Watch the 2023 Legislative Session Review Webinar

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The 2023 Legislative Session ended on May 5. A number of significant changes which will impact planning in Florida were passed by the Legislature, including bills focused on business damages related to transportation, affordable housing, local government preemptions, property rights, building regulation, comprehensive plans, and flooding and sea level rise. Most of the changes in the bills would take effect on July 1, 2023, although some take effect upon becoming law.


  • Whit Blanton, FAICP, is the executive director of Forward Pinellas, a public agency responsible for countywide and regional planning, the countywide land use plan, and setting priorities for transportation funding. Hired in 2015 upon the merger of two agencies, the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and Pinellas Planning Council (PPC). 
  • Allara Mills Gutcher, AICP, is the founding owner and Principal of The Planning Collaborative, a sole-proprietorship established in 2011. She has more than 25 years of experience in the land use planning profession.
  • Lester Abberger of Tallahassee is the APA Florida Legislative Representative. He is past chair of 1000 Friends of Florida and is a Board Member Emeritus. He is chairman of The Trust for Public Land (TPL) Florida Advisory Council, serves on the TPL National Leadership Council, is chair of the Florida Conservation Campaign, and is a director and chair of the Finance Committee of The Conservation Campaign. 
  • Thomas Hawkins, AICP, JD, is an instructional assistant professor in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning and is the program director of the university’s online Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree program. 
  • Julia "Alex" Magee served as the executive director of APA Florida for 16 years. She has more than 40 years of planning experience at the state, regional, local, and non-profit levels. She retired in December 2023. 

Watch now!

Sine Die | Legislative Reporter Recap

The 2023 Legislative session ended as scheduled on May 5.

The legislature passed its $117 billion budget (SB 2500) that will now go to Gov. DeSantis, who has line-item veto powers. The spending plan includes about $46.5 billion in general revenue funding and more than $70 billion in trust fund spending that’s mostly earmarked for specific types of needs. Nearly $11 billion will be held back for future needs. Other highlights of the budget include a 5 percent pay increase for state workers, more than $350 million for grants for recovery from Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, an expansion of eligibility for children’s health insurance, more money for affordable housing and the environment, and higher spending on education. Read an overview of the budget here.

Of the 1,828 bills filed, only 356 bills were passed by both chambers. An additional 319 bills were “laid on the table,” indicating their companion measure passed. Approximately 1,029 bills died either in committee or on the floor.

The Bill Tracking Report, as of May 10, can be viewed here. Please review it to see the final status of the bills that APA Florida tracked over the session.

Bills that Died:

Of interest, the following bills were among those that failed to pass this year:

  • Vacation Rentals (SB 92, SB 714, HB 105)
  • Everglades Protection Area (SB 192, HB 175)
  • Alternative Mobility Funding Systems (SB 350, HB 235)
  • Florida Main Street Program and Historic Preservation Tax Credits (SB 288, HB 499)
  • Building Permits (SB 570, SB 682, HB 671, HB 765)
  • Sanitary Sewer Lateral Inspection Programs (SB 1420, HB 661)
  • Local Tax Referenda Requirements (SB 698, HB 731)
  • Saltwater Intrusion Vulnerability Assessments (SB 734, HB 1079)
  • State Renewable Energy Goals (SB 970, HB 957)
  • Vertiports (SB 1122, HB 349)
  • Resilience Districts (SB 1200, HB 1147)
  • Local Regulation of Nonconforming or Unsafe Structures (SB 1346, HB 1317)
  • Local Occupational Licensing (SB 1584, HB 1625)
  • Electric Vehicle Regulation (SB 1176, HB 1591) 

Bills Passed by the Legislature

Every bill passed by the legislature is presented to the governor for approval and becomes a law if the governor approves and signs it, or fails to veto it within seven consecutive days after presentation. If during that period or on the seventh day, the legislature adjourns sine die or takes a recess of more than 30 days, the governor has 15 consecutive days from the date of presentation to act on the bill. To track Governor DeSantis’s action on bills, go to and click on “2023 Bill Actions” on the right side of the page.

The following bills of interest were among those passed by both chambers:

  • Economic Programs (CS/CS/HB 5 ER, Rep. Esposito): Eliminates Enterprise Florida, Inc. and transfers all its duties and functions to the Department of Economic Opportunity; renames DEO as Department of Commerce. Effective July 1, 2023.
  • Abandoned and Historic Cemeteries (CS/CS/CS/HB 49, Rep. Driskell): Creates Historic Cemeteries Program within the Division of Historical Resources and authorizes certain entities to acquire conservation easements to preserve cemeteries. Effective July 1, 2023.
  • Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority (CS/HB 155 ER, Rep. Holcomb): dissolves the Tampa Bay Regional Transit Authority. Effective July 1, 2023.
  • Commercial Service Airport Transparency and Accountability (CS/CS/HB 1123 ER, Rep. Gossett-Seidman): Changes information that needs to be posted on the airport’s website and amends the requirements for receiving governing body approval for commodity or contractual services contracts. Effective July 1, 2023.
  • Regional Transportation Planning (CS/HB 1397 ER, Rep. McClure): Requires the Florida Department of Transportation, or its consultant, to conduct a study on the potential dissolution of HART and submit a report detailing the results of the study to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by Jan. 1, 2024. Effective July 1, 2023.
  • Public Construction (CS/CS/SB 346 ER, Sen. DiCeglie): Amends construction services contract and payment requirements between local government entity and contractor. Effective July 1, 2023.
  • Disposal of Property (SB 678 ER, Sen. Powell): Provides that the Florida Department of Transportation may convey property to a governmental entity without consideration if the property is to be used for affordable housing. Effective July 1, 2023.
  • Vessel Regulations (CS/CS/HB 847 ER, Rep. Stark): Allows a municipality or county to adopt an ordinance that establishes a slow speed, minimum wake boating-restricted area, if the area is within 500 feet of a sewage pumpout station at any public or private nonresidential marina if the sewage pumpout station is within 100 feet of the marked channel of the Florida Intracoastal Waterway. Effective July 1, 2023.
  • Designation of Brevard Barrier Island Area as Area of Critical State Concern (CS/CS/HB 1489, Rep. Brackett): Creates the area of critical state concern designation for this area and provides the guiding principles for development within the area. Effective July 1, 2023. 

Get full details and breakdowns of significant bills of interest here