Minimum wage workers in Florida will get a voter-approved pay boost this week, while about two-dozen new laws kick in, including a regulatory framework for electronic cigarettes.
After just over 60 percent of voters approved a constitutional amendment in November, the state’s minimum wage will go from $8.65 an hour --- about $18,000 a year for a full-time worker --- to $10 on Thursday, with the rate for tipped workers moving up from $5.63 an hour to $6.98 an hour.
Under the constitutional amendment, the rate will increase incrementally each year until reaching $15 an hour --- $11.98 for tipped workers --- on Sept. 30, 2026.
The measure maintains a $3.02 tip credit that employers can apply to tipped workers.
In addition a bill that creates a state regulatory framework for the sale of electronic cigarettes. The bill will raise the state’s legal age to vape and smoke tobacco to 21, a threshold already established in federal law.
Among the other new laws taking effect Friday:
--- Child welfare: The measure makes wide-ranging changes in the child-welfare system on issues such as out-of-home placement, steps for reinstatement of parental rights and the process for transitioning youths out of foster care.
--- Child safety: The bill creates the “Child Safety Alarm Act,” which requires vehicles used by child-care facilities to be equipped with alarm systems that prompt drivers to ensure no children remain on board when the vehicles are parked.
--- Crime Stoppers: The bill makes it a third-degree felony to disclose protected communications provided to a Crime Stoppers organization.
--- Specialty tags: The measure makes a series of changes involving specialty license plates, including establishing an “Army of Occupation” design for
veterans who served overseas in wars between May 9, 1945, and October 2, 1990.
--- DNA: The measure, in part, defines DNA samples as “exclusive property” of people submitting the samples and limits the use of the DNA for criminal
databases unless people provide “express consent.”
--- Written threats (HB 921): The bill expands and updates laws about written threats and cyberstalking, including threats involving mass shootings or terrorism.
--- Corporate espionage (HB 1523): The measure, in part, creates second-degree felony charges for “trafficking in trade secrets,” with the charges bumped to first-degree felonies if the trafficking is aimed at benefiting foreign governments.