DeSantis ready to act on latest stack of bills
Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday he expects to act quickly on the remaining bills from the 2022 regular legislative session.
With the state’s new fiscal year set to begin July 1, DeSantis had 52 bills remaining on his desk of 280 that were approved by lawmakers in the regular session and two subsequent special sessions.
On Friday, the Legislative Assembly sent the final batch of bills to DeSantis. DeSantis can sign, veto, or allow bills to become law without his signature.
Asked Monday about one of the remaining bills, a controversial measure that would change alimony laws (SB 1796), DeSantis did not say whether he would approve of the proposal. He only said he planned to sign or veto all remaining measures, possibly this week.
“We follow our process. A lot of bills that are returned, you know, they get thrown on my desk and I have to look to see on each one, we do our due diligence,” DeSantis told Pig Bar-BQ in Callahan. . “We are studying them. We’re trying to make the best decisions we can, you know, for the people of the state of Florida. So this process is ongoing. I think we’ve paid probably 80 (percent) to 90 percent of the bills already.
Former Gov. Rick Scott has twice vetoed proposed child support revisions.
This year’s bill would make a series of changes, including revising the process for changing child support when people who have paid are looking to retire. Paying ex-spouses would have to give one year’s notice of their intention to retire and could stop payments upon retirement, except in certain circumstances.
The bill would also abolish permanent child support and set maximum payment terms. Spouses who have been married for less than three years would not be eligible for child support and those who have been married for 20 years or more would be eligible to receive payments for up to 75% of the length of the marriage.
Another part of the bill would require judges to start with a “presumption” that children should split their time equally between parents.
Critics have argued that parts of the proposal, such as pension changes, could impoverish ex-spouses who have been housewives and depend on child support payments.
But Marc Johnson, president of the Florida Family Fairness group, which supports the bill, issued a statement Friday saying it’s “time to modernize Florida’s family court laws, making the process fairer and predictable for all parties while reducing the cost of litigation.”
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, declined to comment Monday on the child support bill. But she said DeSantis should veto a separate pending measure that could open the door for companies to sue cities and counties.
“It is important that local governments have the capacity to do what is right for their communities. Fried told reporters on Capitol Hill. “If people don’t like the legislation, the ordinances they pass, then they reject it. But for the state government to step in and overrule these decisions and create this opportunity for companies to sue is the most egregious overreach of autonomy I’ve seen.
Ahead of the bill’s passage in March, House sponsor Lawrence McClure, R-Dover, said it would cause local governments to “pause” before they enact ordinances that would harm businesses.
The bill (SB 620) would allow companies to sue cities and counties if the orders cause at least 15 percent lost profits. It would apply to businesses that have been in business for at least three years and allow them to sue for lost profits for seven years or the number of years the business has been in business, whichever is lower.
The regular legislative session ended in March, although legislators each year incrementally send bills to DeSantis for consideration.
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