DeSantis Vetoes Bill that Would Let Businesses Sue Local Governments for Profit Cut, Create Loophole for Puppy Mills

June 28, 2022 Updated 10:12 AM ET

DeSantis Press1

June 28, 2022 Updated 10:09 A.M. ET

TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed a bill (SB 620) Friday that would have allowed businesses to sue local governments if counties or municipalities enacted ordinances that reduced the business’ profit by 15% per location.

The Governor said in his veto letter that the broad and ambiguous language would lead to unintended consequences and costly litigation. 

“Because of this, the better approach is to enact targeted preemption legislation when local governments act in a way that frustrates state policy and/or undermine the rights of Floridians,” DeSantis said. 

Governor DeSantis said in his veto memo that local governments do overstep their authority and put unreasonable burdens on businesses. 

“Indeed, this was illustrated by the bizarre and draconian measures adopted by some local governments during COVID-19, necessitating the state to overrule these edicts to protect freedom and opportunity for Floridians.”

However, the Governor pointed out that the bill does not allow businesses to sue due to an emergency order. The bill said a county or municipality is not liable for business damages caused by emergency ordinances and declarations. 

“Incredibly; this bill exempts compensating businesses due to ’emergency’ orders of local governments,” DeSantis said. 

Senate President Wilton Simpson had applauded the Florida Legislature in March for passing the measure during the 2022 Legislative Session. Senate Bill 620 is called The Local Business Protection Act. 

“We want to make sure our communities, and in particular our business owners, have the chance to understand the impact of local ordinances before new regulations are put in place,” Simpson said. “In the event a local ordinance causes an existing business owner to lose profits, it is important that we have a fair process for that business owner to recover damages.”

The Humane Society said the bill would have unintended consequences like providing a loophole for puppy mills. The group said more than 80 local Florida governments have passed ordinances preventing pet stories from selling puppies sourced from puppy mills. 

“This measure would make it virtually impossible for additional localities to make the same decision, as it could force localities that pass such ordinances to reimburse a pet store for what it could have made selling puppy mill puppies,” the group said.

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