State Rep. Hunschofsky's Town Hall Update Reveals Record State Budget and Groundbreaking Bills Passed
State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky.

By Bryan Boggiano

State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky (D-Parkland) held a town hall event where she discussed various new laws while updating constituents on the latest state legislative session from March 7 through May 5.

The update comes as the legislature approved a record-setting $117 billion state budget and passed 356 bills.

On May 31, Hunschofsky shared nine passed bills with residents she had sponsored or co-sponsored. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed six into law, with three remaining.

One is House Bill 111: Flooding and Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Studies. This bill requires developers using public funds in areas prone to flooding or sea level rise to conduct studies on new development risks.

That bill passed and is awaiting a signature from the governor.

Another law, HB199, would mandate board members of special districts to undergo four hours of ethics training, similar to local elected officials, while  HB165 would legalize fentanyl test strips.

The former bill passed the legislature, and the governor signed it into law, but the latter still awaits the governor’s signature.

Hunschofsky said that although fentanyl test strips are considered drug paraphernalia under state law, they are an essential harm reduction tool.

She told the story of a constituent whose son took an Adderall pill, not knowing it was laced with fentanyl. He died from an overdose.

Although some argued it would encourage drug use, Hunschofsky said that is not the purpose behind the bill.

The goal is to keep people alive so they can get into recovery,” she said. 

Other bills discussed include HB7052, which sets stiffer penalties for insurers who mishandle claims, and HB1395 (SB154 in the Senate), which discusses condo safety inspections.

The latter bill came in response to the Champlain Towers South collapse in Surfside in 2021.

It requires inspections for condos three stories or higher, allows local officials to require inspections every 25 years, and states officials can extend inspection deadlines if building owners have entered into contracts with architects or engineers.

Hunschofsky stated there would be a roundtable with local officials, condo owners, and attorneys to refine the bill and discuss lingering issues.

She drew attention to three bills she opposed during the legislative session: tort reform, a six-week abortion ban, and permitless carry, all of which passed but received bipartisan opposition.

The tort reform bill, Hunschofsky said, makes it harder for an individual to sue insurance companies.

The six-week abortion ban would go into effect if the Florida Supreme Court upholds a 15-week abortion ban passed in 2022.

“This is a personal decision,” Hunschofsky said. “There is  no pregnancy that’s the same.”

There would be limited exceptions to rape, incest, or human trafficking up to 15 weeks, requiring documentation such as police reports and doctors’ notes.

“When a woman is raped, the last thing she needs is to be retraumatized,” she said. 

Hunscofsky said lawmakers presented the permitless carry bill as a public and school safety bill, but she feels it isn’t a no-harm law.

She also opposed broad bills surrounding education, including HB999, which restricts diversity, equity, and inclusion programs on college campuses.

But, in a display of bipartisanship, Hunschofsky praised Senate President Kathleen Passidomo for defending a post-MSD law Hunschofsky, then mayor of Parkland advocated for strongly.

While the house approved lowering the age to buy a long gun from 21 back to 18, Passidomo refused to bring the item up to a vote in the Senate, essentially blocking any chance for it to pass.

Hunschofsky urged her constituents to stick together, regardless of their political affiliations, especially as political polarization remains an issue.

“The best way for you to be served is all of us working together,” she said. 

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State Rep. Hunschofsky's Town Hall Update Reveals Record State Budget and Groundbreaking Bills Passed 1
Bryan Boggiano
A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.

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