It has been a long year of battling a global pandemic and trying to ignore the news as reports flash across our screens about riots and looting happening across America. So if you are not aware of new laws that passed in Florida, we won’t hold it against you. We thought we’d catch you up and make you aware of such laws so you may be informed.
So far in 2020 lawmakers filed 3,500 bills. They passed 191. The list below details the biggest laws that took effect on July 1:
House Bill 43- Jordan’s Law
“Jordan’s Law” makes a number of changes to the laws related to the child welfare system in an attempt to address issues that were identified in the case of Jordan Belliveau, a two-year-old boy who was killed by his mother in Pinellas County in 2018. This law requires appropriate training be given to child welfare professionals, circuit and county judges who have responsibility for dependency cases, Guardian ad Litem program staff, and law enforcement officers by the Child Protection Teams within the Department of Health when it comes to dealing with head trauma and brain injury by children under six years old.
The law also requires a communication hotline be established between the Department of Children and Families and law enforcement by March 1, 2021, in order to let the hotline know if a law enforcement officer interacts with someone who has information or has concerns about a child’s health and well-being. The hotline must then provide relevant information to individuals involved in the child’s case.
The workload is also reduced for caseworkers; meaning the maximum caseload would be no more than 15 children, if possible. Read more on the Florida Senate website.
House Bill 641- Teacher Pay
Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill on Wednesday (June 22) providing $500 million allocated to increase teacher pay, making the minimum yearly salary starting at $47,500. The law also provides an additional $100 million toward salary increases for more experienced teachers who are making more than the minimum salary.
“We wanted to take Florida from No. 26 in the nation for average minimum teacher salary to the top five,” DeSantis said. “By doing something like this, it’s going to entice some more people who may be young and thinking about what they want to do to maybe go into teaching.” Details are provided on the Florida Senate website.
CS/CS (Committee Substitute for Committee Substitute)/State Bill 404 – Parental Consent
Florida law states that no physician may perform an abortion on a minor without written consent from a parent or legal guardian. Previously, the law only required minors to inform a parent or legal guardian of their decision. The bill also requires that a physician keep the consent document and proof of identification in the minor’s medical record for at least seven years.
Penalty for any physician who performs an abortion without written consent will face a third-degree felony charge. The only exception is if the minor lies about her age in order to get an abortion. More on the parental consent law is available to read on the Florida Senate website.
State Bill 1084 – Emotional Support Animals
The legislation aims to crack down on the abuse of emotional support animal certifications. It allows housing providers to prohibit use in situations where the animal poses a direct threat to the safety, health, or property of others. Property owners can also request written proof of the support animal’s certification from federal, state, and local government agencies or specified health care providers. You may read more about the law on the Florida Senate website.
CS/CS/House Bill 1259 – Incarcerated Pregnant Women
The law creates new protections for incarcerated pregnant women when placed in housing separate from the general population. It requires corrections staff to draft a report on why the housing was needed and whether medical staff objected. It also calls for medical checkups every 24 hours and hourly observation by staff. Learn more about the law on the Florida Senate website.
Melissa’s career in writing started more than 20 years ago. Today, she lives in South Florida with her husband and two boys.