Legislative Issues

Of the 3,517 bills filed this Session (including 1,634 proposed House appropriations projects, which are considered bills), only 207 passed both the Senate and House. That is 10 more bills than last year’s total. Here is a recap of some interesting bills that passed and failed this Session.

Bills That Passed

TOBACCO AND NICOTINE PRODUCTS If the Governor signs this legislation, the age to purchase tobacco products would increase to 21. The bill identifies e-cigarettes and vaping products as “tobacco products” and raises the age to purchase any tobacco product, including dip and chew, and e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.

ABANDONED CEMETERIES Unmarked and abandoned African-American cemeteries will come under the authority of a new task force. It will seek to identify such sites and, under a partnership with the University of South Florida and Florida A&M University, conduct research to potentially identify the remains and provide notification. Special emphasis will be applied to the Zion Cemetery, which was recently discovered in Tampa. The task force will also recommend the placement of memorials at the various sites.

COLLEGE ATHLETES COMPENSATION Senate Bill 646, sponsored by Senator Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne), allows student athletes to be compensated for his or her name, image or likeness while the athlete’s college or university cannot restrict or profit off the same. The athlete could obtain professional representation, however must disclose it to the college or university while enrolled. The college or university must conduct a financial literacy and life skills workshop in the first and third academic years for the athletes. Both chambers agreed to delay implementation of the bill until July 1, 2021 pending NCAA action.

HEMP Language on hemp was added to the agriculture bill when the chambers were unable to reach agreement regarding hemp seeds. The Senate wanted to maintain current law about the use of certified hemp seeds, while the House sought to scrap the requirement. The agreed items include: adding hemp extract as a food; clarifying what constitutes hemp extract; modifying packaging; prohibiting inhaled extract from being purchased by persons under 21; and altering the Industrial Hemp Council.