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Altamonte Springs Police Department
Tuesday September 21st, 2010 :: 02:15 p.m. EDT

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Florida enacts over 250 new laws in 2010, see email for full story.

Today’s Nixle article comes from a recommendation from one of our readers named Sheila, who made the point that citizens are held accountable for new laws but generally are not educated on what these laws are. Great point Sheila!

This year over 250 new laws were enacted by Florida Legislators. Most laws became effective on July 1, 2010, however some may take effect earlier or later in the year. Today I will highlight a few of the most interesting.

To begin with, Florida law now empowers homeowners’ associations to evict a renter if their landlord neglects to pay the HOA fees. Renters are provided the option to pay the fee for the landlord however if they choose not to the eviction process may begin overruling any current lease.

Gamblers may soon be rolling in the dough or visiting the ATM machine more often depending on lady luck. Effective July 1, 2010, no limit poker became legal in Florida which removed the $100 maximum buy-in and the $5 maximum bet rule. The new bill also allows card rooms to be open 18 hours a day Monday through Friday, and 24 hours on the weekends.

Owners of shops that sell “bongs” or smoking pipes may be incarcerated if less than 75% of their revenue comes from tobacco, cigar or cigarette sales.

Anyone who facilitates underage drinking would be subject to a first-degree misdemeanor on the second offense. Tougher sanctions are aimed at cutting underage drinking. According to a 2007, survey nearly half (48%) of high school seniors in Florida reported drinking alcohol within the previous month of the survey.

Safe for the little ears - Florida law now prohibits district school boards and their employees from taking proactive measures, including making agreements that infringe or waive “the rights or freedoms afforded to instructional personnel, school staff, or students by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. The version of the bill signed into law by Governor Crist will prevent school officials from interfering in the religious expression of students and school employees at events. However, it would not authorize official, organized school prayer, religious expression, or recognition of God at events such as sports events and student assemblies.

"Help I've fallen and can't get up!" A new law changes the standard of proof for “slip and fall” lawsuits against businesses. Now, in order to sue a business in these types of cases one must prove the owners had “actual or constructive knowledge” of the spill in order to win.

Concerned by reports of pythons beginning to take over the Florida wild, the Legislature cracked down on the sale and ownership of pythons and other “reptiles of concern,” essentially banning them except in limited cases. The measure also encourages the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to update the list, including the possibility of adding iguanas or other reptiles to that list. The law is aimed largely at pythons and other large snakes that have gotten loose in Florida.

Businesses that automatically renew their contracts with customers must clearly notify a customer at the time he or she signs up of the renewals agreement. Businesses must also remind customers of the renewal at least a month before it takes effect.

Lawmakers are trying to rein in runaway costs of Bright Futures Scholarships, funded by Lottery revenues. There are a projected 182,000 Bright Futures recipients next year, compared with 140,000 five years ago. The state budgeted $437 million for the program. New laws now make it tougher to get a Bright Futures merit-based scholarship by raising ACT and SAT requirements. Students using Bright Futures money also will have five years rather than seven to complete their undergraduate studies.

The amount of state taxes residents pay when they sell their homes through short sales has been lowered by a new law if the sale price is less than the outstanding debt. The state will not collect taxes on the canceled debt, or the difference between the sale price and what is owed on the house.

Florida law now eliminates the statute of limitations for criminal or civil cases related to sexual abuse of children 16 or younger. Certain sex crimes against children 12 to 16 previously had a three-year statute of limitations.

Whose George Washington? Effective 2012 a new law requires sixth-grade students to take a course in civics education. The class must teach students about the different levels and branches of government and historic documents such as the U.S. Constitution.

Businesses and individuals who owe the state back taxes can pay up without penalties and get a 50 percent discount on interest fees for a three-month amnesty period beginning July 1, 2010. The state anticipates recouping $83 million in the three months. The last tax amnesty in Florida was in 2003.

What's up doc? Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton has been approved as the states 6th stand-alone medical school. The others are the University of Florida, Florida State University, the University of Miami, University of Central Florida and Florida International University.

To view a complete list, please visit the following website: http://laws.flrules.org/.

Have a great day!

Address/Location
Altamonte Springs Police Department
175 Newburyport Ave
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 407-339-2441

Lt Darin Farber
COPS Section
dwfarber@altamonte.org
407-571-8290

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