Victory! Governor DeSantis Vetoes SB 620
On Friday, June 24, Governor Ron DeSantis vetoed SB 620, formally named the Local Business Protection Act, but which critics dubbed the “Ending Local Freedoms Act.” SB 620 was an extremely broad preemption bill which would have allowed businesses that have been in operation for at least three years to file lawsuits seeking to recover lost profits for up to seven years if they lose revenues as a result of a local ordinance or citizen initiative. Taxpayers would then be on the hook for the damages of these lawsuits.
“The broad and ambiguous language of the bill will lead to both unintended and unforeseen consequences and costly litigation,’’ DeSantis wrote in his veto message. What were some of those “unforeseen consequences”?
Unforeseen Consequences: Puppy Mills Empowered
Animal welfare groups like the Humane Society and the Best Friends Society pointed out that the bill was a “a betrayal of pets and the families who love them.” Over 80 Florida localities have prohibited the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores due to well-documented animal welfare and consumer protection concerns. The Humane Society pointed out that “SB 620 would ensure that no additional cities or counties adopted this policy because, if they did, they might have to use taxpayer money to reimburse pet stores for revenue they could have made selling puppy mill puppies.”
Unforeseen Consequences: Environmental Ordinances Blocked
Environmental groups also weighed in on the consequences this bill could have on important conservation efforts. In recent years, local governments have passed important conservation measures, like light pollution laws meant to protect the hundreds of thousands of endangered sea turtles who nest on Florida’s beaches. On Florida’s Atlantic coast, some beaches with high turtle nesting density have lost thousands of hatchlings due to artificial light. Local cities and counties have passed ordinances limiting the kinds of lights that can be installed near shorelines. Environmental groups pointed out that the language of SB 620 was so broad that it could have led to businesses suing local governments over these conservation ordinances.
What does the veto mean?
The governor’s decision to veto SB 620 is a validation of the more than 80 cities, towns and counties in Florida that have joined the movement to stop the puppy-mill-to-pet-store pipeline.
This veto is also a victory for the local leaders who believe in Home Rule, local government and the principle that the government closest to the people governs best.
This is a win for Opportunity For All Floridians members who sent more than 13,000 emails and made over 400 calls to the Governor, asking him to veto SB 620.
There is more we can do. This legislation had to pass both the Florida Senate and the Florida House in order to reach the Governor’s desk. Use this tool to find out how your state senator and state representative voted on this legislation and send them a message about the dangers of this type of overly broad anti-home rule legislation.