Two Days and 103 New Florida Bills Passed

Governor Rick Scott passes over a hundred bills in the course of two days.


char Pratt

Florida Gov. Rick Scott visited the FAU Boca campus on Feb. 12, 2015. Idalis Streat | Contributing Photographer

Bibi Patel, Contributing Writer

Governor Rick Scott passed 55 bills on June 10 and 48 more bills on June 11, for a total of 103 new laws. These bills were all voted on and passed in the House of Representatives and the Senate, later to be signed by Scott. They will all take effect on July 1, 2015.

Many of the bills addressed settlements to individuals for injuries, damages and accidental deaths caused by government agencies.

Others regarded specific cities with topics such as annexation, adjustment of boundaries and specific county laws. Below are laws that might be of particular interest to college students, and others that were found to be controversial.

HB 321: HIV Testing

(proposed by Health and Human Service Committee)

Vote in Senate: 39-0 House of Representatives: 119-0

This bill clarifies the differences in consent needed to perform an HIV test at a healthcare and non healthcare setting.

When doing an HIV test at a “healthcare” setting, the patient must be notified that an HIV test has been planned. They are then able to decline the test. When doing HIV testing at “non-healthcare” setting, the tester must obtain informed consent from the person being tested.

A “healthcare” setting according to the bill, is a “setting devoted to the diagnosis and care of persons or the provision of medical services to persons,” and it included examples such as county health department clinics, hospitals, urgent care clinics and more.

A “non-healthcare setting” is a setting where the HIV test is done for only identifying the infection, and the setting provides no form of treatment. Any test that comes back positive must be reported to the county health department with enough information to identify the patient.

This bill will repeal the requirements for hospitals to get written informed consent in order to release test results from medical records to the proper health departments.

HB 461: Independent Nonprofit Higher Educational Facilities Financing

(proposed by Higher Education Committee)

Vote in Senate: 40-0 House: 108-5

The change in this bill redefines the word “project,” allowing more structures to be built by non-profit higher educational facilities funded by Higher Education Facilities Financing Authorities.

The original definition limited the funding to dormitories, student service facilities, parking facilities, administrative buildings and academic buildings or libraries.

The new definition now allows these financing authorities to fund “structures required or useful for the instruction of students, the conducting of research, or operation of an institution” and “items necessary or convenient for the operation of a particular facility.”

Simply put, these general phrases allow for more buildings and items to be funded by financing authorities.

HB 7013: Adoption and Foster Care

(proposed by Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee)

Vote in Senate: 27-11 House: 68-50

The purpose behind this bill is to increase the amount of adoptions for children in foster care. The increase will come through measures such as incentive payments for adoptions, as well as revisions to older measures. People can no longer be denied an adoption if they opt to homeschool their child.

This is also one of the more controversial bills signed by Rick Scott which can be seen through the voting in both the House and Senate. The controversy comes from the bill deleting the prohibition against adoption by homosexuals.

In response, the House of Representatives attempted to pass a bill that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to refuse adoption without fear of a lawsuit. This bill did not pass in the Senate.

HB 7013 also was the only bill out of the 103 that came accompanied with a letter from the Governor. The letter mentions how this provision hasn’t been enforced since the Third District Court of Appeal ruled prohibiting adoption based on sexual orientation as unconstitutional.

Scott states in the second page of the letter that he hopes the religious freedoms of private faith-based adoption agencies can continue to be protected.

HB 225: All-American Flag Act

(proposed by Representatives Cortes B., Campbell and others)

Vote in Senate: 38-1 House: 110-2

Any flag purchased by the state, county, or municipality after July 1 meant for the public must have been manufactured in the U.S.

Not only must the flag have been created in the U.S., but all materials required to make the flag must be grown, produced, and manufactured in the U.S. as well.

The bill does not mention the consequences for possessing a flag not made in America.

HB 197: Tracking Devices or Tracking Applications

(proposed by Judiciary Committee; Criminal Justice Subcommittee)

Vote in Senate: 39-0 House: 113-0

A new section was added to the Florida Statutes, making it a second degree misdemeanor to knowingly install tracking devices/applications on someone’s property without consent.

The bill will not apply to enforcement officers who need the information for investigations, parents and legal guardians of minors, or caregivers of the elderly whose physicians have certified that tracking devices are necessary.

Another exception remains for “a person acting in good faith on behalf of a business entity for a legitimate business purpose.” It does not go into detail on what constitutes a legitimate business purpose that would require a tracking device.

A full list of the bills passed on June 10 can be found here, and a list of all the bills passed June 11 are here.