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Recent Changes in Miami Business Law

Navigating the complexities of Miami’s business law just got more crucial with a slew of legislative updates. With changes affecting everything from minimum wage adjustments to the nuances of healthcare legalities, businesses in Miami must quickly adapt or face significant compliance risks. In this concise overview, we unpack recent changes in Miami business law and what you need to know, providing the essential information to ensure your operations remain fluid and legally secure in the evolving business climate.

Key Takeaways

  • Miami-Dade County has designated ‘Miami’s Community News’ as the official newspaper for legal notices, affecting legal compliance and costs for businesses, and Florida’s minimum wage has increased to $12.00 per hour, posing financial strategy challenges for businesses.
  • Private employers in Miami with at least 25 employees must use the E-Verify system to confirm employee eligibility to work in the U.S. starting July 1, 2023, and the Florida Business Corporation Act has undergone revisions affecting corporate governance, including new proxy access rights for shareholders.
  • Florida healthcare laws now mandate the storage of patient information within the U.S., its territories, or Canada, and intellectual property challenges in Miami include the protection of algorithms and codes, and ensuring compliance in the fast-evolving sectors like AI and the metaverse.

 

downtown miami

In a city that never sleeps, the laws also never cease to evolve. The legal notices that businesses in Miami-Dade County have been accustomed to publishing in one place have found a new home. As of November 22, 2023, ‘Miami’s Community News’ has been declared the official newspaper for such publications, replacing the previous choice of the Daily Business Review. This means that legal notices such as property notices, legal summons, and official announcements must now be published in this newspaper, in order to fulfill legal requirements. This shift impacts businesses directly, as it may lead to variations in costs depending on the type of notice.

Moving away from the change in publication laws, the healthcare sector in Miami has also seen significant legal changes. New Florida legislation now restricts healthcare providers from having controlling interests in entities that have business relations with certain foreign countries of concern or scrutinized companies. Moreover, hospitals and emergency departments in Florida that receive Medicaid funds are now required to ask about patients’ immigration status during the intake process. These changes present a new layer of compliance that healthcare businesses need to adhere to.

Florida Minimum Wage Increase

An important change that businesses in Miami need to pay attention to is the increase in the minimum wage. As of September 30, 2023, Florida’s minimum wage was increased to $12.00 per hour. This increase, affecting businesses and employees alike, is a significant alteration from the previous wage rate.

While it brings joy to the employees with the promise of better pay, it also brings a new challenge for businesses, especially small businesses. They have to reconfigure their financial strategies to ensure that they can afford the increased wages without compromising their profitability. Moreover, businesses also need to ensure that they stay compliant with these new wage laws to avoid legal issues, penalties, and potential tax liability.

E-Verify Requirements

Another key change in the business legal landscape of Miami revolves around the employment verification process mandated by the federal government. As of July 1, 2023, private employers in Florida with at least 25 employees must use the federal E-Verify system to confirm the eligibility of new employees to work in the United States. This requirement is a significant addition to the employment laws and has critical implications for businesses in terms of compliance.

The E-Verify system is a crucial tool that ensures businesses hire employees who are legally allowed to work in the U.S. While this system helps maintain legal integrity in hiring processes, it also means that businesses must integrate this system into their recruitment process. Businesses must ensure that they comply with this requirement to avoid legal penalties, and at the same time, manage the cost and time implications of implementing this system.

Service of Process Regulations

Service of process regulations in Florida has also seen significant amendments under Florida laws. These changes are crucial for businesses, as they can affect how legal proceedings are conducted, including those that may reach the Florida Supreme Court. One such amendment is SB 784, known as the ‘Protect Our Loved One’s Act’.

While the specifics of these amendments can be complex, the crux of the matter is that they affect how legal notices are served. As a business owner, it’s crucial to understand these changes to ensure your business remains compliant with the new regulations and to minimize the risk of legal issues that could arise from non-compliance.

Navigating the Revised Florida Business Corporation Act

The Florida Business Corporation Act, a key piece of legislation that governs the operations of Florida businesses and their business structures, has been extensively revised under the new Florida laws. These changes hold significant implications for corporations, affecting everything from their bylaws to their director nomination process. Among the revisions, new provisions have been introduced that enable corporations to include proxy access rights in their bylaws.

Another crucial change is the requirements for nominating committees concerning the selection of independent directors and the consideration of shareholder nominations. These changes require corporations to reassess their governance policies and procedures to ensure they are in line with the revised Act. With these revisions, corporations need to navigate a revised legal landscape, which can impact their operations and decision-making processes.

