Of the 279 bills passed by Florida legislators three months ago, 161 went into effect on July 1. The laws cover a variety of issues, ranging from school choice to rape kit testing, tax cuts, and criminal punishment.
Below are some of the most important changes Florida will see from the new laws.
Budget: A new budget of $82.3 million was passed by a vote of 159-1. Important projects that will see a portion of that budget are school construction and Everglades restoration.
Tax Cuts: The two big cuts include are drop in property taxes and a three-day sales tax hiatus from August 5-7, aimed at helping back-to-school shoppers. Floridians will also see a permanent sales tax exemption for manufacturing equipment and machinery, and tax-reductions on pear cider and aviation fuel.
Bullying: Schools districts are now required to evaluate their anti-bullying and harassment policies every three years, and includes rules on dating violence and abuse in their discipline guidelines.
Crime and Punishment: The “10-20-Life” minimum sentence will no longer be required for Floridians convicted of aggravated assault or attempted aggravated assault.
Digital Assets: Guardians or trustees of estates will now have the same access to digital assets and electronic account information as they do to physical assets and financial accounts.
Festivals: Food contests or cook-offs lasting three days or less that are hosted by a school, church, religious organization, or nonprofit, will no longer be considered “public food service establishments,” and therefore will not be subject to licensing fees or government inspection.
Jury Duty: Floridians permanently incapable of caring for themselves can now provide a written statement from their healthcare provider to become permanently exempt from serving the courts.
Marriage: Clergy with religious objections are not required to marry same-sex couples.
Needle Exchange: In Miami-Dade county, home to the country’s highest rate of new HIV cases, the Miami-Dade Infectious Disease Elimination Act (IDEA) will help establish a new needle exchange program to stop the spread of HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases.
Outdoors: Fines for illegally killing, taking, or selling game or fur-bearing animals while committing burglary or trespass double to $500. It is now a third-degree felony to knowingly possess sea turtles, their eggs, or their nests.
Rape Kits: Rape kits must be delivered by law enforcement agencies to a state crime lab within 30 days of the start of an investigation. The lab must test the kits within 120 days.
School Choice: Students can transfer to any state school with available space; athletes are immediately eligible to play if they haven’t started practicing the same sport at their former school. Military children are immediately eligible as long as they haven’t been suspended or expelled from their previous school. For more information regarding new Florida laws, [Click Here].