Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Transportation Bill Overriding the Key West Cruise Ship Referendums

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.

FL DeSanis Senate Bills Signed 20210629

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.

FL SB 1194 Seaport Statue 311 25 20210428

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.

11 Replies to “Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Signs Transportation Bill Overriding the Key West Cruise Ship Referendums”

  1. Frank

    I suppose your reaction to this depends on how you feel about local control. I would point out, however, the irony that a state government that consistently asserts that its will should supersede that of edicts from the federal government above sees no disconnect with overriding the wishes of a local community.

  2. Michael

    one year ago the anti cruise ship people were saying the need to the cruise ship restriction was due to the Covid 19 and the lack of medical to handle an outbreak from cruise ship visitors. When the Covid 19 infection rate was going down these same people switched there reason for the restriction to an environmental issue. With today’s lower threat of the virus, would the people of key west still vote 60% in favor of the restriction?

  3. L

    this guy is nothing but a dictator. he claims no government overreach, but anytime he can get his fingers into something, you can bet he will. he only believes in autonomy when it suits him, not the residents.

  4. Enuff

    @Keith Schlotthauer, YES! I’d vote for that ticket but until the voting laws are fixed, the demorats have it in the bag already. I wish I could move to Florida.. today! It’s so much more free than most other states. I live in a blue state and will not spend any more of my vacation money here until they remove the SOE. I vacationed in FL twice in 2020, once already in 2021 and will be going back to FL 2 more times this year. But not in the Keys. The locals appear to not want any tourist money and I’m happy not to. I’m very interested to see what DCL does after July 18 as well. Does DCL want my money? Or not? We’ll see.

  5. Mike

    Yeah I am sure the large donation by the owners to his campaign had no impact. Classic example of government overreach and the large diners running government.

  6. nosefacekillah

    So the city wants state funds to help maintain the marinas and ports but wants to limit which ships are allowed to dock at the state funded port. Perhaps they could relinquish the outside funding if they want full control of the port.

  7. Brett Bailey

    We would be happy to be back in KW again. We were here on our second cruise on the MAGIC and loved it. Saw the Hemingway House and the Lighthouse. While not the original Sloppy Joes that Poppa used to hang out at, we had to go there anyway and have a Daiquiri in his honor and some light food, after all we were headed back to the ship to eat. But the best place was the Mel Fisher Museum with all the gold and silver he pulled up from the sea floor. Unbelievable what is there and its worth it to see in even once in your life.


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