Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs 94 bills, vetoes 4 others

Ron DeSantis
Posted at 5:44 AM, Jul 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 05:56:19-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Bills to help juveniles expunge their arrest records, make changes to car insurance laws and create a new high school civics program were vetoed Tuesday by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He also signed 94 bills ranging from a measure that seeks to prevent excessive force by law enforcement to legislation that overturns limits on cruise ships docking in Key West that the city’s voters approved last year.

The following is a list of the some the legislation he took action on:

— Would have allowed the expunction of juvenile nonjudicial arrest records, including felonies, after they completed a diversion program. The bill passed unanimously in the House and Senate. “I have concerns that an unfettered to expunge serious felonies, including sexual battery, from a juvenile’s record may have negative impacts on public safety,” DeSantis said in his veto letter.

— Would have required the state to develop a civics literacy course study that includes participation in outside activities and a research paper describing the experience. The Citizen Scholar Program would have been headquartered at the University of South Florida. DeSantis said the measure would have promoted the “preferred orthodoxy” of USF. Democratic state Rep. Ben Diamond, the bill’s sponsor, said DeSantis was “demonizing” universities. “There is no reasonable explanation for vetoing legislation that had unanimous, bipartisan support and is aimed at improving students’ understanding of government and the importance of civic engagement,” Diamond said in a news release.

— Would have repealed a requirement to have personal injury protection for motor vehicle insurance policies and replaced it with bodily injury coverage limits. The bill was passed with bipartisan support. While DeSantis acknowledge the state’s insurance laws are flawed, he said the legislation might have unintended consequences for consumers and the industry.

— Requires law enforcement officers to intervene if another officer uses excessive force, and all officers will have to receive more training to avoid excessive force. Limits chokeholds to situations when an officer believes an immediate threat of serious bodily injury or death to the officer or another person.

— An expansion of government’s use of drones to include law enforcement to watch gatherings of 50 or more people and for traffic control management. Government agencies will also be able to use drones to assess damage from floods, fires, hurricanes or other natural disasters.

— Craft distilleries will be able to expand production from 75,000 gallons a year to 250,000 gallons a year.

— Requires wastewater treatment plans to make plans to eliminate harmful discharges into surface waters by 2032.

— Creates the Office of Continuing Care under the Department of Children and Families to assist people who age out of the child welfare system.

— Prohibits government agencies from responding to public records request by asking a judge for a declaratory judgment.

— Requires the construction of the POW-MIA Vietnam Veterans Bracelet Memorial on or near the state Capitol complex.

— Establishes insurance requirements and surcharges for peer-to-peer car sharing services. Makes clear the services are subject to the state’s 6% sales tax.

— Requires school resource officers be trained in mental health crisis intervention. Also requires school IDs from students in grades 6-12 contain phone numbers for national and state crisis and suicide hotlines.

— Requires the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles conduct an annual bicycle safety campaign for motorists. Prohibits bicyclists from riding side by side in a bike lane.

— Enhances penalties for boating while intoxicated, makes it easier for the state to remove derelict boats from waterways and ensures people renting boats are educating on boating safety and requirements.

— Prohibits commercial telemarketers from using automated dialing systems and prerecorded messages.

— Protects communication between a human trafficking victim and victim advocates who help or counsel them.

— Overturns limits on cruise ships docking in Key West that the city’s voters approved last year.

— Requires people who discover items that fall to Earth from a space flight to report the find to law enforcement and bans people from keeping the items.

— Allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry guns on property owned, least or rented by churches and other religious institutions unless the religious institution prohibits them.

— Requires the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to create a database available to sexual assault victims so they can track the processing of rape test kits from the day evidence is taken throughout the testing process.

— Gives the Office of Statewide Prosecution jurisdiction to investigate elderly exploitation cases.