Proxy Access Provisions

One of the significant changes in the revised Florida Business Corporation Act, which also impacts limited liability companies, is the introduction of proxy access provisions. These provisions enable shareholders holding a specified percentage of stock to nominate directors and include them in the company’s proxy materials. However, the eligibility of shareholders to utilize proxy access is contingent upon satisfying specific criteria such as holding a certain percentage of stock and maintaining ownership for a prescribed duration.

What does this mean for corporations? It means that shareholders now have a greater say in the leadership of the corporation. This change can lead to more democratic corporate governance, but it also means that corporations need to carefully manage their relationships with shareholders. It’s an area where the stakes are high, and proper legal guidance can make a significant difference.

Other Key Revisions

But that’s not all. The revised Florida Business Corporation Act has seen other key revisions as well. One such change is the requirement that amendments to the articles of incorporation be adopted by the board of directors followed by shareholder approval. This revision has also given corporations with 35 or fewer shareholders the ability to amend their articles without a Board of Directors act, provided that all shareholders receive notice of the intended changes.

Another notable revision is in the way companies disclose information about their nominating committees and how shareholder recommendations for director nominations are processed and disclosed. These changes have made the process of amending articles of incorporation more intricate and have added new layers of transparency to the operations of corporations. It’s crucial for corporations to understand these changes and adjust their operations accordingly to stay compliant and avoid potential issues.

Healthcare-related Legal Changes

The healthcare sector hasn’t been spared from the wave of legal changes. A significant overhaul occurred in healthcare-related laws in Florida, especially the new rules concerning the storage of patient information by healthcare providers. As part of these changes, Florida’s Electronic Health Records Exchange Act now mandates that healthcare providers must store patient information within the continental United States, its territories, or Canada starting from July 1, 2023.

The prohibition on offshoring the storage of certain personal medical information is another notable change. These changes are important for healthcare providers as they revamp their data storage arrangements. It’s not just about maintaining the confidentiality of patient information anymore, but also about where this information is physically stored.

Patient Information Storage

Under the new healthcare-related federal law, healthcare providers in Florida using certified Electronic Health Record (EHR) technology must comply with new patient information storage regulations. This legislation requires that patient information be physically maintained within the continental United States, its territories, or Canada, even when stored offsite or through cloud computing services.

Moreover, at license application or renewal, healthcare providers must attest to the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) their compliance with patient information storage requirements under penalty of perjury. Failure to adhere to these new patient information storage rules can result in disciplinary actions against healthcare providers.

This new regulation increases the responsibility of healthcare providers for the secure storage of patient information and strengthens the penalties for non-compliance.

Implications for Healthcare Businesses

These new laws have significant implications for healthcare businesses in Miami. They must reassess their record storage arrangements to comply with state laws, particularly affecting those with operations across multiple states. Healthcare providers must ensure that patient information is not stored offshore and securely destroy any such data outside the U.S. or Canada before the deadline of July 1, 2023.

There is also a lack of clear definition for ‘patient information’ in Florida law, raising concerns about compliance and what constitutes identifiable or non-identifiable patient data. Therefore, healthcare providers in Miami must thoroughly review:

  • their medical record systems
  • vendor contracts
  • policies
  • any relevant ownership details

to ensure adherence to the updated regulations concerning the storage of patient information.

Intellectual Property Challenges in Miami

Amidst the changing legal landscape, one area that poses a unique set of challenges for businesses in Miami is the protection of intellectual property. In the fast-paced business environment of Miami, protecting intellectual property is crucial for building a strong brand and maintaining long-term business success. However, this task isn’t easy, given the challenges businesses face in monitoring the marketplace to ensure their intellectual property is not used without permission.

The advent of new technologies has added a new dimension to these challenges. Issues like ethical concerns, maintaining quality control over data, and addressing issues with emerging technologies such as autonomous vehicles are now part of the legal challenges facing Miami businesses with regard to AI and robotics. Also, the use of patents to protect programming code poses limitations due to the slow pace of the patenting process in a fast-moving business sector like technology and software.

Ownership of Algorithms and Code

In the realm of intellectual property, the ownership of algorithms and code presents unique challenges. With AI-generated works or inventions, legal questions arise about who holds ownership and if such creations should be seen as prior art. The challenges extend to determining who owns the datasets from which AI algorithms learn, and there is also liability for AI-facilitated innovations that might violate existing intellectual property rights.

These issues represent a new frontier in intellectual property law where the traditional concepts of ownership are being challenged by technological advancement. For businesses in Miami that utilize AI and machine learning, navigating this new landscape requires a deep understanding of the evolving laws and strong legal guidance.

