Florida Passes Bill That Can Overturn Key West Cruise Restrictions

Enchantment of the Seas in Key West

The bill that can prohibit locals from restricting cruising activities in Key West has been passed in the Florida Senate.

It received 25 votes in favor and 14 against and will now go to the Florida House for voting.

The bill, entitled State Preemption of Seaport Regulation, was filed by Senator Jim Boyd on Jan. 5.

 It stipulates “prohibiting local ballot initiatives or referendums from restricting maritime commerce in the seaports of the state,” as well as “prohibiting local governments and their political subdivisions and special districts from restricting maritime commerce in a seaport located in or adjoining an area of critical state concern with respect to any federally authorized passenger cruise vessel.”

In November, the majority of voters in Key West, FL, supported imposing restrictions on cruise ships disembarking in the area. This was evidenced by the 2020 election results in the city, which also held a referendum on three cruise industry-related issues.

The issues concerned limiting the total number of people disembarking from cruise ships per day, prohibiting bigger cruise ships from disembarking in Key West altogether, and giving priority to cruise lines that have the best environmental and health records.

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