Client Alert: Post-Legislative Session Report

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On Friday, Florida legislators officially concluded the 2024 Regular Legislative Session. Prior to the symbolic drop of the hanky to signify the end of this year’s session, lawmakers were able to pass a balanced state budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024-2025 totaling $117.5 billion,[1] along with 325 pieces of legislation. Another 1,162 bills failed to make it across the finish line, leaving them “dead” for the year.

Two of the most high-profile and high-priority measures from the year were HB 1 and HB 3, the latter being a do-over of the former following a veto from Governor Ron DeSantis. House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast) flagged limitations on social media usage for minors as one of his priorities early in session. HB 3 differs from the previous version of the legislation by allowing 14- and 15-year-olds to access the affected social media sites with approval of a parent or guardian. The bill specifies that the limitations for those under 16 only apply if two conditions are met: more than 10 percent of the site’s users are minors, and those minors spend more than two hours per day using the site. If only one or neither condition is met, the limitation does not apply. Which social media sites this specifically targets was not specified, but time will tell whether the legislation will face legal or implementation challenges once it takes effect on July 1 of this year.

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples) set her sights on Floridians’ health and well-being this year, crafting a package dubbed “Live Healthy” as a follow-up to her work on “Live Local” last year. The package consists of a number of bills, including SB 7016, which looks to expand Florida’s health care workforce through loan repayment plans and a licensure compact for out-of-state practitioners and additionally creates a Training, Education, and Clinicals in Health (TEACH) Funding Program. The bill also expands access to maternal telehealth care for underserved populations.

SB 7018, another Live Healthy bill, establishes Florida’s Health Care Innovation Council seeking to bolster innovation in health care in Florida. It creates requirements for the council, mandates certain responsibilities to the Department of Health (DOH), and more. A third bill, SB 1758, revises provisions relating to programs and services for individuals with disabilities, enhancing care navigation services and ensuring electronic application options. Passed late in session, HB 7089 creates requirements that will give patients greater access to cost and coverage information from both their medical providers and insurance companies.

Aside from leadership priorities, Florida lawmakers also passed a substantial tax package that will provide $1.5 billion in tax breaks for Floridians over the next two years. HB 7073 includes a $450 million toll rebate program for drivers with more than 35 toll transactions per month, a credit for homeowners insurers who lower premiums, and a slew of tax holidays, including a two-week back-to-school sales tax holiday, a 30-day "Freedom Month" sales tax holiday, a one-week "Tool Time" sales tax holiday, and two separate Disaster Preparedness tax holidays. It also will decrease sales tax in Hillsborough County until $165 million is drained from the state and replenished to the county as a remedial measure from the 2019-2021 voter-approved one percent sales tax increase.

Both Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner touted success for the year following Sine Die, highlighting successes in their respective chambers (Senate/House). From this point, legislators not-so-patiently await the governor’s list of vetoes from the $117.5 billion budget, wherein he may nix funding at his own discretion. Historically, Governor DeSantis has been heavy-handed with his veto pen, making legislators weary of its potential effects on local earmarks and other priority funding projects. So far, the governor has approved seven bills and vetoed two, leaving more than 300 additional bills vulnerable to a “no” from Governor DeSantis.

Legislators will not return to Tallahassee for official business until after the 2024 General Election in November, where the chambers will organize under new leadership and with a new class of freshman members.

[1] Subject to the governor’s line-item veto power.