FL Senate 2024 – SB Review

It’s that time again. The session officially convened on January 9th, so I’m a bit late to the party. Let’s not waste any time getting into it.

Why am I specifically covering only Senate introduced bills? 1) Most House bills have an equal Senate bill that is going through at the same time, 2) the Florida State Senate elections are this year, and 3) since the coverage of SB256 last year, it’s just become tradition. Currently, Republicans control both chambers and I think it’s important that the Florida population have access to and knowledge about the legislation that may impact their lives.

It’s also important to note that the Florida House of Representatives is also up for election this year. Both chambers have until June 15, 2024 to file their intent to run. 20 seats are opening in the Senate, and all 120 seats in the House are opening.

Because of the sheer amount of legislation introduced this session, I won’t be able to cover every single bill. If you’d like to search through them yourself, you can do so on the Florida Senate website. The hyperlink will take you directly to the 2024 session list of bills.

For the sake of this article, however, we will focus on a few specific areas: technology and AI, women’s reproductive rights, healthcare, and personal special interests. If there are other bills you’d like people to know about, please feel free to add it to the comments!

I will not be providing commentary on the bills themselves, only trying to break it down into more easily understandable language. I am not a lawyer or legislator. I encourage you, whenever possible, to read the linked bills for yourself and come to your own conclusions.

Technology and AI

SB 454 – Protection of minors on social media websites – Introduced by Senator Garcia (District 36 – portion of Miami-Dade county)
This bill sets out a few things that are required of content moderation: websites must use NLP (natural language processing) to look for patterns that relate to soliciting, grooming, or sexually explicit language that involves minors; “computer vision techniques” that can identify sexually explicit or inappropriate images involving minors; age verification tools and geo fencing to restrict minor’s access to certain features; parental controls that allow enabling of geo fencing and “boundaries” based on location and duration of access; real-time monitoring and reporting based on algorithms that detect suspicious patterns (including adult-minor interactions and private messaging frequency) which is then real-time monitored and reported to law enforcement or child protective services, as well as send alerts to “account holders” of increased risk of child exploitation and grooming in certain geographic areas. The penalty for not doing so is provided under the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. Once passed, it will become law July 1, 2024.

SB 1680 – Relating to advanced technology – Introduced by Senator Bradley (District 6 – Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Gilchrist, Union, and portions of Alachua county)
This bill would establish the Government Technology Modernization Council. The purpose of the council is to study and monitor the development/deployment of artificial intelligence systems and provide reports to the Governor and the Legislature. The council shall consist of: the Lieutenant Governor; state CIO; state Surgeon General; Secretary of Health Care Administration; a rep of the computer crime center from the Department of Law Enforcement; Chief Inspector General; 13 reps from institutes of higher education (7 appointed by governor, 3 appointed by Senate President, and 3 appointed by Speaker of the House) who have senior level experience in AI, cloud computing, data management, identity management, data science, machine learning, etc; 1 member of the Senate appointed by the Senate President; 1 member of the House appointed by the Speaker of the House. They will serve for 4 years, except for members of the House and Senate who will serve for their entire term of office; the first terms of initial appointees made by the governor will only serve for 2 years. Members are only paid per diem expenses and are bound by confidentiality. The council shall meet quarterly to assess and provide guidance on AI systems in state government, the effect it will have on the legal rights of residents, areas of opportunity for further deployment, and bad actors of foreign governments. Every June 30, the council will submit their recommendations to the House and Senate. Each December 1, the council will submit a report to the Governor, Senate President, and Speaker of House that contains recommendations, trends, and ransomware activity.
Tacked on at the end is a clause about generated child pornography. It defines what is meant by the term, states that it is unlawful to intentionally view or possess generated content, and asserts that a person commits a third degree felony punishable by the same statues as currently govern actual child pornography.

