Did you know that 130 new laws went in to effect on July 1, 2015 and 27 more went into effect on October 1, 2015.

Sixty-three of the laws approved by the Legislature went into effect immediately upon the governor signing them. These include, people who do not have concealed weapons permits can now pocket their weapons when they are forced to leave home because of hurricanes and other disasters (SB 290); current and past members of the U.S. armed forces, reserves or National Guard since Sept. 11, 2001, can ask to have their home and personal information exempt from state public record (HB 185); rural letter carriers can drive without a seat belt while working their route (SB 160); and there will be fewer tests given to public-school students (HB 7069).

Here are some more of the laws that took effect July 1:

Tax cuts

HB 33A includes tax cuts on the cost of gun club memberships, college textbooks, luxury boat repairs, certain agricultural supplies and services, school extracurricular fundraisers, aviation fuel at select flight-training academies, and on motor vehicles purchased overseas by internationally deployed service members from Florida.

The most noticeable item will be a reduction in the communications-services tax on cell-phone and cable-TV bills. The savings are projected at $20 a year for people paying $100 a month for the services.

Adoption

HB 7013, provides $5,000 payments to government workers who adopt foster children, with the payments increasing to $10,000 for adoptions of children with special needs. The measure also repeals the state’s decades-old ban on gay adoption.

Military

HB 27, requires the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to accept a military personnel identification card as proof of a social security card number during the application process to acquire a driver license or identification card.

HB 277, ensures young service members are able to rent hotel rooms in Florida. Some hotels and other lodging establishments have minimum age requirements. The law requires hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfast inns to waive age restrictions for active-duty service members with valid military identification cards.

HB 329, creates Woman Veteran, World War II Veteran, Navy Submariner, Combat Action Badge Ribbon, Air Force Combat Action Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross license plates.

Flags

HB 225, the “All-American Flag Act.” While the law goes into effect July 1, the law requires U.S. and Florida flags purchased by governments in Florida after Jan. 1, 2016, to be made from materials grown, produced and manufactured in the United States.

Education

HB 41, known as “Gabby’s Law for Student Safety,” revises how “hazardous walking conditions” are identified and handled. The law allows school district superintendents to make formal requests to the government agencies with jurisdiction over roads to correct the hazards. The government agencies would have to include the work in their next annual five-year capital improvements programs or declare why the corrections aren’t being planned.

Law enforcement

SB 264, local law-enforcement agencies cannot use ticket quotas.

HB 7001, allows children under 18 to secretly record conversations related to sexual abuse or other violent acts.

HB 133, the “43 Days Initiative Act.” The law extends the statute of limitation on felony sexual battery offenses from four years to 10 years. The title of the law is tied to a sexual offense victim who reported the crime four years and 43 days after the crime, which meant that no charges could be brought against the offender.

Drones

SB 766, prohibits the use of aerial drones to capture images that could infringe on the privacy of property owners or occupants. The law allows people to initiate a civil action against a person, state agency or political subdivision that violates the prohibitions. However, the prohibition doesn’t include agencies countering the risk of terrorist attacks, police who obtain search warrants that authorize the use of drones, property appraisers making tax assessments, and utilities maintaining their facilities.

 

Alcohol

SB 186, ends the state’s restriction on brewers being able to fill 64-ounce beer containers known as “growlers” for off-site consumption. The law limits cup sizes to 3.5 ounces for beer tastings and caps the number of vendor licenses that can be issued to a brewer.

SB 596, allows craft distillers to annually sell up to two factory-sealed bottles of each product directly to each customer visiting the property.

 

Medical

HB 269, allows terminally ill patients to access certain experimental drugs. The “Right to Try Act,” focuses on drugs that have been through “phase 1” of a clinical trial but have not been approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The law also provides liability protections to doctors and drug manufacturers.

 

Insurance

HB 715, removes a restriction that prevents newly-constructed or substantially-improved structures seaward of the coastal construction control line or within the Coastal Barrier Resources System from qualifying for coverage from the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.

HB 4011, repeals a law capping at four the number of vehicles that can be covered by a single family insurance policy.

SB 1094, provided flexible insurance options for flood coverage.

Public records

SB 7040, provides an exemption to email addresses that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles collects related to driver’s licenses and motor-vehicle records.

SB 200, exempts taxpayers’ email addresses obtained by tax collectors in the process of sending tax notices.

SB 248, creates a public-records exemption for certain videos made by police body cameras. The exemption would apply to videos made on private property without the approval of a property owner or individual.

Highlights of the laws that went into effect on October 1, 2015 include:

A new law that went into effect in Florida on Oct. 1 assigns tougher penalties for those who choose to pay for sex. A first offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, the second time offender will now face a third-degree felony charge that could result in up to five years in prison. A third offense is now a second-degree felony, which carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Convicted offenders now must pay a $5,000 civil penalty, perform one hundred hours of community service and they must attend an educational program.

The state has also outlawed what is known as revenge porn. It is illegal for people to post sexually explicit videos and/or photos of their exes online. A first offense is a first-degree misdemeanor. Second offenses are now a third-degree felony.

It is also now illegal to put electronic tracking devices onto people’s property without their consent. Putting a GPS on a vehicle without an owner’s knowledge is now a crime. The law provides exemptions for parents tracking minors and law enforcement officers.

The state will now require law enforcement officers to receive training to help them recognize diabetic emergencies, which are often mistaken for intoxication or drug overdoses.

There are also tougher penalties for impersonating firefighters and increased anti-domestic violence laws in the state of Florida.

Have any of these new laws affected you? Do you have questions? Call Larry Avallone today for more information.