List: Gov. Rick Scott signs Lake O reservoir bill, 10 other measures into law

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed 11 bills into law on Tuesday, including one that sets aside money to build a reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee.

The bill, CS/SB 10, “authorizes a significant increase in southern water storage to further the goal of reducing and eventually eliminating harmful discharges from Lake Okeechobee,” one of Senate President Joe Negron’s top priorities, Negron’s office said in a news release.

(Getty Images)

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Negron, a Stuart Republican, has been pushing for relief for his Treasure Coast district, which has been hit hard by algae blooms tied to the Lake Okeechobee discharges in recent years.

In addition to SB 10, Scott signed the following bills, all of which take effect July 1 except where noted:

CS/CS/HB 111: Public Records/Identity of Witness to a Murder — Creates a public records exemption for criminal intelligence or criminal investigative information that reveals personal identifying information of a witness to a murder.

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CS/CS/HB 151: “Therapy Dog for Children Bill” — Allows children, victims and individuals with intellectual disabilities to use therapy animals and facility dogs in legal proceedings. “This legislation will help children and individuals with unique abilities in our state as they face some of the most challenging times in their life,” Scott said in a statement released Tuesday evening by his office. “I cannot imagine the emotional toll these terrible circumstances place on our state’s most vulnerable populations. The comfort and support provided by therapy animals can make a profound difference in someone’s life and I’m proud to sign HB 151 today.”

CS/HB 221: “Uber/ Lyft Bill” — Sets consistent operating standards throughout Florida for ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, including requirements for insurance coverage and driver background checks. “I’m proud to sign this legislation today to make it easier for ridesharing companies to thrive in Florida and help ensure the safety of our families,” Scott said in a news release after signing the bill. “Florida is one of the most business-friendly states in the nation because of our efforts to reduce burdensome regulations and encourage innovation and job creation across all industries, including transportation. I look forward to seeing the continued growth of ridesharing companies in our state.”

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CS/HB 239: Public Records/Protective Injunction Petitions — Creates a public records exemption for petitions for protection against domestic violence, stalking or cyberstalking if it is dismissed.

CS/HB 305: Law Enforcement Body Cameras — Allows a law enforcement officer using a body camera to review the recorded footage before writing a report or providing a statement.

CS/HB 399: Guardianship — Revises procedures relating to incapacity hearings and the circumstances under which the court may approve divorce for persons under the protection of a guardianship.

CS/HB 401: Notaries Public — Allows public notaries to accept a veteran health information card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as a valid form of I.D.

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HB 671: Reemployment Assistance Fraud — Authorizes the Department of Economic Opportunity to access digital records maintained by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to prevent reemployment assistance claims fraud.

CS/CS/HB 805: Relating to Insurance Policy Transfers — Allows an insurer to transfer a residential or commercial residential property insurance policy to an authorized insurer of the same group or owned by the same holding company.

CS/HB 6533: Relief/Jennifer Wohlgemuth/Pasco County Sheriff’s Office — Directs Pasco County and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office to compensate the family of Jennifer Wohlgemuth for injuries sustained in an incident involving the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. Effective immediately.

Note: List provided by Gov. Scott’s office.

Scott signs body camera bill inspired by Corey Jones, 32 other bills into law

Gov. Rick Scott today signed 33 bills, including one inspired by the shooting death of Corey Jones that requires law enforcement agencies to set policies and procedures for using body cameras.

Corey Jones
Corey Jones

The bill, HB 93, does not require law enforcement agencies to use body cameras, only to set rules for their use.

Jones was shot three times by then-Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja as Jones waited for a tow truck at the off-ramp from Interstate 95 on PGA Boulevard in the early hours of Oct. 18. Raja had arrived at the scene in an unmarked van and plain clothes.

Raja has since been fired by the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department. He was not wearing a body camera when he shot Jones, and there is no recording of what happened.

Jones’ family members came to the Capitol last month on what would’ve been his 32nd birthday to lobby in support of the measure. They also delivered a letter to Scott’s office, asking for support on the legislation and investigations underway into the shooting.

Read more about the bill and how Corey Jones inspired it.

Scott also signed these 32 bills into law:

HB 231, Motor Vehicle Manufacturer Licenses – This bill relates to contracts between motor vehicle manufacturers and dealers.

HB 293, Public Records – This bill revises a public records exemption regarding certain juvenile criminal history records.

HB 303, Unlicensed Activity Fees – This bill relates to unlicensed activity fees at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

HB 373, Mental Health Counseling Interns – This bill provides certain requirements for internship supervision at mental health institutions.

HB 387, Offenses Evidencing Prejudice – This bill revises an existing provision in Florida’s hate crime statutes for individuals with mental or physical disabilities.

HB 413, Title Insurance – This bill relates to title insurance companies.

