Smoking, mug shots and more: New laws hit the books in October

Some laws take effect in July while others become law in October.

A slew of new laws took effect this month, including the largest increase of Florida’s minimum wage in state history.

Floridians earning minimum wage saw a 15% increase Friday from $8.65 to $10 an hour, marking the first step in a years-long journey to $15 an hour by 2026.

The voter initiated wage hike, however, is just one of many on-the-book changes. From vaping and mugshots to corporate espionage and written threats, below are some more October additions:

Tobacco and nicotine products: (SB 1080): Sponsored by Republican Sen. Travis Hutson, the new law increase Florida’s smoking age from 18 to 21 years old. The new law also outlaws smoking or vaping within 1,000 feet of a school.

Arrest Booking Photographs (SB 1046): Sponsored by Republican Sen. Aaron Bean, the new law requires mug shot publishers  to remove booking photos if requested by the person featured in the image. If the publisher fails to remove the photo within 10 days of a written notice, they face a daily $1,000 penalty.

DNA Privacy (HB 833):  Sponsored by Republican Rep. Josie Tomkow, the new law ensures DNA samples are the “exclusive property” of the person who submitted the sample. What’s more, it requires consent for any additional extraction or analysis. The new law also stiffens penalties for unauthorized use of another person’s DNA.

Corporate Espionage (HB 1523): Sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Beltran, the new law creates the crime of “trafficking in trade secrets” and enhances criminal penalties under certain circumstances. If the trafficking of trade secrets benefits a foreign government or company, the offense is now a first-degree felony.

Child Support (SB 1532): Sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book, the new law is an update to child support cases where a parent needs assistance in forcing another parent to pay child support. The new law changes how payments are made and how those child support orders are enforced.

Boating Laws (SB 1086): A bevy of new boating laws also took effect this month under a bill sponsored by Republican Sen. Travis Hutson. Among some changes, the law boosts penalties for boaters refusing to submit to breath or urine tests after a DUI. It also requires a safety education course as conditions of a boat rental.

 – Child Care Safety (SB 252): Sponsored by Democratic Sen. Linda Stewart, the new law requires day care centers to install electronic alarms in vans used to transport children. The alarms would prompt the driver to inspect the vehicle for the presence of children before leaving the area.

– Crime Stoppers (HB 363): The new law, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Kevin Chambliss, bolsters liability protections for Crime Stoppers staff. It also upgrades protections for tipsters. Crime Stoppers allow people to report crime tips anonymously.

Child Welfare (SB 80): Sponsored by Republican Sen. Jason Brodeur, the new law prioritize finding children a permanent place to call home, particularly before they turn 18. It also requires “FACE sheets” in children’s files detailing the web of relationships with adults and other foster care children they have made throughout their time in the system.

Behavioral Health Care (HB 701): The new law requires the Department of Financial Services to track, respond and report complaints regarding access to mental health care to the Governor and Legislature. It also requires companies to publish state and federal behavioral health coverage requirement information online. Republican Rep. Cyndi Stevenson sponsored the bill.

– Construction Permits (HB 1059): The new law modernizes the construction permit process and also requires local governments to speed up the process for reviewing permit applications. It also gives contractors a chance to correct their application if it’s denied. Republican Rep. Will Robinson sponsored the bill.

– Use of Electronic Databases (SB 890): Sponsored by Republican Sen. Ed Hooper, the new requires training for law enforcement officers regarding driver and vehicle databases. The training aims to limit unauthorize use of the data base. The law also penalizes misuse.

–  Electronic threats (HB 921): Under the new law, electronic threats such as those made on social media are now explicitly prohibited. Additionally, threats made online no longer need to be sent directly to a person. State law previously said threats posted online must be directly messaged in order for the threat to be considered a criminal act.

Lawmakers will get another chance to write laws in the upcoming 2022 Legislative Session.

Session kicks off Jan. 11.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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