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Florida Legislature's 2011 session winners and losers

Senators debate bills Wednesday in the Senate. The 60-day session ended Friday when the House and Senate passed the budget.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Senators debate bills Wednesday in the Senate. The 60-day session ended Friday when the House and Senate passed the budget.

Some bills that passed and failed in the 2011 session. All passed bills await Gov. Rick Scott's approval.

Consumers

BIKE SAFETY (Failed): Bicycle helmets worn by riders younger than 16 must meet federal safety requirements. (SB 118/HB 981)

BOOSTER SEATS (Failed): Requires booster seats for children 4 to 7 years old who are shorter than 4 feet 9 inches. (SB 238/HB 11)

Criminal, civil justice

BATH SALTS (Passed): Bans methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or "bath salts." (SB 1886/HB 1039)

BESTIALITY (Passed): Bans abuse involving sexual contact with an animal. (SB 344/HB 125)

CIVIL CITATIONS (Passed): Requires program to issue civil citations to first-time juvenile offenders. (HB 997)

CIVIL RIGHTS (Passed): Allows some released felons to apply for an occupational license and public employment before having rights restored. (SB 146/HB 449)

CONCEALED WEAPONS (Passed): A concealed weapon permit holder who accidentally shows a gun would no longer be subject to penalty. (SB 234)

DOCTORS AND GUNS (Passed): Limits instances when doctors can ask patients whether they own firearms. (SB 155)

JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSION (Failed): Ends terms of all current members of judicial nominating commissions, which recommend judicial appointments to the governor. Allows Gov. Rick Scott to appoint new members, with input on some positions from the Florida Bar. (SB 2170/HB 7101)

MANDATORY SENTENCES (Failed): Eliminates minimum mandatory sentences for nonviolent offenders convicted of drug offenses. (SB 1334/HB 917)

PILL MILLS (Passed): Limits ability of doctors to dispense prescription drugs. Establishes stiff penalties for illegal dispensing. (SB 818/HB 7095)

POLICE LINEUPS (Failed): Sets new guidelines for police lineups to try to reduce wrongful convictions. (SB 1206/HB 0821)

PRETRIAL RELEASE PROGRAMS (Failed): Limits pretrial release programs to indigent defendants represented by public defenders. (SB 372/HB 1379)

RED-LIGHT CAMERAS (Failed): Outlaws traffic infraction cameras at intersections, repealing legislation adopted last year. (SB 672/ HB 4087)

SEXTING (Passed): Decriminalizes sending sexually explicit text messages, photos or videos via cell phone or other devices by minors. (SB 888/HB 75)

SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA (Passed): Outlaws synthetic marijuana. (SB 204/HB 39)

TREATMENT BASED-DRUG COURTS (Signed into law): Expands court programs as a sentencing option in eight counties, including Pinellas and Hillsborough. (SB 400)

Education

CHARTER SCHOOLS (Passed): Lifts barriers for charter schools to expand, in part by designating certain schools as "high performing." (SB 1546/HB 7195)

CLASS SIZE (Passed): Changes definition of core curriculum, reducing the number of courses that must meet class-size caps. (SB 2120/HB 5101)

EDUCATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY (Passed): Catch-all bill that, among other things, limits gifts to school board members and their relatives to $50. (SB 1696/HB 1255)

SAGGY PANTS (Passed): Requires school boards to prohibit students from wearing clothes that show their underwear or body parts, and imposes punishment up to in-school suspension. (HB 61/SB 228)

SCHOOL BUS ADS (Failed): Allows restricted use of commercial advertisements on school buses. (SB 1124/HB 109)

SCHOOL LUNCH (Passed): Transfers school food and nutrition programs to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (SB 1312/HB 7219)

SCHOOL VOUCHERS FLORIDA TAX CREDIT SCHOLARSHIPS (Passed): Removes limitation on tax credits for companies that fund vouchers for low-income students. (SB 1388/HB 965)

SCHOOL VOUCHERS — MCKAY SCHOLARSHIPS (Passed): Allows more children to qualify under the McKay Scholarship program for students with disabilities. (SB 1656/HB 1329)

SCHOOL VOUCHERS — OPPORTUNITY SCHOLARSHIPS (Passed): Allows more students to qualify to move to other public schools by expanding the definition of a "failing" school. (SB 1822/HB 1331)

TEACHER TENURE (Signed into law): Teacher evaluations will be based in part on student test scores, and administrators will be able to more easily fire teachers with weak evaluations. (SB 736/HB 7019)

