Proposal encourages keeping cash in the flow

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(The Center Square) – Florida is about to take a step further away from electronic, trackable transactions after a lawmaker introduced a bill that would require most businesses to accept cash payments.

House Bill 35 is sponsored by state Rep. Dr. Joel Rudman, R-Navarre, and creates a new statute requiring businesses to accept cash payments for certain transactions. It prohibits fees or conditions on those transactions. If a business refuses to accept legal tender, it could face fines up to $10,000 for multiple offenses.

The change would be adopted through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The bill, however, does provide an exception for certain businesses where sales are not conducted in person. This includes sales transactions by telephone, mail, internet and other electronic means.

Parking facilities owned by a municipality, accountants, architects, attorneys, engineers, financial advisers, insurance agents, interior designers, software developers, and consultants are exempt from having to accept cash.

Sales in which the business suspects that the cash could be counterfeit, cash denominations greater than $20, and transactions larger than $5,000 are also exempted.

HB35 follows in a similar vein to bills that were passed during the 2023 Regular Session.

In May, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7054 which prohibited the use of a Central Bank Digital Currency in Florida, if one was developed by the U.S. Federal Reserve or any federal agency. Foreign digital currencies were also prohibited from being treated as money under the Florida Uniform Commercial Code.

At the time of the bill’s signing, DeSantis said the bill was designed to protect Floridian’s personal finances, prevent monitoring of transactions, and government overreach.

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