Welcome to 2024.
As we usher in the new year, it’s essential to stay informed about the latest laws that will come into effect in Florida on January 1, 2024. These laws, passed by the Florida Legislature in 2023, aim to address various aspects of public safety, protection, and fairness.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these key legislative changes:
Special Persons Registry (SB 784 – Protect Our Loved Ones Act)
One of the significant legislative changes taking effect in 2024 is SB 784, known as the ‘Protect Our Loved Ones Act.’ This law empowers local law enforcement agencies to establish and maintain a ‘Special Persons Registry database.’ This database is designed to account for individuals with developmental, psychological, or other disabilities.
The Special Persons Registry aims to facilitate improved interactions between law enforcement officers and civilians in certain conditions during critical situations. Conditions such as autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia-related disorders are specifically listed in the law.
SB 1534 addresses pretrial release and detention procedures. Under this law, only a judge can set, reduce, or modify an individual’s bail. The legislation requires the Florida Supreme Court to create and periodically update a statewide uniform bail bond schedule for certain offenses. Moreover, it prohibits judges from establishing local bond schedules with lower amounts than the Supreme Court’s schedule.
SB 1534 also outlines specific circumstances in which a defendant cannot be released before an initial hearing. These circumstances include individuals on pretrial release probation, sexual offenders, repeat felony offenders, and others.
SB 7056 mandates a significant change in how child protection investigations are handled in Florida. It requires the seven Florida counties responsible for child protection investigations, including the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, to relinquish control to the state’s Department of Children and Families (DCF).
Beginning on January 1, 2024, DCF will oversee all child abuse investigations. While DCF will obtain files and documents, certain sheriffs will retain custody of specific files and documents, as outlined in the legislation.
SB 76 introduces revisions to campsite reservation rules at Florida state parks. The law requires the Division of Recreation and Parks of the Department of Environmental Protection to establish specific timeframes for both Florida residents and non-residents to reserve state park cabins and campsites.
Florida residents will have the advantage of reserving campsites one month earlier than non-residents, provided they can provide proof of residency.
Governor DeSantis signed HB 425, which expands Florida’s existing Move Over Law. This expansion aims to enhance roadside safety by requiring drivers to move over at least one lane for all disabled vehicles stopped with hazard lights, emergency flares, or signage. If moving over is impossible, drivers must reduce their speed by 20 miles per hour.
Violators of the Move Over Law may face fines ranging from $60 to $158, emphasizing the importance of adhering to this law to prevent roadside accidents and protect motorists and first responders.
These legislative changes underscore Florida’s commitment to ensuring its residents’ safety, protection, and fair treatment. As we step into 2024, staying informed about these new laws and their implications for our community is vital.
Hoffman, Larin& Agnetti, P.A. is proud to be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of this partnership and 25 years since opening our first Florida Keys office. It has been a privilege and an honor to have been a part of this thriving community. We remember families coming into our offices with their young children in tow. Now those children are coming to our office with their young kids.
It’s been an exhilarating rise. And the best is yet to come.