VIRTUAL SCHOOLS (Passed): Expands online school offerings and requires incoming high school students to take at least one online course before graduating. (SB 1620/HB 7197)

Energy, environment

BILLBOARDS (Failed): Lets billboard companies decide whether to pay into a fund for planting trees — instead of requiring them to — when they get permits to chop down trees that belong to taxpayers. (SB 1570)

CITIZEN CHALLENGES (Passed): Reverses state's "burden of proof" requirement that potential polluters show that their projects won't contaminate air or water. Replaces it with a requirement that citizens and other challengers provide proof that the project will harm air or water. (SB 1382/HB 993)

CLIMATE (Failed): Repeals the Florida Climate Protection Act, which authorizes the state to create a cap-and-trade regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (SB 762)

FERTILIZER (Passed): Prohibits local governments from passing ordinances that ban sales of fertilizer, but grandfathers in existing laws, such as Pinellas' ban. (HB 7215)

GOLF COURSES (Failed): Requires the Division of Recreation and Parks to hire Jack Nicklaus Design to build courses in state parks in every region of the state, creating a Jack Nicklaus Golf Trail. (SB 1846/HB 1239)

GROWTH MANAGEMENT (Passed): Shifts review and regulation for development from the state to local governments with repeal of the 1985 Growth Management Act. (HB 7207)

RENEWABLE ENERGY (Failed): Allows utilities to raise rates $377 million every year for the next five years to build solar or biomass renewable energy plants. (SB 7082)

SEAPORTS (Passed): Eliminates state security regulations, which duplicated federal efforts. Gives Citrus County until July 2014 to apply for funding to study feasibility of a "Port Citrus" on the old barge canal. (SB 524/HB 283)

SEPTIC TANKS (Failed): Repeals 2010 policy requiring homeowners with septic tanks to have them inspected by Health Department-certified regulators every five years. (HB 13/SB 1698)

SEWAGE AS FERTILIZER (Failed): Lifts a not-yet-implemented ban on spraying treated waste from septic tanks as fertilizer on farmers' fields. (HB 1479)

Ethics and elections

BLIND TRUSTS (Failed): Requires the governor, lieutenant governor and three Cabinet members to place their personal assets into blind trusts. (SB 86)

CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS (Failed): Increases the $500 maximum campaign contribution to $10,000 for gubernatorial candidates, $5,000 for Cabinet races and $2,500 for state legislative candidates. (SB 1690)

ELECTIONS (Passed): Reduces days of early voting from 14 to eight, requires some voters who have moved to cast provisional ballots, tightens the time for third-party groups to submit voter registration forms and reduces the time that signatures on citizen-led ballot initiatives are valid. (SB 2086/HB 1355)

ETHICS (Failed): Bars a lawmaker from voting on legislation that would "inure to his or her special private gain or loss" or to an employer, relative, business associate or board upon which the official sits. (SB 2088/HB 1071)

FALSEHOODS (Passed): Makes it illegal for a candidate to falsely claim military service. (SB 330)

GIFT BAN (Failed): Allows lobbyists to provide $25 worth of food and drink or gifts to lawmakers. Items worth more than $25 up to $100 would be reported, and anything over $100 would require approval of Senate president or House speaker. (SB 1322)

Gambling

CASINO RESORTS (Failed): Allows for development of resort casinos in up to five areas of the state. (SB 2050/HB 1415)

GREYHOUND RACING (Failed): Frees dog track owners from a requirement that they hold a certain number of live races to maintain licenses for a casino or card room. (SB 1594/HB 1145)

ONLINE POKER (Failed): Regulates online poker games by allowing Floridians to play with other Floridians through an Intranet system operated out of parimutuel card rooms. (SB 812)

SWEEPSTAKES CAFES (Failed): Prohibits use of simulated gaming for promotional purposes. (HB 217)

Government

PENSIONS (Passed): Local government employees face new limits on sick leave and overtime under a compromise plan. (SB 1128/HB 7241)

GUN CONTROL (Passed): Prohibits local governments from regulating firearms. (HB 45)

PENSION REFORM (Passed): Employees in the Florida Retirement System will pay 3 percent of their salaries into their retirement accounts, face higher retirement ages, and their retirement accounts will no longer collect cost-of-living-adjustment starting July 1. (SB 2100, HB 1405)

PINELLAS AGENCIES' MERGER (Failed): Consolidates the Pinellas Planning Council and the Metropolitan Planning Organization into one agency to handle both land-use and transportation issues. (SB 1446/HB 1041)

CABINET RULES REPEALS (Failed): Provision in rulemaking bill would have allowed Cabinet members during their first six months in office to repeal rules if they are obsolete or if they conflict with policies members are trying to implement was removed from bill that passed. (HB 993)

