Florida Legislative Year in Review: veterans courts, foreclosure filing fees, e-courts, collecting debts owed to the courts

New laws affecting the courts enacted by the Florida legislature in 2012 include the following:

HB 629 Extends that public records exemptions for personal information, such as home address and phone numbers, to retired justices, judges, and their spouses and children.

HB 4047 Repeals provisions relating to judicial census commissions.

HB 5403 Redirects revenue from filing fees for civil actions in circuit court relating to real property or mortgage foreclosure from State Courts Revenue Trust Fund to General Revenue Fund.

HB 7055 Repeals various statutes related to effect of rules adopted by the Courts. Repeals provision that, where a rule of the Supreme Court and statute conflict on matters of practice and procedure, the rule supersedes the statute. Repeals authority of the Department of Revenue to adopt rules relating to the clerks of court. Repeals the power of the district courts of appeal to make rules and regulations.

HB 7095 Requires clerks case information system be used with Lottery winners to determine if debts owed to the court. Requires all circuit clerks use Comprehensive Case Information System of the Florida Association of Clerks and Comptroller, Inc., and submit electronic case data to the system based on the case types designated by the Supreme Court. Provides An action to collect court costs, fees, or fines owed to the state may be commenced at any time. Declares all criminal or civil judges previously entered by court become civil liens.

SB 922 Authorizes chief judge of judicial circuit to create pretrial veterans’ and servicemembers’ treatment intervention programs.

SB 1960 Requires the Clerks of Court Operations Corporation to collect existing clerk of court reports on county use of fees to support court facilities and submit them to the chief judge, the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

SB 1964 Requires all court-related assessments are mandatory and must be imposed regardless of whether the assessment is announced in open court. Requires clerks of court to develop a uniform form to be used in identifying and imposing mandatory assessments. Revises  requirements for the clerks of court to report on the assessment and collection of certain fines or other monetary penalties, fees, costs, and charges. Requires the clerks, rather than the Department of Financial Services, to develop a reporting form. Provides for the clerks to consult with the Office of the State Courts Administrator in developing the form and guidelines governing the reporting of amounts assessed and collected, etc.