Although the coronavirus pandemic only began in late March, it's hard to dissociate the virus from 2020 as a whole.
However, between the months of January and March, Florida lawmakers introduced, rewrote and signed a series of laws that will go into effect July 1st.
Here are some of the most notable laws:
HB 641: Teacher Pay Increase
Florida will spend $500 million on increasing teacher salaries, making the minimum salary for public school teachers in the state $47,500. However, $400 million will be used on first-year teachers to boost starting pay. The remaining $100 million will be used to raise the salaries of veteran teachers.
HB 43: Jordan's Law
Caseworkers in Florida will have their workload reduced to 15 children under this new law. Named after 2-year-old Jordan Belliveau - who was killed by his mother after she learned she would be losing her child once again - the law allows caseworkers to pay more attention to each individual child. Child abuse reports between caseworkers and law enforcement will also be streamlined.
HB 7011: Student Athletes
High schools are required to act more quickly when student athletes show signs of heat stroke and other heat-related stresses. An automated external defibrillator must also be available on school grounds. The athlete safety bill is named after Laurie Giordano's 16-year-old son, a strapping 300-pound (136-kilogram), 6-foot-4 (193-centimeter) offensive gridiron lineman who collapsed during practice three years ago. He had just finished running sprints with his teammates in the sweltering South Florida heat.
HB 7067: School Choice
The Family Empowerment Scholarship, Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program and Hope Scholarship Program will be expanded in order to provide families financial assistance when seeking private education.
SB 1084: Emotional Support Animals
Property owners can be more stringent when vetting the use of emotional support animals in houses. Homeowners can prohibit animals if they pose a threat to the safety and health of others. They can also request written proof of an emotional support animal's certification.
SB 404: Parental Consent
Girls under the age of 18 will have to get a parent’s permission before having an abortion under this new law. The new law expands on a current law that requires a girl’s parents are notified before she can have an abortion.
HB 327: Illegal Taking, Possession and Sale of Bears
The minimum fine for bear poaching rises to $750 from $500. Hunting licenses could also be suspended for three years, instead of the current yearlong maximum.