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From vouchers to concealed carry, new laws take effect for Floridians

A traditional hanky-drop ceremony was held May 5 to mark the end of the 2023 legislative session.
News Service of Florida
File photo
A traditional hanky-drop ceremony was held May 5 to mark the end of the 2023 legislative session.

TALLAHASSEE --- More school vouchers. Expanded restrictions on teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity. Limits on using TikTok. Carrying guns without concealed-weapons licenses. A larger Florida State Guard.

More than 200 laws passed during the 2023 legislative session, including a record $116.5 billion budget, will take effect Saturday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed nearly 300 bills that the Republican-controlled Legislature passed during the session. About one-third went into effect immediately or will hit the books in October or January.

Here are some of the laws that will take effect Saturday:

  • SB 2500, a $116.5 billion budget for the 2023-2024 fiscal year, which will run from Saturday through June 30. DeSantis vetoed $510.9 million from the budget passed by lawmakers in May.
  • HB 1, expanding taxpayer-funded vouchers to all Florida students and eliminating income-eligibility requirements.
  • HB 3, prohibiting government investment strategies that consider “environmental, social and governance,” or ESG, standards.
  • HB 5, eliminating Enterprise Florida, the state’s business-recruitment agency. Contracts and programs will be shifted to the Department of Economic Opportunity, which will be renamed the Department of Commerce.
  • SB 102, making changes to try to expand affordable housing, including boosting funding for housing and rental programs, providing incentives for investment and encouraging mixed-use developments in struggling commercial areas.
  • SB 106, designating $200 million to help link hiking and biking trails, which are part of the Shared-Use Nonmotorized Trail Network, to a statewide wildlife corridor.
  • SB 214, preventing credit-card companies from tracking firearm and ammunition sales through a separate “merchant category code” at gun businesses.
  • HB 225, allowing “opening remarks” of up to two minutes on public-address systems before high-school championship events. The change came amid a legal battle about whether a Christian school should have been able to offer a prayer over the loudspeaker before a championship football game.
  • SB 240, offering tax breaks for businesses that employ apprentices or pre-apprentices.
  • SB 262, placing restrictions on large online companies about collecting and using consumers’ personal data.
  • SB 264, preventing, with some exceptions, property purchases in Florida by people from China who are not U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents.
  • SB 266, prohibiting colleges and universities from spending money on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.
  • HB 379, prohibiting the use of the social-media platform TikTok on devices owned by school districts and through internet access provided by districts. TikTok has been controversial because of its Chinese ownership.
  • HB 389, allowing school districts to provide free menstrual hygiene products in schools.
  • HB 411, changing residency requirements for county school-board members. The bill will require board members to reside in the districts they represent by the date they take office, rather than at the time they qualify to run.
  • HB 477, imposing eight-year term limits on school-board members, down from the current 12 years.
  • SB 540, allowing “prevailing” parties to recover legal fees in challenges to local government comprehensive growth-management plan changes.
  • HB 543, allowing Floridians to carry guns without concealed-weapons licenses.
  • HB 637, barring automakers from offering direct-to-consumer or online sales if their vehicles are currently sold through dealerships in the state.
  • SB 766, allowing school districts to use cameras designed to capture images of drivers who illegally pass school buses.
  • SB 846, banning state colleges and universities and employees from accepting gifts from “foreign countries of concern” — China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Syria and Venezuela.
  • SB 902, placing additional safety requirements on amusement rides. The bill is named after 14-year-old Tyre Sampson, who was killed when he fell from a ride last year in Orlando.
  • HB 931, prohibiting colleges and universities from using “political loyalty” tests in hiring, admissions or promotions.
  • HB 1035, spelling out various rights of teachers, including a right to “control and discipline” students and to challenge certain directives from school districts they believe violate state law or State Board of Education rules.
  • HB 1069, expanding to eighth grade a 2022 law that barred instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
  • HB 1259, requiring school districts to share portions of local property-tax revenues with charter schools.
  • HB 1285, expanding and making permanent the Florida State Guard, which DeSantis revived last year. The state guard will expand from 400 members to 1,500 members.
  • HB 1305, requiring the Department of Transportation to conduct inspections of the Walt Disney World monorail system. The requirement comes amid a long-running feud between Disney and DeSantis.
  • SB 1318, extending liability protections for aerospace companies if crew members are injured or killed in spaceflights.
  • HB 1379, directing $100 million a year from real-estate taxes to the Florida Forever land-acquisition program and requiring a plan on how to improve water quality in the Indian River Lagoon watershed.
  • HB 1521, imposing restrictions on which bathrooms transgender people can use at schools and public buildings. It will require people to use bathrooms that line up with their sex assigned at birth.
  • SB 1580, establishing a right for health-care providers to opt out of providing services because of a “conscience-based objection” based on religious, moral or ethical beliefs.
  • SB 1604, nullifying agreements reached by Disney and the former Reedy Creek Improvement District board. The Reedy Creek board has been replaced by a DeSantis-appointed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board.
  • SB 1718, toughening penalties on people who bring undocumented immigrants into Florida, requiring hospitals to submit data about whether patients are in the country legally and providing $12 million for a program that allows Florida to transport migrants to other parts of the country.
  • HB 7063, providing a wide range of tax breaks, including holding a series of sales-tax “holidays” and creating sales-tax exemptions on diapers. It also will reduce a commercial-lease tax starting in December.
  • SB 7064, increasing penalties for adult-entertainment businesses that do not verify the ages and identities of workers. The bill is designed to help curb human trafficking.