Issues of Interest

BILLS IN EFFECT IN 2020 Beginning January 1st, the Florida Highway Patrol began issuing citations, rather than warnings, to drivers violating Florida’s ban on texting while driving. Drivers must also use a hands-free device when using their phones in a school zone or construction area.

Additionally, Florida became the twenty-first state to allow on-line notarizations. Important documents needing the signature of a notary, such as real estate transactions and wills, can now be performed electronically.

CANADIAN PRESCRIPTION DRUGS U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar was in Florida last month to announce the advancement of the Trump administration’s plan to allow prescription drug importation from Canada to multiple states. HHS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking and draft guidance for the plan. Governor DeSantis, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Mary Mayhew, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees, Florida Department of Elders Affairs Secretary Richard Prudom and Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch are all in support of the plan. The Florida Legislature passed a bill in 2019 supporting this initiative.

HURRICANE MICHAEL Funding continues to trickle into communities impacted by 2018’s Hurricane Michael. Earlier this year, the Legislature provided $20 million in grant funding to help with ongoing infrastructure repairs and prepare for future storms. The money was awarded to Bay Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty and Washington counties. Florida was awarded a further $63.2 million in federal disaster funding through the U.S. Department of Education to restore educational programs in counties affected by Hurricane Michael.