Florida will not pass a comprehensive data privacy law for the second year in a row. It will be easy for some to speculate that the bill died because the House insisted on a private right of action. That speculation would be wrong. The bill died because there were multiple differing views on the law’s scope, what activity the law should apply to, and how the law should be enforced. I am confident we will see another data privacy bill introduced next year. But I don’t know how vigorously the new incoming House Speaker will push it.

I have truly enjoyed my experiences in Tallahassee these last two legislative sessions. I found our lawmakers always willing to listen (even if they didn’t change their positions). The ones I met were humble and deferential. They genuinely wanted to learn more about how (and why) companies collect, use, and share personal information. The political climate in Tallahassee was nothing like what I had imagined based on what I see occurred in Washington, DC. I always observed Republicans and Democrats at the local watering holes together every evening. They laughed, shared personal stories, played practical jokes on each other, and engaged in real discussion about their pet projects. I never heard a nasty or demeaning word spoken about a fellow politician, even when there was vehement disagreement with their underlying position on an issue.

I met so political figures who made me proud to be a Floridian. I was blown away by the fortitude and deep knowledge Representative McFarland exhibited fighting for her bill on telephone calls and in committee hearings. I admired the thoughtfulness and moderation Representative Diamond showed in debating the legitimate strengths and real concerns with HB 9. I enjoyed watching the tenacity Representative Learned displayed introducing several amendments that could have resulted in the bill becoming law if they had passed. I appreciated the kind and generous ear Representative Ingoglia gave to individuals like me who went over our allotted time to provide public comment. And then there were all the wonderful folks “behind the scenes” – the legislative aides (in both parties) who wanted to engage in debate/discussion and learn more about the practical implications of the language of their bills.

I can tell you first hand, Florida, you have some amazing leaders in Tallahassee. I truly hope we get to see some of them represent us at the national level.


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