New Florida laws go into effect July 1

Medical marijuana, ride-sharing bills included

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor

Florida Legislature.

Come Saturday, 125 new Florida laws will go into effect.

The laws include statewide regulations to ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft, open religious expression at public schools, the state's $82 billion budget, revisions regarding the public notification of toxic spills and more.

Some laws, such as the one that would expand the state's homestead property tax exemption by $25,000, still require approval from voters in the November 2018 election.

Below is a list of some of the laws Floridians can expect to see on the books come Saturday.

Medical marijuana
Medical marijuana can be used by Floridians, but it can only be consumed or vaped, not smoked. SB-8A also eliminates the 90-day waiting period before a physician can prescribe medical marijuana to a patient and outlines the requirements to qualify as a caregiver for someone who uses medical marijuana. Read SB-8A in its entirety here.

Transportation
“Transportation network companies,” such as Uber and Lyft, will now be required to abide by state laws regarding insurance. Companies will need to ensure that drivers do not abuse drugs or alcohol, do not have certain criminal convictions and are able to pass a background check. Read more about the HB 221 here

Several roadways across the state will be renamed to honor fallen law enforcement officers and first responders. State Road 438 between John Young Parkway and Pine Hills Road in Orange County will be designated as Lieutenant Debra Clayton Memorial Highway. County Road 431/Pine Hills Road between Silver Star Road and State Road 50 in Orange County will be renamed to First Class Deputy Norman Lewis Memorial Highway. Read more about SB 368 here.

State budget
The General Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2017-2018, which begins July 1, 2017, and ends June 30, 2018, allots the state's $82.4 billion budget to include education expenses, compensation for state workers, health services, criminal justice and other state-run operations. See how the money in SB 2500 is being distributed here.

Education
A sweeping education bill assigns more money from public schools to charter schools and mandates 20 minutes of "consecutive free-play recess" for students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The bill also revises test requirements. Read HB 7069 in its entirety here.

The Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act requires that schools not discriminate against students, parents or school personnel on the basis of religion or religious expression. Read SB 436 in its entirety here

More information on the bills going into effect is available here

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