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Recent Legislative Changes in Florida: A Closer Look at Governor DeSantis’ New Laws

Introduction:

In a series of recent moves, Governor Ron DeSantis has signed multiple bills into law, ushering in significant changes across various aspects of public life in Florida. From bolstering safety measures for individuals with disabilities to introducing strict ethics requirements for public officials, these legislative shifts are set to reshape the landscape of the Sunshine State. Let’s delve into the key highlights of the recently enacted legislation.

HB-1275: Persons with Disabilities Registry – “Protect Our Loved Ones” Act:

One notable piece of legislation is HB-1275, introducing the “Protect Our Loved Ones” Act. This bill empowers law enforcement to maintain a comprehensive database called the “Persons with Disabilities Registry.” Aimed at improving interactions between the police and individuals with disabilities, the registry includes crucial information such as names, contact details, personal identifiers, and relevant details about disabilities or conditions.

SB-774: Ethics Requirements for Public Officials:

The signing of SB-774 has mandated local elected officials to disclose their financial dealings, sparking a wave of resignations across the state, particularly in the Tampa Bay area. This legislation extends the existing financial disclosure requirements applicable to the governor, lawmakers, county commissioners, school board members, and sheriffs, marking a significant step towards transparency in public office.

HB-1627: Pretrial Release and Detention:

Bringing about changes to Florida’s bail and pretrial detention systems, HB-1627 tightens pretrial release options for certain felony offenders based on their criminal history. Additionally, the legislation requires the Florida Supreme Court to establish a bond schedule, limiting lower courts from setting bail amounts lower than those specified in the schedule.

HB-425: Transportation – Expanding the “Move Over” Law:

Effective January 1, HB-425 expands Florida’s “Move Over” law to include disabled vehicles displaying hazard lights, emergency flares, or emergency signage. Violators risk fines ranging from $60 to $158, emphasizing the importance of providing adequate space and safety for a broader range of vehicles on the road.

HB-109: State Park Campsite Reservations:

HB-109 introduces changes to state park campsite reservations, giving Florida residents the advantage of booking cabins, campsites, and RV spots a month before non-residents. Starting January 1, residents can make online reservations 11 months in advance, while non-residents have to wait until 10 months prior to their desired booking date.

HB-7061: Sheriffs Providing Child Protective Investigative Services:

Effective January 1, HB-7061 mandates seven Florida counties, including Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, and Pinellas, to transfer child protective investigations to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). This legislation also allows sheriff’s offices to transfer employees to DCF, streamlining child protective services in the designated counties.

Conclusion:

Governor DeSantis’ recent legislative moves showcase a commitment to addressing crucial issues, from enhancing the safety of individuals with disabilities to fostering transparency in public office and refining the state’s legal and transportation systems. As these laws take effect, Florida residents can anticipate a series of changes that aim to make the Sunshine State safer, more accountable, and better equipped to serve its diverse population.