SB 972 – Relating to artificial intelligence and establishing the Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council under the Department of Management Services – Introduced by Senator Gruters (District 22 – Sarasota and parts of Manatee county)
Essentially, this just defines terminology and establishes the same sort of council as SB 1680 above. The only major differences between the two bills is that it includes automated decision making technology, excludes discussion on generated child pornography, and is specifically created under the Department of Management Services. It also requires fewer members, 9 in total, most of whom are appointed by the Governor.

Honorable Mentions – AI and Tech

SB 1662 – Relating to cybersecurity – Introduced by Senator Collins (District 14 – portions of Hillsborough county)
Updates duties and responsibilities of the Florida Center for Cyber security. Creates a CTO role for the center. Provides a timeframe for reasonable disclosure of incidents. Defines a few terms.

SB 850 – Relating to the use of AI in political ads – Introduced by Senator DiCeglie (District 18 – portions of Pinellas county)
Defines generative AI to include text-to-video or image-to-video generation, as well as text-to-speech generators. Does not prohibit the usage of generative AI, but does require a disclaimer that discloses the use of generative AI in part or in whole. Failure to do so is a first degree misdemeanor. Anyone may file a complaint with the Florida Elections Committee.

Women’s Reproductive Rights

SB 1446 – Right to Contraceptive Act – Introduced by Senator Osgood (District 32 – portions of Broward county)
This bill first defines contraception as any action taken to prevent pregnancy, including sterilization, whereas contraceptive covers all drugs and devices currently approved by the FDA — which includes emergency contraceptives. Limitations to access must carry clear and convincing evidence that the limitation advances the safety of the contraceptive method, or that there is a safety concern can not be advanced by less restrictive means. It also prohibits politicians, essentially, from enforcing any rules, laws, or regulations that would restrict the sale or access to contraceptives. Preserves a health insurance providers right to not cover certain methods. Allows for the Attorney General to commence a civil action against violators. If passed, the bill would become law July 1, 2024.

SB 1450 – Relating to the protection of the right to an abortion – Introduced by Senator Berman (District 26 – portions of Palm Beach county)
Establishes past precedent that the right to privacy protects a woman’s right to an abortion as established by the Florida Supreme Court in 1989. That a woman has the right to terminate until a point where a fetus is capable of meaningful life outside the womb. Violation of this right carries a $10,000 fine that, if the defendant cannot pay, must be paid by the state. If the person denying an abortion is a healthcare professional, it establishes that the employer is liable for their employees actions.

SB 1460 – Relating to child support and time-sharing of unwanted pregnancies – Introduced by Senator Osgood (District 32 – portions of Broward county)
Should a victim of incest, rape, or human trafficking be unable to receive an abortion, this bill would immediately terminate the offenders parental rights upon their conviction by a jury or guilty plea. The offender must also immediately begin paying child support. If a provider denies a victim an abortion due to being beyond the allowable timeframe, the provider must give documentation stating so, at which point the victim may petition the court for an order of child support. Provides that paternity must also be established for ongoing child support payments, but that prenatal costs must be covered at a minimum of $350 per month. Additionally, the order must include financial support for up to 3 months after the birth of the child. Time-sharing may begin 1-year after the birth of the child.

Honorable Mentions – Women’s Reproductive Rights

SB 1402 – Relating to the establishment of paternity – Introduced by Senator Jones (District 34 – portions of Miami-Dade county)
A very thorough bill that establishes ways in which a child or a child’s parent may file a circuit court petition to establish paternity. It is presumed, initially, that any man a woman is married to is a child’s father, if at the time of birth the man was married to the woman. It then goes into detail all the factors the court must consider when not only hearing the petition, but also determining paternity.

SB 1496 – Relating to the protection of parental rights – Introduced by Senator Polsky (District 30 – portions of Broward and Palm Beach county)
Limits the courts ability to deny or restrict a parent’s custody or visitations rights simply based on their status as a medical marijuana user. That’s it. That’s the bill.


