TALLAHASSEE — Gas stations in Florida will have to install security devices on pumps to make sure illegal credit card skimmers aren’t placed in them under a bill now going to Gov. Rick Scott.
The House passed the bill Tuesday on a 111-1 vote a week after the Senate passed it unanimously.
The legislation was a top priority for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose department has been investigating the use of skimmers to steal credit card information.
The bill (SB 912) also increases penalties for stealing credit card information, while lowering the number of stolen credit cards a person can have before facing felony charges.
Also Tuesday …
16 new laws: Scott signed 16 bills into law, including one that will provide legal protections (HB 131) for good Samaritans who break into locked cars to rescue animals and vulnerable people; it provides legal immunity for damage that rescuers cause to vehicles while trying to help the animals or vulnerable people. Another (HB 381) broadens a public-records exemption for proprietary business information as part of an issue stemming from “The Ultimate Fighter” television show; Ultimate Fighting Championship said it needed the exemption because of concerns that matched it taped last year in Florida could be made public before its planned broadcasts. Another anti-human trafficking law (HB 545) removes people younger than 18 from being prosecuted for prostitution.
Jobs chief, lottery secretary confirmed: With a 36-0 vote, the Senate confirmed Cissy Proctor as Scott’s new jobs chief and Thomas Delacenserie as secretary of the Department of the Lottery. The two were among 66 appointees confirmed, mostly to local, regional and state boards. Proctor replaced Jesse Panuccio as executive director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. Panuccio, who failed to get confirmed by the Senate a year ago, resigned in December. Delacenserie, with the Lottery for 15 years, was named as secretary in November after Cynthia O’Connell stepped down.
Elections supervisors’ pay: A bill (SB 514) that could raise county elections supervisors’ salaries by an average of 18 percent is headed to Scott’s desk after a 58-54 vote in the House. The bill, passed by the Senate last week, revises formulas based on county population that are used to set the salaries, making them the same as those for other constitutional officers. Backers of the bill say supervisors’ salaries are lower than other county constitutional officers, including tax collectors and property appraisers, because in the past, most supervisors were women and were thought of as clerks. But some House members argued in floor debate that supervisors already make enough money, up to $160,000 in Miami-Dade County and about $100,000 on average.
Early session again in 2018: The House voted 89-28 to give final approval to a bill (SB 7076) that would start the session in 2018, another election year, on Jan. 9, nearly two months earlier than usual. Senators voted 27-11 to approve it last week, meaning the bill is ready to go to Scott. Arguments for the early start ranged from giving agencies more time to carry out new laws to lining up the schedule better with hunting seasons and spring break. The state Constitution requires legislative sessions to start on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March in odd-numbered years. It also sets that same date for even-numbered years, though it leaves flexibility for lawmakers to make changes in even-numbered years.
Dozier School for Boys: A bill (SB 708) intended to help heal a community and people who suffered at a former reform school where the remains of 51 boys have been unearthed is headed to Scott. The House voted 114-3 to approve the measure, which would allocate $1.5 million to provide up to $7,500 per family for the reburial of remains removed from the 1,400-acre site of the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. It also would establish plans for a memorial at the reform school, which operated from 1990 to 2011 in the Jackson County community of Marianna.
Elevator safety: A bill (SB 1602) that would require the installation of sensors in new elevators in private homes is on its way to Scott after it passed the House Tuesday and the Senate last month. Unanimously approved in both chambers, it is named the “Maxwell Erik ‘Max” Grablin Act,” after a boy who became pinned by an elevator at his home while looking for a hamster in an elevator shaft.
Property seizure by police: Florida is one step away from overhauling laws that allow law enforcement agencies to take property, cars and cash from suspected criminals after lawmakers sent Scott a bill (SB 1044) Monday that would give more protection to citizens targeted by police. The House unanimously passed the bill that would require an arrest before police can seize assets. It’s designed to prevent abuses under the current law, which allows law enforcement agencies to take money and property based on the mere suspicion of illegal activity. Law enforcement groups were fighting the bill until the sponsor dropped language that would have also required a conviction for agencies to keep seized cash and property. There are other protections for citizens, such as requiring law enforcement agencies to pay $1,000 in court fees upon seizing property and put up a $1,500 bond that would go to the property owner if a court decides assets were improperly seized.
Post wire reports.