TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – It is now legal for unpermitted gun owners to carry their weapons with them when they evacuate from a hurricane or other declared emergencies.
That was among 44 bills Gov. Rick Scott signed Thursday. Other new laws include measures that deal with police body cameras, craft distillery sales, internet regulation and discrimination against pregnant women.
Sponsors of the gun bill said it was inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 10 years ago when police seized hundreds of guns. It gives a 48 hour grace period to allow unpermitted gun owners to take their weapons with them during a mandatory evacuation. That exemption can be extended by the governor.
Another measure attempts to protect people’s privacy by creating a public records exemption for police body camera video taken inside people’s homes, hotel rooms or other places where there’s an expectation of privacy.
Right now the public can request copies of police body camera video and lawmakers argued that images shot in homes shouldn’t be available to anyone. The law takes effect July 1.
Another measure will allow craft distilleries to sell more of their own product on site. Distilleries can now only sell two bottles of their product to each customer each year. They can now sell up to four bottles, or two bottles of each product if they sell more than two brands. The law takes effect July 1.
Another new law requires websites that sell commercial music and movies to post identification and contact information on their sites. Supporters said it is a consumer protection measure to help prevent piracy and save consumers from viruses, identity theft and fraud associated with buying pirated material online. But it was opposed by Internet giants like Google. It takes effect July 1.
The following are among the other new laws, which take effect July 1 unless noted:
– Hotels, restaurants and employers won’t be able to discriminate against pregnant women under a law that takes effect July 1.
– Vehicle registration and driver’s license application forms will have a printed option to donate $1 to breast cancer research.
– Schools will have to immediately notify parents if their children are involuntarily committed under the Baker Act while at school or on school buses.
– Animals, like humans, will have their medical records kept private under a new public records exemption.
– Police officers will have a greater discretion to issue civil citations to juveniles instead of arresting them for minor offenses. Offenders would be able to complete community to service to keep charges off their records. It goes into effect Oct. 1.
– Out-of-state tuition fees will now be waived for the spouses and children of military veterans who live in Florida. It is effective immediately.