What You Need to Know About Florida’s 159 New Laws

What You Need to Know About Florida's 159 New Laws

On July 1, 2016, 159 new laws went into effect in Florida. Do you know how they affect you? You can view the entire list of new laws that have gone into effect in Florida this year at the State Library and Archives of Florida — and we welcome you to read on for a brief on some of the most pertinent new laws.


Passed by a combined vote of 159-1, the $82.3 billion budget includes more than $700 million for school construction and $203.8 million for Everglades restoration.


Under the new Florida law, school districts are required to review their anti-bullying and harassment policies every three years. Additionally, schools must integrate rules on dating violence and abuse into discipline policies.

Chloe’s Law

“Chloe’s law” is named after a UCF student who died last summer when she crashed into a retention pond and drowned in Orlando. Under “Chloe’s law,” the Florida Department of Transportation is required to look into every body of water where a fatal accident has occurred and evaluate if a barrier needs to be installed to prevent drivers from veering into ponds, lakes, and canals.

Crime and Punishment

Under the new Florida law SB228, persons convicted of aggravated assault or attempted aggravated assault are no longer subject to “10-20-Life” mandatory minimum sentences.

Digital Assets

Guardians or trustees of estates can now gain legal authority to manage digital assets and electronic communications as they would tangible assets and financial accounts. Digital companies are now provided the legal authority to interact with these representatives. This means digital companies will be allowed to reveal information including things like passwords to accounts.


Any food contests or cook-offs lasting no more than three days and hosted by a school, church, religious organization, or nonprofit will not be defined as “public food service establishments.” As a result, these groups will not have to pay licensing fees and will not be subject to an inspection by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants.

Gabby’s Law for Student Safety

Under HB 41, which is also known as “Gabby’s Law for Student Safety,” how “hazardous walking conditions” are identified and handled has been revised. The law now allows school district superintendents to make formal requests to government agencies with jurisdiction over roads to correct the hazards. In return, the government agencies now must include the work in their next annual five-year capital improvements programs or explain why the appropriate corrections aren’t being planned.


SB 186, ends the state’s prohibition on brewers being able to fill 64-ounce beer containers known as “growlers” for off-site consumption. The law limits cup sizes to 3.5 ounces for beer tastings and caps the number of vendor licenses that can be issued to a brewer. The law ends the use of the tourism exemption for on-site alcohol sales that brewers have been operating under since 1963.

Jury Duty

Individuals who are permanently incapable of caring for themselves may request a permanent exemption from jury duty by submitting a written statement from a doctor verifying their disability.


Clergy with religious objections do not have to marry same-sex couples and now have state backing for their beliefs.

Needle Exchange

In an effort to prevent the spread of blood-borne diseases like AID, HIV, and hepatitis, the Miami-Dade Infectious Disease Elimination Act has established a pilot needle exchange program.


As of July 1, there are new fines for illegally killing, taking, or selling game or fur-bearing animals. The fines for these crimes have increased from $250 to $500, with the punishment of knowingly possessing marine turtles, their eggs, or their nest increasing to a third-degree felony.

Police Ticket Quotas

If you’ve ever found yourself in the speed trap that was nestled along U.S. 301 in the small North Florida city of Waldo, we’ve got good news for you. Now, under SB 264, local law-enforcement agencies cannot use ticket quotas. The law also requires individual local governments to submit reports to the Legislature if traffic ticket revenues cover more than 33 percent of the total costs of operating their departments.

Rape Kits

Under SB 636, the state now requires local law enforcement agencies to submit sexual assault evidence, also known as rape kits, to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement within 30 days of the beginning of their investigation.


Homeowners with elevators must have clearing requirements and be equipped with a sensor device that prevents operation if certain objects are detected.

School Choice

Students now have the choice to transfer to any state school with available space. Student athletes are immediately eligible to play as long as they have not joined practices in the same sport at their previous school. In addition, students with parents in the military who transfer schools for economic or legal reasons are immediately eligible in season so long as they have not been suspended or expelled.

Contact Clark Hartpence Law With Any Legal Questions

Want to learn more about the new Florida laws? Need an experienced attorney to help guide you through a trying time? The legal team at Clark Hartpence Law is here to help. We offer free consultations and will review your information and contact you shortly.

If you are ready to get started, call us at (855) 680-4911 or schedule a free consultation.

Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.