Bilzin Sumberg

As the dueling Florida House and Senate consumer data privacy protection bills make their way through various committees in the Florida legislature, April 14, 2021, was the Florida House’s turn for a vote. House Bill 969 passed Wednesday in the Florida House’s Commerce Committee, and moves on to the full Florida House for a floor vote.

HB 969 is similar to the California Consumer Privacy Act, and to its Florida Senate bill counterpart, Senate Bill 1734, with a critical difference. HB 969 creates a private right of action for consumers against any company that fails to comply with a consumer’s request that the company delete, correct or stop selling the consumer’s personal information, and provides for prevailing party attorneys’ fees to a plaintiff who successfully sues a company under the law. The Florida Senate defanged Senate Bill 1734 last week by removing the private right of action and other provisions that made Florida businesses and data privacy wonks nervous.

By all accounts of the hearing Wednesday in the House Commerce Committee, Florida House members on both sides of the aisle are skeptical of enacting HB 969, as written, with the private right of action.

Both the Florida House and Senate are running out of time to vote to enact either bill. The current Florida legislative session will adjourn on April 30. Should there be no resolution on or before that date, it will be back to the drawing boards for next year. It should be an interesting few weeks for Florida businesses concerned about what additional data and privacy protections they will have to offer customers.