Move over March Madness, it’s Veto Season
Image via Colin Hackley.

Lobbyists who couldn't kill bills are looking for vetoes instead.

Forget March Madness.

It’s Veto Season.

Some political associations and lobbyists may have failed to stop lawmakers from approving unfavorable legislation during the 60-day Session. Now, they are turning to Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto bills and cut budget items as a last resort to stop those items from becoming law.

Within one week of the hankie dropping on the 2022 Session, at least six organizations had announced or launched veto campaigns. The calls come from left-leaning Equality Florida to the National Federation of Independent Business Florida, a pro-business association, and a spate of interests in between. Groups are seeking vetoes of spending in the 2022-23 Fiscal Year budget and changes to tax law and nursing home staffing requirements.

Members of the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops confirmed requesting the Governor to veto the $2 million in recurring funds for long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Spokesperson Michele M. Taylor said the association was working on a veto letter and could be sent to the Governor’s Office as early as this week.

Senate President Wilton Simpson included the funding in the Department of Health budget in an eleventh-hour “sprinkle list” request. Those last-minute items feature requests that are important to legislative leaders.

Because LARC options do not need to be taken daily, they are a more effective way of controlling unwanted pregnancies.

It’s the second time Simpson has included the funding in the budget to provide contraception for low-income women, calling it a “healthy” part of a pro-life agenda.

Last year, the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops successfully got DeSantis to cut the funding. It hopes to have success again this year.

Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill — which is called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by its opponents — was one of the more headline-grabbing measures of the 2022 Session. Equality Florida opposed the bill at every stop, but the Republican-controlled Legislature still passed it.

Equality Florida press secretary Brandon Wolf said the organization launched a veto campaign on March 8, the day the Senate passed HB 1557 and sent it to the Governor.

Nearly 2,000 emails have been sent to DeSantis’ office from the Equality Florida site.

“This bill would effectively erase LGBTQ students, families, and history by banning classroom discussions about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. It would also undermine existing protections for LGBTQ kids in schools, potentially putting them in danger,” the email reads. “The Legislature cannot force LGBTQ people back into the closet by policing identity or stopping kids from talking about their same-sex parents.”

Moreover, Equality Florida’s generated veto message also demands that the Governor “denounce” his press secretary Christina Pushaw. Pushaw, in her Twitter feed, suggested those opposed to the bill were “groomers,” a term associated with pedophiles.

DeSantis has expressed support for the legislation, and the chance of a veto is highly unlikely. However, Wolf told Florida Politics that Equality Florida is taking every opportunity to kill the bill, including launching the veto campaign.

The Humane Society of the United States is looking to the Governor to veto SB 620, a bill that allows businesses that have been in operation for at least three years to sue city and county governments that pass ordinances that cause their companies to lose 15% or more profit.

More than 80 localities in Florida have banned puppy selling pet stores, but the group says that trend will stop if SB 620 is signed into law.

“We urge Gov. DeSantis to veto SB 620 so that it won’t be used to protect cruel puppy mills and their sales outlets,” said Kate MacFall, the Florida state director for the Humane Society. “The Legislature rejected attempts to protect pets and consumers from the consequences of this bill, but Gov. DeSantis can send them back to the drawing board.”

AARP Florida, meanwhile, is asking the Governor to veto HB 1239, which alters the current nursing home staffing requirements. The bill reduces the amount of direct nursing care residents are required to receive.

The National Federation of Independent Business Florida Executive Director Bill Herrle met with Florida Department of Revenue Executive Director Jim Zingale at the start of the 2022 Session to reach an accord on SB 1382, a broad bill addressing tax audits. The measure was a priority for the Department.

Herrle said the bill makes it harder for businesses to defend themselves against Department of Revenue tax audits.

If signed into law, businesses that contest the findings of a Department audit would no longer be allowed to present other records during the appellate process to contest the state’s tax estimate if those records were available, but not timely submitted, to the Department.

Taxpayers who can show there was good cause can submit the records. Good cause includes the death of the taxpayer, acts of war or terrorism, natural disasters, fire or other casualties, or the nonfeasance or misfeasance of the taxpayer’s employees or representatives responsible for compliance.

Herrle said small businesses don’t have the same resources as large businesses and will be disproportionately affected by the changes in the bill.

“We are asking the Governor to veto this bad bill,” Herrle told Florida Politics. “It is unconstitutional mulcting.”

Another high-profile bill subject to a veto campaign is SB 1796, which changes Florida’s divorce laws and is opposed by the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar.

If signed into law by DeSantis, there would be no permanent alimony, leaving only bridge-the-gap, rehabilitative and durational forms of alimony.

The bill limits rehabilitative alimony to five years, and durational alimony could not be awarded for marriages that last fewer than three years. Moreover, the bill amends state law to include a 50-50 presumption of timesharing for the children.

The bill also applies retroactively and, if signed into law, will change existing marital settlement agreements and final judgments.

“This sets a dangerous precedent for contractual agreements in Florida, and we are deeply concerned that this public policy erases equitability and sets up a system that heavily favors one party, while damaging the other unnecessarily,” said Heather L. Apicella, chair of the Family Law Section of the Florida Bar and a partner with Gladstone & Weissman in Boca Raton and Ft. Lauderdale. “It will also result in prolonged litigation, drive the cost of divorce up and cause backlogs in an already overburdened family court system.”

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • Michael Sikora

    March 23, 2022 at 3:51 pm

    Why do you print nonsense such as the following: “The bill also applies retroactively and, if signed into law, will change existing marital settlement agreements and final judgments”? SB 1796 is neither retroactive nor does it change any existing marital settlement agreements that are not otherwise modifiable. You should read the bill and check your facts, not just repeat the position of the Family Law bar.

