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New Florida laws take effect New Year’s Day

Published: Dec. 28, 2020 at 4:49 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) - At the start of 2021, Florida’s minimum wage will rise nine cents, but the pay raise isn’t the only change the state will see.

The new year will also bring new laws and the end to a century-old Florida industry.

Employers will have to begin checking the immigration status of their new hires through the federal E-Verify system or by collecting I-9 forms starting January 1.

The governor earlier this year suggested it will ensure legal citizens are first in line to be hired.

“That could actually be something that’s even more important now given that people are going to be needing jobs,” said Governor Ron DeSantis in March.

But others, like the ACLU, worry it will make the hiring process more difficult.

“Businesses don’t need more obstacles right now for hiring new workers and that’s exactly what E-Verify does. Businesses need flexibility and E-Verify ties their hands,” said Kara Gross with the ACLU of Florida.

New Year’s Day will also see penalties doubled for illegally passing a school bus.

Fines will be set at $200 or $400 depending on which side of the bus a driver passes.

“We’re sending a message that we’re taking this seriously. Pay attention to the roads, especially when there’s young children that are going on and off of the school bus,” said House sponsor State Representative Emily Slosberg.

The start of 2021 will also mark the end of greyhound racing in the state, which is required by a 2018 constitutional amendment that won 69% of the vote.

“These dogs will not have to race for their lives any longer and will be able to be regular dogs,” said Kate MacFall with Protect Dogs: Yes on 13.

There are 3,000 Florida jobs associated with greyhound racing, but those in the industry have had time to prepare.

“So they have been processing the animals to adoption homes,” said Jack Cory, a lobbyist representing the Florida Greyhound Association.

The last greyhound racing event will take place on December 31 at the Palm Beach Kennel Club.

The final race is scheduled for 11:59 p.m., just a minute before the ban goes into effect.

The majority of Florida’s racing greyhounds are being adopted out.

Advocates we spoke with recommended going to petfinder.com if you’re looking to adopt.

Copyright 2020 Capitol News Service. All rights reserved.