The Atcachunas Law Firm, P.A.
New Florida Laws effective July 1, 2013

New Florida Laws effective July 1, 2013

TALLAHASSEE — The state’s $74.1 billion budget kicks in on Monday along with nearly 200 new laws approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Scott.

The fiscal package includes roughly $1 billion more for schools, funding across-the-board raises for teachers and other school personnel. The budget also provides the first raises in seven years for 114,481 state employees.

The new laws range from a limit on the law-enforcement use of drones to a bill spelling out how money is raised to build nuclear-power plants to new rules for Citizens Property Insurance Corp. There also will be, come Monday, a crackdown on “cyberbullying,” conversion of low-speed vehicles into golf carts and a prohibition on the sale of bongs.

A new law against texting while driving (SB 52) doesn’t take effect until Oct. 1, while changes to campaign fundraising (HB 7013) go into place next year.

Here are highlights of some of the bills taking effect Monday:


HB 209: Changes the name of Lake Sumter Community College to Lake Sumter State College.

HB 609: Cracks down on “cyberbullying” in public schools by expanding what school districts are allowed to punish at school and when children are not at school — if the non-school bullying affects education.

SB 1664: Requires that at least 50 percent of a classroom teacher’s or school administrator’s performance evaluation be based on the growth or achievement of the students under their charge. The other half would be based on district-determined plans. Teachers with less than three years of experience would only be judged on 40 percent of their students’ performance.


HB 655: Aimed at Orange County, where a 2014 referendum was planned, the law locks local governments from requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to workers. The law also creates an Employer-Sponsored Benefits Study Task Force, which is directed to analyze employment benefits.


SB 62: Allows reclassification of street-legal, “low-speed vehicles” as golf carts, to reduce registration and insurance costs.

HB 93: Lets people contribute to the homeless when renewing a drivers license.

HB 4001: Abolishes the state law requiring most gasoline to include nearly 10 percent ethanol. Because of federal ethanol mandates, the action is mostly symbolic.

HB 7125: An omnibus transportation bill that prevents ticketing motorists as long as vehicles come to a stop, even after crossing the stop line, before making legal right turns on red; and bars left-lane drivers from going more than 10 mph below the speed limit if they know they are being overtaken from behind by faster-moving vehicles.

Insurance and banking

HB 157: Allows insurers to electronically transmit an insurance policy to the insured.

SB 1770: The Citizens Property Insurance Corp. overhaul, less imposing than initially proposed, still prevents coverage for new homes in high-risk, environmentally sensitive coastal areas and creates an internal inspector-general position and a clearinghouse intended to shift at least 200,000 policies into the private market.

SB 336: Allows tourist-development tax dollars to be used for the benefit of certain not-for-profit-run museums or aquariums.

SB 674: Requires animal shelters and animal-control agencies to keep more records on euthanasia and make them available to the public.

Law enforcement

HB 49: The “bong ban” prohibits the sale of metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic or ceramic smoking pipes, chillums or bongs.

SB 92: Restricts the use of unmanned aerial drones by law enforcement unless a judge issues a warrant, there is a “high risk of terrorist attack” or officials fear someone is in imminent danger.

HB 95: Declares that money given to charities by Ponzi schemers wouldn’t have to be later returned to victimized investors if it was accepted in good faith.


HB 239: Allows optometrists to prescribe certain types of drugs.

HB 1129: Intends to protect infants born alive after attempted abortions by requiring health-care professionals to “humanely exercise the same degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the infant” as would be the case in a natural birth.


SB 342: Allows someone with a homestead exemption to rent their property out for 30 days without losing their homestead exemption.


HB 7083: The Timely Justice Act that is intended to reduce final delays in carrying out the death penalty. The act requires the clerk of the Florida Supreme Court to notify the governor when a death-row inmate’s state and federal court appeals have been completed. The governor would then have 30 days to issue a death warrant if the executive-clemency process has finished. The warrant would require that the execution be carried out within 180 days.


HB 347: Allows about 20 small craft distillers in Florida that annually produce less than 75,000 gallons of spirits to offer on-site sales. The bill imposes a two-bottle-per-customer annual cap for the purchases.

HB 623: Allows the sale of wine in 5.16-gallon canisters, which can be tapped like kegs, allowing easier sales of wine by the glass in restaurants and bars.


SB 142: The term “mental retardation” will be replaced by “intellectual disability.”