TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — New laws take effect Oct. 1 in Florida, impacting state residents.
- 27 new state laws in Florida
- New laws take effect Oct. 1
- Texting while driving ban, hazing and protection of police dogs and horses
A total of 27 new laws go in to effect.
However, the biggest is a provision of a law that already went into effect: holding a phone or other device while driving.
State lawmakers passed a law that made texting while driving a primary offense in Florida. That law went into effect in July.
But starting Tuesday, a provision of the law goes into effect that requires drivers to be "hands-free" in certain areas.
If you are spotted holding a phone, whether that be talking on it, flipping through emails, playing Pokemon Go or anything else, police can pull you over and cite you if you are driving in a school or work zone.
We talked to drivers in the Bay area who said they support the new law.
"I think it's smart because the school zone by my house on MacDill, every single time I'm going through there when the lights are on people are just blowing by me, not paying attention," said John Meyer. "I don't think these people on their phones are even going to see the crossing guards. It's a problem and I'm glad they're doing something about it."
"I think we need to protect our children first and foremost. It would be horrible to lose a child over a cell phone and I truly believe they need to implement this law," said Elisandra Garcia.
Up next, especially for college students, a new hazing law comes into effect.
Senate Bill 1080 will target people who plan acts of hazing or recruit others to help - if there is a permanent injury during the hazing, that will now be a third degree felony.
Reporting a hazing incident will get you immunity under the new law.
Police dogs and horses are getting some added protection in a new law taking effect tomorrow.
Anyone killing or severely injuring a police horse or dog will now face a potential of 15 years in prison.
That is a 10 year increase over the current law.
Among the laws going into effect:
- TEXTING WHILE DRIVING. Lawmakers passed a bill (HB 107) that strengthened the state’s ban on texting while driving by making it a “primary” offense, allowing police to pull over motorists for texting behind the wheel. Most of the measure took effect July 1. But starting Tuesday, it will require motorists to go hands-free on wireless devices in school and work zones. The law directs law-enforcement officers to provide verbal or written warnings until the end of the year for motorists who don’t put down cell phones in those areas. Tickets will start to be issued Jan. 1, punishable as a moving violation with three points assessed against the driver’s license.
- HAZING. A new law (SB 1080) was crafted after Andrew Coffey, a Florida State University fraternity pledge from Lighthouse Point, died in 2017 after drinking a bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon that had been taped to his hand. The law targets people who plan acts of hazing or solicit others to engage in hazing and makes it a third-degree felony if the hazing results in a permanent injury. The bill also provides immunity to people who call 911 or campus security to report the need for medical assistance during hazing incidents.
- POLICE DOGS AND HORSES. The measure (SB 96) makes it a second-degree felony, up from a third-degree felony, for people who kill or cause great bodily harm to police, fire or search-and-rescue dogs or police horses. The change boosts the amount of potential prison time from five years to 15 years. Supporters said the bill stems, at least in part, from the deaths of Fang, a member of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office canine unit shot and killed by a teenager fleeing after carjacking two women at a gas station, and a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office police dog named Cigo that was killed in the line of duty.
- CHILD-LIKE SEX DOLLS. The law (SB 160), in part, makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to sell, give away or show child-like sex dolls. The charge increases to a third-degree felony on subsequent violations. A committee staff analysis said the importation to the U.S. of sex dolls that resemble children has become increasingly prevalent. “Such dolls are manufactured in China, Hong Kong, or Japan and are shipped to the U.S. labeled as clothing mannequins or models in order to avoid detection,” the analysis said.
- VETERANS’ COURTS. The law (SB 910) removes a requirement that military veterans be honorably discharged to be eligible for participation in veterans’ courts. It also expands overall eligibility to current or former U.S. defense contractors and military members of allied countries. Veterans’ courts are designed to provide treatment interventions to military veterans and active-duty service members who are charged with criminal offenses and suffer from military-related injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or a substance-abuse disorder.
You can read the other laws going into effect Tuesday below. to get more details on them, go to the Florida House website.
- CS/HB 9: Community Redevelopment Agencies:
Requiring ethics training for community redevelopment agency commissioners; requiring a community redevelopment agency to follow certain procurement procedures; requiring a community redevelopment agency to publish certain digital boundary maps on its website; providing termination dates for certain community redevelopment agencies, etc.
- CS/SB 262 Child Welfare:
Providing for the name of a child’s guardian ad litem or attorney ad litem to be entered on court orders in dependency proceedings; requiring cooperation between certain parties and the court to achieve permanency for a child as soon as possible; requiring the court during an adjudicatory hearing to advise parents in plain language of certain requirements to achieve permanency with their child, etc.
- CS/CS/HB 725 Commercial Motor Vehicles:
Exempting persons who operate a commercial motor vehicle solely in intrastate commerce which does not transport hazardous materials in amounts that require placarding from certain requirements related to electronic logging devices and hours of service supporting documents until a specified date; extending an exemption from specified commercial motor vehicle requirements for a commercial vehicle having a certain gross vehicle weight rating and gross combined weight rating, under certain circumstances; revising length and load extension limitations for stinger-steered automobile transporters, etc.
