Several new laws took effect Jan. 1 in the state of Florida.
Ethics Requirements for Public Officials
CS/CS/SB 774 requires public officials to disclose all sources of income exceeding $1,000. Mayors and elected officials are included. This is the same requirement in place for county and state elected officials.
SB 144 mandates county courthouses provide at least one lactation space (for breastfeeding mothers) for the public, which has to be outside of a restroom and have at least one electrical outlet. An exception excuses a courthouse from the rule if new construction is required.
State or private funding can be used to convert or build a lactation space, however private or state funding can be used to convert or build them.
Child protection investigative services
The seven Florida counties that handle their own child protection investigation services through their respective sheriff departments will now turn that job over to the Florida Department of Children and Families, per SB 7056.
Walton, Seminole, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Pinellas and Broward counties had contracted with DCF for those services, and the transfer will make the DCF the only agency carrying out child protective investigations in Florida.
Special persons registry
HB 1275, also known as the “Protect Our Loved Ones” Act allows local law enforcement agencies to create and maintain a “Persons with Disabilities Registry.”
The law lists conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related disorders, Down Syndrome and conditions such as autism spectrum disorders, but the law includes other disabilities.
The database will assist first responders interacting with individuals with disabilities or conditions.
Pretrial Release and Detention
SB 1534 restricts who can set, reduce or change bail and requires the Florida Supreme Court to create a statewide bail bond schedule and includes pretrial release and detention charges.
Move Over Law Expansion
HB 425 is an extension of an existing law requiring motorists to move into another lane when coming upon emergency law enforcement vehicles. The extension now requires motorists to move over at least one lane for all disabled vehicles that have stopped with signage, hazard lights or emergency flares. If a driver cannot safely move to another lane, they must decrease their speed by 20 mph. Fines between $60 and $58 may be levied against violators.
State Park Campsite Reservations
SB 176 gives Florida residents 11 months to reserve campsites compared to visitors, which have 10 months. Residents will need to show proof of residency.