Two bills aimed at giving Florida auto dealers more leeway in turning over vehicle titles to car buyers fizzled out last month in the Florida Legislature.

Florida’s current titling statute says dealers “must” obtain vehicle titles in purchasers’ names and transfer them within 30 days of sale. At the start of the year, a small handful of Florida lawmakers sought to loosen that deadline and ease penalties for COVID-19 pandemic-affected dealers who don’t make it.

The bills made it to committees in the state Senate and House, but they ultimately did not move forward because the Legislature was preoccupied, according to state Rep. Andrew Learned, who in January joined as a state House co-sponsor of the legislation.

“I don’t think [titling issues are] top of mind for a lot of people, so it’s definitely something that takes a little education,” said Learned, a Tampa Democrat, who spoke with Automotive News on Monday. “Whenever something takes a little education, you got 120 members that all need a little education.”

State Sen. Tom Wright, a Republican, filed S.B. 1346, the first version of the bill, in the state Senate on Dec. 21. An identical bill, H.B. 1517, was filed in the state House by Rep. David Smith on Jan. 10.

The legislative session, which ended March 11, was dominated by lawmakers focusing on bread-and-butter issues that affect Floridians and hyperpartisan matters, Learned said. As a result, he said, the vehicle titling bills were moved to the back burner.

The changes proposed in the set of bills attracted a bit of concern from regulators. The initial version of the legislation would have revised the statute to say dealers “should” apply for those titles within 30 days, not “must” obtain.


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