Personal Message from Representative Bob Rommel

Personal Message from Bob


The 2021 Legislative Session is heading down the home stretch.  It has been a very busy session – in spite of the limitations impressed upon members and staff due to COVID-19.

Legislators have tackled some very contentious bills including CS/HB1 – Combating Public Disorder; CS/HB305 – Insurance; SB2012/HB1475 Transgender Youth Athletes; HB383/SB590 – Parents’ Bill of Rights and more.

In addition, the Legislature MUST pass a balanced budget as set forth in the Florida Constitution before the Legislative Session can adjourn.  Both the House and the Senate have passed budgets. There is a $2 Billion difference between the two budgets. which must now be negotiated so that both the House and the Senate are in agreement.

Further details about the budget and assorted bills below.


Speaking with WINK News about the various bills pending in Committees.


Representative Bob Rommel
District 106



Florida’s 2021-2022 Budget


With just two weeks left in the 2021 Legislative Session, House and Senate leaders have formally started budget conferences. The conferencing process allows the two chambers to resolve differences between their initial budget drafts, which were submitted at the beginning of April, ultimately concluding with a single FY21-22 budget they’ll approve at the end of the month and send to the governor for consideration. It’s typical for the House and Senate to offer unique approaches to the state’s spending plan, and this year is no different with the two budgets currently several billion dollars apart.

Very much in play is the question of whether and how to allocate the $10.2 billion the State will receive under the recently adopted $1.9 trillion federal American Rescue Plan. That plan also allocates $6.4 billion directly to local governments, bringing Florida’s total to roughly $17 billion.

The Governor has proposed spending $4.1 billion of the $10.2 billion to boost state ports, augment “resilience” spending and send every Florida first responder a $1,000 payment for their extraordinary service during the pandemic. Of the remaining $6 billion, legislative leaders will have expansive discretion in distributing this one-time federal relief. The House has chosen to include $4.4 billion in federal assistance in its $97.1 billion proposal (APC 21-01), while the Senate’s initial $95 billion spending plan (SB 2500) proposes cuts of $2.5 billion over the next two years.

Remember the Legislative Session cannot adjourn until such time as both chambers agree on a budget and submit it to Governor DeSantis for his review and approval.




CS/HB1 – Combating Public Disorder
Anti-Rioting Act


Why is HB1 important

HB 1 protects our communities, our neighborhoods, and the police officers who risk their lives for us. Free speech and the right to peaceably assemble are the foundation of America – HB 1 protects these rights for all people, regardless of reason or viewpoint.

What does HB1 do?

Provides law enforcement officers and prosecutors more tools to prevent violence and property destruction caused by riots.
Who benefits?

• Property Owners
• Peaceful Protesters
• Law Enforcement
• All Floridians because HB 1 will make Florida safer.
Sponsor Amendments
Amendment Bar Code # 175541: • Creates a duty for a municipality to allow law enforcement to respond appropriately during a riot. If it doesn’t, the municipality is civilly liable for personal injury, wrongful death, or property damages caused by the breach.

Amendment Bar Code # 580221:
• Defines “historic property” as any building, structure, site, or object officially designated historic through a designation program.
• Prohibits destroying, demolishing, damaging, or pulling down historic property and requires a person convicted to pay restitution.

Amendment Bar Code # 491535:
• Revises rioting crime to clarify that a person has to willfully participate in a riot to be covered.
• Revises the crime of aggravated rioting to require a person to participate with 25 or more other persons, rather than nine or more other persons to be covered.

Amendment Bar Code # 423835:
• Technical: conforms the offense severity ranking chart to amendments.

FICTION: It will disproportionately impact communities of color.
FACT: HB 1 protects free speech and the right to peaceably assemble for all people, regardless of who they are and their viewpoint. HB 1 will impact mob violence – not peaceful protest. It does not target communities of color and will protect peaceful protesters from bad actors who want to commit violence.

