Senate panel tenders approval for proposed ban on no-cash businesses
Shevrin Jones, a barrier-breaking LGBTQ legislator, found Basabe's approach to lawmaking too unpalatable to stand, even for a cause he supports. Image via Colin Hackley/Florida Politics.

‘We’re definitely leaving some people behind.’

A bill that would prohibit most brick-and-mortar businesses from refusing paper and coin payments has cleared its first Senate stop.

The measure (SB 106), sponsored by Miami Gardens Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones, has two more panels to clear before reaching a floor vote.

It’s needed, Jones said, to help many Floridians — particularly seniors and minorities — to continue participating in America’s increasingly digital-forward economy.

“Now in Florida, many businesses have opted for cashless payment — and it’s definitely … clear that there has been a shift toward cashless payments over the years — but we’re definitely leaving some people behind,” he said. “This stipulation impacts individuals and families who may not have electronic payments as a method of payment.”

If passed, Jones’ measure would require businesses that offer in-person sales and services and provide change in cash without charging a fee for the transaction. It would not apply to sales that take place over the phone, by mail or the internet.

Parking facilities and businesses that provide accounting, architectural, engineering, financial advisory, insurance, interior design, software development, management and consulting services would also be exempt. So would transactions in which the consumer uses a cash denomination higher than $20 and single transactions exceeding $5,000.

Businesses that violate the measure would be subject to a fine of $2,500 for the first offense, $5,000 for the second offense and up to $10,000 in fines thereafter. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services would then assess whether further punitive measures are warranted.

Jones said he planned to file an amendment adding an existing statutory exemption for secondary metal recyclers to his measure.

Navarre Republican Rep. Joel Rudman is carrying an identical companion (HB 35). The Senate Committee on Commerce and Tourism voted to advance Jones’ bill by a 6-0 vote Tuesday. Rudman’s bill awaits a hearing before the first of three committees to which House Leader Paul Renner referred it.

Tuesday marked the first time since the 2022 Legislative Session that lawmakers weighed in on proposed restrictions on refusing cash at physical points of sale. Jones then too carried the measure with support in the House from then-Rep. Matt Willhite. The legislation died without a hearing in either chamber.

Lower-income Americans are four times likelier than their higher-income neighbors to make all or almost all of their purchases in cash, according to the Pew Research Center, which found Black consumers were far more reliant on cash than White and Hispanic shoppers. Pew found 34% of Black consumers use cash as their primary form of payment compared to 17% of Hispanics and 15% of non-Hispanic Whites.

Sixty-eight percent of millennials and 71% of Gen Z shoppers prefer forgoing paper and coin tender, according to a 2022 survey by software service company Thryv and Payments Dive. The survey also found 59% of consumers used digital wallets, touchless terminals and tap-to-pay platforms more frequently during the pandemic, and 71% said they plan to keep doing so in the future.

Meanwhile, less than a quarter of respondents 50 and older said they made no weekly purchases with cash.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


  • Larry Gillis, Libertarian (Cape Coral)

    December 5, 2023 at 4:39 pm

    The argument is that “legal tender” is, well, legal tender. In other words, if I tender you federal money, you gotta take it. FYI, the authentic Libertarian view is that the whole transaction — including payment — is up to the parties. In other words, if I don’t want your money, you can simply walk away. (Personally, I’ll take anything reasonable, but some of my best and dearest friends are really adamant about not taking any printing-press money whose value is up to the Feds).

    • Julia

      December 5, 2023 at 5:23 pm

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    • rick whitaker

      December 5, 2023 at 8:28 pm

      larry gillis, that libertarian crap is so tiring.

  • PeterH

    December 5, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    Expect brick and mortar stores to charge more for their products and services. They need to install a cashier and security cameras and possibly hire security personnel to accommodate this measure.

  • Abram Nicholson

    December 5, 2023 at 5:59 pm

    US currency is defined in federal law as “Legal tender for all debts, public and private.” We don’t need another law about this. Just enforce the federal laws.

Comments are closed.


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