Health care

ABORTION — CHOOSE LIFE (Passed): Proceeds from Choose Life license plates will go to Choose Life Inc. for assisting pregnant women, instead of counties. (SB 196/HB 501)

ABORTION — HEALTH CARE EXCHANGES (Passed): Health care plans created through the federal health care law cannot offer coverage for abortions. (SB 1414/HB 97)

ABORTION — PARENTAL NOTIFICATION (Passed): Requires minors seeking a judicial waiver for parental notification of an abortion to get the waiver in district court rather than a wider-reaching appeals court. (SB 1770/HB 1247)

ABORTION — THIRD-TRIMESTER BAN (Failed): Expands ban on third-trimester abortions to include viability of the fetus. Doctors who perform abortions would be required to receive ethics training. (SB 1748/HB 1397)

ABORTION — ULTRASOUND (Passed): Women preparing to undergo an abortion must be offered the opportunity to have the results and images of an ultrasound explained to them. Woman can decline to see the image. (SB 1744/HB 1127)

MEDICAID (Passed): Reforms place the program's 3 million recipients into managed care. HMOs and other large, managed-care networks will bid with the state on managing any number of 11 regions in Florida. Also makes it more difficult for recipients to sue Medicaid doctors and hospitals. (SB 1972/HB 7107, 7109)

SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY (Passed): Extends state lawsuit protection to university doctors teaching at public hospitals. (SB 1676/HB 1393)

Insurance

AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE (Failed): Among other things, bill gives insurers 90 days to investigate auto accident claims for possible fraud before paying claims. (SB 1930/HB 1411)

AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE (Failed): Limits attorney's fees in personal injury protection lawsuits. (SB 1694/HB 967)

CITIZENS PROPERTY INSURANCE (Failed): Allows state-run insurer to raise rates by up to 25 percent. The current maximum: 10 percent. (SB 1714/HB 1243)

PROPERTY INSURANCE (Passed): Allows insurance companies to offer comprehensive sinkhole coverage for primary structures only. Sets a three-year window for filing claims for damage caused by hurricanes and windstorms. (SB 408/HB 803)

Military affairs

COLLEGE CHOICE (Failed): Allows veterans who lived in Florida four years before entering armed forces to be admitted to any state bachelor's program of their choice. (SB 894/HB 693)

DRIVER'S LICENSE FEES (Failed): Reduces driver's license fees for certain disabled veterans. (SB 368/HB 123)

PROPERTY TAXES (Passed): Extends certain property tax breaks to disabled veterans 65 years or older who have a service-connected disability but were not Florida residents before entering service. (SB 592/HB 439)

STATE PARKS (Passed): Gives parents of deceased veterans lifetime annual passes to state parks. (SB 236/HB 95)

TUITION (Failed): Gives any veteran in the country the in-state tuition rate to attend one of Florida's colleges or universities. (SB 826/683)

VETERANS COURT (Failed): Allows counties to develop jail-diversion programs for veterans charged with certain crimes as a result of traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder or substance use stemming from military combat. (SB 138)

VETERANS DAY (Failed): Requires schools to observe Veterans Day as a holiday and not hold classes. (SB 1062/HB 375)

WOUNDED WARRIOR HUNTS (Passed): Requires Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to develop more hunting areas for disabled veterans. (SB 850/HB 663)

Miscellaneous

ADVERSE POSSESSION (Passed): Requires that property appraisers notify rightful homeowners when someone files for adverse possession. Anyone who seeks adverse possession must disclose, under penalty of perjury, the intended use of the property. (SB 1142/HB 927)

BARKING TREEFROG (Failed): Makes barking treefrog the state amphibian. (SB 502/HB 645)

CLAIMS — ERIC BRODY (Failed): Allows Eric Brody, a Broward man paralyzed after a Broward Sheriff's Office cruiser crashed into him, to collect $12 million. (SB 42/HB 1151)

CLAIMS — DANIEL AND AMARA ESTRADA (Failed): Compensates the Estradas in a "wrongful birth" case against University of South Florida. (SB 18/HB 545)

COMMERCIAL PARASAILING (Failed): Establishes state oversight of the commercial parasailing industry. Named for Alejandra White, a tourist killed while parasailing in Clearwater in September. (SB 392/HB 451)

DANGEROUS DOGS (Passed): Dogs found as part of an animal-fighting ring won't be automatically classified as dangerous. (SB 722/HB 4075)

