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July 1 means new laws go into effect

6:47 AM, Jul 2, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The beginning of July meant the beginning of new state laws.

Education

One of the most controversial laws now on the books was enacted to allow "inspirational messages" at school activities or gatherings.

Chapter 2012-9 gives school districts the power to enact a policy that lets students have the option to deliver an "inspirational message."  The law requires that students determine whether such a message will be delivered and what the content of that message will be.  

Under the law, school employees can have no say or influence on whether an "inspirational message" is included in an event.  They may not choose which student gives that message or what he or she says within it.

Possession of Firearm or Destructive Device During Commission of Offense

A new law honors the life of Clay County Sheriff's Office Detective David White by enacting stiffer penalties for felons possessing firearms during a crime.

Prior to July 1, 2012, offenders who had a previous felony conviction for aggravated assault, possession of a firearm by a felon, or burglary of a conveyance and possessed a weapon or "destructive device" during the crime were required to have a minimum sentence of 3 years in jail.  Now, anyone who was previously convicted for committing or attempting to commit a felony and had a weapon or "destructive device" during that crime, will face a minimum sentence of 10 years if convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  

Offenders previously convicted of murder, sexual battery, robbery, burglary, arson, kidnapping, escape, carjacking, aggravated child abuse and other serious offenses were already subject to the 10 year mandatory sentence requirement.

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