New laws take effect Oct. 1 in Florida

New restrictions on tobacco, nicotine products
Posted at 7:12 AM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 11:29:40-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — October comes with a new batch of laws in Florida.

Most of the state's new laws from this past year's legislative session took effect July 1, but 24 new laws are now joining the list.

Below are some of the more notable laws:

Tobacco and nicotine products: (SB 1080): Increases the age from 18 to 21 years old to legally purchase or possess tobacco and other nicotine products. The new law also makes it illegal for persons under 21 years old to smoke or vape on or within 1,000 feet of school property.

"Child Safety Alarm Act" (SB 252): Requires certain vehicles to be equipped with a reliable alarm system that meets specified criteria. It requires the Department of Children and Families to adopt by rule minimum safety standards for such systems and to maintain a list of approved alarm manufacturers and alarm systems, etc.

Child Welfare (SB 80): Requiring the case record of every child under the supervision or in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, the department's agents, or providers contracting with the department to include a case record face sheet; providing best interest factors that certain entities must consider when determining a proposed placement for a child; providing conditions under which a child may be removed from a caregiver’s home; requiring judicial review hearings within a specified time after a child’s specified birthday; providing that parental rights may be reinstated under certain conditions, etc.

Electronic crimes: (HB 921): Prohibits person from sending, posting, or transmitting, or from procuring sending, posting, or transmission of written or electronic record when person makes threat to kill or to do bodily harm to another person or to conduct mass shooting or an act of terrorism.

Unlawful Use of DNA (HB 833): Prohibits DNA analysis and disclosure of DNA analysis results without express consent; removes criminal penalties; prohibits collection or retention of DNA sample of another person without express consent for specified purposes; prohibits specified DNA analysis & disclosure of DNA analysis results without express consent; provides criminal penalties.

Corporate espionage (HB 1523): Prohibits theft of trade secret; prohibits trafficking in trade secrets; reclassifies penalty & increases offense severity ranking for an offense committed with specified intent; requires court to order specified restitution for violation; provides for civil actions for violations; provides exception to criminal & civil liability for certain disclosures.

Crime Stoppers (HB 363): Privileged Communications Made to Crime Stoppers Organizations; Prohibits person from knowingly & willfully attempting to obtain or disclosing privileged communication or protected information; provides exemption from criminal liability for employees, board members, or volunteers of crime stoppers organization in certain circumstances; provides immunity from civil liability for certain actions by specified persons.

Specialty License Plates (676): Provides an exception to the requirement that specialty license plate annual use fees, and interest earned from those fees, only be expended in Florida. Requires the Department of Highway Safety to discontinue an independent college or university's existing specialty license plate if the school elects to use the standard template specialty license plate. Creates an "Army of Occupation Veterans" specialty license plates for veterans who served overseas during the Cold War between May 9, 1945 and Oct. 2, 1990.

In addition to these laws, Florida's minimum wage increased Thursday from $8.65 to $10 per hour -- the largest percentage increase in the state's history.