SB 1404 – Health Care Freedom Act – Introduced by Senator Jones (District 34 – portions of Miami-Dade county)
Repeals three Florida statues: 286.31, 286.311, and 381.00321, which relate to the use of state funds for abortions and sex-reassignment, as well as the right of medical conscience of health care providers and payors. It seeks to have health care facilities provide a list to the Department of Health of all services they will refuse. The facility must provide that list to a patient before services are rendered, even in the case of emergencies once the patient is able to comprehend the list. If the facility changes its covered procedures, it must provide an update to the Department of Health within 30 days of change. The Department of Health must provide a page on their website that contains all facilities and the services they deny. It then goes on to repeal the “Heartbeat Bill” which was enacted last year. It allows for termination of a pregnancy up to the third trimester. It would also repeal statute 395.3027 which would stop the collection and reporting of immigration status for hospitals that accept Medicaid. Lastly, it provides coverage for medically necessary care of gender dysphoria and prohibits discrimination for treatment based on gender identity.

SB 1282 – Relating to prescriptive authority of psychologists – Introduced by Senator Simon (District 3 – Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty, Leon, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, and Wakulla counties)
Sets up a certification process for PhD holding psychologists who have undergone an accredited training program to obtain a license to disperse mental health medications. Certificates are viable for 2 years and psychologists must meet a 20-hour continuing education requirement before reapplying.

SB 1612 – Relating to adult cardiovascular care – Introduced by Senator Brodeur (District 10 – Seminole and portions of Orange county)
Updates old language surrounding requirements hospitals must meet in order to be considered a Level I program. Includes the Society for Cardiac Angiography and Intervention as an additional set of guidelines hospitals must comply with. Sets out that Level I hospitals must have written transfer agreements with Level II hospitals that include protocols for safe transfer of patients.

Special Interest Legislation

SB 236 – Agreement Among States to Elect the President by National Popular Vote – Introduced by Senator Torres (District 25 – Osceola and portions of Orange county)
Does what it says. Ratifies the agreement between states to elect the president by national popular vote. It’s an interesting read if nothing else.

SB 1426 – Related to the sale of rabbits – Introduced by Senator Osgood (District 32 – portions of Broward county)
Makes it illegal to sell rabbits off the street, at a pet shop during the months of March and April (because of Easter) or for a pet shop to sell a rabbit younger than 2 months old, or give away a rabbit as a means of promotion if they are younger than 2 months old. Maintains that each rabbit must be given and kept in their own cage, one rabbit per cage, and that cage cannot have a wire floor. Be provided food, water, and adequate hay for digestion. Be microchipped with the information of the breeder and retail store, and have the name and city-state address of the breeder, date of birth of the rabbit, and microchip information clearly displayed. A pet store must also maintain veterinary records for two years and display them alongside the rabbit. Abandoned rabbits must be returned to either the pet store or breeder, or — in the case of the breeder no longer being active — must be surrendered to a registered shelter or rabbit rescue. Violations are a second degree misdemeanor. Exclusions apply to agriculture with proper care facilities, livestock exhibitions, and 4-H activities.

SB 1564 – Relating to vacating premises after termination of rental agreement – Introduced by Senator Torres (District 25 – Osceola and portions of Orange county)
Essentially says that if a landlord knows that the rental property is occupied by anyone under 18 or a pregnant woman, the landlord must provide the former tenant 3 months to move out before bringing action against them.

SB 1746 – Relating to public employee unions – Introduced by Senator Ingoglia (District 11 – Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, and portions of Pasco county)
Last but certainly not least, a revision to the previously passed SB256. It allows paycheck dues deduction for mass transit workers if they provide authorization to their employer (because they almost lost their union in the wave of decertifications.) Adds additional carve-outs for firefighters, 911 operators, EMTs, and paramedics — all carve-outs that were made for police and corrections officers would apply to them as well. Removes the requirement of an audited financial statement. It also clarifies language around when bargaining units must submit for recertification — within 30 days of when their current registration is scheduled to end. PERC is currently overwhelmed with re-applications, which is why this clarity is needed.