Florida Legislative Highlights for 2023

By Alex Lama, Commissioner

(Monday, July 10, 2023) – The State of Florida concluded its 2023 legislative sessions on May 5. Below are some outcomes that affect local governments and Florida residents.

Sovereign Immunity

CS/HB 401 (Beltran) and SB 604 (Gruters) – The failed bills proposed an increase in the statutory limits on liability for tort claims against the state, counties, and municipalities. HB 401 would have raised the limits from $200,000 per person and $300,000 per incident to $2,500,000 per person and $5,000,000 per incident; SB 604 would have increased the caps to $400,000 per person and $600,000 per incident. A successful claim of such monetary amounts could potentially mean bankruptcy for cities. The failure of the bills benefits smaller municipalities with limited budgets.

Residential Building Permits

SB 682 (DiCeglie) and CS/HB 671 (Esposito) – The bills failed, which is beneficial to local governments as these would have lowered local permit fees by 75% if the applicant retained a private provider, reduced how many times a municipality can ask an applicant for additional information, and considered the applications approved if the timeframes were not met.

New Protections for Vulnerable Seniors:

SB 232 (Garcia) and HB 603 (LaMarca) passed this session. The bill punishes the exploitation of people 65 years or older. Offenders who defraud a person 65+ of property or services, or engage in the fraudulent creation of a plan to disburse and distribute possessions such as a will or trust will be subjected to a level 7 first-degree felony, level 6 second-degree felony or level 4 third-degree felony.

To learn about state legislation and send messages to legislators, visit floridaleagueofcities.com.

Contact Commissioner Alex Lama at seat2@sibfl.net or 305.792.1752.