What Just Happened With Florida Privacy Legislation?

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Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.

With only three days left in the legislative session, and on the morning when my Op-Ed was published by the Tallahassee Democrat, the Florida Senate weighed in on the House’s passage of HB 969.  There were two ways it could have done that: (1) take the House version sent to the Senate via messages and make changes to and vote on that version; or (2) ignore the version provided via messages and simply pass the pending version of SB 1734 in the Senate then send that version to the House via messages. It chose path #1. Moments ago, the  Senate passed a strike-all amendment that struck the entirety of HB 969 and replaced it with a modified version of SB 1734. A separate post will discuss the modified version of SB 1734 in greater detail, but this post briefly explains where things stand now and what to expect next.

Essentially, there is (for now) only one version that the Senate, and then the House, will consider. It is a mix of the original SB 1734, the CCPA, the CPRA, the VCDPA, and HB 969. It creates consumer privacy rights, imposes compliance obligations, and is no longer limited to the “sale” of personal information. It would apply to companies that process personal information for a significant number of Florida residents or obtain a significant amount of revenue from selling that personal information. Perhaps most significantly, it would be enforced exclusively by the Florida Attorney General and does NOT contain a private right of action.

Procedurally, the Senate must next consider SB 1734 for a third reading, which will likely be tomorrow. Assuming it passes the third reading (which it will), it will then be sent back to the House for consideration and passage. All of that has to happen in the next two days, which, given the weapon this bill will create for political conservatives to attack Big Tech, I think is not only possible but likely. If the House does not like the Senate’s version, the session ends exactly as it started – with no comprehensive privacy law in Florida. If the House passes the Senate’s version, the bill will go to the Governor for his signature (he will sign it in the Senate’s form).

The good news is that this should all be resolved (at least for 2021) in the next couple of days.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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