It's becoming illegal to text and drive in the state of Florida

 TALLAHASSSEE, Fla. (AP) -- It's becoming illegal to text and drive in the state of Florida.

State legislators this spring passed the texting while driving ban but it does not take effect until Tuesday.

The ban is one of more than two dozen laws passed by state legislators scheduled to kick in.

Other new laws taking effect include one that guarantees the public a right to speak at meetings being held by city and county governments.

Another new law bans welfare recipients from using electronic benefit transfer or EBT cards at "adult entertainment establishments" such as strip clubs and casinos.

Florida is joining 40 other states with a ban on texting while driving.

The law makes it a secondary offense which means police have to first stop drivers for another offense.

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Florida's ban on texting while driving goes into effect Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Q: What does the legislation ban?

A: "Manually typing or entering multiple letters, numbers, symbols or other characters in a wireless communication device, or sending or reading data in the device," which covers all uses of mobile devices, including texting, emailing and using the Internet.

Q: Could I get a ticket for just texting?

A: No. The law makes it a secondary offense, which means drivers cannot be stopped for a nonmoving violation, but could be ticketed for texting if they are stopped for another infraction, such as speeding.

Q: What would the penalties be?

A: First offense, $30 fine plus court costs. Second offense within five years, $60 fine plus court costs. Other penalties could include six points off a driver's license if the driver's texting results in a crash, and two extra points if the driver is texting while in a school safety zone.

Q: Would there be any exceptions?

A: Yes. Drivers would be exempted if the vehicle is stationary or the device is being used for navigation purposes. Drivers also would not be fined if using the device for reporting emergencies or criminal/suspicious activity to law enforcement or when a device is used by emergency workers. Drivers also would be exempted when receiving messages related to radio broadcasts, operating or navigating the vehicle or getting safety-related information, such as emergency, traffic or weather alerts.

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