5 new laws took effect today

Jan 1, 2008

Pensacola News Journal, 1/1/2008

TALLAHASSEE – Only five new laws took effect today, but ignoring one big legal requirement could get Florida drivers in a lot of trouble.
A section of the restored no-fault/personal injury protection insurance law requires drivers to carry coverage for medical expenses resulting from crash-related injuries to themselves, passengers and relatives living in their homes.

Failing to maintain PIP coverage will result in suspension of a driver’s license and vehicle registration.

The 2007 Legislature let the no-fault law lapse and, for three months, many drivers dropped PIP coverage. Companies and insurance agents have been notifying policyholders of the new requirements, but there is concern that many haven’t gotten the word. "PIP is an important consumer protection for Florida drivers and their families and with all the distractions of the holiday season upon us, it’s important for motorists to realize that this coverage will once again be mandatory – and strictly enforced by the state – starting on New Year’s Day," said Dan Tarantin, CEO of Direct General Insurance Co.

The new year also rings in a sweeping package of election-law changes for Florida.

The most noticeable for voters is the Jan. 29 presidential primary date – moved up from early March, to make the state more influential in the nominating process.

A second is intended to make Gov. Charlie Crist a more attractive vice presidential candidate. Deletion of the "resign to run" requirement for national offices is effective today.

Republican legislative leaders decided to clear the way so that Crist might run – if picked for a national ticket – without having to give up his current job.

Another election-law change – eliminating "touch screen" voting equipment – won’t kick in until July 1. The 2008 general elections will be conducted on paper, under the new law.

Other new statutes affect rules for corporate registration and business filings with the secretary of state’s Corporations Division; extend the registration and renewal period for some vehicles, mobile homes and vessels; and revise rules for issuing limited insurance licenses.

There is also a new statute authorizing electronic notarization of documents.