State Senate President Kathleen Passidomo – Legislative update March 24

This week, the Florida Senate announced the proposed budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year.  In crafting the budget, it was my priority to ensure Florida invests more to support our hurricane recovery. I am proud to announce that our budget, combined with other legislation, totals $3 billion in efforts to strengthen the state’s commitment to providing relief and recovery to communities impacted by hurricanes.

The Florida Senate and House passed House Bill 1, which offers parents universal school choice in Florida. Additionally, both chambers passed House Bill 837 this week. This legislation provides transformative tort reform legislation, which will help protect Floridians from inflated costs and protect Florida business and property owners from frivolous lawsuits. This afternoon, the Florida House passed our Live Local Act – the statewide workforce housing strategy I have been working on for years. This historic bill will now head to the Governor’s desk!

The Florida Senate continued to debate and discuss legislation both in committee meetings and on the Senate floor this week. The proposed policies provide protection for children from harmful treatments and more.

Florida Senate Budget Proposal is Released for the 2023-2024 Fiscal Year

The Florida Senate Committee on Appropriations, chaired by Senator Doug Broxson (R-Pensacola), released Senate Proposed Bill 2500, the General Appropriations Act, a proposed state budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, as well as the implementing bill and conforming bills associated with a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Florida’s Executive Branch, led by Governor DeSantis, continues to mount an extraordinary effort in the state response to Hurricanes Ian and Nicole.

The Governor and First Lady are practically residents of Southwest Florida. In the roughly six months since these devastating storms, we have gained a deeper understanding of the long-term impacts on communities across our state.

The budget put forward by the Senate today furthers ongoing relief and recovery efforts as we work to help Southwest Florida and other impacted communities rebuild. Coupled with the significant legislation put forward by Senator Martin, Leader Albritton, and our Select Committee, I am confident our state will be even more prepared for future hurricanes and other significant weather events that come with living on our beautiful peninsula.

Florida Senate Delivers on Universal School Choice

Wednesday, Senator Corey Simon (R-Tallahassee) presented House Bill 1 on the Senate Floor where, on Thursday, it passed with strong support. House Bill 1 expands Florida’s education voucher program to establish universal school choice for Florida students.

With a record investment into Florida’s K-12 educational system, this legislation provides every Florida student with the opportunity to thrive in an education customized to their individual needs, goals, and objectives.

Under this legislation, families will be eligible to receive an empowerment account that allows them to take education dollars earmarked for their child and choose among a variety of options to customize their child’s K-12 education. Families of students who fall below 185% of the federal poverty level (FPL) will be prioritized, with a second priority for households with income below 400% of FPL. This legislation shifts the focus of education in Florida to ensure that we fund students, not systems.

House Bill 1 empowers parents and students to determine the course of their own educational journey and provides them with a full array of educational opportunities to choose from.

After already passing the Florida House of Representatives, House Bill 1 now moves to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Measure Protecting Children from Harmful Treatments Heads to Senate Floor

Thursday, Senator Clay Yarborough (R-Jacksonville) presented Senate Bill 254 in the Senate Committee on Fiscal Policy, where it passed with strong committee support. Senate Bill 254 prohibits gender reassignment procedures or prescriptions for minors.

This legislation establishes robust protections for Florida’s youth from permanent gender reassignment procedures and prescriptions. Senate Bill 254 also strengthens regulations on gender reassignment surgeries for all Floridians, requiring informed consent for all patients and prohibiting the use to telemedicine to deliver an initial prescription. This legislation will ensure that patients are fully informed on the associated risks and permanency of gender reassignment procedures.

Senate Bill 254 also prohibits the use of certain state funds to fund gender reassignment procedures and prescriptions.

Tort Reform Legislation Passes Florida Senate

Wednesday, Senator Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast) presented House Bill 837 on the Senate Floor where, on Thursday, it passed with strong support. House Bill 837 protects business and property owners from frivolous lawsuits and aligns many of our civil legal procedures with federal standards.

Florida’s legal system has long been plagued by frivolous lawsuits that often benefit lawyers more than those who are seeking restitution. House Bill 837 addresses this issue through a number of reforms including a significant limitation in fee multiplier incentives for lawyers to collect higher fees when they sue and the elimination of “one-way attorney fees” that incentivize fraudulent or inflated insurance claims. This legislation also streamlines the civil litigation process by reducing the statute of limitations from four years to two years and provides juries with more detail and transparency, ensuring that juries are aware of all facts pertaining to a case.

House Bill 837 institutes the most comprehensive tort reform in decades to decrease frivolous lawsuits and prevent predatory practices of trial attorneys that prey on hardworking Floridians. This legislation makes numerous changes to Florida’s arduous civil system that will provide transparency to jurors, shorten the time individuals’ toil away in civil court, and eliminate unfair practices that bad actors have

The transformative reforms in this bill will strike the right balance between protecting the rights of Floridians who suffer a loss, while at the same time safeguarding everyone else against the hidden costs of prolonged litigation.




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