The new year brings new laws for Floridians, ranging from expanded lobbying restrictions to disaster relief, tax season changes, and newborn protections.
Florida’s new toll road credit program takes effect on January 1, 2023, and provides Floridians with 35 or more toll transactions in a month with a 50% credit to their account.
“We have people, especially in South Florida, who spend more money on tolls in a month than they do on their loans,” Governor Ron DeSantis said while announcing the program.
Landlords will be required to conduct background checks on all employees as part of Miya’s Law. Miya Marcano, 19, went missing from her apartment in 2021 and was later found dead. Deputies in Orange County say she was killed by a maintenance worker at her apartment complex.
“I just want to say to her, to Miya, even though we couldn’t save you, honey, we did our best to save someone else,” said Miya’s uncle, Marvin Marcano, at the governor’s signing of the law.
Newborns are also receiving increased protection. Beginning January 1, all babies who fail the hearing screening will be tested for cytomegalovirus or CMV. According to pediatricians, it is a fairly common virus that can cause developmental issues in children, such as hearing loss.
“It tends to cause like a mild febrile illness for a few days to a week, and then you can get over it,” said Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infectious disease physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. “But one of the bigger concerns is when a pregnant woman gets it for the first time during her pregnancy, it can also infect the fetus and damage it.”
Dumois said the new law could help track the virus in Florida babies.
“So it’s to get them ready for treatment as soon as possible. If they continue to have hearing problems, they can be referred to a hearing specialist sooner and even fitted with hearing aids “Dumois stated.
Other new laws in the new year include the elimination of a practice known as “benefit assignment” in property insurance, as well as a new law that extends the time it takes for some government officials to begin lobbying from two to six years.