New laws passed during this spring’s legislative session are set to hit the books on Friday. “Minimum wage workers will receive a boost in pay,” says Ellsworth Buck, Vice President of GreatFlorida Insurance, Florida’s top independent homeowners insurance agency.
Minimum wage will increase from $8.65 to $10 and hour. It will continue to increase until 2026 when it reaches $15 and hour.
Other new laws taking effect include the following:
- Child welfare (SB 80): This measure makes comprehensive changes in the child-welfare system on issues such as out-of-home placement, steps for reinstatement of parental rights and the process for transitioning youths out of foster care.
- Child safety (SB 252): The bill creates the “Child Safety Alarm Act,” which requires vehicles used by child-care facilities to be equipped with alarm systems that prompt drivers to ensure no children remain on board when the vehicles are parked.
- Tobacco and nicotine products (SB1080): This bill raises the minimum age to purchase and possess tobacco and nicotine products from 18 to 21. There is an exemption for those in the military and people who are doing so for employment. Smoking and vaping near or on school property is also illegal for anyone under 21.
- Crime Stoppers (HB 363): The bill makes it a third-degree felony to disclose protected communications provided to a Crime Stoppers organization.
- Specialty tags (SB 676): This measure makes a series of changes involving specialty license plates, including establishing an “Army of Occupation” design for veterans who served overseas in wars between May 9, 1945, and October 2, 1990.
- DNA (HB 833): The bill, partly, defines DNA samples as “exclusive property” of people submitting the samples and limits the use of the DNA for criminal databases unless people provide “express consent” for analysis. It restricts the use of DNA.
- Written threats (HB 921): The measure expands and updates laws about written threats and cyberstalking, including threats involving mass shootings or terrorism.
- Corporate espionage (HB 1523): The measure, partially, creates second-degree felony charges for “trafficking in trade secrets,” with the charges bumped to first-degree felonies if the trafficking is aimed at benefiting foreign governments.
All the 2021 laws signed by Gov. DeSantis can be found at the Florida Department of State. The new laws go into effect on Friday, October 1, 2021.