DeSantis signs first bills of session

by | Feb 13, 2020

The 2020 Legislative Session has been a slow, methodical process thus far. Although the grind is nothing new, with legislators navigating political obstacles and obstructions along the way, much of the leisurely pace is thanks to an election year that continues to dominate much of the media’s attention.

But things are finally picking up in both chambers.

Wednesday, which marked the halfway point of this year’s 60-day legislative cycle, saw things pick up with the first set of bills officially hitting the governor’s desk.

Thus far, seven pieces of legislation have passed both chambers. Of the seven, four procedural measures introduced by Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto have hit Governor Ron DeSantis‘ desk, being signed almost immediately. Those bills are:

SB 594 – Florida Statutes

SB 596 – Florida Statutes

SB 598 – Florida Statutes

SB 600 – Florida Statutes

The other three bills to pass in both chambers are largely bi-partisan. Those measures unanimously passed on Wednesday, and are now headed to the governor. They are expected to be signed.

Those include:

HB 115 – Keep Our Graduates Working Act

Sponsored by Senators Nicholas Duran and Travis Hudson, the bill would prohibit state authorities from withholding or suspending professional licenses, certificates, and permits based solely on student loan delinquency or failure to pay loans.

HB 7009 – Penalties for Violations of the Constitutional Prohibition Against Abuse of Public Position

Introduced by Representative Cord Byrd, this legislation would puts penalties in place for those who use their elected office for personal gain.

SB 476 – Law Enforcement Vehicles

Spearheaded by Senator Ed Hooper, this proposal would allow officers to park their squad cars in personal drives despite a housing association’s rules against it.

With bills finally moving, things are beginning to heat up at the Capitol. Moving forward, more legislation will continue to gain steam — given many bills are now in their second or third committee.

One proposal, the upcoming fiscal budget, is expected to be hashed out on Thursday between the House and Senate. Lawmakers will have to agree on a final version before the March 13 deadline.


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