TALLAHASSEE – A ban on abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy, the addition of best management practices (BMPs) to control the use of fertilizer on golf courses, term limits for school board members and the designation of a new official state dessert were among the 145 new laws passed by the Florida Legislature which went into effect on July 1.
House Bill (HB) prohibits physicians from offering abortions after 15 weeks, with exceptions only for fatal fetal abnormalities. This law already faces legal challenges in state court.
HB 967 requires golf courses to use Best Management Practices (BMPs) to limit nutrient levels in runoff. The bill directs the turfgrass science program at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science (UF/IFAS), in coordination with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), to administer a golf course best management practices certification to ensure compliance with fertilizer best management practices. For years, farmers and ranchers have been required to participate in BMP programs or FDEP water testing to prove there is no fertilizer in runoff. HB 967 extends this requirement to golf courses.
HB 1467 prohibits school board members from appearing on a re-election ballot if they’ve served in that office for 12 consecutive years. This only applies to terms starting on or after Nov. 8, 2022.
Other new laws cover a wide variety of topics.
Senate Bill (SB) 606 adds required components to Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)-approved boating safety education courses and temporary certificate examinations and requires the operator of a vessel used in water sport or activity instruction to use an engine cutoff switch when a participant is in the water. These requirements will take effect Oct. 1, 2022.
The bill increases or adds penalties for noncriminal infractions of vessel safety laws. It increases the additional civil penalty for noncriminal infractions of vessel laws from $50 to $100. It directs certain penalties to the Marine Resource Conservation Trust Fund to supplement law enforcement activities.
HB 817 addresses emergency medical care of minors. It broadens an exception to the general rule that medical treatment cannot be rendered without a patient’s consent. Under current law, parental consent is required for a physician to provide emergency medical care to a minor unless the care is rendered in a hospital or college health service. The bill deletes restrictions on location, thereby allowing physicians to provide emergency medical care or treatment to a minor at any location without the consent of the minor’s parent under specified conditions when parental consent cannot be immediately obtained.
SB 882 addresses inventories of critical wetlands. The bill requires water management districts, in cooperation with local governments, to develop a list of critical wetlands to be acquired through the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. The bill provides criteria to determine if a wetland is critical, including the ecological value of the wetland, the effect of the wetland on water quality and flood mitigation, the ecosystem restoration value of the wetland, and the inherent susceptibility of the wetland to development.
SB 1006 designates strawberry shortcake with natural Florida dairy topping as the official state dessert. (Key Lime Pie remains the official state pie.)
SB 105 allows counties and cities to ban smoking at their beaches and parks, with the exception of unfiltered cigars, which are still permitted. The plastic filters from cigarettes consistently rank as biggest problem item cleaned up from Florida beaches.
SB 1048 substantially changes Florida’s statewide standardized assessment program to include a statewide coordinated screening and progress monitoring (CSPM) tool to replace the Florida Standards Assessment. A screening and progress monitoring assessment administered at the beginning and middle of the school year, which must:
• Measure student progress in meeting ELA and mathematics standards.
• Be a computer-based assessment that can identify students who have a substantial deficiency in reading, including identifying students with characteristics of dyslexia, and in mathematics.
• Provide results to teachers within 1 week and parents within 2 weeks.
An end-of-year assessment administered in the spring, the results of which will replace the Florida Standards Assessment (FSA) to be used for accountability purposes in grade three retention, high school graduation, school grades, and school improvement ratings.
SB 226 requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to provide a consistent source of financial help for veterinary care of retired police dogs.
For a complete list of the new laws, go online to www.flsenate.gov.