Almost 200 New Laws Take Effect Monday

June 30, 2013

The state’s $74.1 billion budget, which will fund 114,481 positions, 3,955 more than in the current fiscal year, kicks in on Monday. At the same time, nearly 200 new laws approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott hit the books.

The bills range from a limit on the law enforcement use of drones, to a bill spelling out how money is raised to build nuclear power plants to new rules for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. There also will be, come Monday, a crackdown on “cyberbullying,” conversion of low speed vehicles into golf carts and a prohibition on the sale of bongs.

A new law against texting while driving (SB 52) doesn’t take effect until October 1, while changes to campaign fundraising (HB 7013) go into place next year.

Here are highlights of some of the laws taking effect July 1:

Education

HB 21: Requires the Department of Education to conduct background screening for non-instructional contractors that will be on school grounds, and creates a statewide identification badge for the contractors.

HB 209: Changes the name of Lake Sumer Community College to Lake Sumter State College.

SB 284: Allows private schools to be notified by first responders about emergencies and makes sure public schools spell out which agencies are supposed to contact them.

HB 609: Cracks down on “cyberbullying” in public schools by expanding what school districts are allowed to punish at school and when children are not at school — if the non-school bullying affects education.

HB 801: Changes guidance counselors to certified school counselors.

SB 1664: Requires that at least 50 percent of a classroom teacher’s or school administrator’s performance evaluation be based on the growth or achievement of the students under their charge. The other half would be based on district-determined plans. Teachers with less than three years experience would only be judged on 40 percent of their students’ performance.

Employment

HB 655: Aimed at Orange County where a 2014 referendum was planned, the law locks local governments from requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to workers. The law also creates an Employer-Sponsored Benefits Study Task Force, which is directed to analyze employment benefits.

Transportation

HB 55: Could help head off lawsuits alleging that auto dealers have engaged in deceptive and unfair practices by requiring customers to provide a demand letter before they can sue auto dealers. If dealers pay the claims and related surcharges within 30 days, they could not be sued.

SB 62: Allows street-legal, “low-speed vehicles” to be reclassified as golf carts, a move to reduce registration and insurance costs.

HB 93: Let’s people voluntarily contribute to the homeless when renewing a driver’s license.

SB 606: Creates the Northeast Florida Regional Transportation Commission for Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties.

HB 4001: Abolishes the state law requiring most gasoline to include nearly 10 percent ethanol by repealing the 2008 Renewable Fuel Standard Act. Because of federal ethanol mandates the state action is mostly symbolic.

HB 7125: An omnibus transportation package that: prevents ticketing motorists as long as vehicles come to a stop, even after crossing the stop line, before making legal right turns on red; creates specialty license plates for the American Legion, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Lauren’s Kids, which is a program aimed at preventing sexual abuse of children; and bars left-lane drivers from going more than 10 mph below the speed limit if they know they are being overtaken from behind by faster-moving vehicles.

Insurance and banking

HB 157: Allows insurers to electronically transmit insurance policy to the insured.

HB 223: Lets property and casualty insurance policies and endorsements be made available on an insurer’s Internet website rather than being mailed, if agreed to by the customer.

SB 468: Exempts medical malpractice insurance from the state rate filing and approval process for some facilities and practitioners and continues the exemption of med mal insurance from the CAT Fund assessment program.

SB 1770: The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. overhaul, less imposing than initially proposed, still prevents coverage for new homes in high-risk, environmentally sensitive coastal areas, creates an internal inspector general position, and a clearinghouse intended to shift at least 200,000 policies into the private market.

Environmental and agriculture

SB 336: Allows tourist development tax dollars to be used for the benefit of certain not-for-profit run museums or aquariums.

SB 444: Requires six utilities in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties to end the practice of dumping treated wastewater into the ocean by Dec. 31, 2025.

SB 674: Requires animal shelters and animal control agencies keep more records on euthanasia and make them available to the public.

