ORLANDO, Fla. - On Friday, dozens of new laws will take effect in Florida kicking off the month of July. The laws cover a range of topics from school safety to smoking on the beach.
Here are a few of the laws that take effect July 1:
THE FLORIDA CLEAN AIR ACT
This means smoking will no longer be allowed on Florida beaches. Local governments can restrict smoking on public beaches and in parks. That also goes for littering: You could face a strict fine for tossing a cigarette butt on the beach.
Environmental experts say this will help not only the health of people but sea life too.
PARENTAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION
Widely dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics, the law bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on "sexual orientation" or "gender identity" in kindergarten through third grade.
A new K through 12 law concerning controversial books also goes into effect on Friday.
The law requires school districts to have a procedure in place that allows parents to see all of the books in the library and classroom. The law also gives parents the opportunity to review all books and set curriculum standards.
Besides books, the law creates a 12-year term limit for school board members.
The new law will require apartment landlords to conduct background checks on employees, a response to the September murder of a Valencia College student. Criminal and sexual-offender background checks will be required for apartment-complex employees. Also, tenants will have to be given 24 hours’ notice before workers can enter apartments.
The measure was crafted after the death of 19-year-old Miya Marcano, who was found dead a week after she went missing from her Orlando apartment.
MILK BANK LAW
This will make it possible for low-income mothers to have access to free donated breast milk. The bill authorizes the Agency for Health Care Administration to pay for donor milk to distribute to families on Medicaid if they want it.
LOUD CAR MUSIC
HB 1435 will allow officers to give a ticket to drivers who are playing music so loud that it can be heard 25-feet from the vehicle. The bill specifically mentions car music playing too loudly near churches, schools, or hospitals.
NEW STATE DESSERT
The battle over dessert will finally be over! On Friday, strawberry shortcake will be the official Florida state dessert. That’s leaving a sour taste in the mouths of people who have loved key lime pie all these years. However, key lime is the state's official pie.
This law requires a more detailed security plan. It requires that schools have a guide to reunite students with family in the event of an emergency. The law sets rules for emergency drills requiring law enforcement officers who will be responding to the emergency to be there and participate.
It even addresses student mental health. At least 80 percent of school personnel will be required to be certified in youth health awareness training, beginning July 1 of next year.
BOATING SAFETY ACT
Just in time for the July Fourth weekend, this is allowing the courts to impose a fine for boating collisions and accidents.
The law requires certain boating safety education courses or temporary certificate exams to include items like dangers associated with passenger safety, operating a boat or jet ski near a person who is in the water, and proper use of engine cutoff switches. It also mentions companies that rent and provide water sport activities and instruction must use a working engine cutoff switch.
FLORIDA TAX HOLIDAY
Stock up on those diapers! This is the opportunity to buy certain items, including diapers, without paying Florida state sales tax. A tax holiday for children’s diapers, books, clothing and shoes will be in effect for one year.
School supplies including clothing, wallets, and bags will have tax exemptions starting July 25 and lasting until August 7. Now that hurricane season is here, you may want to consider buying impact-resistant windows and doors, which will remain tax-free for the next two years.
MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS
The new law aims to change how Florida cares for these individuals by recognizing certified peer specialists as a support role in recovery. These are typically people who have recovered from substance abuse and mental illness and are helping others get through similar situations.
Under the new law, family members and caregivers will also be eligible for certification. Specialists must undergo background checks and pass a competency exam before being certified.
FLORIDA IDENTIFICATION CARDS
This new law allows Floridians easier access to those cards in cases of financial hardship or failing a driver's test. If someone can't afford a new card, they can get one for free as long as they have a valid voter's registration card.
The same goes for anyone 80 years and older who cannot get a new driver's license because they failed the vision test.
The Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) will be eliminated and the State Academic Standards will take effect.
The law removes standardized testing in schools and replaces it with three different tests throughout the year to monitor progress. Those tests will take place at the start, middle, and end of the school year.
PERSONAL FINANCE EDUCATION BILL
Florida high school students will be required to take a financial literacy course as a condition for graduation.
The financial literacy course would have to include instruction on types of bank accounts and how to open and manage accounts, completing loan applications and computing federal income taxes.