Governor Ron DeSantis Vetoes Local Business ‘Protection’ Bill

Govt. Ron DeSantis vetoed SB 620 Friday, an absolute priority of the President of the Senate wilton simpson which sought to punish local governments for passing laws harmful to local businesses.

Dubbed the “Local Business Protection Act,” SB 620 would have allowed a business to sue a city or county if it passed an ordinance that cut profits by 15% per location in the city or county. The company could have been awarded damages for the cost of its lost profits for up to seven years.

In his veto letter, DeSantis said the bill would have had unintended consequences because it was too broad and noted that the measure did not apply to emergency orders issued by local governments. DeSantis has pushed back emergency orders from several local governments related to COVID-19 during the pandemic.

“Incredibly, this bill exempts businesses from compensation due to local government ’emergency’ orders,” DeSantis wrote. “However, the broad and ambiguous language of the bill will lead to both unintended and unintended consequences and costly litigation. For this reason, the best approach is to enact targeted preemptive legislation when local governments act in a way that thwarts state policy and/or infringes the rights of Floridians.

The bill passed 22-14 in the Senate and 69-45 in the House, mostly along party lines with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. But six House Republicans joined Democrats voting against the measure: Reps. Thad Altman, Melonie Bell, Sam Killebrew, Patt Maney, Jim Mooneyand David Smith. A Senate Republican, senator. Jeff Brandesalso voted against.

Environmental groups had been pushing for a DeSantis veto, arguing that the bill would make it nearly impossible to enact water quality measures.

“Implementing and enforcing water quality standards are essential steps to protect our waterways and our manatees,” the group Save the Manatees said on Twitter on Thursday. “Under SB 620, local programs addressing water quality issues are at risk. Urge Governor DeSantis to protect (Florida’s) natural resources by vetoing SB 620.”

The loudest calls for a veto have come from animal welfare groups, who fear the bill will prevent local governments from banning so-called “puppy mills,” by banning the sale of cats and dogs. dogs in pet stores.

Groups like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals claim that dogs kept to raise puppies for retail are housed in poor conditions without veterinary care and mostly in cages.

House records show lobbyists from Petland, a retail pet store with 13 locations in Florida, signed up to lobby for the house’s version of the bill, HB 569.

Florida POLITICO reporter that the House bill sponsors Rep. Laurent McCluresaid Friday that the solution is to have more targeted pre-emption legislation where needed.

“It’s not like we have any philosophical differences here (with the governor),” the Dover Republican said in an interview. “Conceptually, we all agree that we don’t want legal Florida businesses to be displaced in any way by local governments.”

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