Florida legislation that passed and that failed

May 5, 2008

St. Petersburg Times–May 3, 2008



Foreclosure fraud – Increase disclosure requirements for foreclosure-related services (HB 643)

Annuity regulation – Increase penalties on sellers who pressure elderly to buy annuities they don’t need or want (SB 2082)


Crane regulation – Require certification of cranes and crane operators (SB 1316/HB 609)

Toilet paper – Require public bathrooms to meet cleanliness standard and provide toilet paper (SB 386/HB 437)

Online dating – Require online dating companies to disclose to paying subscribers whether they do background checks (SB 1536 /HB 354)



Alan Crotzer – Former St. Petersburg man collects $1.25-million for 24 years in prison on wrongful rape conviction (HB 7037). Signed by governor.

Wrongful incarceration – Exonerated individuals can receive $50,000 per year in prison if they have not had a prior felony conviction (SB 756)



High school grading/FCAT – Reduce emphasis of FCAT results in high school grades, tweaks FCAT writing exam and pushes FCAT exam dates later in school year (SB 1908)

End of term exams – Establish end-of-course exams in high school to complement the FCAT (SB 1908)

Curriculum – Replace Sunshine State Standards with "Next Generation" standards for all subject areas by 2011; make it easier to qualify to teach foreign languages (SB 1908)

Teacher ethics – Strengthen penalties for misconduct (SB 1712)

Physical education – Require middle schools to provide 30 minutes of PE weekly (SB 610)

Vouchers – Expand by $30-million a year the corporate income tax credit scholarships that give students tuition for private schools (HB 653)

Antibullying – Require schools to ban harassment of students (HB 669)


Class size – Give schools more flexibility to meet class-size requirements (HB 7043, SB 1756)

Evolution – Require teachers to present critical analysis of evolution theory (HB 1483); protect teachers who present critical views on evolution (SB 2692)

65 Percent – Require schools to spend at least 65 percent of operating budget in classrooms (HB 1463). Failed but put on November ballot by the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission

Baggy pants – Ban students from exposing below-waist underwear in public school (SB 302/HB 335)

Governance – Ask voters to shrink the size and scope of universities’ governing board, helping clarify the Legislature as universities’ tuition setter; and reinstate an elected education commissioner (SJR 2308)

Charter schools – Toughen standards for financial management; establishes anti-nepotism rules (SB 1652/HB 1301)



Public financing – End taxpayer financing for qualified statewide candidates (SJR 956/HJR 277)

Open primary elections – Open primaries to all voters when all major party candidates are from same party regardless of write-in candidates (SB 2776)



Greenhouse gas – Establish Southeast’s first gas emissions market (HB 7135)

Everglades – Budget appropriates $50-million, half of last year’s total (HB 5001)

Florida Forever – Land-buying program extended for 10 years with $300-million annual funding (SB 542)

Transmission lines – Ease utilities’ ability to run lines through state preservation lands (HB 7135)

Nuclear power – Endorse nukes as low-carbon option (HB 7135)

Coral reefs – Ban dumping sewage off state’s east coast but not until 2025 (SB 1302).

Plastic bag ban – Prohibit local governments from banning plastic bags (HB 7135)


Growth management – Close loopholes that allow changing growth plans to accommodate developers (SB 474)

Recycling – Require airports and state agencies to recycle (SB 692/HB 301)



Video lottery terminals – Allow parimutuels to add VLTs (SB 1380)

Quarter horse racing – Exempt current permit applicants from tougher regulations (SB 604/HB 1009)



Property appraiser – Require private land owned by elected county property appraiser be assessed for tax purposes by non-related appraiser (HB 127)

Double-dipping – Limit when state pensioners can also draw a state salary (SB 2848)

Growth management – Prohibit local governments from having referendums on land use changes (HB 7129)

Road paving – Open more maintenance contracts to private contractors (HB 683)



Uninsured – Create low-cost insurance plans for low-income Floridians (SB 2534)

Christian care – Give religious groups that provide access to health care an exemption from being regulated under insurance codes (SB 2534)

Autism – Require insurers to cover autism in children (SB 2654)

Hospital expansion – Streamline the rules making it easier to build new general hospitals (SB 2326)


