More than 2-dozen new laws go into effect in Florida on Saturday, October 1, 2016. They include pay raises for county employees, more protection from scammers and credit card skimmers, and tougher penalties for anyone who makes a threat regarding gun violence.
In March, state lawmakers sent 272 bills to Governor Rick Scott who vetoed three and signed the rest. The majority of the new laws, including the state budget, went into effect July 1, 2016. Some laws that will take effect Saturday include:
"Carl's Law" increases civil and criminal penalties for anyone who attacks or harms people with disabilities. Carl Stark, a 36-year-old autistic man from Saint Augustine, was shot and killed in 2015 after being targeted by a group of teenagers looking to steal a car.
The measure would, in part, make it a first-degree misdemeanor to have two or more electronic benefit transfer cards, or EBT cards, and sell or attempt to sell one of the cards. A second offense would be a third-degree felony. The law is aimed at reducing trafficking in EBT cards.
This law prohibits people under 18 from being prosecuted for prostitution and makes clear that sexually exploiting a child in prostitution should be viewed as human trafficking. The measure also stiffens the penalty for people who knowingly rent space used for prostitution.
The law expands laws already on the books when it comes to electronic monitoring devices. As of October 1, it is a third-degree felony to ask another person to remove a device or help someone dodge surveillance when required to wear or use a monitoring device.
The measure would make it a second-degree felony for making false reports or threats about using firearms in a violent manner. The law also makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to threaten to harm or kill a law enforcement officer, state or assistant state attorney, firefighter, judge, elected official or any of their family members.
The law cracks down on illegal electronic skimmers that are found at Florida gas stations and on ATM machines. The measure increases the penalties for people who are caught with counterfeit credit card information. The proposal also requires gas station owners and managers to up their security measures on self-service fuel pumps.
A measure which revises rules dealing with stone crab and spiny lobster traps. The law makes it clear that anyone with fewer than 100 undersized spiny lobsters may face a misdemeanor violation for each lobster. Anyone with more than 100 undersized spiny lobsters faces third-degree felony charges.