Over 150 state laws take effect this month 

HB 321 now makes it unlawful for any person or organization to intentionally release balloons outdoors.
HB 321 now makes it unlawful for any person or organization to intentionally release balloons outdoors.
Photo by Ankush Minda/Unsplash

Over 150 new state laws took effect on Monday, July 1, that included teaching the history of communism to K-12 students, a stand-your-ground defense against bears and preventing people under the age of 21 from working as a stripper.  

Below is a roundup of the most notable laws taking effect:  


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HB 931: Authorizes school districts and charter schools to allow volunteer school chaplains. The school board is required to assign such chaplains specified duties, and chaplains must pass a background check and list their names and religious affiliation on the school website. 

Students must receive written parental consent before participating in or receiving “supports, services, and programs” from a volunteer school chaplain. 

SB 1264: Adds the history of communism as required instruction for kindergarten through 12th grade starting in the 2026-27 school year. Lessons must be “age appropriate and developmentally appropriate.” 

SB 7032: Creates the Graduation Alternative to Traditional Education (GATE) Program, which waives tuition and fees for high school dropouts pursuing diplomas and workforce credentials at state colleges. 

Labor and Employment 

HB 49: Removes some restrictions on working hours for 16- and 17-year-olds. Parents and school superintendents may now waive a 30-hour-per-week limit while school is in session. 

HB 7063: Prevents people under 21 from working as a stripper and triggers other laws to crack down on human trafficking. This law also requires entities contracting with state government to provide assurances they don’t use coerced labor and prohibits minors from employment with adult entertainment establishments. 

Nature and Climate 

HB 87: Creates a stand-your-ground defense for people who shoot bears in defense of themselves or their property. Shooters must notify the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission within 24 hours of killing a bear and are prohibited from possessing or selling bear carcasses. 

HB 1645: Bans power-generating wind turbines offshore or near the Florida coastline, reduces regulation of natural gas and gas pipelines, and protects against bans on gas appliances such as stoves. 

Parenting Laws 

HB 385: Allows courts to require parents to use “neutral safe exchange” locations at a sheriff’s office when sharing custody of children. 

HB 775: Extends grace period to surrender an infant with no questions asked, up to 30 days after birth, up from seven days. The expanded law also allows parents without transportation to call EMS to pick up the infant, or to leave a baby with medical staff at the hospital after giving birth. 

HB 415: Establishes a new website with educational resources on pregnancy, parenting, mentorship programs for fathers, financial assistance and adoption services. 

HB 461: Exempts new mothers from jury duty for six months after giving birth. To claim the exemption, mothers will need to request it. 

Health and Safety 

SB 544: Requires the Department of Health to establish a network of providers for participation in a voucher program for swimming lessons. 

SB 1492: Prohibits cities and counties from creating laws that include protections for workers against heat, that go beyond federal requirements. 

SB 1084: Bans lab-grown meat, though the product is not yet available in any state. 

Law Enforcement 

HB 601: Prevents civilian review boards from investigating local law enforcement officers and prohibits “harassment” of first responders on duty. 

SB 1764: Increases fines and potential jail time for people participating in “coordinated” street takeovers involving 10 or more vehicles. 

SB 1224: Requires law enforcement officers to take training on assessing risk of harm in domestic violence victims, by asking a series of questions about the aggressor. The Lethality Training Assessment requirements are to be completed by Oct. 1, 2026. 

HB 621: Allows people to call the sheriff to remove squatters from their property if the person entered and remains on the property illegally, was directed to leave and has not, and is not a current or former tenant in a legal dispute. 


HB 919: Requires political ads that contain “images, video, audio, graphics, or other digital content” created with artificial intelligence to include a disclaimer. 


HB 583: Allows businesses to sell 4.5 liter, 6 liter, 9 liter, 12 liter and 15 liters wine bottles, up from a previous limit of one gallon, unless the container was reusable. 

HB 321: Makes it unlawful for any person or organization to organize or intentionally release balloons, with exceptions for indoor releases, releases by government agencies, and for anyone under the age of 6. Violations are considered a littering infraction. 

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Well shoot! With HB 321, there goes my plan to launch helium-filled balloons with USB sticks chock full of books Florida and Governor DeSantis have banned.

Tyranny, I tell you, TYRANNY!

Raymond Smith

This is meant for groups of people at small gatherings such as celebration of life or gender reveal parties to release those balloons, especially the mylar ones. People don’t understand that they don’t go to heaven but instead they have to come back to the ground at some point. Even remember those days in elementary school “back in the day” for us older generations. Yes we were littering also. Remember balloonfest ’86 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balloonfest_%2786