Legislature 2014

Florida Legislature 2014: What passed and what failed

 
 
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Voicing out:</span> University of South Florida student Jared Hoey demonstrates at the Capitol Monday.
Voicing out: University of South Florida student Jared Hoey demonstrates at the Capitol Monday.
Steve Cannon / AP

By Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau staff

A list of some of the major and minor bills that passed and failed in the 2014 session. Bills must be approved by Gov. Rick Scott to become the law of the land.

Business

BEER GROWLERS (FAILED): Authorizes the sale of malt beverages in 64-ounce containers known as growlers. (HB 283/ SB 406)

CRAFT BEER (FAILED): Eases container restrictions for craft breweries, but requires larger breweries to use established distributorships to sell beer for home consumption. (SB 1714)

GREYHOUND RACING (FAILED): Requires greyhound tracks to report racing injuries. (HB 933/SB 742)

AMUSEMENT ARCADES (FAILED): Allows amusement machines at entertainment arcades to accept tokens or “swipe cards,” would raise the value of prizes from 75 cents to $5.75. (HB 688/SB 945)

GAMBLING (FAILED): An attempt to streamline the state’s gambling laws and allow for the creation of a state Gaming Commission. (HB 1383)

UNEMPLOYMENT (PASSED): Ends skills test requirement for Floridians applying for unemployment benefits. (HB 7023)

WAGE THEFT (FAILED): Pre-empts counties from regulating wage theft and outlines how claims can be resolved. (HB 957/SB 926)

Criminal justice

SEXUAL BATTERY (SIGNED INTO LAW): Increases penalties for sexual battery and lewd or lascivious offenses against children and increases the minimum mandatory sentence for dangerous sexual felony offenders to 50 years. (SB 526)

SEXUAL PREDATORS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Creates a process for the potential civil commitment of sexual predators sentenced to jail time. (SB 522)

SEXUAL PREDATORS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Creates enhanced standards and training for multidisciplinary teams that determine whether a convicted sexual offender is a sexually violent predator. (SB 524)

SEXUAL PREDATORS (SIGNED INTO LAW): Requires sexual predators and offenders to provide a wide range of identifying information when they register for monitoring. (SB 528)

PEDESTRIAN SAFETY (PASSED): Increases penalties for drivers who leave the scene of a crash involving pedestrian injury or death. (SB 102)

HUMAN TRAFFICKING (PASSED): Provides new guidelines for assessing victims, a statewide safe house network and specialized treatment of victims. (HB 7141)

HUMAN TRAFFICKING (PASSED): Prohibits the employment of minors in adult theaters and eliminates the statute of limitations for prosecutions under a specified human trafficking provision. (HB 989)

Environment, energy

SOLAR ENERGY (FAILED): Proposed constitutional amendment allowing tax breaks to businesses that install solar panels. (HB 825/SB 916)

SPRINGS (FAILED): Requires water management district to identify certain springs for protection and toughens standards. (HB 1313/SB 1576)

CITIZEN SUPPORT GROUPS (PASSED): Establishes reporting requirements for citizen support organizations and direct support organizations, such as Friends of Florida State Parks. (SB 1194)

SHARKS (FAILED): Increases penalties for fishermen caught in possession of fins cut off of sharks. (HB 449/SB 540)

Ethics and elections

ELECTIONS (FAILED): Creates online voter registration system by 2015. (HB 667/SB 784)

ETHICS (PASSED): Allows Commission on Ethics to initiate some cases, requires lobbyists at water management districts to register and disclose fees, requires ethics training for local officials. (SB 846)

RESIDENCY (FAILED): Requires state and local candidates for public office to adhere to new residency requirements. (HB 571/SB 602)

General government

BUDGET (PASSED): A $77.1 billion budget, providing an $11 million pay increase for law enforcement and $10.9 million increase for assistant state attorneys and public defenders. Also $20 billion in education funding, including $6,937.23 spending per K-12 student, $10.1 billion Department of Transportation budget and no tuition increases for university students. (HB 5001)

PENSION REFORM (FAILED) Steers new public employees away from defined benefit pension plan and toward private investment plans. (HB 7181/SB 1114).

Guns

WARNING SHOT (PASSED): Provides “stand your ground” immunity to people who fire a warning shot or threaten force; allows for expunging of court records for those who have charges dropped in “stand your ground” cases. (HB 89)

POP TART (PASSED): Prevents children who play with simulated weapons in school from facing suspension or expulsion. (HB 7029)

GUNS IN SCHOOLS (FAILED): Enables superintendents or principals to designate school employees who can carry concealed weapons on school campuses. (HB 753/SB 968)

Health care

MEDICAL MARIJUANA (PASSED): Legalizes use of a non-euphoric strain of marijuana for medical purposes. Use would be limited to registered patients with doctor’s approval for chronic seizures, muscle spasms and cancer. (SB 1030)

ABORTION (PASSED): Bans abortions if a doctor has determined a fetus is viable, replacing the state's existing ban on third-trimester elective abortions. (HB 1047)

FETAL INJURY (PASSED): Makes it a separate crime to kill or injure a fetus at any stage of development. (HB 59)

ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES (FAILED): Tightens ALF oversight, standardizes fines and sets up rating system for homes. Requires special license if one or more residents have mental health issues. (HB 573/SB 248)

E-CIGARETTES (PASSED): Bans the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors and allows local governments to keep ordinances restricting sales. (SB 224)

MEDICAID EXPANSION (FAILED): Provides health insurance to poor Floridians using federal Medicaid expansion dollars under the Affordable Care Act. (HB 869/SB 710)