FICTION: It is not fair that local governments have to bear the costs associated with the budget appeal process for reductions to municipal police budgets.
FACT: The budget appeal process is vital to protecting law enforcement. It helps hold local governments accountable. If municipalities want to defund the police, they should have to defend that decision. HB 1 limits who can appeal the municipal police budget reduction to include only the State Attorney of the judicial circuit or a member of the governing body who objected to the funding reduction.

FICTION: HB 1 would criminalize the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
FACT: Nothing in HB 1 prohibits a local government from issuing a special event permit for a peaceful protest. For people who block a road without a permit, HB 1 clarifies that law enforcement officers are allowed to enforce civil violations. Under HB 1, blocking a street is a civil violation, not a crime, so HB 1 would not have criminalized the 1960s Civil Rights Movement for protesting in the street.

FICTION: HB 1 values monuments over people.
FACT: HB 1 is about protecting Floridians’ lives. Along with protecting people, the bill also includes protections for property. The bill protects all memorials dedicated to preserving U.S. and Florida history and makes no distinction based on the type or viewpoint of the memorial. For property, the focus is on destroying a monument without permission of the owner. If the owner chooses to remove or destroy the memorial, it may do so.

FICTION: HB 1 is dangerous.
FACT: No one has a right to riot. The bill is solely focused on preventing violence and rioting. All Americans have the right to protest, but no American has the right to destroy others’ property; no American has the right to physically endanger others. HB 1 does not target communities of color. This bill actually protects peaceful protesters from bad actors that want to perpetrate violence.

FICTION: HB 1 is unnecessary.
FACT: Thankfully, there wasn’t the kind of violence we saw around the country over the summer and in January in Florida. Government’s first priority is protecting the public. We need to send a message that we intend to keep Florida safe – HB 1 gives the justice system additional tools to keep peaceful protests safe from those trying to abuse a movement.

UPDATE:  Governor DeSantis has signed HB1 into law making it effective as of Monday, April 19, 2021!



SB 72 – Civil Liability Protections for
COVID-19 Related Claims


How is SB 72 different from the House COVID-19 Liability Protection Bills?

SB 72 COVID-19 liability protections for businesses are identical to those in HB 7, which the House passed on March 5th. SB 72 includes many of the same provisions in HB 7005, the House Health Care COVID-19 liability protection bill, and the differences are described below.

What does SB 72 do?

Creates COVID-19 liability protections for businesses (HB 7) and achieves the difficult balance of providing liability protections to health care provides while retaining necessary safeguards for patients and long-term care facility residents (HB 7005).

Who benefits?

• Businesses, nonprofits, schools, religious institutions, health care providers, and long-term care facilities
• All Floridians because SB 72 will help our economy recover
Provisions in SB 72

SB 72 provides liability protections for business claims and non-patient (business) claims against health care providers and long-term care facilities (HB 7 + HB 7005) by:
• Requiring COVID-19 claims to contain a physician’s affidavit
• Providing civil immunity for defendants that make a good-faith effort to comply with applicable government guidance
• Raising the burden of proof to clear and convincing evidence and raising the liability standard to at least grossly negligent for cases that make it to trial

SB 72 provides heightened liability protections to health care entities for civil claims brought by patients or facility residents related to:
• Diagnosis or treatment of, or failure to diagnose or treat COVID-19 (HB 7005)
• Provision of a novel or experimental COVID-19 treatment (HB 7005)
• Treatment of a COVID-19 patient whose injuries were directly related to exacerbation of their pre-existing conditions (SB 72)
• Transmission of COVID-19 (HB 7005)
• Delay or cancellation of a surgery, procedure, test, or appointment (HB 7005)
• Acts or omissions related to an emergency medical condition which were the result of a lack of resources directly caused by the pandemic (HB 7005)

SB 72 provides the same protections for these claims as HB 7005:
• Raising the liability standard from negligence to gross negligence
• Creating affirmative defenses for health care providers that substantially complied with applicable government standards or if it was impossible to comply with those standards because of resource shortages or insufficient time to implement them

SB 72 protections apply retroactively, just like HB 7005.