SB 948: Expands the role of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services with local utilities in water supply planning.

Law enforcement

HB 49: The “bong ban” prohibits the sale of metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic smoking pipes, chillums or bongs.

SB 92: Restricts the use of unmanned aerial drones by law enforcement unless a judge issues a warrant, there is a “high risk of terrorist attack” or officials fear someone is in imminent danger.

HB 95: Declares that money given to charities by Ponzi schemers wouldn’t have to be later returned to victimized investors if it was accepted in good faith.

SB 390: Prohibits organizations from holding themselves out as veterans service organizations if they’re not.

SB 454: Allows police departments at state colleges to enter into mutual aid agreements with local law enforcement.

HB 489: Requires railroads to cover cost of continuing education for railroad police officers and adds penalties for assaulting the officers.

Medical

SB 56: Replaces the concept of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) with Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, while altering requirements for training first responders and protocols for medical examiners.

SB 160: Requires the Department of Health waive certain licensure fees for veterans.

HB 239: Allows optometrists to prescribe certain types of drugs.

HB 365: Allows pharmacists to offer certain types of complex drugs known as “biologics” for illnesses such as cancer.

SB 662: Allows doctors to charge 112.5 percent of drugs’ average wholesale prices — a measuring stick in the pharmaceutical industry — and $8 dispensing fees. Those amounts are higher than what pharmacies can charge for providing medications to workers-compensation patients.

HB 1129: Intends to protect infants born alive after attempted abortions by requiring health-care professionals to “humanely exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the infant” as would be the case in a natural birth. It also requires that infants born alive after attempted abortions be immediately taken to hospitals.

SB 1844: Is intended to bolster the Florida Health Choices program, a long-planned online health marketplace, by increasing funding and eligibility standards.

Housing

HB 77: The “Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act” allows a landlord to accept partial rent without waiving the right to evict, clarifies that weekends and holidays do not stay a sheriff’s 24-hour eviction notice, and prohibits landlords from retaliating against a tenant who lawfully pays a landlord’s association dues or complains of a fair housing violation.

HB 179: Allows certain interest on deposits collected in eminent domain proceedings to go to property owners rather than the government.

HB 217: Requires check-cashing companies to report checks worth $1,000 or more to a new state online database. The check cashing database, intended to prevent workers’ compensation fraud, is not expected to be funded until 2014.

SB 342: Allows someone with a homestead exemption to rent their property out for 30 days without losing their homestead exemption.

Courts

SB 186: Clarifies that foreign judgments issued by United States territories are entitled to full faith and credit in this state under the Florida Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act.

SB 286: Allows a design professional, such as an architect, geologist or engineer, to be immune from tort liability for damages occurring within the course and scope of the performance of a professional services contract under certain circumstances.

SB 1792: The medical-malpractice bill requires that expert witnesses have the same specialties as the physicians who are defendants in medical-negligence cases.

HB 7015: Imposes the more-restrictive “Daubert” standards for admitting expert witness testimony in lawsuits, taking into account whether the expert testimony is “based upon sufficient facts or data;” whether it is the “product of reliable principles and methods;” and whether a witness has “applied the principles and methods reliably to the facts of the case.” The change will lead to Florida using the same standards as are used in federal courts.HB 7083: The “Timely Justice Act” that is intended to reduce final delays in carrying out the death penalty. The measure includes several changes in the death-penalty process. As an example, the act requires the clerk of the Florida Supreme Court to notify the governor when a Death Row inmate’s state and federal court appeals have been completed. The governor would then have 30 days to issue a death warrant if the executive clemency process has finished. The warrant would require that the execution be carried out within 180 days. Scott’s office has repeatedly contended that the law doesn’t “fast-track” the death penalty process.

Utilities

HB 1083: Establishes a permitting process for natural gas to be injected underground and stored until it is needed.

