Florida 2024 Legislative Session Recap

Tallahassee, FL, USA - February 11, 2022: Florida State Capitol

Florida’s 2024 regular legislative session ended with adjournment “sine die” on Friday, March 8, but not before lawmakers addressed many bills. Notable among these were measures to enhance public health, restrict child social media use, provide toll relief to motorists, raise the pay of state employees, and fight antisemitism. Each bill approved by both the Senate and House goes to Governor Ron DeSantis, who has 15 days from the time he receives it to sign or veto the measure or allow it to become law without his signature.

Live Healthy Legislative Package

Senate President Kathleen Passidomo’s Live Healthy initiative is intended to grow Florida’s healthcare workforce, enhance workforce mobility, and improve access to high-quality care. The package includes SB 7016 and SB 7018, which recently were sent to Governor DeSantis. These bills propose significant changes to several programs, including:

  • Graduate Medical Education (GME): Adding 500 new GME positions to the Slots for Doctors Program, increasing its funding from $30 million to $50 million, and alloting $100 million in recurring trust fund dollars to support GME at statutory teaching hospitals that provide highly specialized tertiary care.
  • LINE Program: Expanding eligibility and providing $5 million more in recurring funding, for a total of $30 million, for high-performing nursing programs at colleges or universities that meet specific performance metrics.
  • Florida Reimbursement Assistance for Medical Education (FRAME) Program: Offering more loan repayment options (switching from annual renewal to every four years) to encourage practitioners to remain in Florida after completing their education and residencies, making Florida more competitive with other states offering similar loan repayment options. Changes to the program include allowing mental health professionals to apply, as well as $30 million in funding to increase award amounts for all qualifying health care professionals.
  • Training, Education, and Clinicals in Health (TEACH) Funding Program: Introducing a new $25 million initiative to offset clinical preceptors’ lost revenue while they mentor medical, dental, nursing, and behavioral health students.

Additional Live Healthy bills that cleared the Legislature in the final days of the session and are now heading to the governor would:

  • Create a streamlined licensure pathway for out-of-state providers moving to Florida (SB 1600); 
  • Establish a new teaching hospital category focused on behavioral health (SB 330);
  • Expand services to Floridians with disabilities (SB 1758); and
  • Expand healthcare price transparency, require facilities to establish an internal process for reviewing and responding to patient grievances, and implement numerous other changes (HB 7089).

The Live Healthy package has largely received positive feedback, but concerns about a few provisions have been raised. These provisions are included in the final legislation sent to the governor, who cannot veto individual provisions but must accept or reject the bill in whole.

  • Advanced Birthing Centers: This aspect of the bill would allow advanced birthing centers to perform cesarean sections and expand autonomous nurse midwives’ scope of practice. This has faced opposition over potential increased risks of adverse neonatal outcomes, deaths, and seizures compared to hospital-based delivery.
  • Nonemergent Care Access Plans: This requires hospitals to establish Nonemergent Care Access Plans, which involve directing low-severity medical cases away from emergency rooms. The proposal has also garnered significant opposition due to concerns over its feasibility and potential impacts on patient care.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse 

HB 7021, which passed unanimously by both the Florida House and Senate, would update the state’s mental health system by modernizing the Baker Act and Marchman Act. It enhances standards for involuntary mental health treatments, expands the definition of medical practitioners, and refines county court responsibilities. With a $50 million appropriation, the bill seeks to reduce relapses, improve access to care, and make mental health services more efficient. It also grants law enforcement discretion for involuntary evaluations and revises standards for testimony and involuntary services, aiming to improve public safety, treatment outcomes, and use of resources.


After agreeing on a $117.5 billion budget on Tuesday, Florida lawmakers had to wait through a mandatory 72-hour cooling-off period before finalizing the spending plan in the session’s final hours. Governor DeSantis will have 15 days from when he actually receives the bill to exercise line-item veto power. The 469-page bill appropriates funds for making critical improvements to the Florida college system infrastructure, subsidizing health and dental insurance for low-income families, establishing three sales tax holidays saving consumers a combined total of potentially $135 million in savings, funding an increase to K-12 teacher base salaries, and supplying the Florida Education Finance Program a $1.8 billion increase to help shore up public schools. Medicaid funding for nursing homes was increased by 8%, while the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation received $206.5 million. A toll relief program providing credits to frequent toll-road users could save motorists as much as $450 million. Florida’s citrus industry also received $47 million for research and marketing of its products. 

Social Media Use for Minors

A priority of House Speaker Paul Renner, HB 1 would have banned children under 16 from having social media accounts. Governor DeSantis vetoed the bill on March 1, but he and the Speaker worked out a compromise version (HB 3) banning children younger than 14 and imposing parental consent restrictions on 14- and 15-year-olds. The Senate approved the rewritten bill on a 30-5 vote on March 4 and the House followed suit two days later, passing the bill 109-4. HB 3 now heads to the governor for his consideration.

Legal Reform

HB 1179 would have cracked down on third-party financing of civil lawsuits. This bill and a Senate companion (SB 1276) never cleared the committee process and died when the session ended.

SB 362 would amend the Medical Treatment Under the Workers’ Compensation Law to increase the cap on witness fees for healthcare providers to $300 per hour, up from the current limit of $200. After passing both chambers by March 7, the bill heads to the governor. 

Campaign Finance Reform

Lawmakers approved two connected proposals designed to eliminate public funding for candidates running for statewide office. SJR 1114 is a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that, if approved by the voters, would repeal a provision authorizing such funding. SB 1116 would implement that repeal by eliminating parts of the Florida Election Campaign Financing Act, but only if 60% of Florida voters approve the constitutional amendment.

District School Board Reporting

SB 7002 would enact several changes for district school boards. If a board does not advertise its intent to adopt a tentative budget in a widely circulated newspaper, it must announce this intention on a publicly accessible website. The bill also outlines that, should a hearing be postponed, specific details must be shared on the school district’s website under certain conditions. Moreover, it seeks to update the protocols for district school boards in the event of declared state or local emergencies and to modify the signage requirements on certain school buses. This bill now heads to the governor. 

First Responder Protections

SB 184, which was approved by both chambers, is designed to protect first responders from others who threaten to impede them as they do their job. An action can be considered a crime if, after receiving a warning from a first responder, a person interferes with, threatens, or harasses a first responder as they perform their duties.


HB 187 attempts to provide a clear and actionable definition of antisemitism to aid in identifying, reporting, and combating antisemitic incidents within Florida, ensuring that it aligns with constitutional rights and existing anti-discrimination laws. The bill passed both chambers and is now headed to the governor for consideration.

Addressing the Homeless Crisis

HB 1365, passed by both the House and Senate and sent to the governor, would regulate public camping and sleeping, emphasizing public safety, sanitation, and access to services while addressing the needs of the homeless population within Florida communities.

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