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New Florida laws set to take effect Jan. 1, 2022

Day cares required to have alarms in vehicles to remind drivers to check for children
Posted at 10:29 AM, Jan 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-05 10:29:56-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — New year, new Florida laws.

Jan. 1 brings a number of changes to the Sunshine State.

Here's a few of them.

CS/CS/SB 566: Motor Vehicle Rentals: The new law aims to improve safeguards for peer-to-peer carsharing. Passed earlier this year, its provisions require an individual's rental vehicle to be up to date on safety recalls and both owner and driver to meet minimum state insurance levels. Companies coordinating the rental are also required to collect sales tax from the transactions.

Sponsors call it a move toward safety and fairness.

"We are mirroring what is required by Enterprise, or Alamo, or any of the other ones, or what you have as requirements for any person driving a car in the state of Florida. It mirrors that," said Sen. Keith Perry, R, Gainesville.

SB 252: Child Care Facilities: Also known as the "Child Safety Alarm Act," this new law took effect in October but will begin enforcement in January. It requires all child care facilities and large family child care homes have alarms in vehicles transporting children. The goal is to remind drivers to check for kids before walking away, especially during hot days when heatstroke is a risk.

Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, carried out the policy in 2021 and said it took nearly five years to finally cross the finish line.

Sen. Linda Stewart
Sen. Linda Stewart speaks about the new Child Safety Alarm Act.

"I think that the parents, themselves, feel probably a lot more comfortable knowing that these vans will have this equipment in them, and it will be less of a worry for them," Stewart said.

CS/HB 121: Notaries Public: The law updates notary practices in the state to allow for improved digital records. After unanimous approval in both chambers and the governor's signature, the law requires video storage of online notary sessions; allows court reporters to remotely swear in witnesses and newly admitted attorneys via audio-video and more.

Reduced Workers' Compensation Insurance Rate: Employers can also expect to pay less for workers' comp insurance following a November order by the state's commissioner. David Altmaier signed off on a 4.9% rate decrease for both new and renewed policies effective on the first.

"This 4.9% reduction in workers' compensation rates lowers insurance costs for employers in 2022," Altmaier said in a statement. "Safer workplaces, innovative techniques, and improved risk management practices have resulted in the continued decline in workers compensation claims, ultimately benefitting Florida businesses."

Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier
David Altmaier signed off on the changes to the workers' compensation insurance.

But one thing not happening is a repeal of Florida's personal injury protection requirement for car insurance.

It would have begun in the new year, but Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoed the bill saying he was worried it would increase rates.

"[The bill] may have untended consequences that would negatively impact both the market and consumers," DeSantis said.

Lawmakers return to mull new laws for 2022 in just a few weeks.

The next legislative session begins on Jan. 11.