State Politics

Bills that failed

Legislation that failed to pass during regulation time of the 2009 session of the Florida Legislature would have:

Business

n Negated a Florida Supreme Court ruling and restored the ability of theme parks and other businesses to use parental waivers to avoid liability for injury or death by children.

Crime

n Made it a crime to have sex with animals.

n Increased the value of stolen property needed for a felony grand theft conviction from $300 to $600 because of inflation.

n Made it a third-degree felony for tattoo artists to ink up minors without first getting parental consent.

Education

n Put on the 2010 ballot a proposed state constitutional amendment to loosen class size limits by requiring they be met on a school average basis instead of in every classroom.

n Made it easier to fire teachers.

n Increased math and science requirements for high school graduation and Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores needed to get a standard diploma.

n Required state universities to bill students’ private insurers for services at their health centers and set guidelines for schools requiring students to have coverage.

Elections

n No longer allowed senior citizens to use retirement center or neighborhood association photo IDs as proof of identification at the polls, criminalized the presence of any person within 100 feet of voters lined up outside polling sites and let legislative leaders create funds to accept donations from lobbyists.

n Required paid petition gatherers to undergo training and background checks, carry ID cards and pay registration fees and prohibited sponsors of citizen initiatives from paying collectors by the number of signatures they turn in.

Environment/Energy

n Permitted offshore drilling in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico as close as three miles from Florida’s beaches but no farther out than 10.5 miles.

n Required power companies to produce 20 percent of their electricity through clean sources including renewables and nuclear by 2020.

Government

n Loosened the state’s gift ban law by letting lobbyists pay the tab up to $20 wining and dining a lawmaker.

n Suspended for two years a program that buys art for new public buildings.

n Limited fees the attorney general can pay when hiring private lawyers for state cases.

Labor Unions

n Put on the 2010 ballot a proposed state constitutional amendment that would required unionization votes by secret ballots and block a possible change in federal law that might let workers to choose between that method or turning in signed cards.

Taxes

n Created two three-day sales tax holidays for back-to-school and hurricane preparation purchases and capped sales taxes on aircraft and yacht purchases while repealing tax exemptions for newspapers and magazines delivered by mail, most charter fishing trips and pinball and other amusement machines.

n Put on the 2010 ballot a proposed state constitutional amendment to limit annual property taxes to 1.35 percent of the highest taxable value of a home, business or other real estate.

n Put on the 2010 ballot a state constitutional amendment to prevent a homeowner’s property tax assessment from going up as much as 3 percent when the home’s market values drops, now allowed by what’s known as the “recapture rule.”

n Prevented multistate corporations that do business in Florida from avoiding state taxes that Florida-only corporations must pay by shifting profits to states with lower taxes.

n Put on the 2010 ballot a proposed state constitutional amendment to cap state and local government revenues with allowances for inflation and growth in population or, for school districts, student enrollment.

n Exempted electric cars from sales tax and given businesses that use them a tax credit.

Transportation

n Cleared the tracks for creation of the proposed SunRail commuter train system in central Florida.

n Increased the minimum age to operate jet skis or other recreational watercraft from 14 to 16.

n Created one specialty license plate with the image of Jesus and another with a cross.

n Created specialty license plates for the St. Johns River, Korean War Veterans, Fraternal Order of Police, Autism, Go Green Florida (renewable energy), Catch Me, Release Me (fishing) and Endless Summer (surfing).

n Require children up to the age of 7 to sit in special car seats instead of 5 under existing law.

n Set requirements for the use of automatic cameras to fine owners of vehicles that run red lights.

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