First Coast News reports on new laws that were signed into law here in Florida on 10/1/14. Some of the laws I am happy to be enacted, especially long awaited regulations on Florida’s commercial parasailing industry, along with a measure about crimes against unborn children, are among 32 laws that go into effect. One of the highest-profile new laws (SB 320) was years in the making. Known as the “White-Miskell Act,” it requires commercial parasailing operators to log weather conditions before embarking, forbids operations during severe weather conditions, requires operators to be licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard and limits operations near airports. The bill also requires parasailing outfits to carry $2 million in insurance and prohibits them from operating when winds top 25 mph, or when 15 mph gusts are present. Lightning within 7 miles of a parasailing site also would temporarily shut down parasailing, under the legislation. Until now, regulations on the industry apply chiefly to boat operations, not customer safety. But several horrific crashes and parasailing deaths in recent years got the attention of the industry.
According to legislative analysts, there have been 21 parasailing accidents in Florida from 2001 through last October, resulting in 23 injuries and six fatalities. In 10 of the accidents, high winds or gusts were found to be a contributing factor. In six of those 10 accidents, there was also equipment failure. The other 11 accidents reportedly were caused by a variety of factors, including operator error and equipment malfunctions.
For the year, lawmakers sent 255 bills to Scott, with just one getting vetoed: SB 392, which would have allowed the Florida Department of Transportation to raise speed limits on some highways by 5 mph. The majority of the laws, 158, including the budget, went into effect July 1.
Here are highlights of some of the other laws taking effect:
Sex offenses and human trafficking:
HB 7077 sets registration requirements and standards for what are known as “compounding pharmacies” that are located in other states but sell medications in Florida. Those pharmacies, in general, create medications that are supposed to be tailored to the needs of individual patients. The law is aimed at preventing a repeat of a 2012 outbreak of fungal meningitis because of problems at a Massachusetts pharmacy.