Legislature again snubs ban on no-cash businesses

The bill’s Senate sponsor says he’ll bring it back for next year.

Florida lawmakers have again shortchanged bills that would bar most brick-and-mortar businesses from refusing paper and coin payments.

Miami Gardens Democratic Sen. Shevrin Jones and Navarre Republican Rep. Joel Rudman carried the legislation (SB 106, HB 35), which sought to curb a growing trend of no-cash businesses in and outside the state.

The proposal was a priority for Jones, who told Florida Politics in January that some of the Sunshine State’s older and less well-to-do residents are being left behind in an increasingly digital commerce climate.

“At a time when many businesses have transitioned to electronic-only means of payment, we must not forget about those individuals and families who do not have access to those forms of payment,” he said. “Everyone, regardless of their financial status or background, should have the ability to fully participate in the economy.”

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.

Thirty-four percent 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 Generation Z shoppers prefer forgoing paper and coin tender, according to a 2022 survey by software service company Thryv and Payments Dive. Meanwhile, less than a quarter of respondents 50 and older said they made no weekly purchases with cash.

The bills, if passed, would have required businesses that offer in-person sales and services to take and provide change in cash without charging a fee for the transaction.

It would not have applied to sales over the phone, internet or by mail, or transactions in which a consumer uses a cash demonization higher than $20 and single transactions exceeding $5,000.

Parking facilities and businesses that provide accounting, architectural, engineering, financial advisory, insurance, interior design, software development, management and consulting services would also have been exempt.

Early on, SB 106 appeared to be gaining momentum. The bill cleared the first of two committees to which Senate President Kathleen Passidomo referred it with unanimous support. Then on Feb. 22, as the Legislature geared up for the final two weeks of Session, Jones yanked the bill for consideration before its last stop at the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee.

Jones said by text that he postponed his bill because, despite its progress in the Legislature’s upper chamber, the House companion hadn’t budged.

“The Chair of one of the committees it would have had to go to did not like it,” he said. “So, we will try again next year.”

Jones’ bill this year fared better than in 2022, when leadership in the Legislatures summarily ignored the proposal.

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.

One comment

  • Dont Say FLA

    March 9, 2024 at 9:38 am

    Cash demonization?

    The autocorrect sometime reveals a lot.

    It might have chosen the intended word, denomination. It might also have chosen democratization.

    And yet, it chose “demonization” when reporting on the politics of the so-called Free State of Florida

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704