A Review Of The 2012 Legislative Session
Below is a brief summary of some of the bills that were passed by the 114th session of the Florida Legislature and some that did not pass this session.
Some of the Bills that Passed: (Must be signed into law by Governor Scott before they become law)
- Septic Tank Inspection: The legislature repealed a 2010 law requiring inspection of septic tanks every 5 yrs.
- Budget: The legislature passed a $70 billion budget with no new taxes, giving $1billion more for public schools, providing for 5000 fewer state jobs ( half in Dept. of Corrections) ; Reducing State Medicaid payments to Hospitals and nursing homes by $350 million, Cutting $300 million from state universities; Cutting county clerks budget by $31 million ( 7%).
- Personal Injury reform: HB 119 Effective October 1, 2012 Auto accident fraud , passes by a 21-19 senate vote
Retains $10,000 minimum coverage, lost wages and funeral benefit
Changes to No fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Law
A. Bases coverage of severity of injury according to medical professional assessment in hospital emergency department or going to specified providers within 14 days. Does NOT cap attorneys fees in individual disputes
B. 30 day delay in payment if fraud suspected
C. Must submit to examination under oath or presumption of fraud
D. Treatment by Chiropractors covered only upon referral
- Caylee’s Bill: Increases maximum punishment for lying to a police officer about a missing child from one year to five years in prison.
- School Prayer: Allows school boards to permit student led prayer in public schools
- Vouchers: Raises tax Credit cap, allows children from low income families to receive scholarships to private schools SB 962, HB 859
- Annual back to School tax Holiday
- Lakeland Polytechnic is 12th university in FL, split from USF (allocated $39 million from budget)
- Allows Universities to increase tuition SB 1752 HB 7129
- Timeshares: Increases penalties for fraud in timeshare sales
- Random drug Testing: Allows State agencies to randomly drug test up to 10% of workforce every 3 months SB 1358 HB 1205Flashing Lights; Allows motorists to flash headlights to oncoming drivers HB 1223
- Highway Safety: Shortens time from 30 to 14 days to provide proof of insurance after accident or other events SB 1122 HB 1223
- Human trafficking: increases penalties for human smugglers and those who traffic in minors and puts them on sexual predator’s list
- Anti-Shackling: SB 524 Prohibits restraints on pregnant prisoners during labor and after delivery except in rare cases
- Task force to investigate the effect of abuse on prescription drugs on newborns
- Transition emails: Requires Governor elect and 4 other top state officials to save emails during their transition to power
- Testing of Autonomous automobiles on state roads. (sought by Google which is developing driverless cars )
- Constitutional amendment to allow counties and cities to reduce property taxes for poor seniors
- Constitutional Amendment to eliminate property taxes for spouses of veterans of first responders killed in the line of duty ( Fallen Heros Bill)_ SJR 1056 HJR 93
Tax Relief Bills for Businesses:
- 1. Unemployment Compensation System renamed “Re employment Assistance”, $800 million in tax relief to businesses by lowering the unemployment tax rate businesses pay into the system SB 1416 HB 7027
- 2. Removes some continuing education requirements and decriminalizes violation of agency rues for barbers, auctioneers, and other state regulated professionals
- 3. $1.5 billion tax credit to insurance companies that provide financing for Hurricane Catastrophe Fund
- 4. Tax incentives for investment in renewable energy development
- 5. Exempts the first 50,000 dollars of a company’s profits from the state’s corporate income tax.
Some Bills that Failed to Pass this Session:
- Alimony changes
- Florida Fair Foreclosure Act SB 1890 HB 213
- On Line Notices of foreclosure instead of publication
- Employee tips: proposed reduction in minimum wage for tip earners
- E Verify: required every employer to use e verify to prove workers not illegal immigrants
- Driving and Texting; punishable as a secondary offense
- Destination Resort Casinos: Plan to bring 2 $3billion resort casinos to S. Florida
- Internet Cafés: slot machine look a likes. House passed to ban, Senate to regulate
- Public Meetings: Public reasonable opportunity to speak at public meetings
- Parent Trigger: Parents at low performing schools could demand change to charter (tie vote so bill failed)
- Abortion bill: 24 hr. waiting period, clinics owned only by Drs., ethic training for Drs.
- Super homestead: constitutional amendment for up to additional $600 million in property tax exemptions.
- Property insurance: shift thousands of customers from state Citizen’s to unregulated co
- Shrink FL’s insurance safety net fund that helps keep premiums down
- Prohibiting Judge’s from using foreign law in divorce and family law disputes
Sherri K. DeWitt
DeWitt law Firm, P.A.
March 10, 2012