Florida's new laws for Oct. 1: Guns, pets, and help for first responders

CENTRAL FLORIDA — Several new laws will take effect in Florida on Monday, Oct.1.

The new laws include a new way to pay for gun background checks, assistance for first responders and an animal cruelty law that was passed because of a Central Florida abuse case.

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Workers’ compensation for first responders

Senate Bill 376 was approved in March by Gov. Rick Scott and provides benefits for first responders who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as an occupational disease. The law says benefits do not require a physical injury and are not subject to limitations.

A new way to buy guns

House Bill 55 requires the FDLE provide additional payment options to licensed firearm dealers, importers and manufacturers when paying for criminal history checks. Previously, only personal checks, money orders or cashier’s checks were permitted. Under the new law, the FDLE must establish electronic means like credit cards, debit cards or electronic fund transfers.

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“Ponce’s Law”

Senate Bill 1576 requires animal shelters that take in lost or stray dogs or cats to adopt written policies and procedures to ensure every reasonable effort is made to quickly and reliably return owned animals to their owners.

The law also authorizes a court to prohibit certain offenders from owning or having custody or control over animals.

The law stems from the beating death of a 9-month-old Labrador retriever puppy in Volusia County.

The puppy, named "Ponce," was found beaten to death in Travis Archer's backyard in April 2017, Ponce Inlet police said. Archer was charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

Trespassing on airport property

House Bill 523 makes it a third-degree felony to trespass on airport property with the intent to cause injuries, damage property, or impede the operation of an aircraft, taxiway, ramp or apron area.

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Motor Vehicle Registration for the deaf and hard of hearing

House Bill 135 requires the application for motor vehicle registration to include language indicating an applicant is deaf or hard of hearing. The information will be included in certain databases.

Daylight Saving Time – not so fast

One law that will not go into effect -- and does not appear to be a priority any time soon -- is one signed by Gov. Rick Scott giving Florida year-round Daylight Saving Time. The law was supposed to go into effect July 1 but has not gotten the necessary approval from Congress in Washington.

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