TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — A series of new laws will hit the books Friday after being passed during the legislative session that ended in April. Many new laws took effect July 1, the start of the state fiscal year.
Topping the list is a bill (HB 1080) that creates a state regulatory framework for the sale of electronic cigarettes. Among other things, the bill will raise the state’s legal age to vape and smoke tobacco to 21, a threshold already established in federal law.
House bill sponsor Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, said before the measure was approved that it was “necessary to stop youth vaping.”
But it drew opposition from prominent health groups, in part because it will prevent local regulations on such things as the marketing and sale of vaping products and tobacco.
Groups including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association unsuccessfully implored Gov. Ron DeSantis to veto the measure.
“By blocking the power of elected officials at the local level to protect kids — and failing to take any meaningful action at the state level — we risk another generation addicted to deadly tobacco products and the illness and premature death that come as a result,” the groups said.
Among the other new laws taking effect Friday:
— Child welfare (SB 80): The measure makes wide-ranging 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.
— 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): The 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 measure, in part, 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.
— Written threats (HB 921): The bill expands and updates laws about written threats and cyberstalking, including threats involving mass shootings or terrorism.
— Corporate espionage (HB 1523): The measure, in part, 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.
(©2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)