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NEW LAWS IN FLORIDA

The Tampa Tribune reported on the approximately 160 New Laws taking effect tomorrow - Wednesday, July 1, 2009, here in Florida.  Here's a short summary from the article:

"Cigarette tax increases by $1 per pack."

"Zero tolerance" school rules get more specific. Public schools do not have to report instances of "petty" misdemeanors -- like stealing lunch money or toilet-papering the gym – to law enforcement."

"Boosting sex offender registry requirements. Sex offenders and predators will have to provide home and cell phone numbers when they register with law enforcement.   Those convicted of traveling to meet and engage a minor in illegal sexual activity will have to register as a sexual predator or offender."

"Child advocates can intervene in divorce proceedings. A court can now appoint a guardian ad litem advocate to look after the interests of a child in a nasty divorce case, even if there is no evidence or allegation of abuse."

"More drug-addicted offenders can go into treatment instead of prison. The state makes substance abuse treatment an option for more nonviolent offenders with substance abuse problems, including those charged with violating probation solely due to failing a drug test."

The Tampa Tribune article also reported on laws that recently took effect:
"Increased court filing fees. On June 1, the cost of filing a civil suit in circuit court increased from $295 to $395. Exceptions: child abuse, domestic violence, divorce, custody, child support and paternity cases, which remain at $295."

"Click it or ticket." That slogan from the National Highway Safety Administration takes on new meaning today in Florida, where not wearing a seat belt becomes a primary offense. Previously, police could write a ticket for that offense only if they pulled you over for something deemed more serious, like speeding. Now they can pull you over and write a citation just for not wearing the belt."

These will take effect later this year:
"Pay more for a driver's license. Starting Sept. 1, new Class E licenses will cost $48 instead of $27; renewals will cost $48 instead of $20. Replacing a license will cost $25, up from $10. Reinstating a suspended license will cost $45, up from $35. Reinstating a revoked license will cost $75, up from $60."
"Pay more to register a car. Also starting Sept. 1, initial car registrations will cost $225 instead of $100. The price of renewals will increase as well, from $46.10 for most vehicles to $71.15. Certificates of title will cost $70 instead of $24."

"Tougher penalties for ignoring school buses. Effective Oct.1, the $100-$200 penalty for failing to stop for a school bus rises by $65."

"Conservation vehicle tags cost more. Also on Oct. 1, the Conserve Wildlife license plate will cost $25 instead of $15, and the Save the Manatee plate will cost $25 instead of $20. The extra charge will support wildlife conservation and research programs."

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