New Laws for Florida, Starting July 1

by | Jun 30, 2017

After Governor Rick Scott worked his way through more than 240 proposed bill from the regular session and  special session, here are some new laws Floridians will need to know about starting July 1.

State budget

The governor’s office calls it the “Fighting for Florida’s Future” but it’s probably better known as the state budget. For 2017-18 the total cost is $80 billion and it directs funding for the state agencies and projects.                                                                                                                                                 The budget also includes:

  • $85 million for job growth via the Department of Economic Opportunity
  • $75 million for Visit Florida
  • $50 million toward repairs on the Herbert Hoover Dike.
  • $215 million for the Florida Education Finance Program, or FEFP, and works out to $100 per-student
  • $2,500 extra for each correctional officer
  • Judges, state attorneys and public defenders, 10 percent increase in pay raises
  • State law enforcement officers, 5 percent increase in pay raises

Healthcare

The Agency for Health Care Administration will be able to request $1.5 billion for the Low Income Pool program. Currently, the state is waiting for a final agreement with the federal government. The bill will change the process for nursing homes to be paid from the Medicaid program.

Education

Students and staff will now be able to practice religious expression while on school property.

There is $140 million available to charter schools willing to build or relocate near struggling public schools. The money also can be used for students at those below average schools, teacher bonuses and/or for assistance for parents to offset the cost for children with disabilities.

Environmental

Beginning July 1, public notification of pollution accidents or incidents will be more effective. Staff at facilities responsible for pollution have to submit reports within 24 hours to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. DEP will post the information online within 24 hours.

Law enforcement

Witnesses in murder cases will now have their identities protected to help encourage witnesses to come forward.

Therapy dogs will be allowed in courts to help provide support for children testifying in cases.

Law-enforcement officers will be allowed to review footage from their body cameras before filling out reports.

Transportation

For years,there’s been a lot of debate about“transportation network companies,” like Uber and Lyft. Now, all drivers for TNC’s will include insurance and background-check requirements..

Tax breaks

Florida parents and guardians will see a three-day long back-to-school discount on certain clothes worth up to $60 for each item and school supplies up to $15 each item. Computers that cost less than $750 are also on the list.

Feminine hygiene products will be tax free and there will be a reduction in a commercial lease tax. Both take effect January 1.

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