Floridians – Have You Paid Attention to the New Laws Which Took Effect on January 1, 2019?

Floridians – Have You Paid Attention to the New Laws Which Took Effect on January 1, 2019?
florida, constitution, munns, article, legal, rule, amendment, january, property, ballot

2019 was no exception. While there were not a tremendous amount of new statewide laws and constitutional amendments which went into effect on January 1, 2019, here is a list of some noteworthy changes:

Base minimum wage increases to $8.46 – This series recently reported on the scope of Florida’s 2019 minimum wage increase. To save ink (OK, electrons…) here is a link to that article with details: Florida Businesses – Two Focus Numbers as the New Year (Rapidly) Approaches. And a Free Gift, Too!. {Notice the poetic license used in the last sentence?}

Hospital price posting – As the result of a federal rule, Florida’s hospitals are now required to post their price lists.1 The goal is competition among medical facilities and transparency for patients-as-customers. The reality is, though, that pricing research will not be all that simple. For example, see the interactive chart at Mission to Care. {Particularly if ‘you’ have some time on your hands.} And here is one hospital’s price estimator: North Florida Regional Medical Center Patient Financial Resource. {So go ahead…ask for the price list.}

Permanent cap on nonhomestead property assessments – Florida Constitution Amendment 2, entitled the “Limitations On Property Tax Assessments”, was on the November 6, 2018 statewide ballot and passed with a 66% plus majority.2

The measure was stated on the ballot as follows:

Proposing an amendment to the State Constitution to permanently retain provisions currently in effect, which limit property tax assessment increases on specified nonhomestead real property, except for school district taxes, to 10 percent each year. If approved, the amendment removes the scheduled repeal of such provisions in 2019 and shall take effect January 1, 2019.

Amendment 2 altered Florida Constitution Article XII, Section 27. The Florida Constitution change involves the deletion and addition of language to the text, is complicated to work-through, and {for those up to the challenge} can be found at Ballotpedia. {Enjoy!}

Taxes and fees require a two-thirds legislature approval – Florida Constitution Amendment 5, entitled “Supermajority  Vote Required to Impose, Authorize, or Raise State Taxes or Fees”, was on the November 6, 2018 statewide ballot and passed with a 65% plus majority.3

To consult with an experienced business law lawyer today, call 855-686-6752

The measure was stated on the ballot as follows:

Prohibits the legislature from imposing, authorizing, or raising a state tax or fee except through legislation approved by a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature in a bill containing no other subject. This proposal does not authorize a state tax or fee otherwise prohibited by the Constitution and does not apply to fees or taxes imposed or authorized to be imposed by a county, municipality, school board, or special district.

Amendment 2 altered Florida Constitution Article VII by adding Section 19. The text is long, and can be found at Article VII’s Ballotpedia entry. {Enjoy this, as well!}

Federal alimony no longer tax deductible – This is not a Florida legislative or rule change per se, but it will affect Floridians who get divorces after January 1, 2019. ‘Long story, short’, due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act alimony will no longer be tax deductible to the paying ex-spouse for divorces after January 1st.4 If a person is contemplating divorce, then, it is timely to discuss this rule change with their divorce lawyer and, perhaps, accountant.

B-T-W {‘by the way’ for the non-hashtag crowd}, do not forget, that the Florida 2019 Legislative Session starts March 5, 2019.5 Bills are already starting to be ‘pre-filed’.6

1 See https://www.wtsp.com/article/news/nation-world/hospitals-will-be-required-to-post-prices-online-in-2019/67-625019372; https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/i-team/hospitals-to-list-service-prices-starting-january-1-due-to-new-federal-rule. Here is the U.S. Health and Human Services press release regarding the posting rule: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2018/04/24/hhs-takes-new-steps-in-secretary-azars-value-based-agenda.html

2 https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_2,_Permanent_Cap_on_Nonhomestead_Parcel_Assessment_Increases_Amendment_(2018)

3 https://ballotpedia.org/Florida_Amendment_5,_Two-Thirds_Vote_of_Legislature_to_Increase_Taxes_or_Fees_Amendment_(2018)

4 https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-tax-law-eliminates-alimony-deductions-but-not-for-everybody-2018-01-23

5 https://www.flsenate.gov/Session

6 https://legiscan.com/FL

– For more information, call Philip N. Kabler of the Gainesville, FL office of Bogin, Munns & Munns at 352.332.7688, where he practices in the areas of business, banking, real estate, and equine law. He has taught business and real estate law courses at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and Warrington College of Business Administration. And is now the President-Elect of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association.

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NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.

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