small, continue to rely on data and software to effectively service their customers, frivolous litigation has been on the rise following cyber-attacks on businesses. The bill sets standards for businesses to follow, so if a breach occurs, they are protected from frivolous litigation. Additionally, the bill creates a structure for companies using consumer data to better protect the data from cyberattacks.

HB 473 will now go to the Governor for approval.

AIF supports legislation that creates a clear and consistent framework for businesses to follow in order to safeguard consumer privacy and to reduce the risk of frivolous litigation. These measures will create a fair playing field and encourage more businesses to invest in Florida.


SB 720 – Asbestos & Silica Claims

On Monday, March 1, SB 720 by Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) was read for a third time on the Senate Floor and passed with 29 yeas and 6 nays. Representative Robbie Brackett (R-Vero Beach) sponsored the House companion, HB 1367.

SB 720 modifies the current list of procedures for a plaintiff to follow when filing a lawsuit regarding asbestos exposure. Currently, a written report must be submitted that includes personal information, asbestos exposure locations, an exposed persons employer at the time of the supposed exposure, any asbestos-related conditions associated with the exposure, any documentation that can support the claim, etc.

SB 720 would require the plaintiff to include information about their smoking history, names and details of anyone who is knowledgeable of the plaintiff’s exposure to asbestos, the specific product (type) of asbestos that the plaintiff was exposed to and the location.

SB 720 died in House messages.

AIF supports legislative initiatives that reinforce the system of checks and balances in our courts. Access to critical evidence and information is important, especially when the outcome of the case can be determined by the medical history of the plaintiff.


SB 7040 – Ratification of the Department of Environmental Protection’s Rules Relating to Stormwater

On Tuesday, March 5, SB 7040 by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne) and the Senate Environment and Resources Committee was read for a third time on the House Floor and was passed with 114 yeas and 0 nays.

In 2021, the Florida Legislature directed DEP to begin rulemaking on stormwater management’s design and operations throughout the state. This rule sets standards for reducing pollution from stormwater runoff and DEP estimates that it will increase the cost of development by more than $2,600 per acre.

SB 7040 will now go to the Governor for approval.

As originally drafted, there was concern that the permit application process in the rule could result in protracted delays in receiving permits. AIF worked with DEP and legislative leaders to craft clarifying language that provides a significant amount of certainty in the process.


SB 1532– Mitigation

On Tuesday, March 5, SB 1532 by Senator Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) was read for a third time on the House Floor and passed with 114 yeas and 0 nays. Representative Keith Truenow (R-Tavares) sponsored the House companion, HB 1073.

This bill addresses the unavailability of wetland mitigation bank credits by allowing mitigation banking on public lands when no mitigation bank credits are available. The bill also expands the availability of water quality enhancement areas to private sector end-users. Current law only allows public entities with such access. By doing so, this legislation would add additional tools in the mitigation and compliance “toolbox” for Florida business.

SB 1532 will now go to the Governor for approval.

AIF supports legislation that expands private-sector involvement in water quality mitigation projects. These measures would allow businesses to operate effectively while working alongside regulators on lands/waterways categorized as mitigation banks.


SB 676 – Food Delivery Platforms

On Wednesday, March 6, SB 676 by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Flemming Island) was read for a third time on the House Floor and passed with 112 yeas and 0 nays. Representative Lauren Melo (R-Naples) sponsored the House companion, HB 1099.

This bill preempts the regulation of food delivery platforms to the State and provides regulatory safeguards for the business relationship between a Food Delivery Platform and a Food Service Establishment. Among the provisions, the bill prohibits a food delivery platform from taking and arranging for the delivery or pickup of orders from a food service establishment without the express consent of that food service establishment. The bill also allows for some guidelines for a restaurant or establishment to be removed from a Food Delivery Platform and creates a channel for better communication between the food service establishment and the consumers themselves.

SB 676 will now go to the Governor for approval.

AIF supports streamlining regulations and creating a level regulatory platform that allows businesses to compete fairly.


HB 1021 – Community Associations

On Wednesday, March 6, HB 1021 by Representative Vicki Lopez (R-Miami) was read for a third time on the Senate Floor and passed with 40 yeas and 0 nays. Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Flemming Island) sponsored the Senate companion, SB 1178.

This bill reworks several current provisions in Florida law that govern neighborhood community associations and how they are managed. Additionally, the bill includes new disclosure requirements for the creation of condominium space in buildings with multiple units. These requirements require a building association to be notified of what section of the building is going to be new condominium space and who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep for “shared facilities” in the building. This allows for clearly defined roles and allows for consistency in how shared spaces between businesses and condominium owners operate.

HB 1021 will now go to the Governor for approval.

AIF supports legislation that provides clarity and consistency in the relationship between businesses and owners of condominiums.


SB 1680 – Advanced Technology

On Wednesday, March 6, SB 1680 by Senator Jennifer Bradley (R-Flemming Island) was read for a third time on the House Floor and passed with 114 yeas and 0 nays. Representative Fiona McFarland (R-Sarasota) sponsored the House companion, HB 1459.

This bill creates a new “Government Technology Modernization Council.” This council, composed of executive branch agency heads, along with members appointed by the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of the House will oversee and advise the Governor and the Legislature on Florida’s rollout of AI in state government and the private sector. SB 1680 also establishes criminal penalties for using AI platforms for the creation or possession of “generated child pornography.” Such penalties include up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

SB 1680 will now go to the Governor for approval.

AIF supports the increased dialogue at the state level about the beneficial elements of AI and how it can have a positive impact on Florida businesses. While creating proper boundaries and guidelines surrounding AI is important, it is also vital that the beneficial uses and innovation created by the proper use of AI are not unnecessarily stifled.

Please visit our website for more information about AIF’s work on AI.


SB 1082– Housing for Agricultural Workers

On Tuesday, March 5, SB 1082 by Senator Jay Collins (R-Tampa) was read for a third time on the House Floor and was passed with 113 yeas and 0 nays. Representative Kaylee Tuck (R-Lake Placid) sponsored the House companion, HB 1051.

This bill addresses several housing issues that directly impact agricultural operations in the state. The bill would make it unlawful for a local government to inhibit the construction or installment of housing for H-2A program workers.

SB 1082 will now go to the Governor for approval.

AIF supports legislation that provides protections for farmers against authoritative local governments that impose regulations that are overbearing and impede the functionality of agricultural producers.