Florida Senate Bill 426 Attempts To Reverse Cruise Ban in Key West, Florida

Last November, “as much as 80% of Key West voters” used their vote in favor of restrictions on cruise ships.

According to the Key West Committee For Safer, Cleaner Ships they wanted restriction on cruise ships to limit the spread of infectious diseases. According to their page three things that would be limited were:

  • Limited disembarkations from ships to 1,500 people per day.
  • Prioritization of cruise ships based on their “scores by the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program and records of environmental violations.”
  • Prohibiting larger cruise ships, with capacities of 1,300 or more people from disembarking.

With about 80% of the voters voting in favor of the Safer Cleaner Ships guidelines into the Key West charter, which would cause a lot of issues for larger cruise ship vessels like Disney Cruise Lines.

Now, the cruise line industry and lobbyists have a Bill 426 that they want to present to the Florida Senate in an attempt to take away local government power in their own ports and give it to the state instead.

This bill will be looked at during the sessions starting on March 2, 2021.

From the Disney Cruise Line Blog:


Florida Senate Bill 426: State Preemption of Seaport Regulations, filed on January 5, 2021 by Senator Jim Boyd, aims to give the State of Florida oversight of Florida’s seaport regulations such as the regulation of commerce in state seaports, and to provide exceptions. Boyd’s bill includes language preventing a local government from restricting or regulating commerce in a Florida seaport.

Miami Herald reporter Taylor Dolven caught it and reported it on Twitter a couple days ago:


Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, a local government may not restrict or regulate commerce in the seaports of this state, as listed in s. 311.09, including, but not limited to, regulating or restricting a vessel’s type or size, source or type of cargo, or number, origin, or nationality of passengers. All such matters are expressly preempted to the state.

In response to this the Key West Committee for Safer, Cleaner Ships has released the following:

The dark money cruise industry is at it again.

A new bill filed yesterday in the Florida legislature aims to cancel sensible cruise limits passed by as much as 80% of Key West voters.

Having failed in the courts and at the polls, cruise lines are now on the verge of success as lavishly-funded lobbying efforts have produced draft legislation in the uppermost halls of State power.

Preemption proposal SB 426 would block Key West and all other Florida seaports from establishing any restrictions or regulations on commerce. Ports would be prohibited from establishing size restrictions and would even be barred from restricting toxic-waste cargoes.

The bill, filed for consideration during the legislative session that begins March 2, would reverse policies that “existed before, on, or after the effective date of this act.” If approved, the measure would cancel the votes of 10,000 Key Westers.

Make no mistake: this bill is written by and for foreign-owned cruise companies who exploit local community resources to maximize offshore profits.

It would shred “home rule” protections guaranteed under the Florida Constitution, and grant all the benefits of the US Constitution’s Commerce clause to a cabal of foreign-owned companies.

It would rob Florida cities of their 10th Amendment right to protect the health and safety of their citizens.

It would utterly ignore CDC regulations that require local ports to negotiate agreements directly with cruise lines.

It would block Floridians from protecting precious environmental resources in their own back yards. And it would give landlocked Tallahassee politicians the unquestionable right to call the shots for historic Key West Harbor.


It’s definitely an interesting development as a lot of cruise ship companies are registered in other countries to avoid United States laws and guidelines.

Of course it’s unclear which companies are behind the bill and the lobbying efforts, but Disney Cruise Lines is one of the companies that would be impacted by the November, 2020 vote.

This is going to be something to watch.

What do you think? Comment and let us know!

Source: Disney Cruise Line Blog, Key West Committee for Safer, Cleaner Ships Taylor Dolven on Twitter

Featured Image Credit: Cruise Radio

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  1. I see both sides in this. I do get the attempt to curb the coronavirus (specifically), but the three bullet points above are worded in a way that it’s to curb the possibility of any disease of any kind or severity. That’s entirely too restrictive to strip an entire industry servicing Florida of it’s rights for the vague “for the greater good” theme. A business has the right to operate, but with enough oversight to protect citizens, but not so much that it resembles overt control for the sake of control.