Florida Legislature Wraps Up Its Regular Session

Date: March 14, 2022

The 2022 Florida legislative session is a wrap. The Florida House and Senate officially gaveled out at 1:03 p.m. today after passing the state budget that takes effect July 1. The budget did set records in Tallahassee totaling $112.1 billion in spending. This was a balanced budget that came in 10.4% higher than last year’s budget.    

While the regular session has ended, there is a chance that the legislature will return in a few weeks for a special session on the once-every-ten-year process of drawing the Congressional maps. The legislature did pass maps; however, Governor DeSantis has promised to Veto them. You can read more about that here.  

Some of the bills that passed that could affect your small business: 

  • House Bill 7, expands a current cause of action in the Florida Civil Rights Act that would allow employees to sue their employers if the employer taught Critical Race Theory concepts during employee training. 
  • Senate Bill 7014, renews for 1-year the COVID-19 liability protections passed in the 2021 legislative session which were slated for automatic repeal in 2022 unless renewed by the legislature.  
  • House Bill 741, makes significant changes to the rooftop solar industry including changes to net metering.  
  • Gas Tax Holiday, would eliminate the $0.28 gas tax for the month of October. This tax holiday used federal COVID-19 dollars and will not financially impact any trust funds used to repair and replace existing infrastructure.   

We also stopped a lot of bad bills that could have harmed your business:  

  • Senate Bills 322 and 376/ House Bills 293 and 291, would have prohibited employers from verbally or in writing requesting or inquiring into an applicant’s salary history during the hiring process. 
  • Senate Bill 328/ House Bill 129, would have required insurance companies to pay for 100% of the costs of at-home COVID tests, regardless of the test’s cost or necessity. 
  • Senate Bill 580/ House Bill 6017, would have permitted local governments to impose endless rent controls on housing in their jurisdiction. 
  • Senate Bill 1580/ House Bill 1145, would have prohibited restaurants in coastal communities from using single-use plastic containers for to-go orders. 
  • Senate Bill 1714/ House Bill 1113, would have require employers to provide 14 days of leave to their employees who test positive for COVID-19. This bill allows an affected employee to sue their employer for violating this section. 
  • Senate Bill 1756/ House Bill 507, would have created a new state agency charged with penalizing employers for newly created regulations dealing with employer/employee relations. 
  • Senate Bill 944/House Bill 1227, would have required every small business who sells products in an online marketplace to disclose their suppliers to any person that requests it.  This would have put many small business owners in a position of having to choose between not selling products online or disclosing their suppliers potentially to their competitors.  

We’re urging Governor DeSantis to veto Senate Bill 1382, which would give the Florida Department of Revenue new powers to audit your business and creates presumptions in law that are designed to give state auditors leverage over small businesses. Click here to send Governor DeSantis an email asking him to veto this bill. 

We also worked to amend several bills to ensure they did no harm to small businesses:

  • Senate Bill 280/House Bill 403, would require local governments to conduct a “business impact study” before passing a local ordinance that would impact small businesses. These bills failed. 
  • Senate Bill 620, makes it easier for a business to sue a local government and recover damages and attorney’s fees if that local government passed an ordinance or regulation that causes a 15% drop in revenue for the business. This bill passed.  
  • Senate Bill 408/ House Bill 233, would require front-facing businesses to accept currency cash payments from customers. These bills failed.  
  • Senate Bill 1864/ House Bill 9, would provide protections for customers whose data is collected by businesses in the normal course of business and would provide penalties for companies that fail to protect customer’s data while providing small business exemptions. These bills failed.  

Overall, the 2022 regular session included: 

  • 3,735 Bills and PCBs filed 
  • 1,896 Amendments filed 
  • 4,324 Votes Taken 
  • 39 Floor Sessions 
  • 285 Bills passed both chambers 

If you have questions about these or other issues affecting your small business, contact NFIB State Executive Director Bill Herrle at [email protected] or State Legislative Director Tim Nungesser at [email protected]

Related Content: Small Business News | Florida

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