Hundreds of New Laws Take Effect July 1

More than 200 new laws take effect in July. The laws cover everything from the serious, like children’s health care, to the silly, like an official state pie.

Children whose parents make a little too much money to be eligible for the state KidCare program may now be able to get health insurance under a new law that expands eligibility. Parents will have to pay a bit more, but it will be much cheaper than private insurance.

Another new law seals the records on who has a concealed weapons permit in Florida.

Juvenile boot camps will be revamped and renamed “STAR” programs. They’ll get more money from the state and a more respect and relationship-based, less-militaristic approach to rehabilitating young offenders.

Police get a break with a new law that takes away the “I didn’t know it was stolen” excuse from drivers of stolen vehicles. Lt. John Bagnardi says authorities have had to let many a car thief go because a judge bought the argument that the driver didn’t know a car with a busted ignition was hot.

“Here’s a car with a screwdriver that needs to start the car, where they might have thought something was amiss, and hopefully this law will address those stupidity issues if you will.”

Then we get into the somewhat less serious laws. Communities will now have the option of legally allowing dogs to dine with their owners in outdoor restaurants.

The state motto officially becomes “In God We Trust,” even though it’s been on the state seal since 1868.

And dessert lovers now have an official pie to enjoy. The Key Lime Pie becomes the state Pie of Florida.

Floridians also get a couple of tax breaks under laws taking effect in July. The popular back-to-school shopping tax holiday will give shoppers a sales tax break from July 22 to 30, and businesses will now get a tax break on some machinery and equipment.