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A toast: To beer growlers, other 130 new Florida laws effective July 1


At 6:40 p.m. Wednesday, craft brewers throughout Florida will hoist their 64-ounce growlers in a communal toast to the 64-ounce growler — the popular mega-mug that becomes legal Wednesday as part of the state’s 131 new laws going into effect on July 1.

“We finally got it through,” said Mike Halker, founder of Due South South Brewing Co. in Boynton Beach. Halker, also president of the Florida Brewers Guild, has worked for three years to get the legislation passed that would legalize growlers, long popular in other states and countries.

“It’s nice to be along with the rest of the country and not this weird state,” said Halker, who helped organize the statewide toast, widely promoted on social media as #fl64. “It’s just a better size.”

Disabled people needing service animals, people concerned about drones violating their privacy and anyone with a cell phone contract may want to join in the toast.

Other new laws on the books make passing a pet off as a service animal or harassing a disabled person about the need for a service animal a second-degree misdemeanor. And drone operators will no longer be allowed to spy on people when they are on private property where they enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Key among the other laws going into effect on Wednesday is the state’s $78.7 billion budget — the largest in state history — crafted during a special session called when lawmakers could not reach agreement during the regular session, which ended on May 1.

Also hashed out in the special session: a $372.4 million package of tax cuts on the cost of cell phone and cable TV contracts, gun club memberships, college textbooks, luxury boat repairs, certain agricultural supplies and services, school extracurricular fundraisers, aviation fuel at select flight-training academies and motor vehicles purchased overseas by internationally deployed service members from Florida.

The cell phone tax cut will mean an annual tax savings of $20.76 for someone who pays $1,200 a year, or $100 a month, for cell phone service.

While all of the 131 new bills with July 1 effective dates were on schedule to become law at midnight Tuesday, one — the 24-hour waiting period for abortions — has a lot of litigation ahead for it. A Leon County circuit judge on Tuesday granted an emergency request to block the law, but the state quickly appealed, which forestalls the injunction at least until an appellate court rules.

Also effective today:

  • Local law enforcement agencies can no longer impose traffic ticket quotas.
  • Government buildings may only fly American-made flags.
  • Public skateboard and freestyle bicycling parks will no longer be required to obtain parental consent for users under 17 and shall retain immunity from lawsuits.
  • A voluntary certification program for sober homes.
  • Public health officials can use law enforcement to isolate people or places suspected of being infected with dangerous communicable disease.
  •  

    Terminally ill patients can have access to experimental drugs that have been clinical trials but have not been approved for general use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

  •  

    Doctors can prescribe an “opioid antagonist” for halting overdoses to people at risk of overdoses or to their caregivers. in emergency situations to halt overdoses.

  •  

    Craft distillers can sell directly to consumers but with stringent limits.

 

Florida lawmakers passed 231 of the 1,754 bills during the 60-day legislative session that ended May 1. Sixty-three of those went into effect immediately upon Gov. Rick Scott’s signature, while others have later effective dates.

Among those that went into effect immediately: laws allowing people without conceal-carry permits to pocket their weapons when forced to leave home because of hurricanes and other disasters; letting current and past members of the U.S. armed forces, reserves or National Guard since Sept. 11, 2001 to ask to have their home and personal information exempt from state public record; allowing rural letter carriers to drive without a seat belt while working their routes; and requiring fewer tests to be given to public-school students.



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