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Parasail Regulations Among More Than 30 New Florida Laws Taking Effect Wednesday


A bill regulating the parasailing industry is among 32 new laws set to take effect Wednesday. And, the head of Florida’s water sports association says the state’s parasailing industry is ready.

The "White-Miskell" Act

In January, Sen Maria Sachs (D-Delray Beach) said she’d never go up in a parasail with an industry that doesn’t have any uniform standards.

“I would not go up now,” said Sachs. “After this bill is passed and it becomes law, then I would look forward to taking a victory ride up in a parasail afterwards.”

Now, with a new law on the books, she’s sticking to that promise. Water Sports Industry Association Chairman Larry Meddock, who helped write the law, is set to take her up in a parasail in South Florida Thursday.

“We’re operating out of Fort Lauderdale and we’re taking her out to a parasail operator called ‘Aloha Parasail,’ and they work off the Marriott hotel beach down there and we’re going to take her out. We’ll do the exercise and go through the drill of all of the new Florida law elements and then take her flying,” said Meddock.

The "White-Miskell" Act sponsored by Sachs and Rep. Gwyndolen Clarke-Reed (D-Deerfield Beach) states parasail operators must carry the minimum amount of insurance. It also prohibits parasailing as bad weather approaches. After the measure had been filed for several years, the bill got through both chambers of the Legislature, after a parasailing accident in Panama Cityinvolving two Indiana teens occurred last year. Authorities say it was due to strong windy conditions.

Florida Unborn Victims of Violence Act

Another new law taking effect Wednesday would make it a separate crime to harm or cause the death of an unborn child during an attack on a pregnant woman.

Listen to the story!

Rep. Larry Ahern  (R-Seminole) says the case that brought attention to this issue occurred about three years ago.

“…when a woman’s daughter was strangled by her boyfriend and resulted in the death of her unborn child. He knew she was pregnant. And, the state of Florida even issued a death certificate for the unborn child, yet she was charged in the death of the daughter: one crime and she just couldn’t understand it,” said Ahern.

But, he says it was really Remee Lee’s case that helped it get through. She’s the woman dubbed the ‘abortion pill victim,” after her ex-boyfriend gave her a pill that caused her to lose the child disguising it as an antibiotic.

And, Ahern calls it a great accomplishment that the measure—filed every year for almost a decade—finally passed.

“And, knowing that there were so many obstacles and unfortunately out of such a great tragedy, but that’s what it takes sometimes to get people’s attention at several injustices in our state,” said Ahern.

And, his Senator sponsor, Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) says overall, the message is clear.

“My hope is with this that when a person is going to commit a crime against the woman, they need to take into consideration that if she’s pregnant, it’s going to cause a pretty stiff penalty and they’re going to think twice,” added Stargel.

Other Laws

Other measures taking effect Wednesday includes several laws toughening laws against sexual predators, cracking down on human trafficking, and more rules in place to protect elderly people from fraud. There’s also a new law creating a law enforcement hall of fame.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.