If you’re getting behind the wheel, don’t pull out your phone.
Starting Jan. 1, law enforcement will start issuing tickets for those caught texting and driving. The law went on the books over the summer and there’s been a six month grace period for drivers to learn the rules.
What changed from a previous regulation to this one (HB 107) is that this will make texting and driving a primary offense, which means officers can pull you over on suspicion of texting and driving alone.
According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were more than 1,000 distracted driver crashes per week across the state in 2018.
Hands-free use of a phone like using Bluetooth speakers on a call and for navigation purposes is still allowed – except in a school or construction zone.
In those areas, a violation will cost $60 and add three points to a driver’s license. The base ticket for texting and driving not in one of those zones will cost $30. Read the full bill here.
- Minimum Wage Increase
If you make minimum wage, you'll see a little more money in your pocket in 2020. The state's minimum wage will go up from $8.46 to $8.56 an hour, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The wage for servers and tipped based professionals will also increase by 10 cents, from $5.46 to $5.56.
- HB 427 (Honor and Remember Flag)
This law establishes the Honor and Remember Flag as a state emblem, which will honor members of the military who have died in the line of duty.
The law authorizes the flag to be flown at state facilities on days when a member of the military from Florida dies in the line of duty and on special holidays where members of the military are being honored and remembered for their service. Read the full bill here.
- HB 831 (Health Care)
This law will require certain health care practitioners to electronically send prescriptions for pharmaceutical drugs with certain conditions. Read the full bill here.
- HB 7123 (Tax Relief Bill)
A 'catch-all' tax law includes things such as sales tax exemptions for disaster preparedness supplies, tax exemption for certain agricultural lands damaged by Hurricane Michael, requiring proceeds from filing fees for court proceedings be deposited into the State Courts Revenue Trust Fund and reduces tax rates on rental or license fees for the use of real property.
The bill will also provide a reduction in a civil penalty for people who are cited for certain noncriminal traffic infractions and decide to attend a driver improvement course. Read the full bill here.
- HB 409 (E-Notary Bill)
This law authorizes online notarizations with specific requirements.
According to notorize.com, this will impact the 20+ million residents of Florida and nearly 500,000 notaries, "as now anyone can now buy or sell real estate, sign and notarize documents, or set up Wills to protect their loved ones entirely online."