At a glance: Bills that passed in the Legislature
Legislation that passed during the 2013 regular session of the Florida Legislature, which ended Friday: BUSINESSES — Would exempt manufacturers from paying the 6 percent state sales tax on new equipment purchases from April 30, 2014, to April 30, 2017.— Would forbid local governments from requiring businesses to offer paid or unpaid family and medical leave. — Would revise the amount of reimbursement for certain prescription drugs used by injured workers in an attempt to lower workers' compensation insurance costs. EDUCATION — Will roll back graduation standards adopted just three years ago; let the University of Florida take the lead in online education and offer bachelor degrees completely online. — Would expand the authority of Florida's public schools to discipline students for cyberbullying done through use of a school computer, at the site of a school-sponsored activity or on a school bus. CRIME — Will limit law enforcement agencies' use of the remotely controlled aircraft known as drones. — Would make it illegal to possess without permission other people's personal information such as Social Security numbers, driver's licenses, medical records, passports, bank account numbers, credit cards and Medicaid or food assistance account numbers unless they have authorization. — Banned Internet cafes where patrons played slot machine-like games for cash prizes. — Would make it illegal to send text messages while driving. — Would make it illegal dye bunnies, chicks and ducklings and sell or give away as a promotion chickens or ducks under four weeks of age or bunnies under two months of age to be used as pets. — Would make it illegal for shops to “knowingly and willfully” sell pipes used to consume illegal drugs. — Adds 27 new designer drugs to the state's controlled substances list. — Prohibits protesting or picketing within 500 feet of any funeral or burial from one hour before to one hour after the ceremony. — Would prohibit a convicted rapist from having any custody rights if the rape results in a child. — Would raise from 11 to 16 the age at which out-of-court statements child victims make to investigators can be used at the trials of the people accused of sexually abusing them. — Would require officials to determine whether suspects in custody are registered sexual offenders and, if so, not release them before their first court appearance. — Would close a loophole to guard against gun purchases by people with mental illness. People who voluntarily admit themselves for treatment, then quickly check out would be put into databases to prevent them from buying guns. ETHICS AND ELECTIONS — Will limit campaign contribution limits, now at $500 per contributor per election for all offices, to $1,000 for legislative and local races and $3,000 for statewide races. — Will allow the Florida Commission on Ethics to garnish wages if officials don't pay fines; allow the commission to take complaints from the governor, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and state and U.S. attorneys; require officials' financial disclosure forms be posted online; ban lawmakers from lobbying any state agency for two years after leaving office; will lawmakers from taking new government jobs while in office; prohibit lawmakers from voting on any bills that could directly affect their personal finances; require lawmakers take ethics training. — Would allow elections supervisors to email sample ballots to voters who provide their email addresses on registration forms rather than mailing paper copies. ENVIRONMENT — Would keep intact an existing tax on farmers in the northern Everglades until 2036. The money will be used to help pay for water quality restoration projects that are part of an $880 million Everglades restoration plan that was negotiated between Scott and the federal government. The legislation also calls for spending $32 million a year for the next 10 years. — Would ensure state taxes won't be charged on natural gas used as vehicle fuel for five years and it sets aside $6 million for a natural gas-fueled vehicle rebate program. SOCIAL SERVICES — Would allow Florida youngsters to remain in foster care until age 21. — Will give foster parents more freedom to make decisions for the children they take care of, such as joining sports teams and going on school field trips. Foster parents will also be able to teach teenagers in their care how to drive. — Would ban the use of welfare recipients' electronic cash cards at “adult entertainment establishments” like strip clubs and casinos. HEALTH — Will expand the drug-prescribing powers of optometrists. — Would require medical care for newborns who survive botched abortions. — Would require health insurers to provide the same level of coverage for cancer treatments given orally as those drugs administered intravenously. CONSUMERS — Would make it easier to evict tenants if they only pay partial rent or if they break rules like parking in the wrong spot or having an unauthorized pet twice in a year. — Would legalize wine barrels that hold just more than five gallons. — Would create a new “clearinghouse” designed to steer homeowners to accept private insurers instead of having them obtain coverage through Citizens Property Insurance. It would also phases in over three years a $700,000 cap on the value of homes that can be insured by Citizens. MISCELLANEOUS — Would allow the state to seek restitution for property and money Germany's Nazi government took from Holocaust victims during World War II. — Would create a public records exemption for the names of spouses and children of law enforcement officers. — Would make sure Floridians have the right to be heard at local government and state agency meetings. — Would shield charities from having to return money they took in good faith from people later revealed to be scam artists.
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