Higher education

IMMIGRANT TUITION (PASSED): Allows undocumented students who attended high school in Florida to pay in-state tuition rates at state colleges and universities. (HB 851)

UNIVERSITY TUITION (PASSED): No automatic tuition increases tied to inflation. Only Florida State University and University of Florida can request additional tuition increases, up to 6 percent, from the Board of Governors. (HB 851)

PREPAID TUITION (PASSED): Changes to the Florida Prepaid College Program reduces the cost of new plans and may result in refunds to families already in the program. (HB 851)

MIAMI DADE COLLEGE (FAILED): Allows a voter-approved half-penny sales tax in Miami-Dade County to support building projects at Miami Dade College and Florida International University. (HB 113/SB 66)

Insurance

FLOOD INSURANCE (PASSED): Expands the state's private flood-insurance market by allowing homeowners to buy smaller policies in an effort to find lower-cost options than the National Flood Insurance Program. (SB 542)

SURPLUS LINES (FAILED): Allows Citizens Property Insurance customers to select an unregulated "surplus lines carrier" when their policy is up for renewal. (HB 1109/SB 1672).

Public records

ACCESS TO RECORDS (FAILED): Improves public access by, among other things, clarifying that records requests need not be in writing; allows attorneys seeking records to be paid for time spent negotiating for fees. (HB 1151/SB 1648)

TAX NOTICES (FAILED): Exempts from disclosure email addresses of taxpayers used by tax collectors to send tax notices. (HB 421/SB 538)

TRAFFIC RECORDS (FAILED): Provides public records exemption for images obtained by red light cameras. (HB 555/SB 1476)

PreK-12 education

SCHOOL GRADES (PASSED): Simplifies school grading formula. (SB 1642)

CONSTRUCTION (PASSED): Shifts a portion of the sales tax on energy into the Public Education Capital Outlay trust fund, which supports school maintenance and construction. (HB 5601)

VOUCHERS (PASSED): Expands the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program by creating partial scholarships for children from higher-income families and removing some barriers to participation. (SB 850)

SAVINGS ACCOUNTS (PASSED): Establishes “personal learning scholarship accounts” which can be used to reimburse the parents of special-needs students for education expenses. (SB 850)

COMMON CORE (FAILED): Blocks Florida from moving forward with the Common Core State Standards. (HB 25/SB 1316)

Social services

CHILD WELFARE (PASSED): Requires protection of children as paramount concern of state, requires immediate investigations of child deaths, emphasizes keeping siblings together, seeks to improve the quality of child abuse investigations, creates a consortium of social work schools to advise the state and creates a new criminal offense for the unlawful desertion of a child. (SB 1666)

NURSING HOME SUITS (PASSED): Helps shield nursing home investors from lawsuits in cases of abuse or neglect. (SB 670)

FOSTER CHILDREN (PASSED): Pays for training and fees associated with foster children getting driver’s licenses and auto insurance. (HB 977)

STATE OMBUDSMAN PROGRAM (FAILED): Eliminates local district councils and monthly public meetings; revises powers of ombudsman to investigate complaints. (HB 91/SB 508)

Taxes

TAX CUTS (PASSED): Gives tax breaks for school supplies, hurricane supplies, youth bike helmets, medicinal pet food and college meal plans that next year will cost the state $105 million and local governments $27 million. (HB 5601)

STADIUM FUNDING (PASSED): Enables professional sports franchises to compete for new sales tax subsidies to help fund stadium construction and renovations. (HB 7095)

FILM INCENTIVES (FAILED): Expands the entertainment industry incentive program, which provides tax credits to film and television projects based in Florida. (HB 983/SB 1640)

Transportation

TAG FEES (SIGNED INTO LAW): Reduces some car and truck tag fees to pre-2009 levels, saving typical motorist $25 a year. (SB 156)

SPEED LIMITS (PASSED): Allows state to increase speed limit from 70 mph to 75 mph on interstate highways. (SB 392)

RED LIGHT CAMERAS (FAILED): Repeals state laws authorizing the use of red light cameras in intersections. (HB 4009/SB 144)

MIAMI-DADE EXPRESSWAY AUTHORITY (FAILED): An effort to reshape the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority and require the county commission to sign off on toll hikes. (HB 353/SB 772)

MOTORIST POLICY (PASSED): Reduces driver’s license suspensions for minor offenses; requires motorists on left-hand lane to move to the right when overtaken from the rear; requires motorists to move over when approaching a parked utility or sanitation vehicle. (HB 7005)

Miscellaneous

CHARITIES (PASSED): Creates stricter reporting requirements for groups that solicit charitable donations and requires criminal background checks for telemarketers employed by them. (HB 629)

IMMIGRANT LAWYER (PASSED): Allows noncitizen with a Florida law degree to practice law in the state for the first time. (HB 755)

FOREIGN LAW (PASSED): Asserts that foreign law can’t be applied in family courts if the foreign law goes against Florida and U.S. public policy. (SB 386)

PARASAILING (PASSED): Requires boat operators to carry liability insurance of $1 million to $2 million and restricts weather conditions for taking clients aloft. (SB 320)

MINORS MARRIAGE (FAILED): Makes it illegal for anyone under 16 to get married. (HB 1279/SB 1498)

LEGISLATIVE SESSION (PASSED): Changes the start date of the 2016 legislative session from March to January. (HB 9)

Herald/Times staff writers Steve Bousquet, Mary Ellen Klas, Rochelle Koff, Kathleen McGrory, Tia Mitchell and Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report.

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