TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A lobbying ban, health screenings for newborns and a portion of the massive property insurance reform lawmakers recently approved take effect in just a few days — and that's not all.
Here's a look at the new laws you can expect to see in 2023.
SB 2A: Property Insurance — Much of the major property insurance reforms lawmakers greenlit earlier this month in their special session had an immediate effective date. The elimination of "assignment of benefits" (AOB) begins Jan. 1.
According to the bill analysis, the new law "prohibits a policyholder from assigning, in whole or in part, any post-loss insurance benefit under a residential or commercial property insurance policy issued on or after Jan. 1. Any attempt to assign post-loss benefits under such a policy is void, invalid, and unenforceable."
Assignment agreements executed before the start of the new year will still be considered valid.
HB 7001: Implementation of the Constitutional Prohibition Against Lobbying by a Public Officer — This implementing law from 2021 offers penalties for Florida's 2018 constitutional amendment which prohibits lobbying for certain public officers who are engaged in public service or for six years once they leave office.
The law and amendment both begin Dec. 31 of this year and apply to a bunch of positions. They include statewide elected officers; members of the legislature; also secretaries, executive directors, and other administrative heads of executive branch departments.
Penalties for violation are public censure and reprimand, a civil penalty of up to $10,000, plus— "forfeiture of pecuniary benefits received from the violation, which must be paid to the General Revenue Fund."
SB 292: Newborn Screenings — Come January, Florida hospitals and other state-licensed birthing facilities will need to screen newborns for cytomegalovirus (CMV) if the child fails its hearing test, which is already required after birth.
CMV is a common virus. State officials estimate one in every 200 babies is born with congenital CMV. About one in five of them will develop long-term health problems, including hearing loss.
The new law also covers home births with specific deadlines for a hearing test referral and instructions if the child fails.
HB 273: Money Services Businesses -— The legislation updates state law and financial rules for cryptocurrency. Among its provisions, clearing up that an individual wanting to sell crypto doesn’t need a money transmitter license to do so. Intermediaries, like a cryptocurrency commerce program, will need a license.
SB 336: Uniform Commercial Code — The new law updates portions of state code to incorporate 2018 amendments to the Uniform Commercial Code, or UCC. The UCC is "a set of laws, adopted by all fifty states, governing and providing uniformity in commercial transactions in the United States."
The changes seek to eliminate potential conflicts within Article 9 of the UCC, which "governs secured transactions, meaning transactions involving the granting of credit secured by personal property (‘collateral’), where the creditor may take possession of the collateral if the debtor defaults on the loan."
1062: Service of Process — Starting on the first, this law seeks to streamline the serving of legal papers, like a writ or summons, on businesses.
Among its changes— limited liability companies, corporations, and others will need to designate a registered agent and registered office to receive those legal documents. The law also modernizes the serving of court papers to businesses by "authorizing a court to permit service by email or other electronic means in limited situations."
SB 2514: Electronic Filing of Taxes — Florida will lower its electronic filing and payment threshold next year to create more operational efficiency and cost savings by cutting down the number of paper returns and checks received.
Under current law, a taxpayer is required "to file returns and remit payments electronically when the amount of taxes paid in the prior state fiscal year was $20,000 or more." The new law lowers that amount to $5,000 or more.
A similar change takes effect for dealers of communications services.
HB 7049: Legal Notices — The new law removes requirements that legal notices be published in a print newspaper or on its website. Governmental agencies will have the option to place them on a county's publicly accessible website instead.
A governmental agency in a county with less than 160,000 people must first hold a public hearing to deterring if residents have adequate internet access before publishing legal notices online.