Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Fla. laws cover 'pill mills,' street racing

Thirty-two new Florida laws go into effect Friday, Oct. 1. They include statutes that will:

- Crack down on the sale of prescription painkillers to addicts and drug dealers by "pill mills" through provision that limit advertising, bar patients without insurance from getting more than a three-day supply and impose stiff penalties on doctors and clinics that violate prescribing rules. (This law is being challenged in federal court.)

- Make prejudice-motivated attacks on homeless people hate crimes that can result in more severe penalties.

- Increase repeat offense penalties for street racers under what is titled the Luis Rivera Ortega Street Racing Act after a 15-year-old boy killed by an alleged street racer while riding his bicycle on New Year's Day 2009 in Orange County.

- Make threat of injury or death sent by e-mail or other electronic communications punishable by up to 15 years in prison as already provided for if those same threats are made on paper.

- Allow the death penalty for the unlawful distribution of methadone that causes a user's death.

- Make it illegal to impersonate military veterans when soliciting donations.

- Crack down on rogue debt collectors by making it easier to regulate the industry and increasing penalties.

- Create a "St. Johns River" specialty license plate to raise money for research projects and community outreach and access programs selected by the St. Johns River Alliance.

- Create an "Endless Summer" specialty license plate to promote surfing and fund such things as lifeguards, artificial reefs and beach protection.

- Create three specialty license plates: "Catch Me, Release Me" to fund marine research, education and outreach; "Discover Florida's Horses" to promote the Florida Agriculture and Horse Park in Marion County, and "Save Wild Florida" to aid the Florida Biodiversity Foundation.

- Let motorists donate $1 when registering and renewing their vehicle registration to the Florida Association of Agencies Serving the Blind to aid blind babies and youth, The Arc of Florida to help people with developmental disabilities or the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay.

- Allow motorists to donate $1 when registering and renewing registration for their vehicles to Prevent Blindness Florida or Lauren's Kids, a childhood sexual abuse prevention group.

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