New Laws Span Drones To Online Registration

Jun 30, 2015

Dozens of new laws take effect Wednesday, despite a session that came to a screeching halt over health care reform. Cable and cell phone subscribers will get a tax break, voters will be able to register online and drone operators could be facing lawsuits.

Dozens of new laws go into effect July 1, everything from a nearly $80 billion budget to a mandate for on-line voter registration.

Drone photographer Stephan Guarch, owner of “Experience Above” in Miami, sometimes shoots high rises for Realtors. Now he’s going to be looking over his shoulder, too -- for process servers.

The new drone law means Guarch could get sued if he accidentally takes pictures of people claiming their right to privacy has been violated.

“I’ve heard stories from friends of mine. When they’re flying their drones up on the side of the building, you can pretty much see inside someone’s house if all the lights are on if you want to.”

Another law could narrow privacy rights for child abuse suspects. Inspired by last year’s successful appeal of a child molester, it allows victims younger than 18 to secretly record incriminating conversations with their abusers.

Meanwhile, a last-minute budget deal gives a tax break that will shave about $10 a year off the bill of a typical cell phone or cable TV customer.

And life will be less taxing for Florida elections supervisors. A new law mandates online voter registration by 2017. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the state’s top elections chief, was staunchly opposed, saying there’s not enough time to overhaul his computers.

“There’s a flashing yellow light with regard to planning and implementation and that’s why I’m taking this position today.”

Thanks to the Legislature, beer lovers can legally hoist 64-ounce refillable bottles known as growlers. And motorists can put the pedal to the metal with a little less risk. It’s now illegal for police departments to set traffic ticket quotas.

And on the Fourth of July, patriots will eventually get to salute Old Glory with a little more assurance. A new law mandates that public buildings fly U.S. flags made only in America.