The Marbut Report: A Look At The Florida 2021 Legislature | Jax daily record | Jacksonville Daily Record

The 2021 Florida Legislature session was “an eventful two months in Tallahassee,” said attorney Chris Hand, director of Hand Law and one of the moderators of the Jacksonville Bar Association’s CLE program on May 25 in the JBA offices and on Zoom.

He and attorney Trey Mills, partner at Driver, McAfee, Hawthorne & Diebenow, gave a summary of the April 30 legislative term.

Their comments centered on the bills that were of the greatest interest to local attorneys, out of the more than 250 that Governor Ron DeSantis had put up for signature.

The coronavirus pandemic and its impact on certain legal disputes resulted in laws limiting liability when customers claim to be infected with COVID-19 at a company.

Hand said under Senate Bill 72, the plaintiff must file a specific complaint against the company, provide credible medical evidence that the disease was infected within the company, and also demonstrate that the company made good faith efforts to ensure compliance Health standards ensure health the safety of its customers or patrons.

“The allegation must be supported by clear and convincing evidence. It’s a higher level of protection, ”said Hand.

Another bill, SB 90, was passed in response to how many people voted in national elections during the pandemic.

Starting July 1, Floridians wishing to vote by post must request a postal vote prior to each election instead of any other election. The law also limits the number of mailboxes that can be provided for collecting ballots.

Another bill makes it illegal for a Florida social media provider to block certain users.

Lawyer Chris Hand has also made a name for himself in the CLE.

SB 7072 prevents social media companies from deliberately removing the platform from a candidate for an elected office prior to an election.

The bill allows a banned candidate to sue the provider and provides fines of $ 250,000 per day for suppressing a candidate in a state election; $ 25,000 a day for a candidate in a local election.

Hand said he was “100% sure” that Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will challenge the law in court.

Mills spoke about the $ 101.5 billion state budget presented to DeSantis.

When the budget was created, it was expected that lower government revenues due to the pandemic would result in a shortfall of about $ 3 billion.

However, the state has received enough federal coronavirus aid that the final figure is 10% above the 2020-21 budget, Mills said.

Beginning July 1, the state will charge 6% sales tax on online purchases made at retailers that make more than $ 100,000 per year.

Mills said this is expected to generate about $ 1 billion a year to be used initially for the state to meet its obligations to the Reemployment Trust Fund, the state’s unemployment benefit program.

The proceeds will be used when the fund is resumed to offset a decrease in the state tax on commercial real estate leases from 5.5% to 2.2%.

“That makes NAIOP happy,” said Mills, referring to the commercial property development association.

Another bill was also passed in response to how some companies have adapted to the pandemic.

SB 148, commonly known as alcohol-to-go bill, makes it legal for restaurants to sell beer, wine, and cocktails in sealed containers along with take-away or shipped orders, Mills said.

In Florida, the governor has the power to reject line items within the spending schedule.

Hand said Florida Taxwatch makes a list of potential vetoes every year. visit
floridataxwatch.org/Research/Budget-Turkeys.

Visit jaxbar.org for the schedule of the association’s personal and virtual CLE programs.

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