Gov. Scott signs 36 bills on schools, water, freemasonry

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Brandon Larrabee of the News Service of Florida reports that Gov. Rick Scott signed three dozen bills Thursday as he continues to work through legislation approved during the 2013 session, his office announced.

Scott did not release comments about the bill signings and didn’t issue any vetoes.

Included in the batch of bills Scott signed were several dealing with school safety. One measure (SB 284) allows private schools to be notified by first responders about emergencies and makes sure public schools spell out which agencies are supposed to contact them.

Another bill (HB 609) cracks down on “cyberbullying” in public schools by expanding what school districts are allowed to punish at school and when children are not at school — if the non-school bullying affects education.

Other education bills included one ordering the Department of Education to create uniform ID badges for some school contractors (HB 21); one creating a new third degree felony for posting certain obscene materials on school property (HB 113); and one toughening laws against convicted gang members trespassing on school property.

Scott also signed a measure (SB 1808) allowing the Department of Environmental Protection to set water quality standards in Florida after a years-long legal battle with the U.S. Environment Protection Agency. That battle about what are known as “numeric nutrient criteria” has been closely watched by business groups, local governments and environmentalists.

And he okayed a new law (HB 701) making it illegal to use state-issued EBT cards at strip clubs, liquor stores and gambling establishments, as well as a measure (HB 487) establishing a Freemasonry license plate, with proceeds going to the Masonic Home Endowment Fund, Inc.

Later Thursday, Scott is scheduled to sign a bill (HB 1325) that would help clear criminal records of human-trafficking victims.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.