With the start of a new year, there are changes to laws and policies that should be noted for those living in Florida, both on a state and national level.
The state minimum wage in Florida rose from $7.67 to $7.79 an hour, an increase by 12 cents. This increase is expected to impact 210,000 Floridians. Half of all minimum wage workers in Florida are estimated to be under the age of 24.
It will no longer be illegal for drivers to flash their headlights to warn other drivers of an oncoming speed trap. Drivers cannot be ticketed for doing so, and it was ruled that this type of action was protected under the First Amendment. However, drivers can still be ticketed for flashing their high beams within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle, or within 300 feet of a vehicle ahead of them.
The production of 75-watt light bulbs has been discontinued nationally. Retail locations are permitted to sell their remaining inventory of these light bulbs, but no more will be produced. In 2014, 60-watt and 40-watt light bulbs will be discontinued as well.
Free ID for homeless
Homeless people in Florida are now eligible to receive state ID cards free of charge.
No limits for buses
School bus drivers in the state of Florida are no longer prohibited from driving at a speed greater than 55 mph. The posted speed limits must still be followed.
People who own a swamp buggy, a vehicle used for traveling across swamps, will no longer have to register them as a motor vehicle as of Tuesday. They are no longer considered motor vehicles in Florida and are not allowed on state roads unless local government approves.
PIP insurance reduction
Changes are being made to personal injury protection (PIP) insurance for drivers seeking medical treatment after a car accident. Drivers will only have two weeks to seek medical or dental care, and PIP insurance will no longer cover acupuncture or massage therapy sessions. While those who use their PIP insurance will still be able to receive up to $10,000 for emergency care, the amount allotted for minor injuries has been reduced to $2,500.
Changes have been made to certain prostitution-related statutes in Florida. The fines for prostitution have increased from $500 to $5,000. The original $500 of the fine will continue to go to drug treatment programs, and the $4,500 difference increase will be used to help fund safe houses in the state.