Ron DeSantis signs an assortment of local bills into law
Halifax Hospital Medical Center

Legislation addresses hospitals, municipal taxes, liquor licensing.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a series of local bills into law Friday.

Most notably, the Governor’s signature clears the path for a new hospital in Volusia County. But legislation covered a range of topics including municipal boundaries and liquor licensing.

Volusia County

Perhaps the most impactful bill allows a new hospital to open in Deltona.

The hospital bill (HB 523), sponsored by Deltona Republican state Rep. David Santiago, authorizes the Halifax Hospital Medical Center to construct and operate a hospital outside its current boundaries.

A certificate of need was approved in 2016 for the hospital, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

But Ponce Inlet Mayor Nancy Epps successfully sued to block the public hospital district from opening a center outside its taxing area.

Santiago’s bill addresses legal concerns and authorizes the district to move ahead with plans.

Alachua County

The new law (HB 745) deals with liquor licenses issued by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

Sponsored by state Rep. Clovis Watson, an Alachua Democrat, the legislation allows for alcoholic beverages sold at Celebration Pointe to be consumed anywhere within the business district.

An exception to quota license rules lets the DBPR issue special licenses allowing businesses to serve any alcoholic beverages to be consumed on premises.

Brevard County

This bill (HB 1063) contracts Palm Bay’s city limits, de-annexing part of the municipality back into unincorporated Brevard County.

Sponsored by state Rep. Randy Fine, a Palm Bay Republican, the legislation calls for equivalent land uses from county regulations to be applied to property. City water and sewer services will still be available to individuals at the same rates.

Charlotte County

This local legislation (HB 193) repeals state provisions regarding the compensation for the Charlotte County Commission.

Filed by state Rep. Michael Grant, a Port Charlotte Republican, the bill drops laws dating to 1949 about a travel budget for commissioners.

The county spent $34.500 on such travel expenses in the 2016-’17 fiscal year and adopted budgets upward of $40,000 for the next two years.

Incidentally, Charlotte became a charter county in 1986. That has allowed the county to set salaries and most other compensation for commissioners.

Martin County

The Legislature allowed for the Village of Indiantown to incorporate in December of 2017. Now, this new bill (HB 1175) addresses taxes there.

Sponsored by state Rep. MaryLynn Magar, a Tequesta Republican, the legislation authorizes the village to include an ad valorem tax levied by Martin County municipal service taxing units to count toward 3 mills of required total contributions to be eligible for state-shared revenues.

Osceola County

Another law related to liquor licensing, this bill (HB 1099) requires the DBPR to issue special licenses to restaurants in Kissimmee’s Downtown Community Redevelopment District.

Sponsored by state Rep. Josie Tomkow, a Polk City Republican, the legislation only applies to “bona fide restaurants” in the district. That means ones that get more than half their revenue from the sale of food and non-alcoholic drinks, and business at least 1,800 square feet or larger.

Should a business start getting the majority of its money just from booze, the license can be revoked.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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