32 new Florida laws take effect today
Crackdowns on pain clinics, assaults on the homeless and laws sharing methadone are included
Palm Beach Post
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We all know the importance of not sharing your methadone with anyone, but Florida has now changed the law to say that if you do give it to someone else and they overdose and die from that dose, you can be charged with First Degree Murder. I think other states already have this law as well. I will have to do a little research on that.
I copied the entire article which lists all 32 but only one concerns methadone. There is another one cutting down on the Florida pain mgt clinics and their policies as well. I printed the methadone and the pain mgt clinic one in blue.
By Robert Nolen - Sun Sentinel
Assault a homeless person and you could face tougher penalties similar to hate crime laws. Impersonate a soldier while soliciting donations and you could be found guilty of a felony. Open a pain pill clinic and you'll face myriad strict new regulations.
These are some of the 32 new laws passed by the Legislature in the spring that go into effect today.
But not all involve crime and punishment. You now can donate to worthy charities when you renew a driver license or spell out your particular interest through new specialty license tags. You can't, however, threaten someone via e-mail unless you're willing to risk jail time.
Here is a look at some of the new laws:
Pain clinics: To rein in activity at a growing number of "pill mills" that often too freely dispense pain medication, doctors at the facilities now must actually examine prospective patients.There are 154 pain clinics in Broward County and 122 in Palm Beach County. They can only prescribe enough pills for three days, cannot advertise that they sell pain pills or name the pills and must register with the state and open their doors to inspections. Failure to comply means the state could yank a clinic's registration and close its doors, fine it $5,000 a day or charge owners and doctors with a felony.
Street racing: Sreet racers with repeat offenses will face bigger fines. Second violations will result in a fine of at least $1,000. Three or more offenses will mean fines of $2,000 to $5,000 and a possible four-year driver's license revocation. The bill was named for Luis Rivera Ortega, an Orange County teenager who was riding his bike when he was killed by a street racer doing between 50 mph and 70 mph in a 35-mph zone.
Cyber threats: People who send letters threatening to kill or injure someone, either signed or anonymously, already risk conviction of a second-degree felony. Now legislators have entered the Internet age by adding "electronic communication," or e-mail, to that statute. The new law isn't expected to put a drain on the state prison system. The state Criminal Justice Impact Conference reports that in 2008-09 only six people were imprisoned under the current law.
Fake soldiers: People who don military uniforms to collect donations from the public, usually in camouflage at busy intersections, must now disclose their identity and where the solicited money will go. Should they misrepresent themselves as members of any U.S. military branch by uniform or statement, they could be convicted of a third-degree felony.
Methadone: Someone who sells Methadone, a synthetic pain killer, to a person who later overdoses and dies may now be charged with first-degree murder. Provisions are that the seller is 18 or older, and that the drug, typically used to wean addicts off heroin, is proven to be the actual cause of the overdose. First-degree murder carries a mandatory life sentence.
Secrecy preserved: Rather than let confidentially rules expire, as certain public records laws do after five years, the Legislature voted to keep complaints to the state Ethics Commission against public officials secret. The Ethics Commission also may ban the public from proceedings. Final rulings from the commission ultimately are made public, however. Also remaining exempt from public records laws are the addresses of domestic violence victims, so their abusers may not track them down. The state will issue substitute addresses for such victims and handle their mail delivery.
Specialty plates: Among Florida's 114 specialty license tags, through which drivers can broadcast support for a favorite team or endangered panthers, are three new ones. Each costs $25 extra a year. "Catch Me, Release Me" advocating fish conservation, will channel money to marine-related research. "Discover Florida's Horses" will help fund operations at the Florida Agricultural Center and Horse Park Authority, and money from "Save Wild Florida" will go to research and education involving the state's plants and animals. As of last year, 1.4 million of the state's 16.5 million registered drivers displayed specialty plates, which generated $37 million in revenue during fiscal year 2009 alone.
Homeless hate: Offenses against the homeless now will carry enhanced penalties similar to those in effect based on race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. For example, a second-degree misdemeanor would be elevated to a first-degree misdemeanor if committed against a homeless person, and a first-degree misdemeanor would become a third-degree felony. Such reclassifications would result in stricter sentences.
Tag office charity: Drivers flush with charitable feelings while renewing licenses or vehicle registrations may now check off a box to contribute $1 to nonprofit organizations dedicated to blind children, people with developmental disabilities or for the prevention of child sex abuse.
We are not bad people trying to become good, we are sick people trying to become well.
Methadone; A Flicker Of Light In The Dark
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