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Nikki Fried celebrates legislative accomplishments

Bills will clarify Florida Forest Service training and the definition of “hemp extract.”

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services saw a pair of key bills signed into law last week that will affect Florida Forest Service standards, the definition of “hemp extract,” and local amusement park safety standards.

The first bill, HB 921, was sponsored by state Sen. Ben Albritton and state Rep. Chuck Brannan, and it directs the Florida Forest Service to update its training curriculum to a minimum of 40 hours of structural firefighting and a minimum of 40 hours of emergency medical training.

The other piece of legislation, HB1275, was sponsored by state Sen. Lauren Book and state Rep. Sharon Pritchett, will update amusement park safety standards to reflect national standards.

“From enhancing safety precautions for amusement rides to supporting our wildland firefighters and strengthening the state hemp program, these new measures help our department carry out vital responsibilities that help keep Florida growing,” said Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.

“These improvements include critical updates to help Florida’s hemp program become the national model, and increasing fair ride safety standards to protect Floridians. Thank you to bill sponsors Representative Brannan, Representative Pritchett, Senator Albritton, and Senator Book for working with us on this legislation that will benefit Florida’s families, farmers, and consumers.”

The Florida Forest Service will also change the minimum wildfire training for recruits from 250 to 376 hours. As part of HB 921, the definition of “hemp extract” will be changed to remove synthetic CBD, and the way hemp products can be packaged and labeled was revised. HB 921 also states that selling hemp that doesn’t meet statutory requirements is a punishable violation, and it prohibits the sale of hemp extract products intended for inhalation to individuals under 21 years old. 

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services began accepting applications to grow hemp in April.

HB 1275 deals with the inspection of Amusement Rides. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is requited to inspect all amusement rides in Florida, excepting those at parks that have more than 1,000 employees and inspectors already on staff. 

The bill will provide tools to determine whether accidents occur due to rider or operator error, and it will help determine whether the occurrence is limited to the ride in question or whether it happened due to a manager’s defect. It also increases the limit for administrative fines from a maximum of $2500 to $10,000 per violation, and the department can impose an additional fine of $10,000 or more for safety violations that result in a serious injury or death.”

“This bill ensures amusement rides at fairs and carnivals are safe and fun by raising the bar on inspection and permitting requirements,” said Book, who represents the 32nd district. 

“Every parent is concerned about their child’s safety; this is one less worry for parents when families are able to get back to community recreation.”

Written By

Spencer Fordin grew up in Port Washington, N.Y. and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Florida. Before working for FloridaPolitics.com, he spent 16 seasons with MLB.com and nearly three years as a general assignment reporter in the Cayman Islands. You can reach Spencer at SpencerFordin@gmail.com.

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