DeSantis signs bills on smoking bans, stolen sexual images

June 24, 2022 GMT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed 35 bills on Friday, including a law allowing local governments to ban smoking on beaches and in parks and vetoed five, including legislation that would have made it easier for businesses to sue local governments over ordinances.

Here’s a look at what some of the new laws will do:

— Require the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to issue, replace, or renew an identification card at no charge to anyone with a valid Florida voter registration card and who is experiencing financial hardship. It also will allow people 80 and older to have an identification card issued if they lose driving privileges due to a failed vision test.

— Allow religious institutions to conduct services during a state-declared emergency in some cases.

— Make it a felony to buy, sell or trade stolen sexually explicit images from someone’s phone or other digital devices. It will also make disseminating altered or created sexually explicit images, known as deepfakes, a felony, and strengthen child pornography, revenge porn and bestiality laws.

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— Require local governments to hold referendums on tax issues on the same day as a general election.

— Make it easier for grandparents to receive visitation rights to spend time with grandchildren.

— Prohibit state agencies and local governments from making payments due to ransomware incidents. Requires newly hired government employees be trained on cybersecurity.

Among vetoed bills are measures that would have:

— Made significant changes to the state’s alimony laws, including the elimination of lifetime alimony, prohibit awarding alimony to a person who earns more than their spouse and creating a rebuttable presumption that shared custody is in the best interest of the child.

— Allowed businesses that have been established for at least three years to sue local governments over ordinances if they cause a 15% or more loss in profit. If a business did sue a city or county, the ordinance would have been suspended until the case is settled. Judges would have had the option of requiring governments pay the business’s legal fees if the court strikes down an ordinance.