    • Ms G

      March 23, 2022 at 10:27 pm

      This bill punishes spouses who stayed home and raised the children. It also punishes older women/men whose marriages ended due to a cheating spouse or spouse who was the breadwinner, left and now lives with their paramour in a 2 income household, leaving the former spouse out in the cold to fen for themselves after spending their married life building a comfortable home, raising the children and sacrificing for their spouse and their spouses employment. Frankly, it’s disgusting that the bread winning spouse is rewarded while the spouse who did the sacrificing is left to twist in the wind. #1, adulterous behavior should absolutely be considered and it’s not. Permanent alimony is permanent for a reason and it’s the wealthy men/women who are currently paying alimony who want this changed. It’s BS and if DeSantis signs this, I suspect he’ll never be re-elected. This bill hurts the average woman/man who sacrificed and rewards the cheater/liar. Settlements should be equal 50/50. If a spouse chooses to leave for greener pastures they should not be rewarded for it. They entered into a contract and should have to agree to a fair settlement to allow that contract to be broken. This current legislation is geared toward the wealthy men/women who have that new trophy wife/husband and want to be freed from having to continue to support their first wife/husband who sacrificed pretty much everything to help him/her achieve the status he/she has today. Actually, alimony should go both ways, each person’s “new” partner’s income should be considered when alimony is rewarded, not just the recipients. Neither spouse should be free to leave a marriage and enter a new relationship without the new paramours income being considered. So yes, I’m against this bill as written and hope DeSantis sees this for what it is. A rich man’s/women’s wish to be freed from their former obligations should not be rewarded and the wronged spouse punished.

    • Jonathan Shatz

      March 26, 2022 at 12:13 am

      Michael is correct the bill is not retroactive. If the Governor actually reads it he will see that it’s not retroactive. The Family Law section fully collaborated on this bill and now that it’s up for signing, they’ve disengenously decided to oppose it. All those lost $350 per hour bill rates stripping divorcing spouses is what they really care about.

  • rick snyderman

    March 24, 2022 at 8:07 am

    14 years ago I was served first with divorce papers by my now ex-wife… Yes… our marriage had grown apart and I accepted the reality that it was going to be time to move on. I was never unfaithful…. I knew my divorce was going to be a bit messy. My kids came first… I never questioned the child sharing/child support guidelines at that time. Yes… I knew I would then I would be facing permanent alimony under Florida’s archaic divorce laws..Never thinking that my ex would basically never go out on dates or try to move on with her life since she got the “golden ticket “… permanent alimony. During the divorce process she never offered any negotiation… split everything down the middle…my 401 k. A half interest in my business at that time… the house (since law basically said she could maintain her lifestyle). That meant that my alimony was based on all that… also she only worked 40 hours a month to maintain health insurance as she is a well paid RN. So every month forever she gets $3500. Fast forward to today…. All these years later she has since sold the house during a very “up market “ now lives in a nice condo 60-70% less value and cost. As soon as our divorce was final she started working full-time…(my alimony supporting her as if she was only working the 40 hour month). In 14 years she has purchased 4 cars. A boat. Vacationed well. Bottom line here…she has had more than enough time to move on … but won’t give up her 3500$ a month golden ticket. The current law is unfair! Also… my social security check at retirement is projected to be the same amount as my current alimony! My savings account has the same amount of money in it now, and as it was 14 years ago. Time to change the rules…. My ex has been earning more than she ever has. Ending permanent alimony is the way to go… I have paid my dues and my ex has certainly taken advantage of the archaic permanent alimony law. Governor Desantis…Please sign the new alimony reform!!

    • Shell

      March 31, 2022 at 6:47 pm

      if the bill is not retroactive, how does passage of the bill help you?

      Also, I believe the current law allows modification of alimony if circumstances change.

  • steven unatin

    March 30, 2022 at 10:39 am

    I am a retired attorney who has been paying
    $4000/mo in alimony for 12 years on a 20 year marriage. My ex has been working for years as a legal secretary, bought a $400,000 condo in Laguna Nigel and it has appeciated $200000. She has nothing to do with me yet I am an indentured slave for life! I have a girlfriend whose husband died and she got nothing. She thinks its unfair that women who get divorced are rewarded but widows are not protected. Please sign this bill and end the insanity.

  • Brad Cohen

    March 31, 2022 at 12:04 pm

    I am a 68 year old physician paying over $11000 per month for 31 years on a 12 year marriage. The ex has had a successful 6 figure career for years and owns a home outright for over 1 million dollars. This insanity has to stop for existing payers and future payers. The family law section could care less about what is fair and what is the RIGHT thing to do. For them it’s all about billable hours and therefore prolonging litigation. The time has come for this to be resolved and for the law to become contemporary and not archaic.
    Governor….surely you would not want yourself or your children in this current predicament.

  • shell

    March 31, 2022 at 6:51 pm

    I think it is interesting that the people pushing this bill are current alimony payers. At the same time they claim the bill is not retroactive. Therefore this bill won’t help them right??? Who would spend so much time and money fighting for a bill that won’t change their situation? hmmmm interesting, sounds illogical to me.

  • Janice Stilwell

    April 4, 2022 at 11:26 pm

    I survive on ssi and alimony, which is not large. He remarried a few days after divorce and I continued to raise our daughters through high school and college. After 31 years of marriage I still do not have equal income. So veto.

Comments are closed.


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