SB 1472: Establishes new benchmarks for electric utilities that want to collect controversial fees while planning nuclear-power plants. The measure alters a 2006 law intended to encourage more nuclear power. Florida Power & Light and the former Progress Energy Florida – now Duke Energy – have used the law to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in pre-construction nuclear fees.

Entertainment

HB 347: Allows about 20 small craft distillers in Florida that annually produce less than 75,000 gallons of spirits to offer on-site sales. The bill imposes a two-bottle-per-customer annual cap for the purchases.

HB 623: Allows the sale of wine in 5.16 gallon canisters, which can be tapped like kegs, allowing easier sales of wine by the glass in restaurants and bars.

Government

SB 142: The term “mental retardation” will be replaced by “intellectual disability”

SB 230: The Governor will be required to adopt flag display protocol on displaying the state flag and for the lowering of the state flag to half-staff.

With more than 50 bills still awaiting action by Scott, there are other potential new laws that would go into effect Monday if Scott signs them.

Education

SB 1388: Allows school districts to create their own instructional material adoption process.

HB 7009: An omnibus education package that adds both new accountability measures and new flexibility for charter schools. High-performing charters would be allowed to boost their enrollment annually, and the Department of Education is charged with proposing a standard contract for charter schools. Allows school boards the ability to set up a public “Innovation School of Technology” that could get much of the same flexibility as charter schools get if they use new technology in instruction. And bars students from being taught by low-performing teachers in the same subject two years in a row, though parents could allow districts to ignore that rule in the case of extracurricular courses.HB 7165: Moves the state’s voluntary pre-kindergarten and school readiness programs to the Department of Education and tighten accountability.

Environment and agriculture

HB 203: Prohibits local governments from regulating or charging fees on certain farm land under certain circumstances.

SB 244: Allows water-management districts to enter into cooperative agreements.

Law enforcement

HB 875: Makes it a crime to impersonate a security officer and allows authorized security officers to detain trespassers in some cases.

HB 1355: Blocks gun sales to some people who voluntarily admit themselves for mental-health treatment.

Entertainment

HB 1285: Abolishes the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center Authority and transfer its assets and liabilities to Florida State University, with a provision that directs a division of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to issue a special alcoholic-beverage license for the civic center.

HB 1421: Allows some hotels and motels in Madison County to get a special alcoholic beverage license.

By The News Service of Florida

Comments

13 Responses to “Almost 200 New Laws Take Effect Monday”

  1. 429SCJ on July 1st, 2013 2:59 am

    @HA HA, yes and it is illegal for the IRS to selectively discriminate against groups applying for tax exempt status.

    Since when did the law matter in this country.

  2. Preda on June 30th, 2013 11:23 pm

    The word retard never seemed that big of a deal until I had a child that was different and people called her a retard it makes me feel kinda ill when people use it I guess how gays feel when you say something is gay I don’t know but I guess retard is kinda like calling people names that are not nice to describe them.

  3. MicheleG on June 30th, 2013 10:38 pm

    It isn’t on this list, but Channel 3 was reporting changes to the graduation requirements AGAIN. One is doing away with the stupid EOC Algebra and Biology and replacing with other options. My question is what about all the kids that are sitting in summer school right now because of the EOC exams. Are they too exempt from this?

  4. molino jim on June 30th, 2013 8:55 pm

    HB-655 was of more interest to me. I know the comment section said it was directed toward Orange County. If the employer can deny “sick” time off with pay, how long do you think it will be before it is applied state wide. I know that some people do not get “sick days’ off. But is it needed in the form of a state law?

  5. cygie on June 30th, 2013 1:16 pm

    If I say the word “retard” in Florida will I be arrested?

  6. Henry Coe on June 30th, 2013 9:05 am

    HB 217: Requires check-cashing companies to report checks worth $1,000 or more to a new state online database. The check cashing database, intended to prevent workers’ compensation fraud, is not expected to be funded until 2014.

    In what aspect? Work Comp paying off attorneys and judges or health care providers that prevent injured workers from being able to get health care?

