Jan 25, 2024 - News

Proposed Florida laws gain momentum as legislative session nears halfway mark

Photo illustration of the Florida State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals; Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

We're nearly halfway through the 60-day legislative session, and some bills are gaining momentum.

  • Here's a rundown of where several key bills stand.

Historic preservation: Preservationists say SB 1526 would remove protections for historic districts along Florida's coast, including the Art Deco Historic District in South Beach.

  • If passed, a government may not prevent the demolition of a "nonconforming" building located within half a mile of the coastline and within a flood zone for any reason other than public safety. (The bill passed its first committee this week.)
  • The bill would not apply to single-family homes or properties individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Social media ban: A bipartisan bill that would ban social media access for kids under 16 years old passed in the Florida House yesterday.

LGBTQ+ rights: HB 901, which cleared a House subcommittee last week, would ban government buildings and public schools from flying the Pride flag or any other banner supporting a "political viewpoint."

  • HB 1639 would require driver's licenses to display a carrier's sex at birth instead of gender identity. It would also require insurance companies that offer gender-affirming care to offer detransition care. (A Senate version of the bill has yet to be filed.)
  • HB 599, which would ban state agencies from requiring employees to use someone's preferred gender pronouns, has yet to pass a committee. The bill would also prohibit state-funded nonprofits from requiring workplace training on gender identity.

Employment of minors: A Republican-backed bill to allow children as young as 16 to work longer hours is quickly moving through the Legislature.

  • HB 49 would allow employers to schedule 16 and 17 year olds to work more than eight hours a day and over 30 hours a week, even while school is in session.
  • A similar bill that would have allowed minors to work on roofs was watered down to only allow minors on ladders under 6 feet.

How to watch: You can watch the House, Senate and committee hearings online at the Florida Channel.


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