Florida 2024 legislative session overview
The Florida State Capitol building. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Florida 2024 legislative session overview

  • Post author:

The Florida Legislature meets every year for a session to propose laws in an attempt to increase the wellbeing of citizens, resolve issues and ensure future success for the state. Session takes place “…on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of each odd-numbered year, and on the second Tuesday after the first Monday in January of each even-numbered year,” according to the Florida Senate website. These proposals are delivered by Senators or Representatives of the House in the form of resolutions, concurrent resolutions, joint resolutions or memorials. March 8 marked the conclusion of Florida’s 119th session and with many bills passed and vetoed, the state will experience some new changes.

An overview of some of what passed in this recent Florida session began with the Live Healthy Act. This bill aims at the improvement of Florida’s healthcare system in many aspects. This includes $700 million in state funding. This funding will be used for the development of more clinics in hopes of giving emergency rooms a bit of a break. The act would also include the implementation of a new protocol that would offer patients a more transparent view on the cost of treatments while also providing protection against debt collectors.

The Learn Local education deregulation package was updated during the session. There had been a push from the Senate to remove high stake testing in Florida high school graduation requirements. While the House agreed with some of the suggestions, the Senate’s request to remove the English and Language Arts (ELA) exam and the Algebra 1 End of Course (EOC) exam was denied so the tests are here to stay.

Protections were added to working adolescents in Florida during the session in the form of two bills. The roofing bill includes shortening the height of roofs that teens are allowed to work on, with the addition that they may only work on roofs in residential communities. The second bill slated to better protections for working minors, titled SB 460, presented by the Senate now requires parental consent for 16 and 17 year olds to clock in a certain amount of hours every week, in order to cut down on overworking teenagers. 

In the attempt to reform and regulate rabies vaccinations, a new bill was passed that authorizes sheriffs, agents, employees or contractors of an animal control authority to administer the rabies vaccinations to impounded animals. The animals can range from cats, dogs and even ferrets that are either rescued, fostered, transferred, adopted or reclaimed by the owner. A veterinarian is not required to be physically present during the administration of the vaccine, but must be available for consultation via telecommunication. Under the bill, responsibility for the care given to the animal by someone working under this supervision is assumed by the veterinarian.

To combat the ongoing struggle of children being drawn to vapor devices, whether it be for nicotine, hemp, CBD, or THC, a new bill was enacted to further define what is “attractive to children.” The modification of the definition now includes aspects such as packaging requirements, containers displaying toys and other features that entice young children. The bill also revises the definition of “hemp” in order to further outline the allotted milligram amount of Delta-9 THC per serving in order to further protect all hemp users.

Another bill of the same degree, but in regards to nicotine rather than hemp was enacted in this recent session to further protect children. The bill defines “nicotine dispensing devices” to include vapes, e-cigarettes and other products of that caliber to be regulated in the terms of being “attractive to minors,” similar to the previously described bill. This bill has evaluated all nicotine product manufacturers, via surveys and data, that are considered to be providing and selling nicotine dispensing devices that are attractive to children. Through the bill, said manufacturers must be made available for public inspection, and if their products are deemed attractive for children, they have 60 days to either sell or dispose of their inventory.

This session produced a bill relevant to the Public Records/Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by the Agriculture Committee which will offer the Agriculture and Aquaculture Producers Natural Disaster Recovery Loan Program an exemption from certain public record requirements. Information that is specific to personal tax returns, credit reports, credit scores and credit history information are among the soon-to-be-exempt from public records, unless it is in an anonymized and aggregated format. 

During session, certain bills get recreated, instead of just being made anew. A bill that was recreated in the 2024 session pertains to the State-Operated Institutions Inmate Welfare Trust Fund in the Department of Corrections. This requires that all newly created trust funds be terminated after four years, unless the fund is re-created. This provisional bill also requires that there is a three-fifths vote by each membership in the house of Legislature in order to create or recreate these trust funds. The current bill that prompted this recreation will be terminated by July 1 to allow for the new legislature. 

Eligibility is now expanded for young adult Florida citizens seeking aftercare services. Requirements now include that if a young adult between 18 and 22 years of age who did not achieve reunification with their parent or guardian and was placed in out-of-home care for at least six months after turning 14 years old, are now eligible to receive aftercare services. The bill allows for federal funds to be distributed to all young adults under this eligibility by the Florida Department of Children and Families. It also extends to young adults who do not meet the requirements to receive funds in the case of a national emergency. This bill will assist young adults in acquiring access to more funding and needed services. 

In the digital age, more and more reform is required every year in order to keep the internet safe for citizens and to keep citizens safe from the internet. The 2024 session renamed “video voyeurism” to “digital voyeurism” in a new bill. The bill extended the specifics in which a person may be committing voyeurism, with an addition of “exploitation.” This addition encompasses acts in which a person commits voyeurism via secretly recording, viewing or broadcasting a victim, without that victim’s consent, who is either dressing, undressing or exposing a private area of their body if they are under the assumption that they have privacy in that moment. The bill also includes that if the person committing an act of digital voyeurism is under the age of 19, it is a first degree felony, but if they are above 19 years of age, it is considered a third degree felony. This bill is crucial to public safety as the Internet continues to evolve and harm innocent people.

These bills are among the 961 bills that were filed in the Senate during the 2024 Florida State Legislative Session. Any and all bills that were presented, passed or killed in the recent Florida session are available to be reviewed or read about on the Passed Bills Report. The report is updated three times per day in order to stay most accurate.

Leave a Reply