DeSantis signs dozens of bills before deadline

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis grabbed a lot of attention this week by approving the state budget, creating new restrictions on girls seeking abortions, signing environmental legislation and new requirements for employers to use E-verify to confirm new hires are eligible to work in the U.S.

But those were only a few of more than 50 bills he took action on over a two-day period. There also was legislation to strip telegraph regulations out of state law, protect professionals who default on student loans, a public records exemption to keep people from finding the location of endangered animals, a requirement for panic alarms in schools and more.

While the bills passed in the legislative session that ended in March, legislative leaders delayed sending them to DeSantis until mid-June as he focused on the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here's a look at what some of the new laws will do:

— Require all public schools implement a mobile panic alert system beginning in the 2021-2022 school year to help law enforcement respond more quickly and improve coordination during emergencies.

— Create an Office of Quality Assurance at the Department of Children and Families to measure the performance of internal programs and contracted service providers.

— Prohibit the state from denying, suspending, revoking or not renewing professional licenses because of non-payment of student loans. The new law also deregulates professions such as hair braiders and reduces the training hours needed to become a barber or nail specialist. It also makes it easier for professionals licensed in other states to get licensed in Florida.

— Prohibit life, disability and long-term care insurers from canceling, limiting or setting premiums based on DNA testing.

— Strip an entire chapter of state law regulating the telegraph industry, including $50 penalties for not promptly delivering messages.

— Prevent the public from obtaining state records that reveal the indication of where state and federal endangered and protected species are located. It doesn't effect those species that are in captivity.