New Laws to Take Effect in July

Posted on July 16, 2010

Some 274 new laws are scheduled to take place in Florida beginning Thursday, July 1, that will affect almost everyone, according to the Florida Sun-Sentinel.

For those teenagers who like to drink, and nearly half say they do, adults will face more serious charges if they supply the alcohol. As we’ve seen so many times, teens go to house parties where adults allow and even encourage drinking, only to die in a car accident leaving the party. House Bill 33 stiffens the penalties for anyone caught giving alcohol to underage drinkers. After the second offense, the party host would be subject to a first-degree misdemeanor.

Lawmakers wanted to make the offense of being a party host a more serious offense after Diane Santarelli was charged with partying with the kids. Two teens who were intoxicated left her house party and died in a car crash. She was charged with manslaughter, but the law just was not there for the jury to convict, so she was acquitted. This new law gives juries what they need to jail the offending parent.

Another law will allow heavier trucks on our Florida Roads. HB 1271 authorizes the Florida Department of Transportation to permit trucks that weigh up to 88,000 pounds, up from the current weight limit of 80,000 pounds. Critics say trucks are already big enough, especially when they collide with passenger vehicles, and an increase of 10 percent makes driving more dangerous. 263 Floridians died in truck collisions in 2008.

Among other laws, students in sixth grade will now be required to take a civics course beginning in 2012. Students will have to learn about the different branches of government and the U.S. Constitution. That is a good thing.

Most people can name all of the American Idol judges but cannot name even one justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

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