New Laws Take Effect in Florida Today


TALLAHASSEE (970 WFLA) -- More than a hundred new laws take effect in Florida today (Sunday, July 1). 

They include a controversial school safety package approved in the aftermath of the Parkland massacre. It raises the minimum age to buy a firearm to 21 and imposes a three day waiting period. It also requires armed guards at public schools. But the National Rifle Association says Florida's new law goes too far and they're already working to overturn it in court and repeal it in the state legislature.

There's a new limit on marriage by minors. That change was championed by Sherry Johnson of Tampa, who told lawmakers she was forced to marry the man who raped her so he could avoid criminal charges. Johnson wanted lawmakers to ban child marriage completely by raising the minimum age to 18, but they didn't. There's a loophole that allows 17 year olds to get married as long as their partner is no more than 2 years older.

One of them is designed to crack down on opioid abuse. Governor Rick Scott says the legislation includes tougher limits on most painkiller prescriptions. More than 100 new laws will take effect in Florida on Sunday and one of them is designed to crack down on opioid abuse. Governor Rick Scott says the legislation includes tougher limits on most painkiller prescriptions. Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran (R-Land O'Lakes) says there's also more money for drug treatment. Opioid overdoses kill an average of 16 Floridians every day. 

Starting today, there's a law requiring Florida courts to adopt a program allowing police to issue civil citations instead of arresting kids for minor offenses. Dewey Caruthers runs a think tank in Saint Petersburg and says these diversion programs make a big difference. Caruthers says Monroe, Miami-Dade and Pinellas counties are leading the state in programs designed to keep kids from entering the criminal justice system.

One of those laws won't have any impact for the time being. The state legislature voted to put Florida on year-round daylight saving time. But the feds control the clock, and nothing will change unless Congress takes action to amend the Uniform Time Act to allow states to spring forward and not fall back. 


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