The New Year…and its New Laws
Though the average citizen did not see many changes in Washington as Barack Obama was re-elected for his second term as President, there was important legislature passed that affects Florida. Though several of these laws have been in effect since the summer, the 2013 New Year officially announces new laws for the public.
There are five laws that we will discuss that may affect the majority of Floridians; some that may affect you legally, and some that may have an impact on your finances in the long run.
1. Flashing your headlights at oncoming traffic (which we discussed back in May) to announce that there is a speed-trap or DUI check point up ahead has gone before the judge and is now no longer illegal. The presiding judge ruled that flashing car head lights was actually protected under the first Amendment with freedom of speech. The Florida Highway Patrol has already found a way around it though by giving tickets for the illegal use of high beams into oncoming traffic.
2. Another vehicle-related change in the state laws removed an existing law restricting buses from travelling over 55 mph. Buses must obey the speed limit for the designated area.
3. PIP insurance, or Personal Injury Protection now allows a person who has been in an auto accident up to two weeks to seek medical attention. PIP would provide $10,000 coverage in emergency medical care and $2500 for minor injuries occurred, but Massage Therapy and Acupuncture are not covered anymore as methods of treatment.
4. In the job arena, minimum wage in Florida is going up 12 cents. This means the present wage of $7.79 per hour will become $7.91 on January 1, 2013, and the result is a five dollar increase on a weekly paycheck for approximately 210,000 workers.
5. In the area of saving energy and taking action to be more environmentally friendly, the 75 watt incandescent light bulb will no longer be available for purchase at your local stores according to Federal Law. The 75 watt is joining the 100 watt bulb in retirement. The 100 watt incandescent bulb was the first to be discontinued last year, and the law is already in place for the 60 and 40 watt bulbs to be phased out in January of 2014. The inventory on the shelves may be sold.