A greatly narrowed version of the original seaport preemption bill that had broadly threatened ports across Florida throughout the legislative process, passed in the final days of session. After the original bill, SB 426, appeared dead, it gained new life in the form of an amendment that was added onto a state transportation bill (SB 1194).
Under the bill that passed, Florida’s seaports will remain in local control, retaining its nearly 200-year-old operating structure, and maintaining their ability to operate their own ports based on their own comprehensive plan. Further, ports will not be preempted from comprehensive master plans that went through a public hearing process.
However, the bill does put limits on the ability of local ballot initiatives that would modify seaport operations.
Ensuring that local seaports were not further restricted in their ability to conduct business and create economic development opportunities remained a top Florida Ports Council priority throughout session. Under the bill that passed, lawmakers ultimately removed much of the economic development threats to local seaports.
THANK YOU… Special thanks to the many ports around Florida that are vaccinating port employees and cruise ship crew members. While there are several major cruise-related issues that are yet to be resolved, ensuring that your team members are safe and healthy remains a priority, and is a key strategy to setting sail once again.