FARM PHOTOGRAPHY (Failed): Bans photography on farms without owner's written consent, with exceptions for state investigators, law enforcement and property appraisers. (SB 1246)

OPEN HOUSE PARTIES (Passed): Imposes harsher penalties on adults who violate house party laws. (SB 746/HB 105)

PHOTOS, VIDEOS OF DEATH (Passed): Exempts photos, videos and recordings depicting deaths from public records. Introduced for families of two Tampa police officers whose deaths were captured on a dashboard camera. (SB 416/HB 411)

SBA PUBLIC RECORDS EXEMPTION (Passed): Renews law letting State Board of Administration keep private certain "proprietary confidential business information" related to alternative investments. (SB 2174/HB 7225)

ANTI-SHARIA LAW (Failed): Says foreign laws and doctrines should stay out of Florida courts. (SB 1294/HB 1273)

UNION DUES (Failed): Bans public employee unions from using automatic payroll deduction to collect union dues and using dues for political activity. (SB 830, HB 1021)

VACATION RENTALS (Passed): Forbids local governments from treating "vacation rentals" differently than other homes. (SB 476/HB 883)

WINE SHIPMENTS (Failed): Prohibits large wineries from continuing to ship bottles directly to Florida consumers. (SB 854/HB 837)

YOUTH ATHLETE CONCUSSIONS (Failed): Requires Florida High School Athletic Association to remove athletes showing signs of a concussion during a game or practice until they receive clearance from a certain physician. (SB 730/HB 301)

Gov. Scott's priorities

DRUG TESTS FOR WELFARE RECIPIENTS (Passed): Requires drug screening for adult welfare recipients. (HB 353)

DAUBERT STANDARD OF EXPERT TESTIMONY (Failed): Changes standards by which judges admit expert testimony. (SB 822/HB 391)

GOOD SAMARITAN PROTECTIONS (Passed): Protects from civil litigation people who offer temporary housing, food, water or electricity to an emergency first responder or immediate family members of an emergency first responder. (SB 450/HB 215)

IMMIGRATION (Failed): Requires some public or private employers to use the federal government's E-Verify system, and changes rules for law enforcement to check the immigration status of suspects or inmates. (SB 2040/HB 7089)

Taxes and budget

BUDGET (Passed): The $69.7 billion plan funds state government for the 2011-2012 year. (SB 2000)

CORPORATE INCOME TAX (Passed): A tax break of $1,100 a year on average for 15,000 small businesses as first step in effort to cut the state's annual $2 billion corporate tax. (HB 7185)

ONLINE TRAVEL TAX (Failed): Shields online travel companies from paying taxes on retail price of hotel rooms they sell and allows them to pay based on wholesale cost. (SB 376 /HB 493)

PROPERTY TAXES (Passed): Requires property owners to pay 75 percent of their taxes while they appeal their property appraisals. (HB 281)

UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION (Passed): Pays for a tax cut for businesses by cutting state benefits for unemployed Floridians. Instead of making the maximum $275 weekly benefit available for 26 weeks, the state would use a sliding scale based on the unemployment rate. Benefits would be available for no more than 23 weeks and no less than 12 weeks. (HB 7005)

Transportation

BILLBOARD PERMITS (Failed): Provision sets more restrictive guidelines for billboard permit fees charged by counties and cities. (HB 1363)

ENDING SUNPASS DISCOUNT (Failed): Eliminates discount on prepaid tolls for those who buy SunPass Cards (SB 1252)

FALLEN OFFICER ROAD DESIGNATIONS (Signed into law): Names stretches of roadways in Tampa Bay for five St. Petersburg and Tampa police officers killed in the line of duty since June. (SB 782/HB 601)

PANHANDLING (Failed): Provision within sprawling transportation bill imposes statewide restrictions on roadside solicitations. Designed with Tampa's panhandling problems in mind. (SB 1180)

TAMPA HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY EXPRESSWAY AUTHORITY (Failed): Provision in omnibus budget folds assets of the Tampa Hillsborough County Expressway Authority into the Florida Turnpike Enterprise. (SB 2152)

Veto override

LEADERSHIP FUNDS: Allows leaders in the House and Senate to operate campaign accounts that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash. (HB 1207)

Times/Herald staff writers Michael C. Bender, Steve Bousquet, Becky Bowers, Sergio Bustos, Marc Caputo, Mary Ellen Klas, Patricia Mazzei, Katie Sanders, Aaron Sharockman, Jodie Tillman and Janet Zink contributed to this report.

Florida Legislature's 2011 session winners and losers 05/07/11 [Last modified: Saturday, May 7, 2011 10:21pm]

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