    Work Comp cases are all reported to the state already, so other than the question I stated, what fraud is this supposed to prevent?

    IMO, Work Comp Insurance is a scam on business owners and an abusive scam on injured workers that violates Fl St 825.
    I think work comp insurance should be a State Run Non Profit Insurance Fund that operates at cost and it should be administered through Social Security. That way if a patient doesn’t recover by the time the 2 years is up to receive money benefits, then SSDI can pick it up and investigate why the worker isn’t recovered and if they qualify for permanent SSDI.
    The system we have had in Florida does not work for its intended purpose of caring for injured workers. The State and Insurance Companies, Lawyers as well as doctors and all their Lobbyist have worked Work Comp Laws that put the injured worker to jump through all kind of hoops “in the name of preventing fraud” that injured workers with life altering injuries end up abused, without the health care they needed while being tormented by the process that drives them into poverty and makes families of injured workers suffer in the same process.
    As much as employers have to pay out for WC, you’d think it would be really good health care helping to get people the care they need or back to work. As it is, if you aren’t going to get well in a few weeks or a few months, they have no interest in caring for you or helping you get proper care in a timely manner. It’s about the Insurance Company avoiding spending money. They try to force people into settling instead of getting the care they need. That’s where the biggest amount of Work Comp fraud happens and it is endorsed by the State. Just sayin’

  7. haha on June 30th, 2013 8:26 am

    @Bailout You do know cannabis is illegal in Florida right. This goes hand in hand. Get over it.

  8. Dennis on June 30th, 2013 8:26 am

    Another law to go along with “resisting without violence” to pile on …….

  9. Friction against the machine on June 30th, 2013 7:38 am

    Politicians love making new laws…they see it as validating their existence…usually they don’t apply the same standards to themselves that they apply to the public, I.e., insider stock trading.
    Furthermore there are too many laws on the books and the govt has become a hindrance not a protector of the people. Governments only job is to protect u from other countries and people so that you are free to pursue your own happiness and/or success.
    Yet today we have govt attacking our property rights, using their minions to spy on us and their jack booted thugs to intimidate us through the IRS.
    Want examples of how far it’s gone? Govt has manufacturers producing gas cans that won’t pour, cars that aren’t fuel efficient and govt policies at all levels help keep gas prices artificially high. USDA will actually give u money to create rattlesnake habitats on your land. When govt is encouraging you to keep venomous snakes it shows how dysfunctional and jacked up it has all become.
    If it were up to me I’d vote out EVERY incumbent on every level of
    Government and start over.

  10. Walnut Hill Roy on June 30th, 2013 7:10 am

    I’m still a firm believer that we should abolish a law before creating a law! We are becoming one of the most over regulated societies ever. No one, and I mean no one can recite all of the laws that are on the books and no one can go through a day without breaking some law no matter how hard they may try.

  11. Jane on June 30th, 2013 6:15 am

    Sounds like we have some good laws and some that will be a problem. Guess we will see how it shakes out. Seems that if someone wants to break the law there is always a way around a law (aimed at Bailout Morebanks). Oh well.

  12. Bailout Morebanks on June 30th, 2013 4:30 am

    HB 49: The “bong ban” seems a bit “anti-business” for a red state.

    It’s also short-sighted in that humans have been smoking cannabis for at least 4000 years and certainly not one of them has been impeded by lack of a pipe, bong, or rolling paper. You can make a water pipe in five minutes out of a plastic water bottle, a pipe from a pepsi can or a fingerling potato, even an apple.

    a Bong is a water pipe. The cooling and filtering of the smoke through the water contributes to harm reduction. People are still going to smoke just as much pot with or without your desperate rules. This type of nonsense is nothing more than law enforcement posturing and evidence of their failings to have much effect on people in Florida state who choose to ingest cannabis.

  13. huh on June 30th, 2013 3:45 am

    So muh for small government…





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