On June 29, 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Senate Bill 170, which will likely have an important effect on lawsuits that are brought against local governments to invalidate new ordinances. As described further below, the law creates an automatic right on the part of plaintiffs to obtain a preliminary injunction against a local government during the pendency of litigation that is brought to strike down certain types of ordinances. Under the new law, there is no need to prove the traditional elements of a preliminary injunction (i.e., likelihood of success on the merits, irreparable harm and lack of an adequate remedy at law). The law takes effect Oct. 1, and applies to ordinances adopted after that date, subject to certain exclusions.

Under the new law, the enforcement of an ordinance is automatically suspended if a plaintiff sues to invalidate the ordinance, requests suspension in the complaint and alleges that the ordinance is invalid due to preemption under state law or because the ordinance is arbitrary or unreasonable. The action must be filed no later than 90 days after the adoption of the ordinance. Actions under the new law are required to be given priority on the court’s calendar.