New Bill Could Force Sales Tax Votes During General Elections

By on January 17, 2019 in News Service of Florida

Tallahassee, FL – A trio of bills filed recently in Tallahassee could see students get off from serving on juries, force local governments to hold sales-tax votes during general elections and have organ donors get a free vehicle decal.

BILL WOULD LET STUDENTS BE EXCUSED FROM JURY DUTY

Many full-time students in Florida could be excused from serving on juries, under a proposal filed Tuesday for the 2019 legislative session.

The measure (HB 277), filed by Rep. Melony Bell, R-Fort Meade, would allow people to request being excused from jury duty if they are 21 or younger and are enrolled as full-time students in high schools, state colleges, state universities or private post-secondary institutions.

Current law allows some other groups to be excused from jury service, including law-enforcement officers who are excused unless they choose to serve.

Judges, for example, also excuse women who are expectant mothers and may excuse attorneys and physicians.

Also, the governor and members of the state Cabinet are disqualified from jury service.

RESTRICTION ON TAX REFERENDUMS RE-EMERGES

A Senate Republican will make another attempt to require local governments to hold sales-tax referendums during general elections.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, filed a measure (SB 336) on Tuesday that would block local governments from holding such referendums during special elections.

Brandes’ bill is filed for consideration during the 2019 legislative session, which starts March 5.

The House passed a similar proposal during the 2018 session, but the measure died in the Senate.

Supporters of the proposed restriction contend tax referendums should not be held during what are often sparsely attended special elections.

But critics have argued, in part, that sales-tax issues can get lost on lengthy general-election ballots.

VEHICLE DECALS SOUGHT FOR ORGAN DONORS

Florida organ donors could get free decals for their cars, minivans or trucks under a bill filed Wednesday for consideration during the 2019 legislative session.

Rep. Clovis Watson, D-Alachua, wants the state to provide vehicle owners with red-heart decals that could be affixed to the upper left-hand corner of license plates and flag the owners as organ, tissue or eye donors.

The bill (HB 299) would require the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to begin providing the decals upon request as of July 1.

While the state would be required to provide the decals free of charge, the bill does not include money to cover the costs.

The 2019 session begins March 5.

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