New Laws Take Effect in Florida | NBC 6 South Florida

New Laws Take Effect in Florida

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The new texting and driving ban isn't the only law that went into effect in Florida Tuesday.

    Among the other new laws that kick in Tuesday is a measure that bans welfare recipients from using electronic benefit transfer or EBT at "adult entertainment establishments" such as strip clubs and casinos. EBT cards are like debit cards. Welfare recipients use them to draw down their benefits.

    Critics called the bill offensive to poor people. But the bill's sponsor, Rep. Jimmie Smith, said that voting against his measure was like "voting for lap dances on taxpayer dollars."

    Another new law gives citizens a right to speak at meetings of local government and state executive branch bodies. Republican Sen. Joe Negron of Stuart filed the bill in response to appellate court rulings.

    The courts ruled that Florida's open-government "sunshine law" requires officials to meet in public but does not give people a right to be heard on issues at those meetings. The law allows officials to set reasonable time limits on speakers.

    There's also a "paper reduction" law that increases the ability of citizens to get information electronically. Citizens would be allowed under the measure to receive sample ballots through email instead of regular mail. Property appraisers would also be allowed to send out property tax notices to people through email.