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Five New Florida Laws

Erich Martin
Credit Erich Martin

This Saturday more than 100 new laws go into effect in Florida. Here's a look at five.

Student Loan Info

One new Florida law could be good news for students heading off to college. It requires universities to give kids a better idea of what they’re committing to when they take out students loans. Jacksonville Republican Senator Aaron Bean says it’s the same kind of information a person gets when taking out a loan for a house.

“You are given notice of the cost of that money—the true cost of that money, which is called a truth in lending statement. It’s what the government requires lenders to provide you to what the actual interest rate is to what the cost will be, what your loan payments will be. And that works out great because then you can make a sound decision,” Bean says.

Under the new rule, students will get information about their loans each school-year.

Cottage Industry Expansion

Small scale bakers, may need another set of cookie sheets or pie pans. A new law expands the so called “cottage food industry.”  Brandon Republican Senator Tom Lee explains.

“These are foods with a very low health safety risk that can be stored at room temperature including breads, cookies, honey and all those other fattening things,” Lee says.

Under the provision cottage food operator can now earn up to 50-thousand dollars through their business and still be able to enjoy certain permitting exemptions. The measure also allows those with a cottage food business to sell their goods over the internet—so long as they’re delivered in person.

Newborn Screening

Another new law seeks to protect Florida’s newest residents. It expands the medical screening requirements for newborns and gives the Florida Department of Health about a year-and-a-half to adopt new standards. Plantation Democratic Senator Lauren Book is behind the measure.

“The Florida newborn screening program currently screens for 31 core conditions and 22 secondary conditions, for a total of 53,” Book says.

Book’s legislation would expand that number to include any condition on a federal screening list that is recommended by a group called the Genetics and Newborn Screening Advisory Council.

Pollution Reporting

A new law requires companies to give notice of a spill to the Department of Environmental Protection within 24 hours of discovery. The DEP will then be required to post information about the spill online. Environmentalists are celebrating the move. Susan Glickman says it’s important for Floridians to know what’s going on.

Let’s get the information out in the open and get at the root cause of these problems. Because this has an impact on our public health—those of us that live here locally. It also hurts our biggest industry in the state, which is tourism,” Glickman says.

Glickman hopes encouraging industries to talk more about pollution, will help lead to a reduction in the problem.

Sea Turtle Protection

Here’s one more law to help out Florida’s environment. Sea turtles are getting increased protections under a new rule that gives judges more leeway when assigning a sentence for illegal possession of the animal.

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