SB 72 includes three different statutes of limitations:
• For actions relating to transmission, diagnosis, or treatment of COVID: later of one year after the date of death, hospitalization, or diagnosis (SB 72)
• For all other actions accruing after the effective date of the act: one year from the date the cause of action accrues (SB 72)
• For actions accruing before the effective date of the act: one year from the effective date of the act (HB 7005).



HB1475/SB2012 -Transgender Youth Athletes


Why is HB 1475 important?

HB 1475 – the ‘Fairness in Women’s Sports Act’ (Act) – supports women and girls by ensuring they have the same opportunities as men and boys to showcase their skill, strength, and other athletic abilities.
What does HB 1475 do?

• Requires athletic teams at the K-12 and collegiate levels to be designated based on biological sex and reserves female teams for biological women and girls
• Ensures that biological women and girls have the opportunity to play on a level playing field and enjoy the benefits that come with competing in sports
• Protects women and girls from being displaced and deprived of athletic scholarships and other benefits that would enhance their futures
Who benefits?

• Biological women and girls
• Female athletics, because the bill supports fairness in competition and maintains opportunities for women and girls to excel and receive recognition for their athletic accomplishments

Frequently Asked Questions

Does HB 1475 discriminate against transgender athletes?
No. HB 1475 is not anti-trans – it is pro-women and girls. The state’s interest in providing women and girls with an equal opportunity to participate in athletics is legitimate and not intended to discriminate against transgender athletes. In fact, ensuring equal opportunities for women is the essence of Title IX.

Does HB 1475 threaten Florida’s economy?
No. Florida is a destination market for tourism, new business ventures, popular sporting events, and other economic and recreational activities. Our state has so much to offer from our beaches and amusement parks to our championship winning sports teams. In regards to the NCAA statement issued on April 12, HB 1475 does not discriminate – it treats all biological males the same and all biological females the same, and every student athlete has the opportunity to participate on a team or in a sport corresponding to their biological sex.

Is HB 1475 unconstitutional?
No. The Supreme Court of the United States has recognized that there are inherent differences between men and women and these differences remain cause for celebration, but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual’s opportunity. Additionally, Title IX specifically allows separate sex-specific athletics teams or sports.




At the request of Governor DeSantis, HB 7047 revised the  state of emergency bill to include a ban on vaccine passports. The bill also limits local emergency orders to 42 days.

All adults in US now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine. All adults in the United States are now eligible to register for a coronavirus vaccination, an accomplishment public health experts say represents a major step toward defeating the ongoing pandemic.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provided its first public data about breakthrough Covid-19 cases to CNN last week and it shows that vaccines have been highly effective at reducing infections, hospitalizations and death.

As of last week, around 78.5 million Americans had been fully vaccinated and the CDC’s data states that 5,800 cases of Covid-19 occurred among fully vaccinated people, 396 of whom required hospitalization with 74 deaths recorded.


12,210,832 Total Vaccine Doses Administered
4,386,973 People Fully Vaccinated

FL Case Count
35,000 DEATHS



202,282,923 Total Vaccine Doses Administered
80,609,818 People Fully Vaccinated

US Case Count
565,986 DEATHS



860,450,000 Total Vaccine Doses Administered

Global Case Count
2,991,956 DEATHS



Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Super Bowl LV Champions!



I may not be a fan (I’m a long-time Giants supporter), but I was certainly very proud of Florida’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers on winning Super Bowl LV in February 2021.  This is the first time the home team played in their home stadium (Raymond James Stadium) and won! It’s great to have the Lombardi Trophy in Florida, where it belongs!!


Florida has no income tax and a balanced budget.
Let’s keep it that way!
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