- Associated Industries of Florida
- Bill Herrle
- Brandon Wolf
- budget veto
- call for veto
- Christina Pushaw
- Equality Florida
- Florida Chamber of Commerce
- Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Florida Department of Revenue
- Gladstone & Weissman
- Heather L. Apicella
- Jim Zingale
- Kate MacFall
- Michele M. Taylor
- National Federation of Independent Business Florida
- Ron DeSantis
- SB 1382
- SB 1796
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.”