New year, new laws: What new Florida laws take effect Jan. 1, 2021?


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida will have a new set of laws taking effect in the new year.

While five state laws will take effect this week, only three are from this year’s legislative session. A total of 206 bills were approved during the 2020 session. Gov. Ron DeSantis signed 201 of them into law and most took effect on either July 1 or Oct. 1 of this year.

Among measures from previous years’ sessions is one that aims to prevent public officials from abusing their authority to benefit either themselves or a family member.

One of the most widely discussed measures from 2018 is an Amendment that will close greyhound racing facilities on Dec. 31 of this year.

School Buses (HB 37)Increases penalties for motorists who drive improperly when buses are stopped to load and unload children. This bill increases the minimum penalty for motorists who fail to stop for school buses from $100 to $200 and will double the minimum penalty for motorists who pass stopped school buses on the side where children enter and exit from $200 to $400.
Insurance (SB 292)Prohibits insurance carriers from charging fees for preparing or providing single loss-run statements. This bill also requires insurance carriers to provide a “loss run statement” within 15 days of a written request from policyholders.
Elections (HB 1005) Requires testing of voting equipment to occur at least 25 days before the start of early voting, correcting a provision that had voting systems being tested for accuracy after the canvassing of vote-by-mail ballots had begun.

Minimum wage, another hot topic in 2020, will increase nine cents from $8.56 in January because of a 2004 constitutional amendment that allowed increases to grow in relation to cost-of-living changes.

The 2020 legislation to incrementally increase the minimum wage, however, does not begin to impact Floridians until Sept. 20, 2021.


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