Tallahassee Update for March 1, 2022

by Peter Schorsch
Sixty Days Newsletter
March 2, 2022


It’s Day 50 of the Legislative Session, which means another raft of bills is dead. After today, Senate rules block committees other than the Rules Committee from meeting unless they are ordered to by the Senate President. A second Senate rule bars any bill that hasn’t cleared at least one committee in the chamber from being brought up for a floor vote — the only workaround is a unanimous vote. While it’s conceivable that Senate President Wilton Simpson could order a committee to meet again, it’s more likely that any bill that hasn’t advanced in the Senate is dead for the year. Here’s your nightly rundown.

Pop-up crackdown. The House took up a bill (HB 1435) that would empower local sheriffs and leaders to more effectively respond to large, unpermitted gatherings.

Incognito mode. The House could soon vote on a bill (HB 9) strengthening consumer data privacy in Florida despite the business community’s fears the bill could cripple it financially.

Jobs funding. After initially offering $25 million of general revenue for the Job Growth Grant Fund, the House now proposes to meet the Senate’s proposal: zero.

Elections police. House and Senate budget negotiators offered to spend $1.16 million for an office of election crimes and security, staffed with 15 employees.

See you Sunday. The House will soon vote on a bill (SB 254) that would ensure church doors are among the last to close during a state of emergency.

Fight for $15. House health care budget writers are offering to pay state employees and those who contract for the state at least $15 an hour.

Pasco snub. The House is holding out against a plan to hand Moffitt Cancer Center and Pasco County $106 million to connect an upcoming 775-acre research campus to the surrounding roadways.

Backpedal. A bill (HB 7049) that would undo last year’s deal on publishing public notices online and in print is teed up for a vote in the House.

Justice funding. The House and Senate remain at oddsover private prison operations and state attorney and public defender pay after the latest House budget offer.

Rape is rape. A bill (SB 868) that would charge sexual battery against an intoxicated person as rape cleared the Senate floor with a unanimous vote.

Moment of silence. A proposal (HB 499) that would mandate the national anthem be played at sporting events appears to have died in the House.

Staffing up. Lawmakers have agreed to add an additional employee to the Office of Broadband, addressing staffing shortages that have plagued the revamped office.

Tase me, bro. The House and Senate agreed to provide the Florida Highway Patrol with $1.5 million to replace their aging arsenal of TASERs.

Pinellas pursuit. The House is pushing the Senate to include a nearly $5 million appropriation for a police pursuit training facility for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office

Safety cash. The House and Senate seem to have reached an agreement in the first round of TED negotiations to give a $500,000 appropriation for Ruth Eckerd Hall improvements.

New plates. The Senate approved legislation (SB 364) adding to Florida’s selection of specialty tags, along with new rules to govern their administration.

Big claim. It took Senators less than a minute to approve a $3.2 million payment (SB 70) to a Monticello woman who suffered life-altering injuries in a highway crash with a state employee.

Bigger claim. The Senate OK’d a bill (SB 80) sending a $7.5 million payment to the mother of three boys injured in a crash with a state trooper.