Gov. Ron DeSantis will soon cast his decision on whether to block local bans on sunscreen sales.
The city had qualms with the effects of component ingredients oxybenzone and octinoxate on the largest coral reef on the continent. Stuart and Miami Beach have mulled similar bans.
Rep. Spencer Roach, the bill’s House sponsor, noted DeSantis’ veto on last year’s plastic straw preemption fight, with DeSantis doubting a “compelling state interest” for the straw ban. Legislation this year preempting local vacation rental regulations died after the Governor voiced his reluctance on such a law.
But with Sen. Rob Bradley, the Senate budget chief, as the Senate sponsor, the Governor is less likely to plot a dissenting course.
All but three Democrats broke from the majority in the 25-14 Senate vote while two Republicans joined Democrats for a 68-47 vote that fell mostly along party lines.
At the bills passage, Republicans, including the sponsor and Rep. Ralph Massullo, questioned the science behind the bans, saying the studies were full of holes and did not prove coral reef degradation from chemical sunscreens.
“If we don’t have evidence that is good, that is verified, we cannot allow these communities to ban sunscreens,” said Massullo, a dermatologist by trade. “We have plenty of empirical evidence that sunscreens are very, very important to our society, that they save lives. By banning them, we’ll be threatening lives.”
The Florida Chamber was among the supportive parties in committee. The Sierra Club and Surfrider Foundation, meanwhile, opposed the bill.
DeSantis has until June 30 to act on the bill, which would go into effect July 1.
Roach believes the interest will prove to be more compelling upon the Governor’s review.
“There is absolutely a compelling state interest in protecting the health and safety of our citizens in allowing them to choose to purchase, use and apply what three decades of research has told us is the best and most effective cancer prevention on the market,” he said.