Over the weekend, Governor Ron DeSantis signed off on 10 new laws. Some will go into effect as early as July.
The new laws range from an indoor vaping ban to penalties for harming police animals, and public record exemptions.
In November Florida voters signed off on Amendment 9. It prohibits vaping or electronic cigarettes in an enclosed workplace. DeSantis has approved an implementing bill for the amendment.
“This, we believe, would provide clear authority for the comprehensive statewide prevention and use program to engage in prevention and education around the use of electronic smoking devices,” said American Lung Association’s Aimee Diaz Lyon. She calls it a great opportunity to inform the public.
However, Joshua Unger, owner of Von Vape in Sarasota, says vaping helps fight the addiction of tobacco.
“I personally have witnessed hundreds of people in hundreds of stores in the state transition from smoking to vaping and then to not vaping. I personally vape 0 nicotine that is an accurate statement it does exist it’s 30% of my business,” he said.
Breaking the law carries a maximum penalty of $25 along with the completion an anti-tobacco program, or 50 hours of community service. The new law will be effective July 1st.
DeSantis did not have to sign off on another measure of the amendment, which bans offshore oil and gas drilling.
Meanwhile the state is increasing penalties for killing police canines and horses.
Violators will receive a second-degree felony instead of a third-degree felony if they were to harm or kill the animals. Those who are found guilty will earn a maximum of 15 years in prison.
“These canines are not tools, they’re extensions of their handler. A tool is a Taser. These are living breathing animals with a heartbeat. They have one of the most dangerous jobs in law enforcement and are often the first ones in,” said Canines United founder Debbie Johnson. She says canines are more than a weapon.
The bill’s effective date is set for early October.
Other bills approved included aging programs, notifying the Legislative Auditing Committee of financial errors, expanding exemptions to the state’s open record laws, and transferring some functions of the Department of Elderly Affairs to the Agency for Health Care Administration.