- CS/CS/HB 827 Engineering:
Prohibiting specified services to the department for a project that is wholly or partially funded by the department and administered by a local governmental entity from being performed by the same entity; revising licensure certification requirements to include active engineering experience and a minimum age; revising the timeframes in which a fee owner or the fee owner's contractor using a private provider to provide building code inspection services must notify the local building official, etc.
- CS/HB 1057 Motor Vehicles:
Revises provisions relating to motor vehicle lamps, lights, & warning signals; provides requirements & penalties; revises requirements for release statements & pickup notices for damaged or dismantled motor vehicles; authorizes entity that processes certain transactions or certificates for derelict or salvage motor vehicles to be authorized electronic filing system agent; authorizes DHSMV to adopt rules.
- CS/HB 1247 Construction Bonds:
Requires notice of nonpayment to be under oath; specifies that claimant or lienor who serves fraudulent notice of nonpayment forfeits his or her rights under bond; provides that service of fraudulent notice of nonpayment is complete defense to claimant's or lienor's claim against bond; provides that provision relating to attorney fees applies to certain suits brought by contractors.
- HB 1323 City of Tampa, Hillsborough County:
Revises investment policy provisions to conform with general law.
- HB 1373 Hillsborough County Civil Service Act:
Repeals special act relating to the establishment of a fair, neutral, & impartial system for administering employee discipline; requires that agency or authority previously covered under act must provide fair, neutral, & impartial system for administering employee discipline of suspension, involuntary demotion, or dismissal & appeals of such discipline.
- HB 7001 OGSR/State University DSO Research Funding:
Removes scheduled repeal of exemption relating to exemption from public meeting requirements for portions of certain state university DSO meetings at which proposal seeking research funding or plan for initiating or supporting research is discussed.
- HB 7003 OGSR/Alzheimer's Disease Research Grant Advisory Board:
Removes scheduled repeal of exemption from public records & meeting requirements for applications provided to Alzheimer's Disease Research Grant Advisory Board within DOH & review of such applications.
- HB 7009 OGSR/Identification and Location Information/Department of Health:
Removes scheduled repeal of exemption from public record requirements for certain personal identifying & location information of specified personnel of DOH, & spouses & children thereof.
- HB 7011 OGSR/Division of Emergency Management:
- Removes scheduled repeal of exemption from public meeting requirements for information provided to DEM for purpose of being provided assistance with emergency planning.
- SB 7018 OGSR/Public Research Facility/Animal Research:
Amending a provision which provides an exemption from public records requirements for the personal identifying information of a person employed by, under contract with, or volunteering for a public research facility that conducts or is engaged in activities related to animal research; removing the scheduled repeal of the exemption, etc.
- HB 7025 OGSR/Treatment-based Drug Court Programs:
- Removes scheduled repeal of exemption from public records requirements for certain information relating to screenings for participation in treatment-based drug court programs, behavioral health evaluations, & subsequent treatment status reports.
- HB 7033 OGSR/Family Trust Companies:
Removes scheduled repeal of exemption relating to certain information held by OFR relating to family trust companies.
- SB 7034 OGSR/Automated License Plate Recognition System:
Amending a specified provision which provides a public records exemption for certain images and data obtained through the use of an automated license plate recognition system and for personal identifying information of an individual in data generated from such images; removing the scheduled repeal of the exemption, etc.
- SB 7036 OGSR/Payment of Toll on Toll Facilities/Identifying Information:
Amending a specified provision which provides an exemption from public records requirements for personal identifying information held by the Department of Transportation, a county, a municipality, or an expressway authority for certain purposes; deleting the scheduled repeal of the exemption, etc.
- HB 7047 OGSR/Security Breach Information:
Removes scheduled repeal of exemption from public record requirements for certain information received by Department of Legal Affairs relating to security breaches.
- HB 7049 OGSR/Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act:
Removes scheduled repeal of exemption from public record requirements for certain information held by Office of Financial Regulation pursuant to investigation or examination under Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act.
- HB 7059 OGSR/Concealed Carry License/DACS:
Removes scheduled repeal of exemption from public records requirements for certain personal identifying information held by tax collector when individual applies for license to carry concealed weapon or firearm.
- HB 7091 OGSR/Hurricane and Flood Loss Model Trade Secrets:
Removes scheduled repeal of exemption relating to certain information related to trade secrets used to design an insurance hurricane or flood loss model.
- HB 7097 OGSR/Informal Enforcement Actions and Trade Secrets/OFR:
Removes scheduled repeal of exemptions from public records requirements for certain informal enforcement actions engaged in & trade secrets held by OFR.
- CS/HB 7125 Administration of Justice:
Providing for reallocation of unencumbered funds returned to the Crime Stoppers Trust Fund; increasing threshold amounts for certain theft offenses; revising criminal penalties for the third or subsequent offense of driving while license suspended, revoked, canceled, or disqualified; requiring the Department of Children and Families to provide rehabilitation to criminal offenders designated as sexually violent predators; establishing eligibility criteria for expunction of a criminal history record by a person found to have acted in lawful self-defense; creating the Task Force on the Criminal Punishment Code adjunct to the Department of Legal Affairs, etc.