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New FL Laws Take Effect Wednesday; Tickets to Begin for Texting-and-Driving

first_imgThe new year will bring with it a slew of new laws, and strict enforcement on a previously implemented bill.For starters, Florida Highway Patrol troopers will be issuing tickets to those caught texting and driving. Since the new law went into effect last summer, drivers have been receiving warnings.In recent years, texting while driving was considered a “secondary” offense in Florida, meaning that motorists could only be cited for texting if they were also stopped for other reasons. However, the new law (HB 107) makes it a “primary” offense.The law also bans drivers from talking on cellphones in school and work zones unless they are using “hands-free” electronic devices.Tickets for a first offense carry a $30 fine plus court costs, which could reach $108.16. The fine increases to $60, or $158.18 with court costs, for a second violation within five years.Highway Patrol troopers have issued about 800 warnings, while more than 1,150 have been issued in total among all law enforcement agencies statewide.Some of the other changes set to take effect on Wednesday include:-As part of an $87 million tax relief package (HB 7123), a sales-tax rate on commercial leases will be reduced from 5.7 percent to 5.5 percent. The change is expected to produce a $30.8 million cut in state and local taxes in the remaining six months of the fiscal year. Over the course of a full year, the savings are estimated to be around $64.5 million.-HB 831 will require health care practitioners to transmit prescriptions electronically, with some exceptions.-HB 409 will allow remote, online notarization of documents.-HB 427 establishes the Honor and Remember Flag, which will honor members of the military who have died in the line of duty. The law authorizes the flag to be flown at half-staff at state buildings and by local governments on Veterans Day, Gold Star Mother’s Day, or any day when a member of the military from Florida is killed in the line of duty.last_img

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