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Ron DeSantis signs 15 bills including streamlining Space Florida financing

Other bills deal with bank accounts, fire departments, voting machines

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed 15 low-profile bills Saturday, including one that removes some restrictions on how Space Florida can pursue revenue bonds for projects promoting the space industry in Florida.

The 15 bills signed into law cover a wide gamut of tweaks in Florida law ranging from allowing canvassing boards to use machines in doing election recounts, to making it easier for families to get money out of the bank accounts of people who died, to creating a grant program for firefights to decontaminate cancer-causing residues from equipment.

Among them, Rep. Tyler Sirois’ House Bill 717 revises some of the rules that Space Florida follows for Florida’s space-industry development arm ability to millions of dollars worth of bonds to help bring and expand such businesses.

HB 717 substantially increases the independence of Space Florida regarding its bonding powers. In cases such as Space Florida’s effort to raise $30 million needed for its share of replacing the Indian River Bridge leading to Kennedy Space Center and Space Florida’s industrial park, Exploration Park, it would have to go through Legislative leadership and the Florida Cabinet.

The law removes both the requirement that Space Florida notify the presiding officers and appropriations chairs of both houses of the Legislature before presenting a bond proposal to the Governor and Cabinet and the condition for the Governor and Cabinet must approve its issuance, according to a legislative analysis.

Doing this not only streamlines Space Florida’s ventures but reduces the risk of Florida taxpayers to be sued for the debt, according to Space Florida.

Sen. Tom Wright, who sponsored the Senate companion, said, “Space Florida has done a tremendous job in attracting companies to our state. From this bill’s passage, they will be able to conduct business and save costs for all involved parties, while ensuring the state of Florida is not on the hook when it comes to issuing bonds.”

Among other bills DeSantis signed Saturday:

House Bill 1005, from Rep. Cord Byrd, allows county canvassing boards and supervisors of elections to use automated tabulating equipment that is not part of the voting system to conduct both machine and manual recounts.

During the machine recount process, the ballots may be run through the automated tabulating equipment instead of the voting system’s tabulators that performed the original tally. While the machine recount is underway, overvotes and undervotes may be identified and sorted physically or digitally in preparation of a manual recount should one be warranted, according to a legislative analysis of HB 1005.

House Bill 1439, from Rep. Clay Yarborough, makes it easier for family members to clean up bank accounts held by someone who has died. If there is less than $1,000 in the account, the beneficiaries can obtain the money without having to go through probate.

Senate Bill 1092, filed by Sen. Aaron Bean, creates the Firefighter Cancer Decontamination Equipment Grant Program within the Division of State Fire Marshal.

Senate Bill 1362, from Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, clarifies the rights of tenants living in a property facing foreclosure.

House Bill 945, from Rep. David Silvers, allows school districts to use Mobile Response Units and Crisis Stabilization Services as the first line of assistance for children in need of mental health care.

DeSantis also signed Senate Bill 1116 regarding trust funds, Senate Bill 1118 regarding inmate welfare trust funds, House Bill 131 regarding security at trial courts, House Bill 437 regarding nurse registries, House Bill 469 regarding real estate conveyances, House Bill 559 regarding rules at nursing homes, House Bill 573 regarding first responders and correctional officers, House Bill 783 regarding commercial real estate receivership, and House Bill 977 regarding rental cars from motor vehicle dealers.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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