These Florida laws go into effect in January. Here’s what to know.
TALLAHASSEE — Several changes in state laws will take hold as 2024 begins, from an expansion of the state’s “move over” traffic law to stricter rules involving investments in Iran.
Lawmakers during the 2023 regular legislative session and during special sessions approved five laws that will take effect in January. But the arrival of 2024 also will bring other changes, from new campsite reservation rules to the end of a program that provides credits to frequent toll road users.
One of the most visible changes is an expansion of the “move over” law, which requires drivers to get out of lanes closest to stopped vehicles, such as police cars, ambulances and utility trucks.
As part of a wide-ranging transportation bill (HB 425) passed during the regular session, motorists starting Monday will have to provide space when disabled vehicles are stopped along roads with people visible or such things as warning lights on. Violations will carry a fine of up to $158 for a noncriminal traffic infraction.
Meanwhile, a change will take effect that was passed during a November special session to show support for Israel during the war with Iran-backed Hamas.
Lamar Taylor, interim executive director and chief investment officer of the State Board of Administration, which oversees state investments, said last week that “we are on track to be able to implement that legislation by the effective date.”
The federal government has imposed a wide range of economic sanctions against Iran in the decades since hostages were taken at the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. The Legislature during the November special session expanded on a 2007 state law that requires the State Board of Administration to divest from “scrutinized” companies with links to Iran’s petroleum industry.
Under the expansion, companies will be added to the list if more than 10% of total revenues or assets are linked to Iran and involve economic sectors such as energy, manufacturing or shipping. Companies can avoid being added to the list by demonstrating “substantial action” to correct the issues flagged by the state.
Among other changes that will happen in January:
- A yearlong program to provide credits to frequent toll road users will end Sunday. The program has provided 50% credits to motorists who use SunPass or other Florida transponders and make 35 or more toll road trips in a month.
- Mayors and other elected municipal officials will have to submit more detailed financial disclosure information about issues such as incomes, assets and liabilities. Legislators and statewide elected officials already file the more detailed forms.
- Florida businesses will see an overall 15.1% decrease in workers’ compensation insurance rates, though rate changes will vary for individual businesses.
- A back-to-school tax “holiday” will be held from Monday through Jan. 14. Shoppers will be able to avoid paying sales taxes on clothes that cost $100 or less, school supplies that cost $50 or less, learning aids that cost $30 or less and personal computers that cost $1,500 or less.
- Floridians will be able to start reserving campsites and cabins at state parks 11 months in advance, while non-Floridians will only be able to make reservations 10 months in advance.
- County courthouses by Monday will be required to provide lactation spaces, with some exceptions.
- As part of a law that expands eligibility for coverage in the KidCare subsidized health insurance program, the Florida Healthy Kids Corp. will establish premium tiers based on household incomes.
By Jim Turner, News Service of Florida