On June 29, 2021, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed CS/CS/CS/SB 1194: Transportation into law ahead of the effective date of July 1, 2021. Back in April, after months maneuvering, lawmakers in the Florida Senate and Florida House passed CS/CS/CS/SB 1194: Transportation.
Shortly before the final vote, an amendment to 1194 was filed by Senator Jim Boyd adding in language to address Florida seaports with respect to local ballot initiatives and referendums. Basically, directly targeting Key West after a similar bill, CS/CS/CS/SB 426: State Preemption of Seaport Regulation which was scuttled at the 11th hour.
CS/CS/CS/SB 1194: Transportation was passed by both chambers on April 28, 2021. Since late April, Safer Cleaner Ships continued the fight petitioning DeSantis to veto the bill and keep the referendums in place as voted by the residents of Key West. The bill was signed by officers and presented to the governor on June 28, 2021. Then, on June 29, 2021, Ron DeSantis signed the transportation bill ahead of the July 1, 2021 effective date.
The SB 1194 was first passed by the Senate with 21 Yeas – 17 Nays, before heading to the House which voted 75 Yeas – 40 Nays. Now, with the bill signed into Florida law, the Key West cruise referendums passed by Key West voters last November is wiped out effectively allowing cruise ships to continue calling on the South Florida port upon the resumption of cruise operations.
On July 6, 2021, The Key West City Commission will convene a special meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 6th to discuss the City’s direction regarding cruise ships.
During the meeting, the Key West Commission will hear from the legal department and explore the best way to move forward. The meeting should stream here. According to a newsletter released by Safer Cleaner Ships, the new law does not prohibit the Key West City Commission from passing a resolution or enacting an ordinance that has the exact same effect as the referendums.