Jun 29, 2023 - Politics

From gun regulation to culture wars, these Florida laws go into effect July 1

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

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

More than 200 laws tackling everything from sales tax holidays to new regulations for Walt Disney World will take effect July 1.

Why it matters: Republican lawmakers hold a majority in the Legislature and flexed their power to bolster Gov. Ron DeSantis' campaign for the White House, delivering several victories on hot-button issues for the far-right.

Zoom in: Here's a roundup of some of the laws set to go into effect this weekend.

Tighter restrictions for non-citizens

Details: The immigration reform package, SB 1718, tightens restrictions on Florida's undocumented community and imposes harsher penalties for those who aid them.

  • The law will make it a felony to drive undocumented immigrants in or out of the state and requires hospitals to collect data about a patient's immigration status. It's already prompted some to flee the state.

SB 264 restricts certain foreign nationals from China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela and Syria from purchasing what Florida deems "sensitive American land."

Eased gun regulation

Details: People will soon be allowed to carry concealed guns in public without licenses or training under HB 543. Once in effect, Florida will be the 26th state where permitless concealed carry is legal.

SB 214 prevents credit card companies from monitoring the transactions of firearm retailers via a "merchant category code."

Culture war galore

Details: The legislation SB 266 and HB 931 — defunds diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs at Florida's public colleges and allows the state to remove programs, majors and minors that teach "identity politics."

HB 1069 expands the restriction on classroom instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity from the Parental Rights in Education Act — dubbed "Don't Say Gay" by critics — to kindergarten through eighth grade.

  • The state Board of Education already approved a rule in April barring the state's public school teachers from teaching students in any grade about the two topics.
  • The law will also prohibit teachers from asking students about their preferred pronouns. It makes it a policy of all Florida public schools that a "person's sex is an immutable biological trait and that it is false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person's sex."

Under HB 1521, using a bathroom — in state and local government buildings, schools and colleges, among other facilities — that doesn't align with one's sex assigned at birth is now a misdemeanor trespassing offense.

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