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What are Manatee County legislators up to in this session?

Written by on Thursday, February 1, 2024

Their bills target second-home insurance and abortion, promote open carry and hurricane windows, protect Confederate statues and U.S. steel.

By Dawn Kitterman

The Bradenton Times

TALLAHASSEE — The state’s legislative session kicked off Monday, January 9, and is set to continue through Friday, March 8. Bills sponsored by local lawmakers are working their way through the committee review process as lawmakers await the outcome of their efforts.

The following are some of the bills introduced by local officials representing portions of Manatee County.

Jim Boyd

State Sen. Jim Boyd (R) Florida Senate District 20 – Bradenton

CS/SB 1716: Citizens Property Insurance Corporation
Providing that certain accounts for Citizens Property Insurance, Corporation revenues, assets, liability, losses, and expenses are now maintained as the Citizens account; revising the requirements for certain coverages by the corporation; deleting provisions relating to emergency assessments upon determination of projected deficits; deleting provisions relating to funds available to the corporation as sources of revenue and bonds; revising eligibility for commercial lines residential risks coverage by the corporation, etc.

Provisions in this bill would apply to second homes covered by Citizens, not primary residences.

SB 674: United States-produced Iron and Steel in Public Works Projects
Requiring governmental entities to include a requirement in certain contracts that iron or steel products be produced in the United States; authorizing the minimal use of foreign steel and iron materials in certain circumstances; exempting specified products from the requirement, etc.

SB 890: Taxation
The measure provides that taxes levied under Florida Statutes, Chapter 212 may not be collected during the period of July 1, 2024, through June 30, 2026, on the retail sale of impact-resistant windows, impact-resistant doors, and impact-resistant garage doors.

In total, Boyd has introduced eleven bills this session and is a co-sponsor of one. To see a complete list of Senator Boyd’s introduced and co-sponsored bills, and bill texts, click here.

Mike Beltran

State Rep. Mike Beltran (R) Florida House District 70 – Portions of Manatee and Hillsborough Counties

HB 1519 – Termination of Pregnancies
Introduced by Miami-Dade County Rep. David Borrero and Rep. Mike Beltran, HB 1519 says that “a person or an entity may not purposely perform or attempt to perform an abortion except to save the life of a pregnant woman in a medical emergency.”

The measure would target any physician/provider who performs abortions for penalties.  “Performing or attempting to perform an abortion” would be a third-degree felony, subject to as much as 10 years in prison or with a fine of up to $100,000, “or both,” says the bill.

According to language included in the measure, a medical emergency would be, “an emergent physical condition in which an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”

HB 1619 – Carrying and Possession of Weapons and Firearms
After lawmakers last year passed CS/HB 543 that dropped a state requirement for individuals to have concealed-weapons licenses to carry firearms, some Second Amendment advocates argued that the bill didn’t go far enough by not allowing individuals to also be permitted to openly carry firearms.

Beltran’s HB 1619 was filed on the first day of the 2024 session and, if passed, the measure would allow the open carry of any “otherwise legal firearm or electric weapon or device.” The measure also proposes changes to allow lawmakers to carry concealed firearms to legislative meetings and in the state Capitol complex (not members of the public, however). When it comes to a meeting of any governing body of a “county, public, school district, municipality, or special district,” the measure would not change state laws that restrict all persons from openly carrying a handgun or carrying a concealed weapon or firearm into such meetings.

HB 1621 – Unlawful Demolition of Historical Structures and Landmarks
Imposing enhanced fines for the demolition of a structure individually listed on, or contributing to, the National Register of Historic Places, or of an individually listed local historic landmark if the code enforcement board or special magistrate makes specific findings based on competent, substantial evidence that the demolition of the historic structure or landmark was not permitted and was not the result of a natural disaster. Fines imposed by the code enforcement board or special magistrate may not exceed an amount that is 20% of the value of the property as identified in the property appraiser’s evaluation of its fair market value.

In total, Beltran has sponsored eleven bills in this session and is a co-sponsor of twelve. To see a complete list of Representative Beltran’s introduced and co-sponsored bills, and bill texts, click here.

William Robinson

State Rep. William Robinson (R) Florida Senate District 71 – Bradenton

HB 1341 – Transportation Facility Designations
This measure would designate a portion of U.S. 19 between Palm View Road and Terra Ceia Road in Manatee County as “Army Specialist Nicholas Panipinto Memorial Highway”. The Department of Transportation is directed to erect suitable markers designating the memorial highway. If passed, the act would take effect July 1, 2024.

CS/HB 867 – North River Ranch Improvement Stewardship DistrictA measure that would revise the boundaries of the North River Ranch Improvement Stewardship District of Manatee County; amending chapter 2020-191, Laws of Florida.

HB 429 – Timeshare Properties
Broadening the powers of certain boards and administration for timeshare plans. The measure provides that managers and/or managing entities of certain timeshare projects would have the same rights and remedies as operators of other establishments. Would provide a timeshare cooperative the power to make material alterations or substantial additions or deletions, to the accommodations or facilities of a timeshare plan condominium or timeshare cooperative without the approval of the members of the owners’ association. However, if the timeshare condominium or timeshare cooperative contains any residential units that are not subject to the timeshare plan, such action by the board of administration must be approved by a majority of the owners of such residential units.

In addition, the measure would provide that boards and administrators of timeshares would have the authority to have law enforcement take action against individuals who engage in certain conduct including such actions as “arrest or removal from the timeshare property.”

In total, Robinson has introduced six bills and is a co-sponsor of none. To see a complete list of the bills sponsored by Representative Robinson, and their texts, click here.

Tommy Gregory

State Rep. Tommy Gregory (R) Florida House District 72 – Lakewood Ranch

CS/HB 1613 – Hemp
The bill would change the statutory definition of “hemp” and restrict certain alternative cannabinoids from the state’s permissible hemp market including, THC acetate, hexahydrocannabinol (HHC), tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), and  delta-8 and delta-10-THC.

The measure provides conditions for possession, manufacture, delivery, hold, offer for sale, distribution, or sale of hemp extract and would prohibit businesses and food establishments from possessing hemp extract products that are “attractive to children.” The portion of the bill targeting products that might be “attractive to children” creates restrictions and requirements on product packaging.

In addition, at any event where hemp extract products are sold or marketed, an event organizer would be required to provide to the department with a list of the businesses selling or marketing the products at the planned event and verify that each business is only selling hemp products from an approved source.

HB 1615 – Restrictions on Firearms and Ammunition During Emergencies
Would repeal provisions relating to specified automatic restrictions on firearms and ammunition during certain declared emergencies.

HB 1179 – Litigation Financing
The measure would create a new section of law called the “Litigation Investment Safeguards and Transparency Act.” It would require the court’s consideration of specified conflicts of interest, prohibit specified acts by litigation financiers, require disclosures and discovery relating to litigation financing agreements and require indemnification of specified fees, costs and sanctions. The measure would void certain litigation financing agreements and provide for enforcement of specified violations under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

In total, Gregory has introduced four bills and is a co-sponsor of none. To see a complete list of the bills introduced by Representative Gregory, and the bill texts, click here.


This article first appeared in The Bradenton Times. To read the original version, click here.