Abortion – Require women seeking a first-trimester abortion to have an ultrasound and be offered an explanation of the images (SB 2400/HB 257)

Alzheimer’s – Place Johnnie B. Byrd Sr. Alzheimer’s Center & Research Institute under USF (SB 1080/HB 5089 )

Mental health parity – Mandate benefits for mental illness match physical illness (HB 19/SB 164)



Status verification – Require government programs or employers to verify immigrants’ status or report undocumented workers (HB 73, 159, 571, 821, 1247 and various related Senate bills)

Deportation – Allow jailed undocumented immigrants to be deported after serving half their sentence (HB 577/ SB 540)



Rate freeze – Freeze Citizens rates through Jan. 1, 2010 (SB 2860)

Doubled fines – Fine insurers up to $40,000 for unfair trade practices (SB 2860)

Nonpayment – Consumers could sue insurers for refusing to pay undisputed part of claim in 90 days (SB 2860)

Use and file – Ban insurers, through 2009, from charging a rate before approval by regulators (SB 2860)

Dropped policies – Insurers would have to give notice before dropping more than 10,000 policies in a year (SB 2860)

Transparency – Make the state’s actuaries’ work open to public review (SB 2860)

Insurer loans – Borrow $250-million from Citizens to fund low-interest loans for startup insurers (SB2860)

Citizens study – Commission to study state-run insurer (SB 2860)

My Safe Florida Home – Added a no-interest loan program to the state’s hurricane mitigation program for homeowners (HB 7103)



Guns at work – Employees with concealed weapons permits can leave guns in locked car at work (HB 503). Signed by governor.

DNA – Expands list of offenders who must submit biological specimens (HB 29). Signed by governor.

Concealed weapons – Restrict concealed weapons licenses to citizens and permanent resident aliens; extends license from five years to seven (SB 948)

Marijuana – Make it a third-degree felony to own a house where marijuana is being cultivated and reduces number of plants from 300 to 25 for a person to be convicted of a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison (HB 173)



Highest and best – Limit assessment practice known as "highest and best" in which commercial property is valued at its future potential, not current use (HB 909)


Sales tax holiday – One-week tax break on back-to-school supplies (HB 893/SB 2094)

Gas tax cut – Reduce gas taxes for two-week period this summer (SB 1838)

Hurricane tax holiday – Twelve-day tax break on hurricane preparedness items (SB 86/HB 111)

Internet tax – Lay the groundwork to join compact to collect tax on Internet sales (SB 962/HB 1393)

Corporate tax – Close loophole allowing multistate companies to avoid taxes by shifting income to subsidiaries elsewhere (SB 2766/HB 1237)

Strip-club tax – Add $1 surcharge to strip club admissions to help low-income nursing home residents (HB 751)



Crosswalks – Require drivers to stop when pedestrian is in the crosswalk (SB 154)

Hybrid cars – Allow hybrid, low-emission or energy-efficient vehicle in a high-occupancy lanes (SB 1992)

Toll hikes – Give local expressway authorities the option to index tolls to inflation every five years to enhance bonding abilities (SB 682)


Alligator Alley – Lease the South Florida highway to Lawton Chiles Endowment to generate $500-million for road construction (SB 1978)

Cell phones – Prohibit cell phone use for those younger than 18 while driving (SB 504/HB 193)

CSX – Provide immunity from liability to railroad to seal $650-million deal for commuter rail in Orlando (SB 1978 / HB 1399)

Toll hikes – Increase Florida Turnpike tolls 25 percent (SB 1978)

Truck Nutz – Ban displays of car accessory that resembles reproductive parts of a bull (SB 1992)



Slavery apology – Resolution expressing state regret for involuntary servitude of Africans (SB 2930)

State tortoise – Designate gopher tortoise as official state tortoise (SB 542)

State song – Remove racially offensive lyrics of Old Folks at Home and name as state anthem Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky (SB 1558)

U.S. flag – Give homeowners the right to fly U.S. flag or military flag on free-standing pole. (SB 1378)


Anatomical parts – Ease museum transport of plastinated bodies for educational use (SB 728)

"I Believe" license plate – Create specialty tag for license (HB 401/SB 2010)

Toxic toys – Ban manufacture, distribution and selling of toys that contain toxic substance. (SB 886)

Source: Florida Legislature