Governor Scott signed the following bills into law on May 23rd:
HUMAN TRAFFICKING Senate Bill 852, sponsored by Senator Rene Garcia (R-Hialeah), expands the definition of human trafficking, as well as strengthens the prosecution of persons committing commercial sexual exploitation of children. Both chambers passed the bill unanimously.
SHARK FINS While shark finning (removing a shark’s fin and dumping the rest of the shark back in the water) was prohibited in Florida back in 1992, and in the United States in 2000, this bill codifies the prohibition against it and prohibits the possession of a shark fin that has been separated from a shark. A first time offense will be punishable by up to sixty days in jail, a $4,500 fine and a six-month suspension of the offender’s fishing license.
STATE PARK FEES This bill allows foster and adoptive families to pay a discounted entrance fee to Florida State Parks.
COTTAGE FOOD This bill will increase the maximum annual gross sales limit of cottage foods from $15,000 to $50,000 in order for cottage operations to maintain an exemption from food and building permits. It will also expand cottage food sales to the internet, as long as the items are delivered in person directly to the consumer or to a specific event venue. Cottage food items include homemade breads, jams, candy and honey that are typically found at a farmer’s market.
Bills that passed this legislative session include:
CHILD WELFARE This comprehensive child welfare bill expands grounds for termination of parental rights in protecting child from threats to their safety; creates a definition of “legal father;” requires a court to determine whether each parent has engaged in conduct that places the child at substantial risk of imminent abuse, abandonment, or neglect; and requires the Department of Children and Families to add a child to a current investigation and assess that child’s safety when he or she is born into or moves into a household with an active investigation.
GRIEVING FAMILIES ACT This bill allows for the issuance of a certificate of nonviable birth for miscarriages between nine and twenty weeks of gestation.
POLLUTION The “Public Notice of Pollution Act” passed unanimously out of both chambers and requires business owners or operators to notify the Florida Department of Environmental Protection within twenty-four hours after discovery of a reportable pollution release.