NEW FLORIDA LAWS OCTOBER 1, 2018

Several new laws went into effect in Florida effective October 1, 2018, here is a summary of those new laws.

FIRST RESPONDERS
The change for first responders (SB 376) would expand workers’ compensation insurance benefits for firefighters, police officers, paramedics and emergency-medical technicians who suffer from PTSD.

ANIMAL CRUELTY
The new law, named “Ponce’s Law” after the puppy, allows judges to bar people convicted of animal cruelty from owning pets. The legislation also increases the severity ranking of animal-abuse related crimes, making it more likely that offenders would go to jail upon conviction, also creates policies and procedures for animal shelters to use after natural disasters, such as hurricanes, to return lost pets to their owners.

PAYING FOR GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS
HB 55 allows people buying guns to use credit cards to pay for background checks. They have been required in the past to pay with personal checks, money orders or cashier’s checks.

DEAF REGISTRATION OF VEHICLES
— HB 135 allows deaf people to voluntarily identify themselves as hearing-impaired when they register vehicles. The idea, which came from a Tallahassee police officer whose son is deaf, is intended to prevent communications issues with deaf drivers that could inadvertently lead to confrontations.

TRESPASS ON AIRPORT PROPERTY
— HB 523 increases penalties to a third-degree felony for people who trespass on airport property to injure other people, damage property or impede the operations of aircraft. The bill is in reaction to instances since 2014 in which people got onto property at Florida airports, including Orlando International, Tampa International and Miami International.

BEER GLASSES WITH LOGOS FROM BREWERS OR IMPORTERS
— HB 961 allows businesses such as bars to receive up to 10 cases of branded glassware — 24 glasses per container — a year from brewers or importers. Supporters of the “beer glass” bill maintained that the change would allow small businesses to save on the cost of glassware. But a number of craft brewers opposed the measure, arguing it would allow a small number of brewers who could afford the costs to flood the market with company-branded glassware.

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