DeSantis vetoes court bill Local news

TALLAHASSEE – A controversial measure that would give businesses the power to sue cities and counties to recover lost profits was among five bills that Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed on Friday.







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While the veto of the business measure (SB 620) attracted praise from local government and environmental groups, DeSantis left the door open for lawmakers to consider similar but more targeted legislation in the future.

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DeSantis also signed 32 bills Friday during the legislative session, which ended in March. These include a bill that will allow cities and counties to restrict smoking on beaches and parks they own (HB 105) and a pandemic-related measure that will prevent “direct or indirect” emergency orders blocking religious institutions from carrying out services or activities. (SB 254).

In addition to the business bill, DeSantis’ veto included rejecting a high-profile measure (SB 1796) that would revise state maintenance laws.

Senate leaders prioritized a business bill that would allow businesses to sue cities and counties if regulations caused at least a 15 percent loss of profits. In a vetoed letter, DeSantis suggested lawmakers take a different approach in the future to help businesses.

DeSantis said local authorities sometimes “unreasonably burden businesses with policies that range from simply misguided to politically motivated.”

“In fact, this was illustrated by the strange and draconian measures taken by some local governments during COVID-19, which forced the state to repeal these decrees in order to protect the freedom and opportunities for Florida residents,” De Santis wrote.

But DeSantis argued that the bill was “broad and ambiguous”, which he said could lead to “unforeseen and unforeseen consequences and costly litigation”. He suggested that lawmakers follow “targeted anticipation legislation when local authorities act in a way that thwarts public policy and / or undermines the rights of Florida residents.”

In general, anticipatory bills give the state control over issues that might otherwise be resolved by local authorities.

In support of the veto, Dominic Calabro, president and CEO of the Tallahassee-based Florida TaxWatch, reiterated that the legislation could have “very unforeseen but significant consequences.”

“In an already highly controversial state like Florida, this would lead to an influx of financially motivated and malicious lawsuits costing local authorities more than $ 900 million a year,” Calabro said in a statement. “The only response from the local government would be either to increase taxes or reduce services, and in both cases this bill would harm hard-working taxpayers across the country.

Paul Owens, president of Florida’s 1,000 Friends Growth Management Group, called the veto a “clear victory for local leaders and their constituents.”

1000 Friends previously claimed that the measure “will have a chilling effect on the ability of local authorities to regulate noise regulations, parking, puppy mills, working hours, etc., and to deal with rising sea levels and other critical issues, facing our communities. “

The bill would apply to companies that have been operating for at least three years and would allow them to file lawsuits for lost profits for seven years or the number of years the companies have worked, whichever is less.

Before the bill was passed in March, House Lawrence Sponsor R-Dover said it would pause local authorities before passing regulations that could harm businesses.

City and county officials say this will tie the hands of local authorities to making the changes demanded by residents and even most businesses.

Local authorities from Escambia County to Palm Beach County have asked DeSantis to veto the measure.

Of the 275 bills approved during the regular legislative session, two continued to await action on Friday by DeSantis. They were a bill (HB 461) on student service requirements for the Bright Futures scholarship program and a bill (SB 898) that would require apartment landlords to carry out inspections of all employees.

The bill to check the past is called “Mia’s Law” after Mia Marcano, a college student in Valencia who was killed in September. The alleged killer, who later committed suicide, worked as a maintenance worker at her Orlando apartment complex.

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