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State Rep. Charles McBurney Jr.

Bar Bulletin: Legislature ends with several bills important to lawyers

By Charles McBurney Jr., House of Representatives

Every legislative session enacts bills relevant to the practice of law. Indeed, most legislation affects lawyers as citizens and their practice.

This session had 1,693 bills filed; 264 passed both the House and the Senate.

Many of the bills that passed include resolutions, memorials, local bills, and the constitutionally required budget bills. Particularly relevant to the practice of law include the following:

HB 627: Service of process

This legislation provides a fee of $40.00 will be charged by the sheriff for each summons served; immunity to the sheriff for wrongful levy or distribution of proceeds of sale; requires the party requesting service of process to have the process server file the return of service; and creates a noncriminal penalty of up to $1,000.00 for an employer who refuses to accommodate service of process on an employee.

HB 797: Clerks of Court

This bill makes changes concerning clerk duties relative to tax certificates, jurors and witnesses, and garnishment actions.

SJR 1188: Prospective appointment of judicial vacancies

This is a proposed amendment to the state Constitution authorizing the governor to prospectively fill vacancies in certain judicial offices. This amendment will be voted on in November.

HB 2510: Court-appointed counsel

This bill eliminates the limited registry for private counsel in conflict cases willing to accept a flat fee (but maintains the general registry), increases the statutory caps in conflict cases, and establishes a cross-circuit conflict representation pilot program in specified offices of the public defender and criminal conflict and civil regional counsel.

HB 5301: Additional judgeships

Creates two additional judgeships for the 2nd District Court of Appeal and one additional judgeship in the 5th District Court of Appeal.

Other legislation passed that may impact upon particular areas of law, include:

Business

HB 685: Business organizations

Establishes “Special Purpose Corporations” and “Benefit Corporations.”

SB 86: Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices

Modifies the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Criminal law

HB 641: Computer crimes

Establishes new penalties for computer crimes.

HB 89: Threatened use of force

Addresses use of self-defense and deviation from minimum mandatory sentences in limited instances.

HB4 27: Traveling across county lines to commit a burglary

Provides for reclassification of burglaries when there is intent to thwart law enforcement under certain circumstances; also adds factors concerning bail in such instances.

HB 7035: Juvenile sentencing

Affects process applicable for serious felonies by juveniles.

Family law

HB 561: Attorneys for dependent children with special needs

Requires appointment of attorney to represent dependent child who meets one or more specified criteria.

HB 755: Court

Revises provisions concerning child support and domestic violence.

Environment

HB 7093: Environmental protection

Various provisions concerning cleanup requirements, particularly petroleum.

Real estate

HB 7037: Community associations

Revises law concerning residential community associations, particularly community association managers and community association management firms.

HB 807: Residential property

Amends statutes relating to residential property, including condominiums, cooperatives, homeowners associations and time shares.

Estates

HB 575: Estate

Makes several changes to the Florida Probate Code and Florida Trust Code.

Personal injury

SB 670: Nursing home litigation

Specifies causes of action, damages, licensing, etc.

HB 63: Motor vehicle crash report

Revises requirements to obtain certain confidential crash reports.

More information concerning particular bills can be found by searching myfloridahouse.gov. Click on the “Bill” icon, type in the bill number, and the site will include the full text of the bill, staff analysis, bill history, voting records, and other bill information.

It is an honor to serve in the Florida House while being a member of The Jacksonville Bar Association. If I or my legislative staff can provide additional services, please contact us at charles.mcburney@myfloridahouse.gov or (994) 359-6090.

Additionally, the law office of Charles W. McBurney Jr. represents businesses and individuals in the areas of areas of business law, commercial litigation, creditors’ rights, lien law, business formation, contracts, commercial collections and bankruptcy.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss how we might be of service to you, and can be reached in the law office at cmcburney@mcburneylaw.net or (904) 798-0002.

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