HB 431, Fire Safety – This bill provides fire classifications for nonresidential farm buildings.

HB 549, Offenses Concerning Racketeering and Illegal Debts – This bill relates to the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act.

HB 561, Organizational Structure of the Department of Environmental Protection – This bill revises the organizational structure of the Department of Environmental Protection.

HB 633, Public Food Service Establishments – This bill exempts religious and other non-profit organizations from regulations when hosting certain charity events.

HB 701, Art in the Capitol Competition – This bill creates the “Art in the Capitol Competition” for Florida students.

HB 749, Agriculture – This bill relates to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Florida Greenbelt Law.

HB 773, Special Assessments on Agricultural Lands – This bill exempts agricultural lands from certain local assessments.

HB 783, Unclaimed Property – This bill revises several provisions in the Florida Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act.

HB 793, Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program – This bill allows students to defer their acceptance of Florida Bright Futures Scholarships until completion of religious or service obligations.

HB 965, Fire Safety – This bill updates fire safety standards for assisted living facilities.

HB 967, Family Law – This bill creates the collaborative law process.

HB 971, Community Development Districts – This bill increases the size of certain Community Development Districts.

HB 1025, Public Records – This bill relates to public records and the state infrastructure bank program.

HB 1051, Anchoring Limitation Areas – This bill prohibits overnight anchoring of vessels in certain zones.

HB 1063, Public Records and Meetings – This bill creates a public records and meeting exemption for the Nurse Licensure Compact.

HB 1125, Eligibility for Employment as Child Care Personnel – The bill aligns requirements for child care facilities and providers with federal regulations.

HB 1133, Applicability of Revenue Laws to Out-of-State Businesses During Disaster-Response Periods – This bill exempts out-of-state businesses from certain requirements during disaster response.

HB 1149, Alternative Sanctioning – This bill allows alternative punishments for technical violations of probation.

HB 1181, Bad Faith Assertions of Patent Infringement – This bill relates to the Patent Troll Prevention Act.

HB 1219, Veterans’ Employment – This bill requires state agencies and authorizes local governments to implement a veterans’ employment recruitment plan.

HB 1245, Medicaid Provider Overpayments – This bill authorizes the Agency for Health Care Administration to certify certain payments.

HB 1333, Sexual Offenders – This bill increases registration requirements for sexual offenders and predators in compliance with the Adam Walsh Act.

HB 1347, Illicit Drugs – This bill expands the prohibition of synthetic drugs.

HB 4009, Slungshot – This bill makes it lawful to make, sell, and carry a concealed slungshot.

HB 7013, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission – This bill revises certain penalties for fish and wildlife violations.

HB 7025, At-Risk Vessels – This bill authorizes the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to prohibit vessels that are at-risk of becoming derelict from occupying state waters.

Palm Beach Post staff writer John Kennedy contributed to this report.

Corey Jones case: Florida House approves body camera bill backed by family of slain Palm Beach County motorist

Family of Corey Jones release balloons at Florida Capitol last month on what would've been his 32nd birthday.
Family of Corey Jones release balloons at Florida Capitol last month on what would’ve been his 32nd birthday.

Body camera legislation supported by the family of Corey Jones, shot and killed in a Palm Beach Gardens encounter with a police officer, cleared the Florida House on Friday on a 113-0 vote.

The measure (HB 93) doesn’t require law enforcement agencies to use cameras. Instead, it would require that policies and procedures be set for police and sheriff’s offices using the devices.

“We don’t want the bad cops to give the good cops a black eye,” said Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee.

A similar bill (SB 418) is poised for approval in the Florida Senate. Lawmakers are expected to finalize the legislation and send it to Gov. Rick Scott before next Friday’s scheduled session end.

Jones’ family members came to the Capitol last month on what would’ve been his 32nd birthday to lobby in support of the measure. They also released black and white balloons in a solemn remembrance of the professional drummer, who worked by day as a property manager for the Delray Beach Housing Authority.

Jones was waiting for a tow truck on the off-ramp of Interstate 95 at PGA Boulevard about 3:15 a.m. on Oct. 18 when he was shot six times by then-Palm Beach Gardens police officer Nouman Raja, who arrived at the scene in plain clothes driving an unmarked white van.

Raja has since been fired by the department.

Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Stephen Stepp said Raja, 38, told them he was “suddenly confronted by an armed subject” and fatally shot Jones.

Jones, though, was licensed to carry a concealed gun and probably did not know he was being confronted by a police officer, said Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney hired by the Jones family and who has represented the families of several slain African-Americans including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.

Three agencies are now investigating Raja’s shooting of Jones — the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office, the Palm Beach County’s Sheriff’s Office and the FBI.

The Palm Beach Gardens City Council in January also unanimously approved spending $262,296 to buy body cameras for its police officers.