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DeSantis Signs Bills To Reroute Affordable Housing Fund, Terminate Chiles Tobacco Settlement Fund

Legislation Concept
Duncan Andison/duncanandison
The Governor's Office announced bill signings Wednesday evening without comment. Most drew little debate during the legislative session, but a bill about affordable housing money had veto requests.

Along with signing a $100 billion budget for the upcoming year, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday approved 10 other measures, including a bill that will revamp funding for affordable housing.

DeSantis’ office announced the additional bill signings Wednesday evening without comment. Most of the bills drew relatively little debate during the legislative session that ended April 30, but DeSantis received requests to veto the bill dealing with affordable housing money (SB 2512).

The measure will change the way the state divvies up more than $400 million in documentary-stamp tax dollars that in the past have been targeted toward what is known as the Sadowski Trust Fund for affordable housing. The bill will direct $200 million to affordable housing, with remaining money split between sewage-treatment projects and efforts to combat sea-level rise.

Among the other bills signed Wednesday was a measure (HB 5011) that will terminate an endowment fund named after former Gov. Lawton Chiles. The fund was created in 1999 at the urging of then-Gov. Jeb Bush and included proceeds from a landmark legal settlement between the state and tobacco companies.

The fund was aimed at providing perpetual support for health-care programs and biomedical research. But lawmakers decided this year to fold the endowment money into the state’s budget stabilization fund, which is a reserve.