Business Applications of IP Law

The business applications of IP law in Miami are widespread. Intellectual property is pivotal in the creation and enhancement of brand image and in fostering customer loyalty. However, the significance of IP law has surged due to the advent of the metaverse and the proliferation of non-fungible token (NFT) marketplaces.

These new marketplaces have sparked debates about the accessibility of IP laws. For instance, Professor Michele DeStefano has raised critical queries about the need to make NFT marketplaces more democratic. As businesses in Miami venture into these uncharted territories of the digital economy, understanding the nuances of IP law becomes critical to protecting their interests and navigating the associated legal challenges.

Legal Services for Small Business Owners

In the midst of these numerous and complex legal matters, the importance of legal services for small businesses in Miami cannot be overstated. To avoid costly disputes and litigation, it’s crucial for small business owners to maintain business compliance with state and federal laws. This is where the role of a small business lawyer becomes paramount.

Whether it’s about selecting the appropriate legal entity, dealing with breach of contract instances, or overall legal issue management, a knowledgeable attorney can prove to be a valuable asset to ensure the longevity and success of the business. In fact, the Florida Community Development Legal Project offers legal aid through collaborations among various legal service providers, supporting Miami’s small business economic development activities.

Role of a Small Business Attorney

The role of a small business attorney is multifaceted. They can help small business owners with:

  • Understanding the legal complexities associated with their business operations
  • Paving the way for productive business development
  • Providing essential guidance on specific licensing and permitting requirements that vary based on business type and location
  • Protecting businesses from non-compliance issues.

In the realm of intellectual property, business lawyers specializing in this area are crucial for advising on the protection of algorithms and coding, ensuring businesses secure their intangible assets with proper registration with the USPTO. In essence, the legal counsel a business attorney provides can be the difference between a business that thrives and one that gets embroiled in costly legal disputes.

Finding the Right Legal Counsel

Finding the right legal counsel involves more than just looking for a lawyer. It’s about prioritizing attorneys with a proven track record and demonstrated expertise in business law. It’s also about ensuring an attorney has experience with specific areas such as Florida’s service of process regulations or the Florida Business Corporation Act.

Compatibility between a business and its legal counsel is critical; it’s beneficial to work with a lawyer whose approach aligns with the company’s culture and goals. Moreover, a lawyer’s ability to communicate clearly and be approachable can greatly influence the effectiveness of the legal guidance provided.

So, when you’re looking for legal counsel, remember, it’s not just about finding a lawyer, but about finding the right partner for your business.

Summary

In the rapidly changing business environment of Miami, staying informed about the evolving legal landscape is crucial for businesses. From changes in minimum wage to revisions in the Florida Business Corporation Act, and from healthcare-related legal amendments to intellectual property challenges, the business legal landscape in Miami has witnessed significant shifts. Understanding these changes is not just about staying compliant; it’s about adapting and thriving in the new normal.

Despite the challenges, businesses in Miami have shown remarkable resilience and adaptability. With the right legal guidance, they have navigated these changes and continue to grow and prosper. The key takeaway is clear – the law is not a hurdle, but a guide that directs businesses towards sustainable and responsible growth. Stay informed, stay compliant, and let the spirit of Miami guide your business to new heights. Contact J. Muir & Associates to learn more about recent changes in Miami business law.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the new minimum wage in Florida?

The new minimum wage in Florida is $12.00 per hour as of September 30, 2023.

What is the E-Verify system?

The E-Verify system is a federal system that confirms the eligibility of new employees to work in the United States. It helps employers ensure a legal workforce.

What are the new regulations regarding patient information storage in Florida?

Healthcare providers in Florida are now required to store patient information within the continental United States, its territories, or Canada, according to the new regulations.

What are the challenges in protecting intellectual property for businesses in Miami?

Protecting intellectual property in Miami presents challenges such as monitoring the marketplace to prevent unauthorized use and managing legal issues related to code ownership. It’s important for businesses to address these challenges proactively to safeguard their intellectual property.

What is the role of a small business attorney?

A small business attorney can provide essential legal guidance on business operations, contracts, and legal issues, helping small business owners navigate legal complexities effectively and protect their interests.

Author Bio

Jane Muir

Jane Muir is a Shareholder and Managing Partner of J. Muir & Associates, a Miami business law firm she founded in 2018. With more than 13 years of experience in business, she is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal areas, including business litigation, contracts, corporate formation, insolvency, nonprofits, partnership disputes, and other business law matters.

Jane received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law and is a member of the Dade County Bar Association and Coral Gables Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named among the “20 Under 40” in 2016 by Brickell Magazine. Super Lawyers named her a Rising Star from 2014–2019 and selected her for the Super Lawyers status.

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