More than 200 new Florida laws begin July 1

New laws include immigration reform, loosened gun restrictions
Posted at 6:30 PM, Jun 27, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-27 18:30:42-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — From immigration reform and tax breaks to loosened gun restrictions and stricter school policies, more than 200 new Florida laws are coming into effect on July 1. Here's a look at a few you might want to know about.

First up is the new state budget. The $116.5 billion spending plan is the highest in state history. It starts on Saturday and runs through June 30 of next year. Gov. Ron DeSantis cut more than a half billion from the bill approved by lawmakers in May. Some have alleged the trims were politically motivated.

HB 1: The policy is what supporters have dubbed "universal school vouchers." While the price tag remains somewhat uncertain, the new law eliminates income restrictions for Florida's K-12 students to access taxpayer-funded scholarships for private schooling.

HB 3: Restricts "environmental, social, and governance," or ESG banking. It prohibits state and local governments from using a financial strategy that prioritizes investment based on social responsibility.

HB 5: Enterprise Florida, a state agency focused on attracting businesses, is eliminated. The Department of Economic Opportunity will absorb its programs and be renamed the "Department of Commerce."

SB 102: Florida's Live Local Act comes online. It seeks to ease an affordability crisis in Florida by providing more access to workforce housing. The law will attempt to spur development in the private sector with more than $700 million in programs and tax incentives.

SB 106: Uses $200 million to expand access to Florida's Wildlife Corridor, linking together Florida's Greenways and Trails System with the SUN Trail Network.

SB 214: Law prevents credit-card companies from tracking sales of firearms and ammunition — targets the "merchant category codes" used during gun purchases.

SB 262: What supporters called the data privacy bill. The new law requires large online companies to offer consumers a chance to opt out of personal data collection and targeted advertisements.

SB 264: Limits some Florida property purchases from Chinese citizens who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

SB 266: Higher education reform which strengthens the hiring power of university presidents, requires professors to have regular tenure reviews and prohibits higher learning institutions from spending money on diversity, equity, and inclusion, or "DEI," programs.

HB 379: Chinese-owned social-media platform TikTok is banned on school district devices. That includes internet servers.

HB 389: School districts are permitted to offer free menstrual hygiene products.

HB 411: County school-board members will now need to reside in the districts they represent by the time they take office instead of the time they qualify to run.

HB 477: Cuts term limits for school board members from 12 years down to eight.

HB 543: Offers a slate of school safety measures but also allows legal Florida gun owners to carry concealed guns without the currently required permit or training.

HB 637: Automakers are prohibited from engaging in direct-to-consumer auto sales, including online if dealerships in the state are already selling their vehicles.

SB 766: School districts get a green light to use cameras to capture pictures of drivers illegally passing school buses.

SB 902: The new law is dubbed the "Tyre Sampson Act," named for a 14-year-old boy who was killed after falling from an amusement park ride last year in Orlando. Provisions bolster ride safety and oversight protections.

HB 1035: What the governor calls the "Teahcer's Bill of Rights." The new law lists the protections and abilities of Florida educators and includes clarity that a teacher has the authority to "control and discipline" a rowdy classroom.

HB 1069: Policy expands what critics called the "Don't Say Gay" bill from 2022. Restrictions on the "instruction" of sexual orientation and gender identity now extend from K through eighth grade instead of third. Also includes limitations on the use of preferred pronouns in schools.

HB 1285: The Florida State Guard is made permanent and is expanded from 400 members to 1,500. The Guard is a civilian group that aims to offer additional support during state disasters like a hurricane.

HB 1305: One of two Disney-related laws. This one requires Florida's Department of Transportation to perform inspections of the Walt Disney World monorail system.

HB 1521: Places restrictions on publicly-owned bathrooms, such as those at schools and other public buildings. The new law will require people to use bathrooms connected to the sex they were assigned at birth.

SB 1580: Controversial new law gives health care providers the ability to reject services for religious, moral or ethical beliefs.

SB 1604: Voids a deal brokered between Disney and its legacy special district board, the Reedy Creek Improvement District. It makes clear a DeSantis-nominated state board is in charge of the land surrounding the Orlando theme parks. The law follows a dispute over Disney's rejection of HB 1557 last year.

SB 1718: The new immigration reform law requires work status checks for new hires at businesses with 25 or more employees. It strengthens penalties against those knowingly hiring or transporting undocumented in Florida. Plus, the new policy allocates another $12 million for Florida's migrant relocation program -- which the governor has used to fly migrants from the southern border to California and Massachusetts.

SB 7050: Florida's election reform package creates new restrictions on third-party voter registration groups and increases penalties for things like ballot harvesting.

HB 7063: Part of a more than $2 billion tax relief plan. Much of it is through sales-tax holidays and permanent sales-tax exemptions on things like diapers.