Several Florida bills become state law July 1

Several new Florida laws go into effect on July 1.

Gov. Rick Scott has signed 234 measures into law and vetoed 11 bills.

Some 125 revisions to Florida statues hit the books on Saturday.

Here are some of the bills that become law on July 1:

 

Budget

SB 2500 is the state’s $80 billion spending plan for 2017-2018. The measure is dubbed by the governor’s office as “Fighting for Florida’s Future” budget.

HB 1A appropriates $85 million for a state job growth grant fund. The bill also appropriates $75 million the Department of Opportunity to enter a contract with Visit Florida, and $50 million towards repairs for the Herbert Hoover Dike.

HB 3A adds millions of dollars for the Florida Education Finance Program, which should increase per-student funding by $100.

HB 7022 provides pay raises to state employees for the first time since 2013. Most law enforcement officers will receive a 5 percent increase in salary, most correctional officers will receive a $2,500 increase in salary. Judges, elected state attorneys and public defenders will receive a 10 percent increase in salary. The bill also includes changes to health insurance and retirement plans for state employees.

HB 3A adds $215 million for the Florida Education Finance Program, or FEFP, which should boost per-student funding by $100. Scott vetoed spending on the program --- which included a $24.49 per-student increase in the main funding formula for public schools --- during the regular session.

SB 7022 provides across-the-board pay raises to state employees for the first time since 2013. Most state employees will receive a $1,400 increase in their current salary if it is less than $2,000. State law enforcement officers will get a 5 percent hike, while most correctional officers will get an extra $2,500 a year. Judges, state attorneys and public defenders will see 10 percent raises. The legislation also includes changes to health insurance and retirement plans for state employees.

 

Education

HB 7069 steers more money to privately run charter schools, requires recess in elementary schools and tinkers with the state's oft-criticized standardized testing system. It also includes $30 million extra for a program that provides services to disabled children. Superintendents say the legislation will be harmful to traditional public schools as some provisions require districts to share local tax dollars with charter schools. Scott said in a statement he will sign the bill because it increases school choice options for Florida parents.

SB 396 requires colleges and universities each year to provide students financial information regarding their student loans.

SB 436 specifies that a school district may not discriminate against a student, parent or school personnel based on a religious viewpoint or religious expression.

HB 989 changes the state's policy on instructional materials to allow any county resident, not just parents, to challenge materials, such as books, used at schools.

 

Tax Cuts:

HB 7109 provides a three-day back-to-school” holiday (Aug. 4-6, 2017) for clothing and footwear costing $60 or less, school supplies costing $15 or less and for computers with a sales price of $750 or less.

Two other key portions of the package --- an elimination of sales taxes on feminine hygiene products and a reduction in a commercial lease tax --- go into effect on Jan. 1.

 

Ride sharing

HB 221 creates statewide regulations for “transportation network companies (TNCs),” such as Uber and Lyft.

The measure, backed by the ridesharing industry, includes insurance and background-check requirements that are less stringent than those sought by local governments.

 

Transportation

HB 299 adds Brevard County to the Central Florida Expressway Authority.

SB 368 creates several honorary designations to some 50 roads and bridges across the state. The measure names sections of Orange County roads after slain Orlando Police Lt. Debra Clayton and the late golf legend Arnold Palmer. In addition, a part of U.S. 441 in Miami-Dade County will be “Muhammad Ali Boulevard,” and a portion of U.S. 90 in Santa Rosa County will honor Wendell Hall, who retired last year after 16 years as the county's sheriff.

HB 865 increases the allowed weight of natural gas-fueled vehicles from 80,000 to 82,000. It is the maximum amount allowed under federal law.

HB 1169 designates the portion of U.S. 19A/State Route 595 between Tarpon Avenue and the Pasco County line in Pinellas County as “Officer Charles ‘Charlie K’ Kondek, Jr., Memorial Highway” and directs the Florida Department of Transportation to erect suitable markers. The longtime Tarpon Springs officer was killed in the line of duty in 2014.

 

Law enforcement

HB 111 creates a public-records exemption for the identities of those who witness a murder. The information would be kept confidential for two years. Witnesses’ identities would still be open to a criminal justice agency and to the criminal defendant in trial.

HB 151 allows the use of “therapy” or “facility” dogs in courts to provide support for children who testify in cases involving child abuse, abandonment or neglect.

HB 305 allows law enforcement officers to review body camera footage before writing a report or statement about a recorded incident.

 

Communications

SB 90 revises and defines terms related to renewable energy source devices.

 

Health care

SB 2514 creates a process for the state Agency for Health Care Administration to ask legislative leaders to release $1.5 billion for the Low Income Pool program after a final agreement is reached with the federal government. 

 

Birth certificates

HB 101 allows families to request a certificate of a nonviable birth following a miscarriage.  

 

Environment

SB 1018 requires owners and operators of facilities responsible for pollution to have to submit reports within 24 hours to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The department will then have to post the information online within 24 hours.

 

Boating

HB 711 reduces registration-fee discounts for boaters to purchase certain locator beacons.

HB 7043 allows the owners of private submerged lands adjacent to Outstanding Florida Waters or an aquatic preserve to ask the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to establish boating-restricted areas solely to protect any seagrass and contiguous seagrass habitat within their private property.

 

State Parks

HB 185 provides certain discounts on state park fees to specified foster and adoptive families.

 

Go to the Tallahassee Democrat’s website for more information.

Go to the state of Florida’s website for more information.

Related: Gov. Scott signs bills into law

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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