Some new laws to impact Southwest Florida starting in October

Writer: Rachel Murphy
Published: Updated:
Florida congress members gather in the state Capitol. Credit: AP

Several new laws are now in effect, since Sunday. Here’s what you should know.

House Bill 949 makes changes to who can operate a golf cart. This comes after a 3-year-old boy driving a golf cart hit and killed a 7-year-old in Lee County of July 2023. The new law was proposed to prevent similar tragedies from happening.

To use a golf cart on roadways, you must possess a valid driver’s license, learner’s license or be at least 18 years old with a government-issued photo ID.

Babcock Ranch has been added as a county-approved area for golf cart usage on public roadways.

House Bill 919 targets HOAs in Florida, requiring all notices for HOA board meetings to specifically identify the agenda items for the meeting.

Senate Bill 942 authorizes dangerous dog breeding, such as pit bulls, to be allowed in certain areas.

A maximum fine of $2,500 is set for interfering with participants in athletic or artistic events or going onto fields or stages without authorization, according to House Bill 319. The law also prohibits people from making money off of such exploits.

Local governments will be required to suspend enforcement of ordinances while lawsuits play out, as of Senate Bill 170. It also makes plaintiffs eligible for up to $50,000 in attorney fees if a court finds ordinances are “arbitrary or unreasonable.”

Penalties will be increased for fentanyl dealers and manufacturers with House Bill 1359. There will be mandatory minimum 25-year sentences and $1 million fines for adults selling at least four grams of fentanyl to minors through such things as products that resemble candy.

Potential sentences for people who possess or discharge guns while involved in human trafficking will be boosted with House Bill 1465.

House Bill 1367 expands a litter law to prohibit dumping litter at water-control district properties or canal rights-of-ways.

According to the new House Bill 431, a third-degree felony will be charged to a person age 24 and older who solicits a 16- or 17-year-old in writing to commit a lewd or lascivious act.

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