Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has issued two additional executive orders during the week of April 6, 2020 to address COVID. Executive Order 20-95 was signed on April 6, 2020 and is directed to the issue of the payment of documentary stamps with respect to loans obtained under the Small Business Administration in response to the coronavirus. This executive order suspends the payment of such stamps. It provides in pertinent part:
“Effective April 3, 2020, the assessment and collection of taxation imposed under Chapter 201, Florida Statutes, is suspended for all notes and other written obligations made pursuant to Title I of the CARES Act. The Department of Revenue shall issue an emergency order establishing that taxation imposed under Chapter 201 , Florida Statutes, for notes and other written obligations made pursuant to Title I of the CARES Act is not owed as a result of the above suspension.
Executive Order 20-95 shall remain in effect until the previously issued Executive Order 20-52 expires.
On April 8, 2020 the governor issued an executive order directed to various upcoming elections in Pasco County. Executive Order 20-97 delays municipal elections currently scheduled for April 14, 2020 in Zephyrhills, San Antonio and Dade City. A subsequent executive order will be issue rescheduling those elections.
In addition, on April 6, 2020 and also in response to COVID-19, Chief Justice Charles T. Canady of the Florida Supreme Court issued Administrative Order 20-23, a comprehensive 13-page administrative order addressing a variety of issues including the use of technology, ongoing court proceedings, including essential and critical trial court proceedings, and the suspension of time periods in certain rules of criminal procedure. Amongst other things, Administrative Order 20-23 provides:
- No in-person hearings will be conducted except with respect to essential proceedings, as well as proceedings that are critical to the public health emergency or state of emergency;
- Grand jury proceedings and civil and criminal jury trials continue to remain suspended;
- The time periods for speedy trial procedures in both juvenile and criminal matters will continue to be suspended;
- The suspension of the requirement that Florida Family Law forms be signed or notarized either in the presence of a deputy clerk or notary also remains suspended; and
- The chief judge in each of the respective circuits shall be responsible for directing the circuit and county court judges in that circuit to cancel, postpone or reschedule non-critical or non-essential proceedings unless the chief judge determines that these proceedings can be conducted remotely by telephone or other electronic means.